Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Book Review

I finished listening to Between Georgia and have to say I enjoyed every moment. Actually found myself teary in the car driving! Whether you choose the book on CD or actual book I think everyone would enjoy it.

On to the new batch. My current book on CD is "Crazy In Alabama" written by Mark Childress. This was made into a movie with Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas a few years ago but I either didn't see it or have forgotten it. Being that it is likely in the chick-flick genre I doubt I'd have given it my time. Although the Mr. probably saw it, he loves chick-flicks. Shh. Anyway, I'm only a few chapters in but so far I'm enjoying it. Often very good books become very bad movies so I rarely draw a serious comparison. At this point the main character, P-Joe's, crazy aunt has decapitated her husband so that she can go to Hollywood to get a part on the Beverly Hillbillies. How could I not enjoy this?

On the night stand are memoirs by Lancaster and Burroughs which I've finished. After a library stop on Thursday I've stocked in seven new books in anticipation of a few days off with not much to do in the coming week. I finished "Good Grief" by Lolly Winston...excellent. Well, I thought it was excellent. If you are a mostly rational person who has never experienced depression or irrationality; you might not be as appreciative. P.S. if you are one of those people, you may be very stable but probably very boring. So there. Anyway, main character, Sophie's, husband of three years has just died of cancer. She wants to be a dignified and beautiful widow like Jacklyn Kennedy and meet a fabulous new man who looks like Sam Shepherd and become a movie widow who rises from her despair to bravely embrace her new life. However, she actually goes off her nut a bit, eats herself into oblivion and finally gets put on a leave of absence after showing up to work in her bathrobe. She is obsessed with sleeping in her husband's clothes. She tries to give away his belongings which she has boxed for Goodwill, but when they show up she can't part with anything. She feels compelled to give them something so she gives them all of her furniture.

The book is funny and poignant at the same time. You don't have to have become a widow to have experienced desperation that makes you hyper-aware of things like the too difficult task of answering the telephone. Sophie seems to be losing her mind but it's a relief to lose herself instead of fighting to live in the world that is now her reality. If it sounds utterly depressing, sometimes it is. But yes, she bottoms out and starts crawling back toward living again as she tries to figure out exactly what that means as a fat, unemployed, depressed widow. Her reinvention of herself isn't smooth sailing and pretty. It's ugly and disappointing and slow but she gets there. And what I really loved was that when the books ends, all of the unfinished business isn't finished. She isn't sure that she will yet survive. She hasn't gotten over her husband. She doesn't trust that life will be ok now. She has just learned that there might be something yet for her. One of my favorite points? She finally gives some of her husband's clothing away and then meets up with a bum wearing his ski sweater. She becomes friends with the bum just to be near the sweater. I get that.

Current read is "The Men And The Girls" by Joanna Trollope. Just started it this morning. Set in England, it's about two older men who are friends and also involved with younger women. I love the whole England thing so that's a plus. Detailed descriptions of their homes; another plus. The jacket tells me that the couples will meet an older woman who shakes things up with the younger women. So far, it's pretty good. The couples are in committed relationships and it doesn't seem to be a trashy story so much as one of those books that looks at how people tick. I'll let you know, only on page 25 I can't give much feedback.

If there's an upside to surgery and a week off; it's lots of time to read and a good excuse not to do much else! A friend said it's too bad I can't fly to Mexico to recover on the beach and then he immediately corrected himself and said, "Never mind. I know you. You're already planning your giant stack of books." So true. Next week's book review should be a long one!


Kell said...

i read good grief several years ago. i loved it. i may have to take a trip to the library so i can reread it.

Stacy said...

I still don't get can you read so much?? It takes me weeks to finish a book!