Happy Monday, my friends! I’m finally ready to bring back my “What I’m Reading” series. Yay! It’s been a long time since I last did this, but boy did I miss it.
Last week, I was off work for the holiday and it was a much-needed break. I did a lot of napping, watching episodes of Friends, and spending as much time as possible with my fur-brother Chip. And reading! I finished three books this week and the reviews are below:
Plot Summary: After being hit by a car and then breaking up with her long-time boyfriend, Nora takes a leave of absence from her job to spend a summer at home. She wants to reconnect with her mother and her teenaged niece but finds that’s going to be a lot harder than she ever expected.
My Thoughts: Normally, I love a good Kristan Higgins novel. Her romances are usually light-hearted without falling into the chick-lit category. And while this book had all of that, there was also a level of fat-shaming that I found problematic and irresponsible. You can read my review on Goodreads for further detail on exactly the different types of fat-shaming the author felt necessary to include (oh yes, there were multiple instances of it), but it downgraded my review significantly. I just cannot abide by it anymore. I don’t care how funny or engaging your book is, there is no excuse for fat-shaming ever. And there is no place for it in the world of romance. Basically, Kristan Higgins is now forever on my “do not read” list, which sucks because the last book of hers I read was five stars. But I just cannot support authors who condone these behaviors.
Plot Summary: “If the story doesn’t end with marriage or a child, what then?” is a question that plagued Glynnis MacNicol on the eve of her fortieth birthday. She’s single and childless, two statuses that often come with a level of pity from other people. Over the course of the year, Glynnis is going to figure out exactly what it means to live life on her own terms.
My Thoughts: Oh, how I loved this book! We need more stories from single women who are forging a new, completely different path than what is traditionally defined in our culture. I felt a kindred spirit in Glynnis and even though there were many parts of her story that made me sad (during the year she documents, her mother’s health declines rapidly and she has to go into a nursing home), this story was still uplifting, hopeful, and made me feel better about my chronically single status. I think what really pulled this book together was not only that Glynnis was single and happy with that status, but that she was not always happy with it. There were times when she is deeply vulnerable about wanting a partner and not wanting to be alone. Of recognizing what a couple-centric society we live in, and how much easier the world can be to navigate for those with partners. There was something so human and beautiful in that acknowledgment. Also, Glynnis’s writing is exquisite and she had so many turns of phrases that I had to sit with and soak in.
“[I]t was a truth universally acknowledged that by age forty I was supposed to have a certain kind of life, one that, whatever else it might involve, included a partner and babies. Having acquired neither of these, it was nearly impossible, no matter how smart, educated, or lucky I was, not to conclude that I had officially become the wrong answer to the question of what made a woman’s life worth living. If this story wasn’t going to end with a marriage or a child, what then? Could it even be called a story?”
Plot Summary: Every summer, Ruthie, her teenaged daughter Jem, and her ex-husband Mike have to pack up their belongings and give up their home during the summer. It’s the only way to afford the house, which is Ruthie’s pride and joy, so she does what she must to keep it. This summer, though, things are going to get a little crazy when the elegant and popular Adeline Clay arrives and set their seaside village ablaze.
My Thoughts: So, I listened to this book on audio and there were pros and cons to that. On the pros side, this is a slow-moving story that is more character-driven than plot-driven, which always works better for me on audio since I can dip in and out of it. On the cons, though, was that the story could feel boring and meandering at times and it took me forever to figure out who was who. There were so many different characters and it was hard to understand their significance to the overarching plot until further into the story. All in all, though, it was a well-written story that had a lot to say about privilege, love, divorce, art, and the messiness that accompanies being both a teenager and an adult.
What I’m Reading This Week
- The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile – I’m reading one chapter a day of this book and I think that’s the perfect way to consume a book like this. Each chapter throws a lot of information at you, so it’s really not one to breeze through quickly. I’ll finish it this week, and hopefully, I’ll be able to figure out what my Enneagram number is when I finish it!
- Happily Ever Ninja by Penny Reid – I’m a quarter of the way through this novel. Since the main characters in this romance are married, it’s not a typical romance. But that’s par for the course with Penny Reid! She’s not a typical romance writer. 😉 It’s engaging so far, but I have no idea where it’s going yet!
- Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty – I picked this from Book of the Month for November, and I was stoked. Liane Moriarty is one of my favorite authors and I’m looking forward to reading this novel.
- Starry Night by Debbie Macomber – Even though I’m a voracious romance reader, I don’t tend to read too many Christmassy romances during the holiday season. Well, this year, I’m changing that. I mean, I love a good Hallmark Christmas movie, so why not the same thing in book form? I’m starting my binge with this one by Debbie Macomber, which sounds delightful!
What are you reading?