Friday, January 2, 2015

Why, Jodi Picoult, Why?

As I wait for book number five to arrive, I found myself able to read the entirety of one person's pick, all in one week. This makes for a very tidy blog post. The good thing is that for the most part, my friend has excellent taste and I quite enjoyed my week in her head. The bad news is that the final book of the week almost sent me to jail. Onwards!

#7 – The Bridges of Madison County – Robert James Waller
Recommended by: GI

This book should not be read on a crowded beach, or in a house with restless children, or on the train to work because you will miss your stop, and forget your children, and get sunburn. This book is short and can easily be read in two uninterrupted hours. If you give it that time it will reward you beyond measure. This is a love story for the ages, but what I took from it is that true love does not conquer all. In fact, what makes true love so strong is when both people realize that the only way to truly love the other one completely is to give each other up completely. They can have four days, but no more. Running away together would corrupt it, corrupt them. The adage, it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all, is true, but also trite. Take two hour when no one is home, when you have nothing but privacy, when the clock isn’t ticking, and errands can be ignored, and revel in the love story of Robert and Francesca. Bathe in it. Drink it in slowly. Cry if you must, though I didn’t, and think of what you would do for your family, for your own husband, and your own children, and your own heart.   

#8 – I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
Recommended by: GI

What is most startling about this book is that an autobiography of life as a Southern black girl in the 1930s doesn’t seem like such a long time ago. Is racism still rampant? Check. Are rape victims still being treated as criminals, particularly if they go after a well-respected black man? Check. Are high schools still focusing on black boys as athletes instead of as intellectuals? Check. Maya Angelou lived during a time when black men couldn’t safely walk the streets at night, especially on nights when Joe Louis won boxing matches. Has anything really changed today? Ask the people in Ferguson. If you disagree, read this book.

#9 – Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
Recommended by: GI

If you have kids, you own a copy of this book. I read this book to my children countless times. Back in the day when all my friends were having baby showers, this book was always wrapped somewhere on the table, either in pink, blue, or androgynous yellow. This book only has 338 words in total. Some pages have no words at all. None of the words are very long, or very hard, or very difficult to sound out loud, but every single word counts. Each page is beautifully illustrated and adds so much richness to the story. There is little I can say about this classic that hasn’t be said, but if it has been a while, I encourage you to read it tonight (if you own a copy) or the next time you hit the library or book store (if you don’t.) The story of Max and his wild things never, ever gets old.  
#10 – Leaving Time – Jodi Picoult
Recommended by: GI

All of the books in this post were recommended by the same person. I love and adore this person. She’s awesome. Which is why it makes me so sad to have to kill her, but that is truly the only punishment that fits the crime of making me read this book. I cannot explain why I hated this book without spoiling it.  This is a conundrum. Suffice to say that when this book was written, reason and logic went on vacation, plot went on a bender, and character development took a long hot bath. The worst part about this book is that it could have been good. The actual whodunit part had a ghost of a chance of being excellent, and then, well. And then it wasn’t. This is the first and last book I will ever read by this author. For those of you who read it and disagree, I can’t wait to fight with you about it. I do love a good book argument, but I warn you, I’m going to come out swinging on this one. (And I’m sure the first one will be with GI. Let’s do lunch!) 

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