I don’t remember anything about this week, other than my six year old learning the facts of life, which led to the most endearing questions, which made this the best week ever.
I ended up being kind of disappointed in Manhattan Beach. The story was really great, but it kind of dragged, especially toward the end. I am very spoiler-averse, so I’ll just say there was a plot point in the second half that I hated, and I always hate when I see this in fiction, movies, tv etc, so that kind of soured it for me. I still love Jennifer Egan but this wasn’t my favorite of hers.
The Ninth Hour surprised me by how emotional it was. Alice McDermott is always great so I don’t know why I felt so caught off guard by this. Probably because I was in a coffee shop when I finished it, so then, whoops, I was crying in public! This is a perfect little gem of a book, and if you’re self conscious at all, make sure you’re alone when you finish it.
I really thought I was going to love The Misfortune of Marion Palm. It had a very Where’d You Go Bernadette vibe to it; looks like the kind of thing I just devour. Boy was I wrong. I still feel like I was too generous in giving it three stars because I really hated it most of the way through. The ending did redeem it a little; I wish there had been that kind of insight earlier in the book. The big problem with this is that the main character is total garbage, and the writing is not funny at all. I realize that’s two problems, but either one on its own doesn’t wreck a book. I would love something hilarious about a terrible person, in fact I just did last week! An unfunny book about an awful person is torture.
Next up was Her Body and Other Parties. This was another one that I had very high hopes for, and for the most part, this one lived up to the hype. Short story collections pretty much always have their ups and downs. The first story in this book (The Husband Stitch) was truly one of the best stories I have ever read, ever. I actually yelled, “Holy shit!” out loud when I finished it. So, I mean, it’s kind of impossible to maintain that kind of momentum from there. I did really like the rest of it, although the really long one that was a bunch of made up SVU synopses was pretty lost on me, being maybe the one woman in America who’s never watched that show. I’m really excited about this author and I cannot wait to read everything she ever writes and in the meantime I’ll just reread The Husband Stitch a bunch of times.
So today I started We Only Know So Much. It’s off to a good start, for sure, and it’s totally the kind of thing I never get tired of reading. I could see this veering off into too cutesy territory, but I’m cautiously optimistic. Signing off here to get back to it!