Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

I wanted to like A Spot of Bother a bit more than I did. The characters in this dysfunctional family are all struggling with their own secrets - hypochondria, sexuality, insecurity, etc. - that are threatened by an upcoming family wedding. The characters in the cover art are precariously perched on the wedding cake that represents this central event of the novel. The book reminded me of Franzen's The Corrections.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

Middle aged women seeking a laugh-out-loud read should check out this collection of essay by Nora Ephron. She writes about everything from the "maintainance" of hair coloring and manicures to the contents of her purse. I read one particularly accurate essay about the joys and frustrations of raising children on an evening when I was arguing with my own tweenage daughter. And she has a lovely credo of life's lesson's learned.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Maybe a Miracle by Brian Strause

I received a free copy of this book from Random House to review for students. The author grew up in Columbus, Ohio, so there are many Ohio references, including a protagonist who puts off entering OSU to begin his freshmen year because of the tragedies and "miracles" his family is experiencing. His sister, who is in a coma after nearly drowning in the backyard pool, is displaying the stigmata and attracting throngs of miracle seekers. Strause's best feature is the voice of his young narrator, Monroe Anderson, who is sarcastic and delightfully irreverent.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Suspension by Robert Westfield

I was drawn to Westfield’s darkly comic novel by a description of the main character, Andy Green, whose occupation is to create the wrong answers for standardized multiple choice tests. Green encounters plenty of wrong turns and road blocks following an assault in a NYC alley that forces him inside his Hell’s Kitchen apartment to recover, only to reemerge into the post 9/11 city which has changed as much as he has. This novel had a few too many coincidences for my liking.