Friday, August 31, 2012
Oh, this was a good one. I'd had it on my shelf for a while and finally pulled it out. The title hints at the very funny (sometimes bordering on manic) kind of self-reflexive humor throughout the book. On the one hand it's about a 22-year-old who loses both his parents to cancer within 5 weeks; he's left with an older brother (who works at a think tank), an older sister (law school), and a younger brother (Toph, age 9). The protagonist has to adopt the role of the father to his younger brother. So that's part of the story; the other part is about overturning, playing with the expectations of trite novels about death (a la Princess Bride!). I loved it, even if at times it cut rather close to the bone because my father died this past May. For those who liked DEAR AMERICAN AIRLINES, this might be a good next pick. Has anybody out there read Eggers' most recent?
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
I loved this memoir/series of essays, from a woman who has, by her 50s, so clearly made peace with the chaos of being a woman, wife, mother, writer through decades when women's roles were changing and ideas of what constituted adequate parenting underwent major revision. Her voice is wise and compassionate, reassuring and quite often very funny. (I will keep this book on my shelf ... she's someone I think I want along for the ride.) First lines: "It's odd when I think of the arc of my life, from child to young woman to aging adult. First I was who I was. Then I didn't know who I was. Then I invented someone and became her. Then I began to like what I'd invented. And finally I was what I was again."