Saturday, June 26, 2010

How I Live Now

This is a young adult book that will take you a day or two to read. The book is narrated by a teenage girl who goes to England to stay with cousins and gets trapped there when a war breaks out. I'm not usually a big fan of the futuristic-type war books (Handmaid's Tale, The Road) because they freak me out a bit. I don't like putting an actual story to the scary possibility of a war in the Western World, in modern times. I suppose that's the whole point of reading books like this though - to gain perspective about those that *do* live in countries torn apart by war.

This story was slightly different as it was told through the eyes of a 15 year old girl and while there were definitely some chilling moments, it seemed more accurate and less creepy than the adult versions of this type of story. I wish I had something more articulate to say about this book (because it deserves it) but what can I say? It's 6:57am and I've already been up for an hour and a half today. And it's SATURDAY. My daughter decided that 5:30am was a fun time to wake up today and as I type this I'm watching her pull each of my books off the shelf and taste them. Her favorite so far seems to be Everything is Illuminated.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Forgotten Garden

Another book club reject that I thoroughly enjoyed. The book is about Nell, who on her 21st birthday in the 1920s, is told that her parents aren't really her parents. Her father - a dockmaster in Australia - found her on the wharf at the age of 4, all alone with a child's suitcase containing a beautiful book of children's fairy tales and little else, with no memory of her family. He and his wife took her in and raised her as their own. Nell goes in search of her true history in the 1970's but isn't able to solve the mystery entirely before her death in 2005. The story skips between three eras - the early 1900s where the truth of her mystery childhood is slowly revealed, the 1970s where we find out what Nell discovered during her personal search, and 2005 when her granddaughter Cassandra goes in search of the full story after her Nell's death.

I definitely liked the earliest story line the best - it was all secret garden and full of cool and creepy characters. Sure there were a few too many deathbed revelations/confessions than were rightly believable, and things got a little away-with-the-faeries but the book is full of mystery and intrigue and Kate Morton tells a good story.

Drums of Autumn (book 4 in the Outlander series)

Listen, I'm not proud, okay? But my hold came up at the library and I read it. And I liked it. Enough said, right?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Lonely Polygamist

This was the red headed step-child that was not picked by my book club. Instead we voted in The Imperfectionists (which we meet to discuss soon, so that review will probably wait until then). I gobbled up The Imperfectionists and now hardly remember anything to discuss for book club, and then moved on to The Lonely Polygamist.

I thought this book was funny, smart, fascinating and surprisingly touching. It mostly revolves around the story of Golden Richards, who is "living The Principal" in a polygamist community in Utah. He has four wives and 28 children and he's having a midlife crisis. He's having an affair with another woman (ironic, no?) and is still trying to get over the accidental death of one of his children. He's overwhelmed by his larger than life family and seems to have stepped into this exotic lifestyle almost by accident.

The book isn't really about the soap-style drama of having multiple wives, but it does touch on the every day inconveniences and frustrations. Many of the chapters are actually focused on some of the more introverted members of the family - for example Rusty the 11 year old "trouble maker" and Trish, "The 4th Wife", and it makes you think less about the morality of polygamy and more about what Family means and the effects of parents' choices on their children. I loved the chapters narrated by Rusty - they reminded me of how much I fell in love with Oskar in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I'm not saying that this book had the same kind of emotional impact on me, but I still got really attached to Rusty and found myself giggling (and feeling intense sympathy) at how accurately the author captured the voice of a pre-pubescent boy.

I think the book isn't out in paperback yet, but when it does get released, I definitely recommend it.