Not In Jersey: What I’ve Been Reading #17 What I’ve Been Reading #17 - Not In Jersey

What I’ve Been Reading #17

Friday, April 5, 2013

This week I have 4 books to review. I got a lot of reading done over Passover!

I received this book, Sparkly Green Earrings, from Pamela in the last book swap I took part in. “'‘There is really no better indicator you’re a mother than acquiring the ability to catch throw-up in a plastic bag, disinfect your hands, and immediately ask your friend to pass the beef jerky as you put on another Taylor Swift song and act as if nothing has happened.’ This is the type of insight Melanie Shankle offers in this quirky memoir of motherhood. Written in the familiar, stream-of-consciousness style of her blog, Big Mama, Sparkly Green Earrings is a heartwarming and hilarious look at motherhood from someone who is still trying to figure it all out. Filled with personal stories—from the decision to become a mother to the heartbreak of miscarriage and ultimately, to the joy of raising a baby and living to tell about it—Sparkly Green Earrings will make you feel like you’re sitting across the table from your best friend. A must-read for anyone who’s ever had a child or even thought about it.” What I did not realize when I received this book is that it has a Christian religious lean to it. Luckily, it was not overdone and mainly took a backseat to the actual stories of motherhood shared by the author. I found parts to be very funny, but I also thought the author comes off as overly positive, never breaking from her image as loving mother. This bothered me a bit, but I still found this to be a quick and entertaining read.

Whatever you’ve heard about What Alice Forgot is true – this book is amazing!! “Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, , she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over…” This book was so good. I really loved it! Alice doesn’t remember that she and her husband are having problems and her memory set back makes her loveable and beautifully subjective about her present self. There are two other stories woven in with Alice’s – that of her sister and that of her grandmother. The many other characters are also given great voices, including Alice’s mom, stepfather, and three kids. The best scene for me was when Alice meets her 3 kids for the “first” time – missing 10 years of her life causes her to forget she has kids at all! I definitely thought about what things I would forget if I was missing the past 10 years of my life and whether I would like the person I am today, just like Alice had to do.

I don’t remember how this book made it on to my To Be Read list, but it was available at the library, so I read it! “It's early summer when Ginny and William's peaceful life in Vermont comes to an abrupt halt. First, their daughter Lillian arrives, with her two children in tow, to escape her crumbling marriage. Next, their son Stephen and his pregnant wife Jane show up for a weekend visit, which extends indefinitely when Jane ends up on bed rest. When their youngest daughter Rachel appears, fleeing her difficult life in New York, Ginny and William find themselves consumed again by the chaos of parenthood - only this time around, their children are facing adult problems.
By summer's end, the family gains new ideas of loyalty and responsibility, exposing the challenges of surviving the modern family - and the old adage, once a parent, always a parent, has never rung so true.” William and Ginny are parents of 3 grown up children, but they demonstrate the best parental qualities I could imagine in the situation they are in when all 3 kids return home for the summer, each needed various things from their parents. The home is shown as a safe place where Lillian, Stephen, and Rachel are able to heal from their individual problems and stresses. The one thing I did not like about the story is the way everyone thought a husband having an affair should be instantly forgivable. That did not seem realistic to me. However, the characters themselves and the interactions between parents and children and grandchildren were believable and likeable.

Finally, I read Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah, which was highly recommended by many of my blog readers when I wrote about my love of Firefly Lane. “In the rugged Pacific Northwest lies the Olympic National Forest—nearly a million acres of impenetrable darkness and impossible beauty. From deep within this old growth forest, a six-year-old girl appears. Speechless and alone, she offers no clue as to her identity, no hint of her past. Having retreated to her western Washington hometown after a scandal left her career in ruins, child psychiatrist Dr. Julia Cates is determined to free the extraordinary little girl she calls Alice from a prison of unimaginable fear and isolation. To reach her, Julia must discover the truth about Alice’s past—although doing so requires help from Julia’s estranged sister, a local police officer. The shocking facts of Alice’s life test the limits of Julia’s faith and strength, even as she struggles to make a home for Alice—and for herself. In Magic Hour, Kristin Hannah creates one of her most beloved characters, and delivers an incandescent story about the resilience of the human spirit, the triumph of hope, and the meaning of home.” I can see why many people love this story. The connection between Julia and Alice is truly beautiful. My question is whether it is believable. I think more from the point of view of the child may have helped me believe more. I found those parts of the book to be the sweetest and saddest. Obviously she is meant to have limited communication skills, but I still found myself wanting more. I also wanted more about Julia’s past. On the other hand, the concept of a “feral child” was intriguing and a book about such a child was very interesting.

Any thoughts on these books? Other recommendations for me?

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