The week in review

I’m on summer time, so kind of slacking on weekly recaps. But we’re not slacking on reading or going to the library.

Picture or it didn’t happen.

I absolutely loved The Great Believers. I’ve loved everything she’s written but this was on a new level for me. I’ve read lots of fiction about the AIDS crisis before, but this one really hit home how tragic it was. I lost a very close friend when I was 23, and I still think of him every day; how did people live seeing their entire friend groups wiped out one by one? I loved every character in this book and it broke my heart over and over.

I needed something light after that. I’ve had The Hypnotist’s Love Story sitting in my room for ages, and I always love Liane Moriarty, so it felt like the right time to pick it up. This is one of her earlier works, and it was good, but she’s grown tremendously since then. A woman starts dating a widower who is being stalked by his ex girlfriend, so it had some interesting things to say about the different ways your exes haunt your new relationships. It went on a little too long; there was a subplot about the hypnotist being sued/slandered which went nowhere and should have been cut. Oddly, I found the stalker’s story so much more compelling than the main story. I didn’t care for the guy at all, but I did tear up a little at the end. This was fine but not a favorite.

Convenience Store Woman is one of the sweetest little gems! This is about…wait for it…a woman who works in a convenience store. It said something very interesting about the struggle to live up to people’s expectations of you versus doing what actually makes you happy. This is a very short, quick read, and I loved that the main character was just a little off, and not artificially quirky like you so often see in fiction.

Social Creature sounds like the kind of thing I just eat up with a spoon. I love stories about class envy, young people in the city, essentially an ultra modern Talented Mr Ripley. All of that sounds right up my alley. Sadly, this was a major disappointment. The only positive thing I can say is that I liked how the author played around with a casual narrative voice. But that’s it. You need the main character in this kind of thing to be really clever, but everything Louise does is pretty obvious, and in real life she would have so easily been caught. It got very heavy handed in its indictment of social media, especially with the capitalizing of “like” and “read” in reference to online interactions. Lavinia is also an extremely irritating character, and it was hard to believe anyone willingly spent time with her, even the way she threw her money around. Total dud.

I’m about to start The Intermission, another one I have high hopes for. Marital strife is another topic I can’t get enough of. Here’s hoping it doesn’t disappoint!