The week in review

Very very busy week, where I turned 45, did a quick trip to Portland, and I got to meet Jami Attenberg! Most of my reading was on the disappointing side but who cares, did I mention I met Jami Attenberg??

I finished The Life-Writer and it did not get better. I feel like I knew right away that I wasn’t into it, so it’s kind of on me and my stubbornness. I do not like to quit. I just found this very uninteresting and tedious and I felt like I was stuck in the main character’s head. I can’t think of a single thing I liked about this one.

More interesting, but not perfect, was The Nearness of You. I have really loved Amanda Eyre Ward in the past, and Sleep Toward Heaven is a true gem. This is a good story, in short it’s about a surrogacy that goes wrong. Suzette was a great character, and I liked their marriage even though it was a little unbelievably smooth. One thing that frustrated me was there was a twist, kind of, that was too obviously presented without being overtly revealed; it reminded me very much of The Two-Family House in that way. When the reveal is finally spelled out at the climax, I don’t know why we were supposed to be surprised. It was a little clunky. I hate to say this, but there was also kind of a hint of “nothing matters more than being a mommy” at the end. I don’t know, I think Suzette’s career as a pediatric heart surgeon was pretty important. I love this author but I had some issues with this one.

Another author I love is Kevin Wilson, but I was also a little disappointed in Perfect Little World. I loved the premise of this: a therapist with a heartbreaking past of his own attempts to create an “Infinite Family.” The idea that a new parent wishes that they could just keep their baby in a bubble (literally or figuratively) and never let anything bad happen really resonated with me, especially coupled with this character’s history. I really thought Dr Grind was a fascinating and lovable character. Unfortunately the book focused much more on Izzy, one of the parents in the study, who was, in my opinion, completely uninteresting. There were also a ton of undeveloped characters, and the plot just didn’t live up to its promise. There was a lot to like here but I feel like it could have been better; I don’t think he knew where he was going with it and it showed.

Tonight I finished up All That’s Left to Tell, and I’m sure glad that’s over. This reads more like a writing exercise than a novel, and while it’s a semi interesting setup, it does not really hold up under any sort of scrutiny. I tried really hard to just let it be the book that it was, but it reminded me of too many other things: Inception, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Lying in Bed, and most unfortunately, Nocturnal Animals. It was too much of stories within stories within stories, and almost none of it is actually happening, and none of the stories within stories were all that interesting so it was very hard to stay invested. I could see a certain type of reader absolutely loving this but it didn’t really do it for me.

I don’t know what I’ll start next, but I hope I like it more. Maybe I should just read All Grown Up again. Kidding! Well maybe just a couple chapters…