2011 has started with an awful cold/asthma/allovercrappy feeling. Richard and I have both been sick this week. In my mind I want to sew and take pictures and go to the beach. In real life right now that is not working. I will instead write about the fiction I’ve been reading of late.
I have read both “She’s Come Undone” and “I Know This Much is True,” also by Wally Lamb. As a Psychiatric Nurse, it has aways sounded to me like Wally Lamb knew his way around the block as far as this dilemma is concerned. This book takes place before, during and after the Columbine shooting in Colorado. It is also a story within a story. Caelum Quirk’s family history of prison reform going back to before the Civil War and how it impacted his life is at the core of the story. Substance abuse is also a big part of the story line. In this book, everyone is dysfunctional! I don’t think there is a healthy relationship to be found. The book did engage me, though, because the characters seemed genuine.
This is John Irving‘s latest book. I’ve read everything he has written and I’m always held hostage by his tales of emotional upheaval. The twists and turns in his plot always leave you guessing, The relationships in John Irving s books are always unconventional. I always look for several things in his books. 1) A bear 2) Prostitute (This one adds a frying pan) Like many of his other books there is always an underlying theme of abandonment and something you can only call “trying to love when you don’t know how to love”
“The Help” is a one of the best books I’ve ever read. It was sometimes upsetting to read because I wondered if I had lived in Jacksonville during those days if I would have left my own comfort zone to do the right thing. The women involved in this book told their stories with the consequences of putting their lives and the lives of their families in peril. I’ve read a bit of Kathryn Stockett‘s response when people say to her “How could you have lived in such a place?” She reports to becoming angry and defensive with them and even sometimes defending her hometown. If you are not usually a ‘reader,’ and can only read one book a year, make it this one. This is destined to be a classic, it is that good.
With it’s flowery poetic language, and depressing topics, I found “The Secret Scripture” an incredibly difficult book to read. The author attempts to weave a story over 100 years of Irish history from the perspective of a one hundred year old woman who has been in a mental hospital for over 60 years. The story is implausible, the characters underdeveloped and the plot is so fragmented right down to the unbelievable “Madame X” type ending. This book was a disappointment and a waste of time and money.