This was my lightest reading month of the year (I think), but it’s mainly because two of the books took me a while to get through!
If you read and loved Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, you will like the vibes of this book. But if you read Eleanor Oliphant and didn’t like it…. you might like Meredith Alone better. Don’t write it off. It was a sweet story about mental health, family, and friendship. Meredith has not left her house in years– she works remotely, has everything delivered, does puzzles, and has a small community in an online support group. But all of that will start to change as a couple of new friends enter her life. It read like a real and quite relatable plot, which I think is becoming my favorite kind of book. Just normal characters facing life challenges that a lot of us face in real life. It’s a tiny bit slow, but…. I liked the pace? Again, just felt normal. Her “recovery” isn’t linear as she faces both setbacks and triumphs throughout the book.
Barbara Kingsolver is a brilliant writer and Demon Copperhead is no exception. It’s a modern day David Copperfield if you’re familiar with Charles Dickens’ autobiographical novel. Like David Copperfield, Demon Copperhead paints the bleak narrative of what it’s like to grow up an orphan in the United States in modern day. Set in Appalachia, the novel is an examination of poverty, orphanhood, education, addiction, etc. It’s a lot to take in. It’s a dense book, covering the tragedies in Demon’s life from childhood through adulthood. There were many times when I wanted to give up reading it because it felt like getting punched in the gut again and again, but that was the absolute brilliance of Demon Copperhead.
I haven’t read Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet yet, but I had heard rave reviews about that as well as The Marriage Portrait, so I was exciting to dig into it. I will start this by saying O’Farrell has an absolute gift with words. I was blown away by the writing. The Marriage Portrait is an historical novel based on the real life events of Lucrezia de’ Medici’s life in Italy in the 1500s. She is given away for marriage at the age of 15 and sent to live with her now-husband, who has a dark side to him. I personally found it a little slow for the first 60% of the book, and then I couldn’t put it down for the last 40. It took me weeks to read the first half and then only days to finish it, wanting to stay up a little later than usual because I needed to get a few more pages in!