Quick takes- July 2017

Made for Love. 5 stars. Super twisted and weird. Strangely touching at the same time. I think I’ll probably read everything she writes from now on.

Swimming Lessons. 2 stars. Ugh, where do I start? So tedious and badly done. I feel like I love epistolary novels, except that so many of them are bad.

Eat Only When You’re Hungry. 5 stars. I loved the writing, and loved how it let things be complicated. I don’t know who I liked or who I was rooting for. This is a little gem.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. 5 stars. Absolutely loved this. I love Hollywood stories, and complex looks at marriage. This one really delivered. Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books look like chick-lit but they always go a little deeper.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. 5 stars. I don’t know how much this one will stick with me in the long run, but I loved this character and her story. I worried that the ending would get sappy but I was pleasantly surprised.

Lucky Boy. 3 stars. This had potential, and it isn’t bad at all. About halfway through, a conflict develops, and it’s too one-sided to invest in. It’s also a little longer than it should be.

Try Not to Breathe. 3 stars. I must have been feeling generous with that rating, because this was pretty dumb. Very quick, and somewhat suspenseful, but a very dopey ending.

Permanent Midnight. 4 stars. Well done and compelling, doesn’t take itself as seriously as memoirs tend to do. If a memoir about drug addiction in Hollywood appeals to you, you’ll like this one.

Ill Will. 4 stars. There are some annoying devices but they didn’t bother me too much. The story was very gripping, it was really trippy, and had a great ending.

Hunger. 5 stars. I had sky high hopes for Roxane Gay’s memoir about her weight history, and she nailed it. I already loved her so much and this just makes me love her 52 million times more.

Standard Deviation. 3 stars. Really good writing and characters, but the story goes nowhere. I feel confident that this author is capable of something great. Maybe next time.

Our Little Racket. 3 stars. See above. Good writing, good characters, bad story. This one felt like more of a situation than an actual plot. I love fiction about WASPs in crisis, this should have been a home run for me.

It Happens All the Time. 4 stars. Amy Hatvany is always a reliable author. She took on a big challenge here, trying to depict both sides of the story of an acquaintance rape, and overall she did a remarkable job. This isn’t perfect but it’s worth reading; she’s pretty great at taking on tough topics in a way that’s not too hard to read.

Top picks: Hunger, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Made for Love.