I was too busy having an innocent time buying skirts in Portland last week, so here’s two weeks in one.
Wow, The Idiot. That feels like a long time ago. It felt like a long time when I was reading it too. There is good writing here, but there is no reason for this to be 400+ pages. Nothing happens in this book. Seriously, I would have a hard time even answering if somebody asked me what it was about. So please don’t ask me. I won’t completely write off this author, but her next one will have to look pretty damn interesting for me to give it a shot.
See What I Have Done seems like something I would absolutely love. A novel about Lizzie Borden? Yes, always a yes there. This was good, but I think it’s just good because…it’s a novel about Lizzie Borden. It’s more, this author didn’t screw it up than it is, wow this author really did a great job. I liked it fine, but I should have liked it more.
Ugh, City Mouse, I don’t know why I even read this one. Actually I do, it was because someone made a very dismissive comment about it, along the lines of, “books about ordinary women’s daily lives are inherently uninteresting.” So I was like, AMY SMASH I’m going to read this and I will love it out of spite! Turns out, I’m not nearly as spiteful as I thought. This is just a really bad book, badly written, jerk characters, extremely heavy handed revelations. I stand by my opinion that this is a totally worthwhile topic, this is just a bad example.
Seven Days of Us was decent light reading. Domestic drama about a family who have to be quarantined over the holidays because their oldest has been exposed to a potentially fatal virus, this premise is totally my thing. I was a little disappointed overall though; I feel like it got way too into melodrama, literally every character is having a major life crisis during this one week. I really prefer a much less broad kind of family drama. Also I believe there’s a writing rule of thumb about not relying on coincidence, and if there’s not, there should be. This didn’t really do it for me but it’s worth it if you want some holiday drama.
We Are Okay had some nice writing, and an engaging main character, but it was kind of a disappointment. Even though it’s very short, it still felt a little tedious for me toward the end. This is pretty firmly YA territory, which is not my favorite, so don’t listen to me. If you think you’d like it, go for it.
Saved the best for last! I loved The Locals. Love love love love loved this. I’m a big fan of this author, in fact, The Privileges is my go-to example of a book whose main characters are unlikable but totally compelling. But I loved The Locals ten times more than that one. He really played around with his writing style here, and for me, it just totally worked. The opening chapter has a totally different tone from the rest of it, the way that time passes is done kind of fluidly, the narrative passes among characters in a really interesting way, I just couldn’t get enough of this. The story centered on the events in a small town in the years following 9/11, and it felt very politically insightful without being preachy. I felt like I was looking at society with a little bubble over it. Really fascinating and engaging for me.
As always, I have a zillion books out from the library, but I think I’m going to start My Absolute Darling today. This one seems to be a love it or hate it, not for everyone kind of thing. Which means, I have to pick a side! I will let you know next week…unless I end up in Portland again.