I wasn't sure if I would get this post up today or not, but I managed to drag myself out of a stomach flu haze to get this done. Please admire my dedication to reading. Also, while at Walgreens buying all the Gatorade they had to offer, I paid $10 for a book because I'm between library holds right now. This is how much I desperately needed something to read while recovering from last night's horrible bout with the stomach flu. This $10 paperback better be amazing.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but it was powerful. The story of a dying man, his regrets, the lives he's leaving behind and the lives he's touched, all woven into one story. I haven't read anything else by this author (but I'm hoping to correct that soon), but apparently the setting of this story is the central setting in two of his other stories, which is intriguing. My only complaint is that he's adopted the style of not using quotation marks, which drives me absolutely insane. Yes, it's valid prose, I GUESS, but it makes me batty. Aside from that, for a book about a man dying, the author treated it just as that: death. Death is a part of life and he faced it as that. There was no overreaching sentimentality, just a story of a family holding together as best they could, with subplots that were seemingly unrelated, yet tied together.
The Forgotten Garden: A Novel
A four year old girl is left abandoned on an Australian wharf. A family takes her in and raises her as their own, not telling her until she turns 21. Years later, her granddaughter continues the search for her grandmother's identity after her death. This book weaves history between the lives of generations of women, as well as the mystery of just who Nell was and how she came to be abandoned. I loved watching the story of this one unfold. It's not a short book, but I was hooked in and probably stayed up too late quite a few nights because I couldn't wait to find out if my guesses were correct.
This is by the same author as The Demonologist, which I reviewed last week. The reviews said that this was a much stronger book. Overall, I enjoyed it much more. A lawyer is called to defend a man accused of drowning two girls. As he digs deeper into the story, he uncovers an urban legend about a Lady of the Lake, rooted somewhat in history, that the locals still believe in strongly. Overall, I did find this to be much more engaging than his other book and really enjoyed it, but my only complaint is that the ending seemed to unravel just like The Demonologist. Again, maybe this is done purposely, but it didn't even seem like that. Still, the story itself was engaging enough that I would still recommend it.
The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat
I really enjoyed this book. Set in southern Indiana (which may as well be the actual south compared to my part of Indiana), the book follows three African-American women (nicknamed the Supremes) and their friendships. Although they're older now, it does flashback to their youth and how they came to be friends. I was impressed at how well the author wrote women, but he said in the back that he wrote what he saw from watching his mom and her friends and relatives. This book managed to balance humor, sadness and supernatural really well. Is it an amazing work of literature? No, but I really, really enjoyed it. It had an amazing voice, especially for an author's first book.