Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bookshelf: A Little Jodi and Jacqueline Sheehan




I haven't been writing much and I apologize. First, I was travelling for Thanksgiving and had no desire to write after indulging myself in way too much food. I have serious food guilt around the holidays and it usually manifests itself in online shopping. Luckily for my bank account I've been hitting major sales so it's okay. But I haven't even begun baking cookies... that will begin this Sunday so who knows what destruction will come out of that.

Anyways, being a writer with some serious self-doubt in terms of the quality of my own writing, I would never want to write a negative book review. So I was avoiding it. See, it's really a culmination of things. Let's also mention that Jodi Picoult is one of my literary idols (I ADORE her), so when I read "Mercy", one of her earliest books, and found myself struggling to get through it I thought, there's simply no way I can write a review. While yes, it isn't as page-turning as some of her other books, I realized after contemplating it for a week that it wasn't the writing that I didn't like. I love her style. She has a great grasp on her characters' voices and they are unique and real. It was in fact the actions of two characters that turned me away from the story. While I do like reading real-life plots, reading about adultery just made me sick. In truth, it is because there are three friends in my life that I care dearly about that have either just recently been cheated on or are currently cheating on their partner. And so this book just struck far too close to home for me. And while I'd love to talk about the other characters of the book and how the story was unique and interesting, the adultery shed such a dark light on the book for me that I couldn't move past it.

Then this week I read "Now & Then" by fellow Massachusetts resident Jacqueline Sheehan. The premise of the novel is that Anna and her nephew Joseph are both at a difficult point in their lives. One just went through a divorce, the other just got busted on drug posession and stealing a car. When they both grab a hold of the same package in the middle of one night they get sucked through time and spit out in Ireland in 1844. It's an interesting premise, no? Honestly, I picked up the book because of the gorgeous Irish Woolfhound on the cover. Not surprising, I know. And I enjoyed the story. But I found the dialogue to be stiff and not plausible. At one point Joseph, a sixteen year old hormone ridden boy, spoke and all I could see was the writer behind him pulling the strings and the illusion was broken. I thought it was a good story overall but nothing that I'd recommend to my friends.

And then yesterday I read this blog, which is pretty much my favorite websie. Yes, I read celebrity gossip. Get over it. What I love about this blog is Lainey's voice and opinion. It's like you're gabbing with her over coffee while taking a quick break from work. She speaks to you like a friend. And what she said yesterday about books being like relationships, well I can totally relate.

If you remember, before these two books I read "One Day" by David Nicholls and got my heart broken when it ended. I still think about Dex & Em like they're my long-lost lovers. They sneak up on me and I think, Gosh how I miss them. It was love, book love, pure and true. Sigh. And I wasn't ready for another committment like that straight away. So I suppose it was necessary for me to read what Lainey refers to as "book bootycalls" before I started my next book. Which is not to say that Jodi Picoult is a book bootycall (she's not by any means - didn't I make clear that I adore her?), just that I didn't fall in love with "Mercy". Sometimes it's all about timing when you meet someone (or read a book). Maybe at another time when I'm not tainted by hearing about my friends' relationships I could have loved "Mercy", but I guess we'll never know.

My new book is... Peter Cameron's "Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You". Have you read it? No? Well let me warn you, I'm only on page 22 but already I know it's love - the kind that will undoubtedly knock my on my ass when I get to the end. But that's the best kind of love really. The writing is so far everything I could ask for in a book. Great characters, great dialogue (but minimally), descriptions that paint a clear picture, and a narrator's voice that makes me want to laugh and befriend him. He's funny without trying to be and I love that. It also helps that there's a dog who doesn't think he's a dog and therefore acts like he's above dog parks and sitting on the ground. I can relate. My cat Bug has no idea she's a cat. She refuses to acknowledge cat toys, condos and beds and insists on sleeping on one half of the bed up on the pillow. Furthermore, she's snooty and has serious human-sized separation anxiety when I travel.

Anyways, I've talked too much. Time to get on with my day. Just know that while I'll never quite get over "One Day", know that I have moved on to a book that will treat me just as well. Look for the full review of "Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You" coming in the next week. I don't think I'll be able to set it down for long.

Happy Reading!

~Stephanie
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1 comment

  1. I've wanted to read Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You for AGES, and I love the cover for Now and Then. Yes cookies.

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