Thursday, June 29, 2017

THE THINGS WE KEEP BY SALLY HEPWORTH

credit: goodreads.com
Rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth is the first book for my newly-formed book club, Richly Read. We will be meeting to discuss in mid-July.

The fictional story centers around Anna who is a thirty-eight year old (former) paramedic suffering the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. When it is no longer feasible for her to live with her twin brother and his family, she takes residence in the Rosalind House where another thirty-something, Luke, who has been diagnosed with a different form of dementia, also lives.

The reason I describe Anna as suffering and Luke as diagnosed to illustrate the point that Anna was having difficulty coming to terms with the disease (that the author insinuates is genetically received from Anna's mother), whereas Luke seemed better equipped to deal with his reality.

Anna and Luke fall in "love." And there is much debate and dialogue in the novel regarding the ability for two people with memory deficiencies to fall (and stay) in love.

The secondary protagonist is Eve. Rashly thrown into the role of a single mother due to a recent tragedy in her life, Eve comes to the Rosalind House as head cook and temporary housekeeper. She's also dealing with her young daughter's grief and trying to manage her difficult school life. When Eve learns of Anna and Luke's guardians' desire to keep them separated, Eve must decide whether she will risk her livelihood to help them.

This book was very easy to read. The medical portions were explained in such a way that anyone could understand. The tempo of the book was good. Each chapter was narrated by either Anna, Eve, and Eve's daughter. Some chapters were told in present time while others worked from the past and flashbacks, which made the read a little cumbersome. I also think Hepworth took on too many heavy topics (dementia, healthcare, scandals, bullying, grief, romance, among many others) to cover in such a short book. It seems like she ran out of time (or energy) and wrapped up the ending a little too tightly for my liking.

Recommendation: I like that this book offered a different perspective to dementia, and I feel like I learned some things. It's worth a quick read on a summer weekend.

Until next time ... Read on!

Monday, June 19, 2017

I ALMOST FORGOT ABOUT YOU BY TERRY MCMILLAN

credit: goodreads.com
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan is a light, funny read that suited me well for this time of year. It's a story that's been told many times, but I enjoyed McMillan's take on it.

Twice-divorced Dr. Georgia Young is tired of her bland, comfortable, and responsible life as an optometrist, mother of adult children, and grandmother to a couple of grandchildren. One day a daughter of one of Georgia's previous love interests come into her optometry practice and Georgia learns that the woman's father unexpectedly died several years prior. The visit makes Georgia think about what all could have been. As a result, she makes a list of past loves who she vows to get in contact with and let them know she didn't forget about them and knowing them helped shaped her life.

The story is told from Georgia's point-of-view. Not only do we learn about her love interests, but also her two best girlfriends, and her family. The story is funny and relatable. My only critique, probably because I have an "a-type" personality, is that McMillan had Georgia start down the list, but she never really completed it. It just seemed out of character for someone who went to medical school. You'd think a doctor would be more methodical. However, maybe that was the underlying point McMillan was trying to make. Georgie spent several decades doing what her parents, her teachers, her friends, maybe even the world, expected of her. I enjoyed that she decided to change her narrative.

I also appreciated the theme that all people - good, bad and indifferent - mold our life journey. There are no failures only lessons learned.

Recommendation: This is a quick and fun summer read. It inspired me in that it's never too late to decide what your life will be, and that's a message that can be helpful no matter who you are or where you are in life!

Until next time ... Read on!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

THE DINNER BY HERMAN KOCH

credit: goodreads.com
Rating: 3 of 5 stars

I purchased a copy of The Dinner by Herman Koch at my local Half Price Books store for $4 plus tax. I'm glad I didn't spend anymore, or I might have felt cheated. The book is set at a posh restaurant in Amsterdam and occurs over the course of dinner shared between two brothers and their respective wives. Through flashbacks, we learn about some sinister activity involving each couple's respective 15-year old son.

The story is basically one that involves a moral dilemma: How far would a parent go to protect his or her child? By the end of the book, the reader learns that no one at the dinner (or their offspring) are exceptionally moral in character. The characters seemed a bit out of touch with reality, self-absorbed, and highly unlikable. I suppose this makes them realistic, but not particularly enjoyable to read. The one character who tries to exercise sensible judgment suffers a horrible fate at the hands of his/her family members.

There was no happy ending in this book. There was no redemption. It was a simple story told over nearly 300 pages with a very unsatisfying ending.

Recommendation: I really can't think of one thing I could offer a recommendation for this story. The book has been turned into a movie featuring Richard Gere. So, maybe go see the movie and enjoy the Gere eye-candy. Sorry, that's the best I can come up with.

Until next time ... Read on!

About Melyssa

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Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog. I am an avid reader who enjoys reading fiction. I also read biographies as well as fiction and non-fiction books about the Holocaust and Civil Rights period ... and I've been known to read a blog or two! If you'd like me to review a book, please complete the contact form below my bio. I'll be in touch!

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