July 31, 2009Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year by Anne Lamott
It's no secret that I'm not a huge fan of babies or new parents (with few, very rare exceptions), so I was little bit skeptical when one of my co-workers suggested I borrow this book from her. But she assured me that she also does not find babies universally cute, so I figured I would give it a chance. Plus the author is from the Bay Area, so it couldn't be too bad.
It was a very enjoyable read. It was great to read something so visceral about having a brand-new baby, even if I didn't always agree with her decisions. The stream of consciousness style of the first few weeks was really compelling. Colic was like "Vietnam."
While I was reading it, I alternated between laughing, scoffing (sometimes the "my baby is the most beautiful that ever was" gets a little old) and tearing up. My favorite part was the story of the older couple from her church that just showed up at her house one day. They wanted to give her a gift - tell them something that she really wants but would be too embarrassed to ask for. At first she refused, but finally admitted - "clean the bathroom." And they did.
About halfway through the book, it changes focus. Since it's a memoir, you can't fault the story - it's just what happened. However, the tone and everything changed and it was much less amusing, fun and enjoyable to read. Again, understandable, but unexpected. Much like what happened.
Still, it was a nice read and even though I'm a long ways off (if I ever do have kids), it was good to a read something "real" about being a mother and having a baby for once.
Well, sometimes the author's name sticks with me, even if the book doesn't. I added a bunch of Gemma Townley books to my library list and finally picked up my first one from that list.
I think it was more enjoyable than my last foray, even if it didn't have the exotic locale. The main character was definitely relatable as was the romance. Didn't get the attraction of the ex-boyfriend at all, but I guess that's why he was the ex. The epilogue didn't really fit with the book at all and I could have done without it. It took about 50 pages to get into the book and get on board with the "subject," but then I was hooked. Finished it in about two days, which is a pretty good read for me.
July 15, 2009Bachelor Girl: 100 Years of Breaking the Rules by Betsy Israel
I bought this book over four years ago and have tried to read it several times, but never got through it. Now that I have, I figured out why I never finished it before - it's just not good.
The subject matter intrigued me and that's why I grabbed it off the shelf all those years ago. But it's clumsily covered in the text and randomly foot-noted. I know a little bit more about the terms and slang of the different groups of singles, but nothing really that I didn't already know about social mores and singleness since the turn of the twentieth century. Since it's less than 300 pages, it would of course be more breadth than depth, but even the breadth is just not done well.
Basically, it frustrated me and just made me long for a book about the subject that actually informed me instead of annoyed me.