Sunday, December 28, 2008

Moving to a New Home and Liking it.

Enjoy another lovely story from my youth. Apparently all the characters I wrote about had a great deal of strife! I also was quite preoccupied with eating. Hmmm, that was some obvious foreshadowing for my life.
Moving to a New Home and Liking it.
All aboard! Train leaving for California. We were on our way to California at last. I was kicked out of my house reason being that a man named Jack Jones robbed my land. I didn't have any other place to live in South Dakota so I was forced to move. I decided on California. I'm on my way. I have 3 kids. My husband died 2 years ago. My name is Isabelle. My littlest girl, Sarah is 2. My oldest girl, Carry is 10. My oldest son, John is 12. Well five more minutes until we get there. We're there. Oh good. I will go to my new home.
Finally, when I was there in my home, Cary asked, "Will I like it here as much as I did in South Dakota?"
"We will find out," said Isabelle, "I am sure you will."
"Oh good," said Carry.
Then Sarah walked in. "I'm hungry."
"Well we can't eat until we get unpacked. Even then we can't eat because I have to go shopping."
Isabelle was one of those people who were rich enough to buy food and needs for her family but too poor to buy a radio.
They unpacked their clothes and went to the Genarel Store. They bought everything that they would eat for two days. Then they went home ate and went to bed. The next day they got up late ate breakfast and decided to go next door and meet the people who lived there. There were only two people. Mary Sue & her husband Dick. They liked Isabelle and her kids very much.
They became good friends. Mary Sue and Dick helped raise money for Isabelle to buy a new radio. Finally they bought it.
After two days went by, Carry said, "I like it here. I like my new friends Mary Sue & Dick.
"I knew you would," said Isabelle, "I knew you would."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Certain Girls

I have always been a fan of Jennifer Weiner novels. They hardly qualify as fine literature, but are instead fun, chick-lit. I needed an easy-reading book after some of my most recent tackles. Plus the lighter fiction is right up my alley to listen to on CD in the car.

Certain Girls is the sequel to Good in Bed, which came out in 2001. 13 years later, Cannie Shapiro deals with the adolescent rebellion of her about-to-be bat mitzvahed daughter, Joy, juggles her writing career; her relationship with her husband, Peter; her constant weight issues; and the occasional standoff with Joy's biological father, Bruce. Joy, whose premature birth resulted in her needing to wear hearing aids, narrates every other chapter. She can be a very annoying 13-year old to listen to, but her perspective lends a great point of view to the story. As her bat mitzvah approaches, Joy tries to find her long absent grandfather (Cannie's dad, who was had very little to do with her upbringing) and tries to get to know Bruce better, much to his wife's dismay. Weiner throws in lots of funny lines too. My favorite is from Cannie's single best friend who's desperately trying to find a husband. First of all, she posts a picture of Brooke Shields on her dating web page and claims it as herself. Then, in desperation, she tells Cannie that at this point, she'd just be happy with "a Jew with a pulse." And surprisingly in the end this "surface" story turns out to be quite poignant.

Great book for a long drive.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bright Shiny Morning

I don't care what happened to James Frey in the past or whether or not he embellished the truth in his first two books. I adore his stream-of-consciousness writing. I also believe that part of his addiction was the inability to tell the truth and can set aside the "lying" because his autobiography is still amazing. That being said, I was extremely excited to read his first legitimate fiction novel, Bright Shiny Morning.

At first, I had a hard time getting into the book because every chapter is about someone or something completely different. It wasn't easy for me to invest in any specific character. As the book went on, it became apparent that there were only going to be a few main characters, while the rest of the chapters were just brief glimpses at others. This concept left me wanting more, but I think that is exactly what Frey was aiming for.

Anyway, the book is an homage of sorts to L.A. Each character either originates from or migrates to the City of Angels. Their lives are desperate attempts at happiness with the sureness that the City will be the place they will find it. There's the closeted gay actor with a wife and children who will pay anything for discreet male companionship. The 19-year-olds who struggle for every penny because anything is better than their family they left behind in Ohio. The immigrant housekeeper who works for the most vile employer just so she can save money for college. The homeless "old man" (who is only 39-years old) with a heart of gold trying to find his true purpose in life. And little snippets of others struggling to find their way. Again, it is hard for me to get invested in characters who don't have constant story lines, but Frey really makes it work. I was anxious for another chapter about Old Man Joe or the others because they were so spread out with lots of little stories in between. I was left craving more information about people whose tale only last for a few pages. When I was finished, I thought about the characters for days afterward.

While it normally takes me a few chapters to start flowing from sentence to sentence, I still absolutely love Frey's style: no paragraphs, no quotation marks, run-on sentences. It's a challenge at first, but one that I really look forward to. I am now eagerly waiting for his next novel!

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