This was a really weird week, and I feel like it was 11 days long.
Lucky Boy started out so strong. I was hooked on the story right away. I don’t know where exactly things turned, but eventually it was kind of a slog. The main conflict ends up being between foster parents and a birth mother fighting over a child, and it just felt so uneven, I couldn’t invest myself in it. I mean, there’s a difference between fostering and adopting, I really didn’t have sympathy for the foster parents, whose main argument was essentially, “but we want to keep him.” This kind of left a bad taste in my mouth and I still can’t totally pinpoint why.
After that, I was lucky enough to get to read a manuscript by an old old friend, and it was fantastic! I hope I’ll get to talk more about it in the future, and I hope to be seeing it on bookshelves everywhere someday. It’s always a little nerve-wracking when a friend wants you to look at something they’ve written, but so far every time that’s happened for me it’s been great.
I got home from my trip and was suddenly in the very unusual position of having no books out from the library. I’ve had a copy of Try Not to Breathe sitting on my shelf for ages and it seemed like a good enough summer read. Big surprise, it was a thriller and I didn’t like it. But I did realize a couple pet peeves I have that are often in thrillers and may be why they often disappoint me. One, there appears to be a little sub-genre among thrillers which is essentially, “Detective work is easy, unless you’re actually a detective.” I’ve definitely come across this before, where a character gets interested in an old case, does some digging, and tada! Solved! The other thing I see often in a whodunit like this is the culprit turns out to be…some guy! Who’s barely in the story! (See also: Reconstructing Amelia.) This also has an extremely hard to believe courtroom scene at the end, and a subplot about a guy having lots and lots of marital trouble that all could have been avoided if he’d just been honest when he had no real reason not to. After all that, I didn’t hate this, but I couldn’t call it good.
I still haven’t made it down to the library to pick up my holds, so I started reading Permanent Midnight, which I’ve had borrowed from a very patient friend for months now. Even though memoirs aren’t usually my thing, I do tend to like Hollywood stuff, and I loved the two other Jerry Stahl books I’ve read, so I’m feeling good about this one so far. I have Hunger waiting for me at the library so it looks like it’ll be two memoirs in a row for me. Stepping out of the fiction box!