Thursday, May 31, 2007

A literary lunch!

Well, a book sandwich at least. Here's what I've been reading while waiting for the next episode of So You Think You Can Dance? (And just to warn you, I'm adopting the sandwich approach to these reviews because two of them are wonderful, and one of them has had me upset for three days now because it was so...well, you'll see).

Great Book #1: The Department of Lost and Found by Allison Winn Scotch.
You all know how I like to keep things happy, happy, happy in my entertainment, so I was a tad skittish as I waded into this story of a young woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer and then gets dumped by her boyfriend. I'm just not a very brave girl. But kudos to Allison for using such a light touch with the squeamish stuff (and such a perfect touch with the humor) that I found myself buzzing through the book in hot pursuit of a happy ending. On a technical level, I have to say that she writes about the way we look back on failed relationships as well as anyone I've read. Two thumbs up (or, as Sarakastic might say, FOUR POP TARTS!)

Sucker Punched Me In The Gut book #2: Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott.
I'm not even sure what to write here. I was breezing along happily through a typical collection of Anne's thoughts about loving her chunky thighs and raising a teenage son when I ran headlong into her essay about how she killed someone. Now I don't want to get into the debate about assisting people with an early exit from life (I'm not using the word to avoid weird google hits) but I was left with a really grim feeling from her treatment of this subject...I'm blown away that her decision on this warranted less reflection, worry, and/or remorse than either her thighs or how she yelled at a shady carpet salesman a few chapters later when he swindled her out of fifty bucks. She brought the rug guy flowers to apologize, but seemed utterly free of any sort of doubt about helping someone end their life. I blew my mind, leaving me a bit to numb for pop tarts.

(Here is where the sandwich approach is so great, because after that grim review, don't we all need something happy???)

Fabulous Book #3 (That Made Me Giggle Just This Morning): Tramps Like Us: A Suburban Confession by Kristen Buckley.
Kristen didn't have an easy childhood in suburban New Jersey, but she does an astonishing job of turning those grim scenes into a hysterically funny narrative without resorting to slapstick anecdotes. She's a great writer, and as I read this book, I feel like I'm standing with her in the middle of her knee-high front lawn after her father abandoned them, listening to her penniless (and lawn mower-less) mother explain that mowed lawns are really just a recent social construct that can easily be ignored. This is a fabulous, funny, book that everyone should take with them to the beach this summer (especially if you live anywhere near the Jersey shore). This one gets two thumbs, a freshly painted big toe, and a box full of Pop Tarts :)



12 comments:

Stacy said...

I've had "The Department of Lost and Found" in my Amazon cart for ages now, but I haven't actually purchased it yet. Glad to hear it is good.

Patti said...

wow, the anne lamott tidbit startled me. i will have to pick that one up now...

JenKneeBee said...

I love your book reviews

Sarakastic said...

I applaud your unique approach to search engine listings, it's very inspirational.

Beth said...

I have not read any of these yet. Thanks for reccomendations. I needed to add some more to my summer reading list!

heidikins said...

Oooh! Books for my "to read" list(s).

xox

ellesappelle said...

1 and 3 sound great. But I have to agree, a sudden essay on euthanasia is kind of... weird to put in a book that is mostly about chunky thighs.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Thanks for the reviews! It's always so great to hear good reviews from blogging pals!

And I loved the 'freshly painted big toe' bit! Maybe you should just skip the thumbs from now on and go with a scale of 10 toes...

Jenny Rough said...

Is Tramps Like Us a memoir? Oooo, I'm so excited. Thanks for the rec!

Virginia said...

I'm always looking for my next good read! Thanks for the reviews! :)

Allison Winn Scotch said...

Trish-
Thank you!! I'm so glad that you enjoyed it!
Allison

Kristen Buckley said...

Hi Trish... Just wanted to say that I'm so very pleased that you liked my book!