Posts Tagged ‘family dramas’

23rd September
2010
written by Steph

It hooked me all right...

Oh, Red Hook Road. I just can’t quit you. Ever since I heard about your publication, I have been wanting to read you… so it wouldn’t be entirely fair to say you’re a book that crept up on me, except that’s kind of exactly what you did. Your premise – a newlywed couple are killed in a car wreck on the way from their wedding to the reception and the way the fallout affects their respective families – was one that was so blindingly tragic that I was drawn to you like a moth to a flame. Surely this would be a book that would burn me, make me feel the deepest pangs of grief, and yet I could not pull away. I ran into your embrace wholeheartedly, prepared to have my heart bruised and beaten. (more…)
12th April
2010
written by Steph

Last year I read Gentlemen & Players by Joanne Harris and absolutely loved it.  Such a good thriller, one that was wonderfully written and had plenty of great twists.  Based on that, I decided I wanted to read more by Harris, and I picked up a copy of Five Quarters of the Orange on my subsequent trip to McKay’s. I think that Five Quarters is probably a more representative work of Harris’s, as it’s not exactly a thriller, and is instead a human drama with just a dash of mystery.  The story is that of Framboise Dartigan, who lived as a young girl in the town of Leslaveuses in German-occupied France during WWII.  Now an old woman who has returned to her hometown under the shroud of a different name, Framboise opens up a café in which she cooks up her mother’s family recipes, all the while coming to terms with her turbulent past.  Through her recollections, we return to her days as a nine-year old, and learn about her difficult relationship with her mother and siblings, as well as the tragic events that occurred that fateful summer, which caused her family to flee Leslaveuses. (more…)
1st March
2010
written by Steph

My review for the March issue of BookPage is now online and can be read here!  This month I covered the third novel by Oscar-nominated screenwriter, Peter Hedges.  The story deals with a youngish couple struggling to raise a family in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, all while trying to fulfill their own goals and dreams and keep their relationship on solid ground.  Naturally, something’s gotta give, but I’ll leave it up to you to read and find out what that thing is. The book reminded me a lot of Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road in terms of its scope and the issues it deals with, but the tone could not have been more different.  While I found Yates’s novel unrelentingly sad and pessimistic, I appreciated the light touch Hedges uses here, and his witty sense of humor was necessary to counteract some of the rather dark and grim moments.  Rather than feeling this novel dragged me down, I instead read it compulsively, finishing it in a single day and pretty much in one sitting.  I can’t remember the last time I did that with a book, so that should tell you something about how addictive this book is.  It was kind of like sitting down to eat a big bag of M&Ms (or whatever your candy of choice is), but without feeling you’ve ODed on sugar afterwards.  In some ways this book is brain candy, but it's still got some vitamins and is plenty good for you. Anyway, I enjoyed the novel a good deal and highly recommend it especially if family melodramas are your thing.  Check out my official review if you’re interested in more coherent thoughts! If I were reviewing this (FREE) book on the site, I would have given it a 4 out of 5.
1st January
2009
written by Steph
Why bother?  Don't.

Why bother? Don't.

Oh bother.  Mark Haddon is probably best known for his book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (which is a really great book, and if you haven’t read it, I strongly suggest you do, because it is highly probable that you will like it.  Also, it is vastly superior to this less than awesome book.).  Based on the strength of that novel (and a debut novel at that!), I picked up his second offering, A Spot of Bother.  I am sad to report that this was a mistake. (more…)