Attachments

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, 2012

After finishing The Goldfinch, I was looking for something nice and light. I enjoyed Eleanor & Park, so I decided to give Attachments a try, one of Rainbow Rowell’s books for adults.

Beth and Jennifer both work a newspaper, The Courier, in 1999. Their office finally gets Internet/email a few months before *~Y2K~*, and Beth and Jennifer take advantage of a new opportunity to chit chat through the work day via email. Enter Lincoln, an awkward perpetual student who is in the middle of a quarter life crisis. He takes a job at The Courier as an “Internet security officer,” which really just means screening everyone’s emails for NSFR content. He stumbles across Beth and Jennifer’s personal emails and instead of turning them in, finds himself getting caught up in their personal lives and falling in love with Beth.

First of all, I am a sucker for books that are told in correspondence – TBT to P.S. Longer Letter Later and TTYL am I right?!!?!

Also, I could 100% relate to Lincoln being in his 20s and struggling to figure out how to be an adult/what to do with his life/having too much free time at work and otherwise – feel that.

I rarely venture into this territory of books, but when I do, I want to be rooting for the couple/like the guy. I wasn’t really feeling Lincoln because 1) way too sensitive and 2) unrealistic. I have never in my life met a guy who is still hung up on a girl he dated at 19 (and is now 28). Just no way. And also, he’s a mega nerd and painfully socially awkward but looks like Harrison Ford/James Dean. Okay sure sure.

REGARDLESS – this was a decent dose of fun, women’s lit. To sum it up in two words: v. cute.

-M

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Quick Review: The Fall Guy

Title: The Fall Guy

Author: James Lasdun

Published: 2016

The down low: One of the Book of the Month Club selections for October

Summary in two sentences: A wealthy couple, Charlie and Chloe, and Matthew (Charlie’s down-on-his-luck cousin) escape the NYC summer heat at the couple’s country house in Aurelia. As with any triangle, things get weird and tangled when betrayals, secrets, and old grudges are revealed.

Why you should read it: I wasn’t blown away, but there’s a slow build of creepiness and suspense that is to be admired and makes for a compelling read. There was something Hitchcock-y about this to me, and I would 100% be on board with a movie version of this book. Absolutely a good beach read and a unique story.

How B&B categorizes this book: creepy, suspenseful

-M

Quick Review: The Goldfinch

Title: The Goldfinch

Author: Donna Tartt

Published: 2014

The down low: Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction, 2014

Summary in 2 sentences: Theo loses his mother in a tragic accident at thirteen, and his life goes on a path of self-destruction quickly thereafter. A long, drug-fueled look at a life with some philosophical dwellings on what life is all about (heads up: not positive).

Why you should read it: I’m not really saying that anyone should definitely read this. No regrets, but I struggled with it; some parts I liked, most parts I didn’t. I struggled with Theo’s character and found the long stretch of the book that takes place in Las Vegas boring. I couldn’t stand Boris. It’s extremely depressing and there’s a lot of death. But I loved Theo’s relationship with Pippa, and the very end of the book helped redeem it for me. The end message is worth it, and Tartt spells it out for you by the end so you don’t have to work hard to get it if you didn’t get there on your own (I didn’t). For as long as this book is, I got through it fairly quickly.

Read it if you liked: Donna Tartt’s other work or overly long philosophical books about life/human existence

-M

milk and honey

I am not normally a poetry reader. I read because I like the story,  not the words. Home for Thanksgiving, however, my sister forced milk and honey into my hands and I decided to give it a go.

Rupi Kaur’s book of poetry is divided in four chapters: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing. The main thrust of the poems focus on femininity and the relationship between women and men (boyfriends, husbands, fathers, sons) as well as the poisonous way women treat other women and themselves.

My favorite thing about these poems is the rapidity with which Kaur transitions from a poem about love to a poem about body hair. Her opinions on both are so beautiful written and precise, but it was entertaining how her opinions appear equally strong on both.

Love love LOVE this book of poetry, and cannot wait for the 21 year old to spend her life producing equally moving tomes (no pressure Rupi).

-A

 

The Story of a New Name

I enjoyed this novel much more than its predecessor, My Brilliant Friend. After finishing MBF, I was unsure if I wanted to continue to read the series (there are four). After finishing SNN, however, I cannot wait to continue reading.

The Story of a New Name picks up right where My Brilliant Friend leaves off: at Elena’s best friend, Lila’s wedding. Lila, at sixteen, has decided that the only way for her to escape the poverty of her neighborhood and family is to marry the local grocer, who has pulled himself out of poverty via hard work and determination. Elena and Lila have grown up together, constantly competing to be the brightest in their class.

With her marriage to Stefano, Lila quits school and completely devotes herself to Stefano’s business enterprises, as well as Lila’s brother, Rino’s, shoe factory. Elena is thus left alone to navigate high school and eventually college.

While grounded in everyday concerns such as clingy boyfriends, nagging mothers, and homework, the real action in The Story of a New Name takes place in Elena’s mind. The most poignant passages describe Elena’s feelings about growing up, the importance of education, and her relationship with Lila.

The Story of a New Name’s author, Elena Ferrante, made headlines recently when a scholar claimed that he had discovered her true identity (Elena Ferrante is a pen name). The author has always expressed her wish to remain anonymous, and Claudio Gatti’s apparent disregard for her wishes caused quite an uproar.

This debacle is even more interesting when one considers how Elena’s heroine, also named Elena, publishes a novel in The Story of a New Name, and describes at length the pride she feels in seeing her name in print. If Elena Ferrante feels this way, one wonders why she chose to publish under a pen name.
*SPOILER AHEAD* I cannot wait to see where the rest of these novels go (there are two more in the series). I will say, if Elena ends up with Nino, which I am starting to believe may happen, I will be very disappointed because of Nino’s previous relationship with Lila. If, however, Elena ends up with someone else, I will continue to enjoy these novels. I highly recommend them to anyone, in particular any women with close female friends that they have spent their life growing up with.
 
-A

It’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak Into Happily Never After (audio book)

It’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak Into Happily Never After by Andi Dorfman; 2016

I searched high and low for a free or heavily discounted copy of It’s Not Okay. Much to my disappointment (but not exactly surprise) neither of the two library systems where I have memberships carry this book. Heh. I flat-out refused to contribute to this book’s revenue, but my curiosity about it was extreme. Eventually I found a solution: Audible free trail. 100% worth it. In reading other people’s reviews of It’s Not Okay, a lot of people commented on the poor writing. The benefit of listening to this book on tape is that it feels more like a podcast, and you don’t notice the quality of the writing. The major con, of course, is that I never, ever want to hear Andi’s voice ever again.

It’s Not Okay is supposed to function (I guess) as sort of a part memoir of Andi Dorfman’s relationship that resulted from the Bachelorette, part how-to-guide to surviving a break up. Andi “dishes” about her relationship with Josh, the winner of her season, and the aftermath of their public break up. If you’re looking for behind-the-scenes Bachelor Intel, you will be disappointed 😦

Where to begin. I have a lot of thoughts about this, but am going to try to condense them into just a few bullet points.

  • We get it. Andi drinks a TON of wine. Literally wakes up, rolls over, and drinks. I guess this is supposed to make her relatable to the average woman in her twenties? IDK, that’s not my life.
  • Andi is really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really bitter about her Bachelor/Bachelorette experience
  • Designer clothes and shoes = life
  • It’s okay to reduce every single ex-boyfriend you’ve ever had to “douche bag, douche bag #2, POS, etc.”
  • Ditto for calling every female who isn’t your BFF skank, or some variety of skank
  • Her vocab is LARGELY four-letter words. I don’t have a problem with swearing, but when it’s every 10 words, yeah, that’s a little much
  • Sorry, but if you put this much energy into writing a book about how much you hate your ex and publish it, then I just kind of feel like you’re not really over it…

By the end of It’s Not Okay, you will realize that according to Andi, she has been a victim of the entire world, and everyone is out to get her. She was not one half of a relationship that failed, but a victim of a failed relationship who is only about 5% to blame for its demise. SIGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Andi’s break up advice adds up to being generic and a giant cliché: eat until you can’t fit into your jeggings, watch Judge Judy, burn his stuff, drink wine all da err’day, etc. The only practical thing I learned is that Nick was kind of a psycho after the show, which he doesn’t even deny in this past season of Paradise. So that was funny. Ultimately, Andi comes off as vindictive, self-absorbed, and shallow. All I could think about when I was listening to this was wow, this is really embarrassing. Writing this kind of book about her ex-boyfriend, which wasn’t even really a tell-all but a big eff-you to Josh, just screams of not being over her past relationship. And is – obviously – an extremely petty and immature move. Perhaps because she’s making bank off of this she doesn’t care, but the content of this book actually completely contradicts its intended message. Problematic.

A note on Andi’s musings on the double standards between men v. women having sex on TV/rebounding from a relationship. Andi’s just not about this double standard. **SPOILER ALERT** This isn’t a new idea, and no girl is about it. But what really, REALLY got me was when she went on a long rant about how Nick called her out for “making love” with him on national TV without her consent to talk about it. But then she writes about her “relapse” with Josh a couple of months after they broke up. I’m guessing she didn’t get his consent to write about that. Double standard, no?

And, finally, the absolutely most hilarious part of this book is that Andi tries to convince us that she accidentally ended up on Juan Pablo’s season without even trying a little bit. She merely showed up for the casting call because she wanted free drinks. OKAY, SURE. I 100% believe that that is true.

Yes, this is terrible. But if you’re a monster Bachelor fan I highly recommend it.

-M

Quick Review: Find Her

Title: Find Her

Author: Lisa Gardner

Published: 2016

The down low: Released in 2016, this book was all over Goodreads (at least, it was all over my personal Goodreads). This is the eighth installment of Lisa Gardner’s popular D.D. Warren series.

Summary in 3 sentences: Flora Dane was kidnapped five years ago. For a year and a half, she had to live in a box, but then she escaped. Now, she is a vigilante, finding other men who prey on women. But while investigating a young woman’s disappearance, Flora herself disappears, and the plot suddenly becomes more sinister.

Why should you read it: You shouldn’t. Unless you have read the other D.D. Warren books, maybe. I basically blindly went into this one, because it was Halloween and I wanted a thriller. What I got was a sometimes disturbing, sometimes ridiculous drama. The plot was too weighed down by the seemingly dual storylines, that yes, do combine in the end.

How B&B categorizes this book: disappointing

-A