I’m still fairly jet lagged, and the weather in Seattle is pretty dumb, but here’s one of my favorite pictures from our trip.
I hate to say it, but I didn’t love Providence the way I wanted to love Providence. My expectations were probably too high, because I loved You so so so much. Based on the description, I might not have even read this if it hadn’t been Caroline Kepnes, but on the flip side, I may have liked it more if it had been written by someone else. This was fine, not completely my thing, but interesting and weird enough to keep going. I guess the two strikes against it for me were one, that I’ve never read H. P. Lovecraft, who’s referenced very heavily, and two, this really did not have the killer dark humor that made me love her first two books. This is a perfectly fine book on its own merits and I’ll probably read everything she ever writes forever, but I didn’t love it like I loved You.
Before We Were Yours is one of those books that I find very hard to recap. I liked it very much, but I didn’t love it, and I don’t know how memorable it will end up being. But it’s a good book! The story of kids being stolen from their parents in 1939 and essentially being sold to rich people draws you right in. This jumps back and forth between that story and the present day, and I usually am a big fan of alternating chapters, but the modern day storyline is drastically less interesting. The main character in the present, Avery, is trying to uncover the story of what happened in the past, and I think it would have been a better book if we’d just stayed in the past and let it unfold. The other aspects of the present day, as in Avery’s love life and her dad’s battle with cancer, feel tacked on and/or abandoned. This is still a solid four star novel; has issues but they’re not fatal.
A few years ago, I fell in love with Revolutionary Road, which sparked my “summer of Yates.” After reading Emily, Alone, and now The Odds, I’m pretty sure I’m in for a summer of Stewart O’Nan. (That doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.) This is a perfect little book for me; I love stories about marital strife, and he really gets to the heart of things. The dynamics between these people felt extremely true. The ending was a little sappy for me, but I can accept that my fondness for unhappy endings isn’t so popular. I cannot wait to read more of his stuff as I become a Stewart O’Nan superfan.
Story time: I am a little afraid of flying. I know it’s irrational, and flying is safer than driving, etc, but there is something viscerally terrifying for me to be in a metal tube in the sky and it’s shaking. I typically only fly once a year, and I try to keep it together for my kids, but they are kind of on to me. So when we were mid flight on Friday, and they did that thing where they don’t just turn on the seat belt sign, but they also announce that the flight attendants have to take their seats, so you know you’re really in for some turbulence, and Lucy noticed that I was absolutely sobbing in my seat, it made sense that Lucy started reassuring me that this is all normal and we were going to be fine. But no, it wasn’t the turbulence, it was just me being totally gutted by The Great Believers. Oh. My. God. This. Book! I already loved Rebecca Makkai, but this one is really blowing me away. Once again, I don’t know why I didn’t anticipate that a book about gay men in 1985 was going to be sad, but, heads up, this is a heart breaker. I’m loving everything about this and I only have 50 pages left and part of me wants to get back to it this minute, but part of me wants it to never ever end. Oh Yale…oh Fiona…these characters will stay with me forever. Instant favorite and I’m not even done.