Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards


Lucy is an international traveller, currently situated in Japan with her boyfriend Yoshi. She's currently unemployed and feeling lonely and sad. Getting an email that her mother has been in a car accident is a perfect excuse to go back to the USA to visit her home town and the Lake of Dreams. Lucy was last there when her father died. There was family drama with her dad's family and unfair distribution of wealth and the family business. Lucy also left behind a boyfriend and a brother. When she goes back, there's a lot to catch up on.

She finds pamphlets hidden in her mom's home from the early 1900s on the women's suffrage movement and a name she's never heard of: Rose. Who was Rose? How come she had never heard of Rose in her family history? Why has her history been erased? Lucy wants to uncover her story.

There's also events that are unfolding in the present that require Lucy's attention. There's the attraction she still feels for her ex, her brother's girlfriend is expecting a child, and her mom is thinking about selling her house.

This story was interesting up until Lucy started avidly pursuing Rose. I felt no connection to Rose and couldn't bring myself to care about what her story was. The present day predicaments were far more interesting to me. It's unfortunate because I felt like there was promise at the beginning of the novel but it just didn't pan out the way I would have liked.

First Line: "Although it is nearly midnight, an unusual light slips through a crack in the wool, brushing her arm like the feathers of a wing."


Monday, October 09, 2017

The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut


Frank Eloff is a doctor in a poorly funded hospital in remote South Africa. He is coasting in life and career, with his marriage just a signature away from divorce and his career moving nowhere in this small town. When a new doctor shows up for a year rotation, Frank is forced to share his room. Laurence Waters ends up being an idealist, wanting to make a difference in the world. Frank tries to tell him that's not the way things work in this hospital, but Laurence won't take that for an answer. Frank doesn't completely shut Laurence down though. Laurence is able to chip away at Frank's exterior, but it's not just Frank he's fighting against.

An interesting premise, but I'd be lying if I said I understood the ending. The whole book has a pretty depressing feel to it and the final state that everyone found themselves in was probably the most depressing of all. The more things change, the more they stay the same is very true for this book. Though the people of the village weren't discussed too much in the book, I can't help but feel like they were the real victims in this entire story.

First Line: "The first time I saw him I thought, he won't last."


Thursday, October 05, 2017

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls


Jeannette Walls had a very unusual childhood. She lived with her 3 siblings, alcoholic dad and artist mother traversing the country, hardly sticking around in a city for very long. Her father dreams of making it rich off gold but can't hold a steady job while her mom has a teaching degree but doesn't want to fit in be pigeon holed in to that lifestyle when she just wants to be free.

The kids are very smart, but not from schooling as they keep moving around and living unconventionally. However they are pretty much left entirely to their own devices. At the age of 3, Jeannette is trying to making herself a hot dog and sets herself on fire, having to go to the hospital. There are at least three times mentioned in this book where one of the kids almost dies due to the neglect of their parents, though it's not presented that way at all in the book. Jeannette clearly loves her parents though by the time she grows up she's completely exasperated by the way they choose to live. I honestly cannot understand how parents who love their children can let them go hungry (by choice) and leave them completely to their own devices so that they risk injuring themselves.

Though Jeannette never presents herself as the victim in this book, it's hard not to come away feeling angry at her parents for her. It's also unbelievable how well the children turned out given the environment they were brought up in.

This was a very interesting and engaging book. I picked it up pretty cheap at a used book sale and it was definitely worth the price!

First Line: "I was sitting in the taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster."


Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich


I always pick these books up after a serious or slow read. It's like a little treat to get you ready for your next serious book. I'm not sure whether these can really continue to be called mysteries as there isn't much of a mystery. It's always Stephanie trying to find a bond only to learn that the bond is nowhere to be found. And having no luck with those she can find. Yes, it's the same thing over and over again but it's fun. Would I like some more progression with Stephanie and whomever she picks as her boyfriend? Absolutely. But chances are I'll still read without that.

First Line: "'I don't know why we gotta sit here baking in your car in the middle of the day, in the middle of the summer, in the middle of this crummy neighbourhood,' Lula said."