Irreverent Mama

Sunday, April 05, 2009

1. Remind Me Again Why I Need a Man, Claudia Carroll. Fun and frivolous read, with the hint of a more serious message. Only a hint, mind you. Successful woman in her late thirties decides it's time to get serious about finding a husband. She wants the wedding band, she wants the Vera Wang. She is inspired, dissuaded and aided in this task by her three closest friends, who (SUCH a convenience to the plot!!) are respectively, a happily married woman, a twice-divorced, happily single woman, and a gleefully promiscuous gay man.

2. The Woman in the Row Behind, Francoise Dorner. A truly inexplicable book. Why did she marry him? Why does she claim to love him, when it's clear she doesn't like him much? (Nor does he deserve it.) How does she fall into two extra-marital sexual liaisons without any apparent effort or interest? And, given she seems to care so little, why bother? Why does she claim to feel pain at the marriage's disintegration? And if she cares so much, why doesn't she speak up to prevent it? Bizarre book. The emotional disconnect of any character in this book from their own motivations and from anyone else makes it extremely difficult to care what happens to any of this unlikeable lot. Waste of time. Good thing it was short.

3. Rebecca, Daphne DuMaurier. I'd never read this before. Yes, really. And now I'm in on the joke! You know, all those spoofs of gothic horrors, the ones that show the sinister housekeeper, the brooding and haunted man, the (impossibly, insufferably annoying) innocent ingenue. Didn't you just want to smack that girl upside the head? Honest to pete. But now I've read it, thank heavens, and it's done.

4. The Stolen Child, Keith Donohue. Engrossing dual story, intertwined lives of the stolen child and his changeling. The ending sort of dodged its own climax, but a great read.

5. Around the World with Auntie Mame, Patrick Dennis. Silly and entertaining story of the adventures of 19-year-old Patrick's travels with his wildly rich and eccentric Auntie Mame.

6. Sex, A Mystery, Fiona Quirina. A lively and quick-moving mystery novel in which sex surrogate Lydia, who prefers to call herself a courtesan, graduate of Barnard with a Harvard MBA, finds her Tuesday client in her bed with an ice pick through his back. She is, of course, the prime suspect, and works hard and efficiently to prove her innocence. Fun.

7. The World I Made for Her, Thomas Moran. The narrator is a critically ill 30-something man living in an intensive care ward as he drifts in and out of comas, battling his mysterious and potentially fatal illness. Nuala is his nurse. A beautifully written heart-breaker of a book.

8. Artistic Licence, Katie Fforde.

9. Away From Her, Alice Munro. The older I get, the more I learn to enjoy short stories, and Alice Munro is a master of the genre. Excellent.

10. Simple Slipcovers, Tracey Munn, from which I learned that slipcovers aren't. Dammit.

11. Another Life, Ann Roth. Light and easy, with an odd, but oddly logical premise involving the two "widows" of a deathbed-discovered bigamist.

12. Mistressclass, Michele Roberts. Two sisters reconcile, (almost, kinda-sorta) a long-past betrayal, while a thread about Charlotte Bronte either elucidates or confuses. I'm not sure yet...