Friday, June 05, 2009

Friday Book Review

I finished "Case Histories" which I mentioned last Friday. It was just ok. Seemed like a lot of work to keep all the characters and parallel plots in order to have a rather blah ending. No big surprises. I'd skip it if I were you.
Since then I've finished "The Cure For Grief" by Nellie Hermann. I liked it quite a bit. It was the story of a Jewish family, the father being a survivor of the concentration camps of World War II. This family, the Bronsteins, is comprised of the parents, three brothers and the sister Ruby in whose voice the story is told. Ruby is the baby of the family and the book spans her childhood to her twentieth year. Hermann does a remarkable job of creating this very clear picture of the Bronstein family and then, through several tragedies, finally recreating them. By the end of the book, the family is reduced from 6 to 3 and the struggle is for Ruby to find a way to celebrate what remains without feeling she is betraying what was. There are some books that I want to tell everyone..go! Find this book and read it. Well, this isn't necessarily one of those books. But if you run across it at your local library give it a go.
On the books on tape front, I'm listening to "Between, Georgia" by Joshilyn Jackson. I am loving this book! It begins with the birth of a little girl whose mother doesn't want her. In fact, mom is a 16 yr. old who stumbles into a neighbor's house in the middle of the night in labor believing that the former nurse can safely deliver the baby without the necessity of a hospital. Well, the neighbor does just that with the help of her own next door neighbors who happen to be her two twin sisters, Stacia and Jenny. Jenny is a soft spoken timid sweet woman and the interpreter for her sister who happens to be deaf. Upon seeing the baby girl, Stacia decides that she wants to keep the child for her own. As Stacia explains, she is deaf, she is losing her sight and her "sweetheart is gone." She has been "asking God, why does my heart keep beating?" And upon seeing this baby she realizes, she has been kept for the purpose of "receiving my baby. And this is my baby."
Stacia does indeed keep the baby who is named Nonny. Her sisters help her arrange a legal adoption. The problem is, the Crabtree family happens to live down the street and they are the biological family of Nonny. The book moves quickly to Nonny's adult life the the week of her divorce from her husband, who she can't stop sleeping with despite her pending divorce. One afternoon as Stacia, who is now completely blind and deaf, and Jenny are walking down the street a doberman breaks free of its yard and attacks them. Stacia is thrown into the street not knowing what has happened and Jenny is mauled. Nonny is notified by phone by Bernize (the aunt who delivered her.) Bernize is royally ticked off to say the least and to make matters worse, the dog belongs to the no good Crabtrees. P.S. Bernize calls the female doberman "The Bitch" but it is not a swear to this Southern Baptist woman, it's just a true statement! After Jenny and Stacia are taken by ambulance to the hospital, Bernize pulls her illegal concealed handgun from her purse and shoots "The Bitch" dead. For this she is arrested.
Nonny now fears what will come next. Her adopted family, The Fretts, have always handled the Crabtrees through legal and ethical means. Now Bernize has stooped to their level with violence and the dog's death coupled with the Crabtrees belief that the Fretts stole Nonny from them may just launch an all out war. I ended today with Nonny trying to contact the Crabtrees as she prepares to drive home to see her mother and aunt in the hospital to attempt to put some order into the chaos that's been brewing for years.
THIS is a book I'd recommend you make a point to read if you have the opportunity. I will warn you that there is some colorful language when the dog attack happens and although it's not graphic, Nonny's difficulty staying out of her soon-to-be ex's bed is very clear.
As Bernize tells her, "Well if he wasn't your husband it'd be adultery today or fornication after the divorce. But right now it's just stupid. Unfortunately stupid don't send you to hell."
Currently reading two memoirs, Jen Lancaster's and Augusten Burrough's. Not comfortable recommending either of them here as they have some inappropriate content and depending on your personal perspective; may be offensive. I read a wide range of books but the ones I encourage you to try will generally be PG 13 or less.
And that is the Friday book review.

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