Friday, July 5, 2013

July 5: Summer Arrives--and Hard!

The Last Original WifeThe Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

So. Advertised as a perfect beach book, LOW has potential, but then the writing style begins to make itself known: constant, trite, unvarying obviousness. Take this excerpt:

"We would toast each other with champagne and feast on oysters and roasted guinea fowl in the private room at Magnolias and cut a small cake with a bride and groom on its top and make small talk throughout the afternoon while my mind traveled the years. When I thought about the individual births of my children, my chest would swell with joy, and for the moment it seemed that they were on the right track. I hoped so with all my heart because I loved them so dearly. They, along with Holly, were my greatest treasures."

This reads like something a 15 year old might write to describe a second wedding of a wealthy woman, and we'd encourage her to be more original. "Readers want something unique, something new," we'd say. Well, Dorothea Benton Frank doesn't give that to her readers, and, judging by the reviews, the readers don't mind. But I do! I'd love to read what Jennifer Weiner would do with this plot. A very disappointing, predictable, trite novel. America, raise your standards.

View all my reviews The Guy Not Taken: StoriesThe Guy Not Taken: Stories by Jennifer Weiner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've read this collection of Weiner's stories before, but I guess I didn't blog it. I am usually mixed about short stories, as I like to spend more time with the characters in my reading, and this collection is no exception. Several of the early stories are, as Weiner points out in her epilogue, unvarying: "My parents got divorced, and it was hard!" over and over. A few tie into her other novels, which makes me want to go read those again. However, throughout the stories, Weiner's sense of humor, her deft way with words, and her ability to create character, emotion and atmosphere make themselves known. It's interesting to see such a variety of pieces by a strong author. Not all of them are great, but together, they're interesting and the collection is worth reading.

View all my reviews

But it's not all reading around 23 Forrest, you know. Nate, Annika, and I (for some wild reason) signed up to run the Jason Sargent Memorial 5k on the Fourth. . . and even though it was humid, hot, sunny, and the race started at 11:15, we did great and had a great time. . . once it was over. Annika and I both got first in our age groups. Wow!

We followed up our escapades with milkshakes, a swim in the river, and then naps. . . at least for me, a nap. Best yet: I was sleeping on the couch with the Red Sox on (heaven!) and I was woken up when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a home run. What a great way to spend the Fourth! 

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