My amazing-book streak has ended, although I'd still rate all of these recent reads as pretty good and worth picking up if you're so inclined. Or just skip down and read my ranting and raving and post a hateful comment. That'll make us feel like we're having the current human experience.
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
This was a fun and interesting read, much more about family dynamics, abandonment issues, friendship drama and that sort of thing than about kids catching on fire. Normally I’d be writing something to you about how I’m a little crotchety that there were pretty much no good men to be found in the book and why is this the trend now, etc, but it turns out that the author is actually a man, and therefore I guess I’ll save that rant for a little later in this blog. I will say that the actual protagonist was tough to wrap my mind around, and although I typically am 100% with an author writing from the POV of whomever – in this case I think it might’ve impacted the character development here just a hair. At one point I went back to ensure that the protagonist was definitely for sure a woman. It’s hard to put my finger on why, just – if you read it, let me know your thoughts on that.
Still, I would recommend this as an interesting new book to check out if you’re looking for something a little different.
An American Princess: The Many Lives of Allene Tew by Annajet van der Zijl
This is our book club book, so I won’t say too much. It’s a rags-to-riches story of an American woman who knew how to marry well and ultimately make smart decisions with the wealth she acquired as a result. However, it seemed to me like she actually had a pretty crappy life and this biography definitely underlines how money isn’t everything. I enjoyed the book, but I wish the author could’ve dug up more – not just the facts but how the events impacted the “princess” and those in her circle.
All Adults Here by Emma Straub
I’ve got to say my piece here. What’s a blog for, if I can’t share my opinion with my six readers?
Please understand, I’m in favor of the freedom for authors to write whatever they please. While it can be entertaining to read stuff that I practically could’ve written, it’s good to read some diverse thought. So this is just my personal opinion and by no means do I think that these authors are doing something actually wrong.
That said, I’m just sad to be reading so many books lately that don’t have ANY good men in them. Every man that shows up on a page ultimately turns out to a villain or at best, an idiot. Is this actual reality for people? And yet, more often than not, the author’s bio shares that so and so lives with her husband and two Labradors.
It just bums me out, the same way it bums us all out when every woman on a particular sitcom or movie is an airhead or obviously just serving as eye candy. Can’t we do better all the way around? Isn’t it more compelling to write a story that reveals how we’re all flawed yet amazing and that no gender has a monopoly on good or evil?
This book in particular is so much this way – not only with the male characters = evil issue, but just with every few pages a constant reminder to the reader that men are idiots or bad people. A description of a good OB-GYN can’t stand on its own without the character taking a moment to feel sorry for anyone who ever had to suffer through a male OB-GYN. Sisters-in-law can’t have a meaningful conversation without admitting that the reason the brother isn’t involved in the conversation is because he’s a man and men are horrible at meaningful conversations. I could go on….and on.
THEN, in the author’s note, it turns out that she was opening a bookstore at the time of writing this novel and her husband was SO AMAZING and SUPPORTIVE and basically did everything to run the household and bookstore while she was writing. So, that’s great that she gave him props in the author’s note, but…there’s no way her husband could read that book and not come away with the nagging feeling that his loving wife more or less hates men altogether.
Or is it just her *characters* who are dismissive of men? But if so, what am I supposed to come away with here?
Interestingly, I have to tell you that if you can stomach all of what I just griped about (and maybe most people can stomach it a lot better than I can) – it’s actually a lovely story. It’s a coming-of-age story for an entire family, with Grandma at the core opting to right her wrongs after an accident helps her realize how we’ve only got one short life. It’s very character heavy, and maybe a lot plot-light.
Also, why does the cover look so much like the cover of Fredrick Bachman's soon-to-be-released novel? Is this going to be the new thing now, with abstractly drawn people with their backs to us on all of the covers? Remember how for a while the big thing was to have a woman's big face on the cover of everything? The publishing industry is a mystery to me, but I guess they know better than me.
Mom of four, wife of one. By day I fund-raise with coffee, by night I read with wine and chocolate.