Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces: A Review

Michael Chabon wrote a piece about accompanying his son Abraham Chabon, then thirteen, to Paris Men’s Fashion Week. Possessed with a precocious sense of style, Abe was in his element chatting with designers he idolized and turning a critical eye to the freshest runway looks of the season; Chabon Sr., whose interest in clothing stops at “thrift-shopping for vintage western shirts or Hermès neckties,” sat idly by, staving off yawns and fighting the impulse that the whole thing was a massive waste of time. Despite his own indifference, however, what gradually emerged as Chabon ferried his son to and from fashion shows was a deep respect for his son’s passion. The piece quickly became a viral sensation.

With the GQ story as its centerpiece, and featuring six additional essays plus an introduction, Pops illuminates the meaning, magic, and mysteries of fatherhood as only Michael Chabon can.

Michael Chabon has always been on my TBR.  I have always been extremely curious about his writing yet I always pass up reading his books.  The ever present excuse of “I can read that anytime” always trumps my picking up a book.  When I was presented with the opportunity of reading his upcoming essay collection I jumped at the chance.  I knew that this would be a great way to gain a sense of his writing style.

Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces is showcases various insights into Chabon’s life as a father.  He shares observations that he has made in his life.  I must say that it is actually a very insightful method of sharing the experiences of fatherhood.  I would happily recommend this to any fathers out there who are searching for other perspectives of fatherhood; for anyone who wishes to champion the uniqueness of their children.

Chabon enthusiastically champions the uniqueness of his children.  He remarks on the pleasure it gives him to be able to raise them in an environment that nurtures the odd.  He is happy to recognize that a break with societal traditions and allowing  your children to be who they are is by fair the most important duty you have as a father.

This is a very short collection of essays.  It can be read in one sitting.  It is also something that you can go back to and pick out new things from the essays Chabon writes.  All of the essays work brilliantly together.  Thank you Harper Books for providing a galley!

Pops will be released on May 15th. 

The Perfect Mother: A Review

They call themselves the May Mothers—a collection of new moms who gave birth in the same month. Twice a week, with strollers in tow, they get together in Prospect Park, seeking refuge from the isolation of new motherhood; sharing the fears, joys, and anxieties of their new child-centered lives.

When the group’s members agree to meet for drinks at a hip local bar, they have in mind a casual evening of fun, a brief break from their daily routine. But on this sultry Fourth of July night during the hottest summer in Brooklyn’s history, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is abducted from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but the May Mothers insisted that everything would be fine. Now Midas is missing, the police are asking disturbing questions, and Winnie’s very private life has become fodder for a ravenous media.

Though none of the other members in the group are close to the reserved Winnie, three of them will go to increasingly risky lengths to help her find her son. As the police bungle the investigation and the media scrutinize the mothers in the days that follow, damaging secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are formed and fractured.

Vanity Fair magazine is calling The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy one of the most highly anticipated thriller of the summer. This is a valid declaration as it has already been optioned for a film starring Kerry Washington. I was fortunate to receive an early copy by Harper Books in exchange for an honest review.

Let me begin by saying that I had been tracking this book before receiving it. I have started reading a ton of thrillers in recent months. Nothing beats the fast pace of a plot in which direction it is heading is unknown. Sometimes thrillers all blend together especially when many have been read in recent months. I am pleased to relay that The Perfect Mother stands apart from the rest. Once I started reading it I did not want to stop. As is true with all thrillers, this read very fast but the examination of the way motherhood affects each of the May Mothers absorbed me. Truthfully it read like a sociological examination of new motherhood. The title “the perfect mother” speaks to each female character. They are simply trying to figure out how to be the best mother that they can when their worst nightmare is realized. What should have been a fun free night out quickly went wrong when Winnie’s son is taken from his crib.

I am not a mother so I cannot attest that the presentation of the struggle to adjust to motherhood is done correctly but I believe that it is. Each of the May Mothers are struggling with their own issues. One is a single mother. One is struggling financially while her husband’s business struggles. One is a mother because of IVF but she is struggling to be a mom. One cannot imagine leaving her baby when she has to go back to work. One is struggling to balance her writing career and motherhood. One has the answers to everything when it comes to being a mother. These are elements that I can foresee being problematic when it comes to motherhood. Seeing these issues unfold along with the kidnapping make for an engrossing read. While I was reading my mind kept going back and forth. I was searching for clues. I thought I knew who to trust but then I began question their character. I instinctively began hating one character but I kept changing my mind. My mind was all over the place. I am glad this was the case because I would have been extremely disappointed otherwise. A crappy and predictable thriller is an obnoxious bookish problem to have.

As this is a thriller I am not going to reveal any of the plot. After all readers those are not the sort of reviews I write. This is a thriller after all. I would never dream of revealing spoilers or clues to you. I will stress again how absorbed I was by the focus on societal expectations for new mothers. Aimee Molloy expertly wove that focus along with a thrilling plot so well. If you are a fan of thrillers then you must read this one. I think this has excellent potential to make a great film. It certainly has a strong plot and great characters. However I rarely enjoy adaptations so I am extremely skeptical that it will be as good as the book. I am hardly ever ahead of the book to film reading so I am just glad to finally be ahead for a change!

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy will be available on May 1st!

Peaceful Reading Spots

I am a typical bookworm.  Just give me a good book,  cozy reading spot, a reasonable amount of quiet and a delicious cup of coffee… you have the exact recipe for Jamie’s serenity.  No matter where I am living I will always quickly identify my preferred reading destinations.  Show me the direction of the library and the location of a quaint coffee shop because those are the important destinations for me.  I clearly have my priorities.

 

I have two favorite places in my current home town.  My first is Ana’s Bread which is pictured above.  What I love about this place is the pastries, the rustic yet modern vibe, the wood-fire oven and the peaceful atmosphere.  There is a larger coffee shop in this area but it is so loud and crowded.  I am also not a big fan of their coffee.  It is not my first choice to visit for those reasons.  It still has a great coffee shop vibe but I love the simplicity that Ana’s Bread offers.  Plus….did I mention the bread and pastries?

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When I first saw this chair I knew that I had to sit in it.  It was just calling out to me “Jamie!  Come sit and read on me while you drink your cafe au lait.”  I silently replied, “Of course I will!”  So this is my chair at my other favorite coffee shop.  When I walk inside I always look to make sure that it is available.  Is it sad that I want to immediately turn around and leave if someone is sitting in it? While it is tempting to do so I never do.  I need my coffee after all. However I do give the person…who has the nerve to sit in my chair… a severe glare and intense side eye.  This chair is incredibly comfortable.  It swallows you up in the best way.  If I could get away with it I would absolutely carry it out with me after finishing my coffee.

Aside from my intense chair crush this place is the perfect little coffee shop.  Not too big.  Not too crowded.  Wonderfully friendly baristas.  I am always glad to be there.  I enjoy my time there peacefully reading, drinking my coffee and loving my quality time with MY CHAIR.

Please share your favorite reading spots in the comments!  I would love to know your favorite bookish places.

 

You Should Read “Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World”

Penelope Bagieu profiles the lives of feisty female role models, some world famous, some little known. From Nellie Bly to Mae Jemison or Josephine Baker to Naziq al-Abid, the stories in this comic biography are sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies.

It is my opinion that this book is absolute perfection. This post will never be able to convey just how much I loved this book. I was first introduced to Penelope Bagieu when I stumbled upon a graphic novel formatted biography called California Dreamin: Cass Elliot Before the Mamas and the Papas. Click her for the post on California Dreamin. After loving that I, of course, sought out other graphic novels by Bagieu. I came across Brazen and learned that it was going to be published in just a few weeks. Oh happy day! Once I got my hands on it I knew I was going to enjoy it. After reading a few of the rebel ladies’ stories I knew that I already loved it. This is the sort of book that I would love to be able to put into the hands of every single teenager because each person has their own unique story of perserverance, tenacity and ambition.

I was so appreciative to learn about women I had never heard of before. Some include Nzinga, Queen of Ndongo and Matamba, Leymah Gbowee, social worker and Annette Kellerman, mermaid. Particularly with this batch their achievements are very much a mixed bag. Nzinga came into power under suspicious circumstances; mainly killing male family members. Leymah found herself in an abusive marriage, later became a social worker and found herself advising abused women. They inspired her to escape her own situation. While Annette Kellerman was first known for her triumphant swimming abilities her lasting influence rests with introducing practical swimwear to women.

I was thrilled to learn more about other women I was familiar with such as “terrifying actress Margaret Hamilton, astronaut Mae Jemison, Frances Glessner Lee and Peggy Guggenheim

I cannot rave enough about this book. I am telling everyone to seek it out. I share how much I love it with others that I see reading it in the Instagram bookish community. It has been wonderful bonding with those who have read it. We all rave about it and adore it. It is just such an inspiring collection of women told in a fantastic method.

The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go: A Review

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1. Get through to your daughter. 2. Buy more cheese. 3. Don’t forget to call your mother.

Grilled G’s Gourmet Food Truck is where chef, owner, obsessive list-maker, and recent widow Gina Zoberski finds the order and comfort she needs to struggle through each day, especially when confronted with her critical mother Lorraine and sullen daughter May.

Image-conscious Lorraine always knows best and expects her family to live up to her high expectations, no matter what. May just wants to be left alone to mourn her father in her own way. Gina aims to please, but finds that her relentlessly sunny disposition annoys both her mother and her daughter, no matter how hard she tries.

But when Lorraine suffers a sudden stroke, Gina stumbles upon a family secret kept hidden for forty years. In the face of her mother’s failing health and her daughter’s rebellion, this optimist might find that piecing together the truth is the push she needs to let go.

I won this early copy in a Goodreads Giveaway hosted by publisher Gallery Books.  This is my honest review!

This was my first time reading author Amy Reichert.  I was familiar with her previous works.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake/ The Simplicity of Cider/ Luck, Love & Lemon Pie

I do not normally choose contemporary women’s fiction as a must read which is why I have yet to read any of the above titles.  However, The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go  seemed like a good one to try and win.  I was happy to learn that I was a winner!  This novel was a wonderful read in between many heavier reads.  While the premise deals with widowhood, a stroke and family secrets heavy it was still a welcome change of pace.  It was an incredibly fast read and so enjoyable.

I have always liked plots centered around family secrets.  I am always fascinated by the family dynamics depicted.  It is always intriguing to ‘witness’ the coping skills and method in which individuals handle the challenges in their lives. While it is hard to believe that a plot which includes a huge, life-changing family secret, a stroke and widowhood can still be positive, uplifting and hopeful…it really is.  Do not get me wrong.  I still had moments of sadness.  Some tears did fog up my glasses while I was reading late at night.  I told my husband that he is not allowed to leave me.  The only options are that I go first or we go together simultaneously.

The story is very predictable but that is always expected with women’s fiction.  The interesting and relateable story and characters with an encouraging and hopeful tone are the definition of women’s fiction.  As I went into the story knowing that the outcome of the story would be predictable, I was not setting myself up for disappointment.  I was still able to thoroughly enjoy the novel.  I connected immediately with the characters.  I was able to identify and see what would  also be my reactions to the situations.  I become ravenous with the descriptions of Gina’s grilled cheese creations.  I really want to try some of the creations because they just sound amazing.

All in all.  I really enjoyed this one.  I will be reading her previous novels and I will keep an eye out for the new.  Sometimes those feel-good stories with delicious grilled cheese sandwiches mixed in are just what you need!

The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go will be released on May 15th.  

 

What Should Be Wild: A Review

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Cursed. Maisie Cothay has never known the feel of human flesh: born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, she has spent her childhood sequestered in her family’s manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie’s father, an anthropologist who sees her as more experiment than daughter, has warned Maisie not to venture into the wood. Locals talk of men disappearing within, emerging with addled minds and strange stories. What he does not tell Maisie is that for over a millennium her female ancestors have also vanished into the wood, never to emerge—for she is descended from a long line of cursed women.

But one day Maisie’s father disappears, and Maisie must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the wood for the very first time, she encounters a strange world filled with wonder and deception. Yet the farther she strays, the more the wood calls her home. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself.

Harper Books provided me with an early copy of What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine in exchange for an honest review. This will be released on Tuesday May 8th!

First let me start by saying that this book was quite a stretch for me. I do not normally gravitate toward fantastical books like this. Anything that requires me to extend the scope of what is real is not my first choice. When I read the description I was intrigued so I decided to give it a go. Those who know me well were shocked that I was reading this. They knew this was way out of my preferred reading zone.

With that being said, I have to admit that I really enjoyed this novel. I could not stop reading this. I did not want to stop reading it! Yes the premise is unique and unusual but Julia’s writing makes it a very beautiful story despite the inclusion of death and curses. Oh the writing. I firmly believe that Julia is the only person who could have woven this story. Her writing is eloquent, precise and just lovely. The forest around the manor grounds is very much a character in the story. That is made abundantly clear by the way Julia chose to describe it. The forest is very much a living and breathing thing. It has its own needs. It has its own desires. It has its own personality. She brilliantly made it real. I could not wait to get to know it more because there was so much mystery to unlock. I had to know it better. That need to know and learn is a testament to Julia’s writing abilities.

There are many moving parts in this. Normally I would find that adding in curses and the “touch of death” would put it over the top. In this case it did not. I was so committed to the story, to the characters and unraveling the mystery surrounding the forest that I did not get lost in the fantastical elements of the story. They really added to the story as was intended. I was so incredibly drawn to Maisie’s female ancestors. I have to say that was probably my favorite aspect of the book. I loved the way in which their stories were slowly unfolded as Maisie was searching for her father. I was very much drawn to those women and their connection to the forest. I found their stories and connections to be so interesting that I really could not stop myself from reading.

While I would really like to go further into the story those are not the sort of reviews that I enjoy reading let alone writing. I prefer to discover the core of the story myself while I am reading it. It is not my style to spoil the plot especially in a novel like this. This is the sort of novel that you let unfold for you in due time. By that I mean let the story reveal itself to you the way the talented author, Julia Fine, intended.

My First Zadie Smith Reading Experience

Two brown girls dream of being dancers–but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

This is an update on my Female Voices Reading Challenge!  If you need a refresher on my Female Voices Reading Challenge follow this LINK. Zadie Smith has always been an author that I have been curious about.  Along with five novels she also has a handful of essay collections.  I thought that my reading challenge was the perfect push to get me to finally read Zadie Smith.  I chose to start with Swing Time because it was her most recent novel (published in 2016) and I already had a copy.  I found it for a steal in a second hand book store right after I had established my reading challenge.  Aside from being a great bargain the dust jacket is a bold yellow.  I cannot say no to that!

I had already decided to read Swing Time at some time in 2018.  I decided to read it now in April because one of my favorite bookish podcasts will be discussing it on April 24th.  It felt like the universe was telling me to read it.  So I committed myself to reading in time for the April 24th episode.

After saying all of that it is now time to reveal my thoughts on Swing Time.  I did not like this book.  In fact,I actually feel quite comfortable saying that I hated this book.  Yep.  I hated this book.  This book is 453 pages long.  This is typical for a Zadie Smith novel.  For me and my HUGE stack of books that are waiting for me to read, that’s alot of reading time spent on a book that I was not enjoying.  However, I was committed because I kept thinking that it was going to get better.  As I got to the 300 page mark I realized that it was not going to improve.  At that point it made no sense to give up so I finished it.

My primary hang up with this book is that I while I am preparing a review of sorts I have absolutely no idea what the point of this novel is.  I honestly am at a loss to even share the premise of it. The basic description that you read at the beginning of this is conflicting to me because I feel like that was not the book that I read.  Yes the girls’ friendship begins in a dance class and grows into an appreciation of old Fred Astaire films; especially Swing Time.  However that is pretty much the extent of dance being a focal point.  One of the girls, Tracey, does go on to a brief career of a theater dancer but as it stated the friendship ends in their twenties.

The other big issue that I had with this novel is how it was organized.  It flips back and forth from the narrator’s childhood to present time. Actually  present time represents  roughly ten years after the friendship ends.  I found this time flipping to take away from my fully engaging and enjoying the story.  I found the back and forth to be clunky.  The transition between past and present were not seamless in my opinion.  By the time I hit the midway point I was frustrated and annoyed by the flip flopping.

I was in no way connected to the characters.  Honestly, is the narrator even given a name?  That is a very good question because if there is….it is completely lost on me.  While I did feel sorry for Tracey and her troubled upbringing with her mother.  When it came down to it she was just incredibly unlikable in my opinion.  There was very little that was redeeming in her.  The same goes for the narrator.  I was not a a fan of hers.  She was constantly driving me nuts.  I loathed her career path of being a personal assistant to a famous pop performer.  I was incredibly annoyed when she took it personally that she was not seen as the singer’s BFF.  Come of it woman.  You really think that was going to be the case?  Well she did and for that I call her obnoxiously naive.

So those are my top three reasons for hating this book.  While I hated reading this book I am still glad that I read it.  Despite having many issues with the novel overall I can still see and appreciate that Zadie is a talented writer.  I plan on giving Zadie another go with her first novel White Teeth.  Here is the description:

On New Year’s morning, 1975, Archie Jones sits in his car on a London road and waits for the exhaust fumes to fill his station wagon. Archie—working-class, ordinary, a failed marriage under his belt—is calling it quits, the deciding factor being the flip of a 20-pence coin. When the owner of a nearby halal butcher shop (annoyed that Archie’s car is blocking his delivery area) comes out and bangs on the window, he gives Archie another chance at life and sets in motion this richly imagined, uproariously funny novel. 

The feedback that I have gotten from others is that this is their favorite of her books.  I probably should have started off with that one first…..

My April Reading Goals

So I almost did not make a April Reading Goals post because I really thought that I had failed miserably with my March Reading Goal list. I took a look back at the image and realized that I did far better than I thought I did! Here is the March list:

Killers of the Flower Moon/South and West/Hannah Who Fell From the Sky/The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living/Alone/The Hazel Wood

Those in bold are the books that I read. All together in March I read eleven books! This month is going to be a whole different can of worms because I mostly have galley editions to review. This is not me complaining because I am absolutely love reading advanced copies to review. It is something that I wanted to tackle for awhile now. Here are the books that I will be reviewing this month!

The following are from Harper Books: The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy/ What Should Wild by Julia Fine / Barracoon by Zora Neale Huston/ Pops by Michael Chabon

Surprise Book Mail from Harper Collins: Stray City by Chelsey Johnson (this was a finished hard cover edition. SCORE!)

This was a Goodreads Giveaway: The Optomist’s Guide to Letting Go by Amy Reichert

Sometimes the books are tough topics or just heavy in other ways so I have learned that I really enjoy some palette cleaning reads. This month those will be the graphic novel series Paper Girls by Brian Vaughn. Here is a brief snyposis of the first volume:

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

So there it is. All laid out and I have committed to it. Well I am committed to the galleys because I want to continue receiving them. I have become incredibly fond of book mail!

The Magnificent Esme Wells: A Review

Esme Silver has always taken care of her charming ne’er-do-well father, Ike Silver, a small-time crook with dreams of making it big with Bugsy Siegel. Devoted to her daddy, Esme is often his “date” at the racetrack, where she amiably fetches the hot dogs while keeping an eye to the ground for any cast-off tickets that may be winners.

In awe of her mother, Dina Wells, Esme is more than happy to be the foil who gets the beautiful Dina into meetings and screen tests with some of Hollywood’s greats. When Ike gets an opportunity to move to Vegas—and, in what could at last be his big break, to help the man she knows as “Benny” open the Flamingo Hotel—life takes an unexpected turn for Esme. A stunner like her mother, the young girl catches the attention of Nate Stein, one of the Strip’s most powerful men.

Narrated by the twenty-year-old Esme, the story moves between pre–WWII Hollywood and postwar Las Vegas—a golden age when Jewish gangsters and movie moguls were often indistinguishable in looks and behavior. Esme’s voice—sharp, observant, and with a quiet, mordant wit—chronicles the rise and fall and further fall of her complicated parents, as well as her own painful reckoning with love and life. A coming-of-age story with a tinge of noir, and a tale that illuminates the promise and perils of the American dream and its dreamers, The Magnificent Esme Wells is immersive, moving and compelling.

-Synopsis via Goodreads

I was provided a galley from Harper Books in exchange for an honest review.

The Magnificent Esme Wells by Adrienne Sharp was a very enjoyable jaunt into historical fiction.  For me personally, this had all of the right ingredients for a strong historical fiction read. The Golden Age of Hollywood.  Gangsters. The creation and rise of Las Vegas.  Showgirls. It was all morphed into a great fictional account of the time featuring an honest, witty, and intriguing narrator in Esme Wells.

Esme takes the reader between Hollywood and Las Vegas so the story alternates in time.  I really liked this feature of the story because part of what Sharp is trying to do is compare the power and crookedness of Hollywood and Vegas; primarily through Hollywood moguls like Louis B. Mayer and casino bosses/gangsters.  As much reading as I have done on both of those subjects the comparison, while it seems obvious, did not entirely occur to me until now.  They were all immigrants, most were Jewish and they are responsible for their own fortunes.  They also, ultimately, experienced sad downfalls of their power.

Along with a fascinating account of Hollywood and Las Vegas, this novel is also a story of dreamers.  Esme’s parents have dreams.  They are lofty dreams that consume them.  Dina Wells wants to be one of Louis B. Mayers MGM stars.  She is not satisfied with being just another dancer on the lot.  She wants her name at the top of the marquee.  Ike Silver is looking for money and power.  However, he cannot stay away from the race track and his next big win.  Both of her parents are desperate to achieve their dreams so much so that they let it consume them.  I am not giving away much when I admit that neither of them are huge successes.  Despite being along for the ride of constant failure, Esme has her own goals; which involve becoming a Las Vegas star.

I enjoyed this one.  I had not really read a historical fiction like this in awhile.  I had some heavier topic driven reads before picking this one up so it was nice to follow up with this.  However, much to my dismay, Esme’s story ends on a sad one.  I will not give specifics but I will end by saying that in Vegas…the house always wins.

Thank you Harper Books for providing my copy to review!  The Magnificent Esme Wells by Adrienne Sharp will be released on April 10th!

 

Joan Didion and the Female Voices Reading Challenge

So I think it is safe to say that I am not a fan of Joan Didion.  Her recent publication of essays South and West was my second reading experience.  I previously tried to read an earlier essay collection called The White Album but I could not bring myself to finish it.  I just could not do it.  Follow the link to my past post regarding my first Joan Didion Reading experience.

Here is a synopsis of South and West.

Joan Didion has always kept notebooks: of overheard dialogue, observations, interviews, drafts of essays and articles–and here is one such draft that traces a road trip she took with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, in June 1970, through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. She interviews prominent local figures, describes motels, diners, a deserted reptile farm, a visit with Walker Percy, a ladies’ brunch at the Mississippi Broadcasters’ Convention. She writes about the stifling heat, the almost viscous pace of life, the sulfurous light, and the preoccupation with race, class, and heritage she finds in the small towns they pass through. 

And from a different notebook: the “California Notes” that began as an assignment from Rolling Stone on the Patty Hearst trial of 1976. Though Didion never wrote the piece, watching the trial and being in San Francisco triggered thoughts about the city, its social hierarchy, the Hearsts, and her own upbringing in Sacramento. Here, too, is the beginning of her thinking about the West, its landscape, the western women who were heroic for her, and her own lineage, all of which would appear later in her acclaimed 2003 book, Where I Was From.

So Didion goes from traveling around the South of the 1970s to discussing a notorious kidnapping of a rich girl.  While this seems like it should be interesting and insightful to the time period I just cannot get past the pretentious writing of Joan Didion.  In my opinion, Didion is the wrong person to providing a snapshot into the lifestyles of Southerners.  I see her strictly as an entitled, pretentious and stuck-up woman.  Again, that is just my opinion.  Is Didion really all of those things?  I have absolutely no idea.  The praise that this book has received, as well as Didion’s past work, indicates that I am wrong.

Admittedly, I did enjoy South and West more than The White Album.  I will choose to ignore that South and West is one hundred twenty pages long so that essentially is a one sitting read for me. It was interesting to get a glimpse into the area of the country at that point in time.  Was it a necessity that I read it?  No.  Am I glad that I did?  Yes and no.  I am glad to be able to wage an opinion on the writing of Joan Didion.  In the past five years it seemed like the universe was telling me to read and fall in love with Joan Didion.  I really did think that I was finding another female voice to add to those I admire.  However, it is not meant to be.  I would rather read and fall in love with the writing of a woman less pretentious.