24 Following

Austen to Zafón

Reading widely since 1972.

Currently reading

A London Family, 1870-1900: A Trilogy
Molly Hughes
The Cellist of Sarajevo
Steven Galloway
Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher
Lewis Thomas
All the Names
José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa
A History of the World in 100 Objects
Neil MacGregor
Down the Garden Path
Beverley Nichols
Virtue Betray'd, Or, Anna Bullen
John Banks
Year of Wonders
Geraldine Brooks
Swallows and Amazons
Arthur Ransome
Illusion in java
Gene Fowler
The Atlas of Love - Laurie Frankel I'm reading several other books, but every time I go to the library, I see some book on the "New Realeases" shelf that I can't resist. This was one of those. Abandoning my other books, I plowed through this one quickly and in the end, although I was frustrated with the characters throughout most the book, I was engaged by the plot. Janey, an English lit grad student/teacher at a Seattle university (called Rainier in the book) makes friends with two other grad students. One is Mormon and constantly on the lookout for The One she is destined to marry. The other is a blunt, self-absorbed person who from the beginning takes advantage of Janey's tendency to care for others and make peace. I found it difficult to understand why these women would be friends, but when the blunt one, Jill, gets pregnant and her boyfriend takes off, I was amazed that Janey's solution was for these three people with completely different priorities to move in together, co-parent, and not reduce their workload at all. Perhaps I've forgotten what it's like to be in my early 20s, when I was probably just as optimistic and clueless. Of course, nothing goes as planned. Jill gets bitchier and more selfish until she is so over the top, I found it hard to believe. I loathed her, just as I loathed Janey for being such a namby-pamby BFF with Jill, who really has nothing to offer but her son (and even that on a limited, I'll-take-even-that-away-whenever-you-piss-me-off basis), which is apparently enough for needy Janey. I didn't like Katie the Mormon either, who seemed to be there to provide some comic relief and an easy target for Jill's scorn. So what did I like? The part of the book that's strongest is Janey's relationship with her grandmother, a strong and funny woman with a firm grasp of reality that Janey herself is lacking. The scenes with her felt more realistic to me than the rest of the book. That makes sense because in the author notes, Frankel says that a little of each of her grandmothers was put into that character. Also, Frankel's writing is enjoyable, witty, and quotable. I look forward to more from her, as this is her first novel. And what really kept me going was that early in the book, Frankel writes, "Like everything that must go according to plan in order to work, this didn't." The intimation that I was about to watch a slow-motion train wreck kept me turning pages until way past my bedtime.