Time to catch up on some book reviews.
(1) A few weeks ago I picked up What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. I expected just a light, fun read, but it ended up hitting me like a ton of bricks. No spoilers here—what I'll tell you is revealed right at the outset. It's the story of Alice, who falls off her bike in spinning class and bonks her head. When she comes to, she thinks it's 1998, which means that she's 29 years old, happily married, and pregnant with their first child. In fact, it's 2008—the bump on the head has knocked out the last 10 years of her memory. She is actually 39, in the middle of a nasty divorce, and has three kids.
What got to me was that Alice is aware that she has changed—even things as obvious as the fact that she is in shape for the first time in her life and seems to have developed a fashion sense, but she does also have crow's feet and a C-section scar. But, more importantly, she wonders what could have happened between her and her husband, since they were so madly in love? And why do things seem strained with her sister, and with her neighbor, and with her best friend? Who has she become, and how did that all happen? Would the 29-year-old Alice even like the 39-year-old Alice?
It made me wonder what it would feel like if I suddenly woke up 10 years ago. I feel certain that there would be a lightness in me that I've lost, just due to things that happen in life, both big and small. I would still have certain relationships that I've let go of, for no really good reason. Maybe I wouldn't take what I have for granted. I'm making it sound heavy, but in fact it's a delightful read and actually kind of funny in parts. But the meat of it really and truly made me cry, in a good way. I finished the book and immediately felt so appreciative of everything I have, and am, now.
(2) Our book group met last week to discuss The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. It is the fictionalized account of the life of abolitionist/feminist Sarah Grimké, with an added character invented by Kidd, a slave girl named Hetty who is "given" to Sarah for her eleventh birthday. The book alternates chapters between Sarah's and Hetty's points of view. I enjoyed reading the book, but it felt kind of hackneyed to me. That seemed to be pretty much the consensus in our group—certainly not a waste of time to read but not as earth-shatteringly wonderful as many of the reviews suggested. Someone in the group said it reminded her of books she read in eighth grade, and I felt that way too. The writing was just fine, but it was hardly a book that I couldn't put down. Next we're reading My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.
(3) Sometimes it's fun to read a book I wouldn't normally pick up. Such was the case with The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton. It tells the story of Yasmin and her 10-year-old daughter Ruby, who is smart as a whip and deaf. They travel from England to a remote part of Alaska to visit wildlife filmmaker Matt, Yasmin's husband and Ruby's father. However, as soon as they arrive, they are told that there was a terrible accident at the Inuit village where he was staying. Something just does not sound right to Yasmin, though, and she and Ruby set out in the wilderness to get to the bottom of it. I had to suspend disbelief that a mother would put her child in such danger, but the author did do her best to make it seem as though there were no other options. The descriptions of the wilderness, especially the snow and the unfathomable cold, were really well done. I felt a chill as I read it. I won't give away any of the plot, but I will say that it kept my interest. I don't normally read mysteries, and I was very eager to see what would happen to them. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own.
(4) This isn't a book I read, but it is a book I'm in! Twitter pal and word game lover @codesparrow collected 350 of her favorite funny tweets over the years and turned each one into a cryptogram. The result is Twitterati, and yours truly appears on p. 53:
Ha ha, funny, right?