Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich

She writes about Native American Indian tribes, about which I've discovered a recent fascination given some of my legal work.  Mumsie read The Roundhouse and loved it, and let's face it, the woman knows her books, so I added this to the list after I read the back cover.

"'But when Neve Harp said that she was going back to the beginning of things and wanted to talk about how the town of Pluto came to be and why it was inside the original reservation boundaries, though hardly any Indians lived in Pluto, well, both of the old men's faces became like Mama's - quiet, with an elaborate reserve, and something else that has stuck in my heart ever since.  I saw that the loss of their land was lodged inside of them forever.  This loss would enter me, too.  Over time, I came to know that the sorrow was a thing that each of them covered up according to their character - my old uncle through his passionate discipline, my mother through strict kindness and cleanly order.  As for my grandfather, he used the patient art of ridicule."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book Review: Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz

Oprah book club read.  Friends, I judged this book by its cover and it spoke to my need for a silly lift between real reads.  And it turned out to be just that.  No dog-eared pages worth sharing.  Move along, folks, nothing to see here.

But I will say...rhetorical emo third person questions in every chapter are annoying and border offensive.  "why did he ever leave her?"  "how could he hate her for needing someone to care for her?"  Seriously?  Daytime television called and they want their inner monologue back.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Little Bee" by Chris Cleave

40 something gay men can't write novels as little girls. I know you want to and I know it's unfair! This is America for heaven's sake!  I know you think you were a quirky little person and it's time to show the world how clever you were, coping with complex circumstances by fixating on a simple happy place as a defense mechanism, etc. etc. I'm sure you were a creative little cat and nobody has appreciated your adolescent genius quite like your adult self. Really -- I believe this. Bravo to old souls and curious, tiny sponges. You're just no longer convincing once you're all grown up and writing for the New York Times Best Seller list. Please stop.  Unless fictionalizing a brilliant child that is loosely based on some version of your former self is an easy few million, in which case, I loved this book and we need a few more of these next year!  Anyone care for a harrowing tale of overcoming adversity in North Florida?

"On the girl's brown legs there were many small white scars.  I was thinking, do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress?  I thought that would be pretty too, and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly.  That is what the scar makers want us to think.  But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them.  We must see all scars as beauty.  Okay?  This will be our secret.  Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying.  A scar means, I survived.

In a few breaths' time I will speak some sad words to you.  But you must hear them the same way we have agreed to see scars now.  Sad words are just another beauty.  A sad story means, this story-teller is alive.  The next thing you know, something fine will happen to her, something marvelous, and then she will turn around and smile."