Honestly? Not my best month of reading. I almost skipped sharing this month and just lumped it into October so I had something a little more exciting to share. But keeping it real. Probably the biggest struggle is that I started The Secret History and committed quite a bit of time to the book, but ultimately decided to pause. I just couldn’t get into it and I was kind of…. hating it! From my polls on Instagram, it seems to be a polarizing book with people loving or despising it. I decided to be okay with a DNF (or a DNFFN aka a “did not finish for now”).
Pete and Alice in Maine is about a couple and their family who flee NYC at the beginning of the pandemic to to their vacation home in Maine. I really struggle with books written during the pandemic, about the pandemic, and this had moments where I was fine with it and moments where it was too much. The pandemic serves as a backdrop to the couple’s martial struggles which they’re forced to face head on. It was an interesting examination of marriage and parenthood, though I ultimately think it’s not a super memorable read. (I liked reading it while I read it and remember the arc of the story, but I’ve forgotten the finer details already.)
I accidentally read books about marriage/relationships back to back and I think that tainted my opinion on The Half Moon. The story is told in alternating perspectives between a husband and wife, who are separated. It pieces together their history and what led to the relationship falling apart over time. They struggle with fertility and, ultimately, just are on different pages in terms of life goals and values. I found there to be quite a few plot holes and at times the plot itself was a little far fetched… and I just wanted to scream that half their problems would be fixed if they just decided to communicate to each other.
Another “mixed opinion” book for me. I actually found myself totally engrossed in the story from the beginning, just failed to really like it, but when I read the author’s note at the end about how the idea book came to him, I liked it more? Sam Hell has a rare condition that gives him red eyes. The book follows the trajectory of his life from a bullied child to a successful adult, with a cast of characters (heroes and villains alike) who help and hurt him along the way. It was a little cliche and predictable, which made it hard for me to fully enjoy it.
Take my review here with a major grain of salt. I don’t like romance novels and I did not realize this was a romance novel when I started reading it, which is my fault completely! I think if you prefer romance novels, though, this is one of the better ones I have read! The book opens with Margaret being proposed to just before the plane her now-fiancé is flying crashes. The rest of the book unfolds with her in the hospital grappling with the entirety of her life forever changed. It was a little cheesy and very predictable, but I liked the overall message of the book in the end.
Britt Bennett is a phenomenal storyteller. I loved Vanishing Half and was excited to see that The Mothers was available to check out at my library. I thought this was an incredible story that captured so many complexities of motherhood– and friendship, and relationships in general. The book follows the main character from high school into early adulthood– after tragically losing her mother, she gets pregnant from a not-so-serious relationship in high school. The plot itself is compelling enough on its own, but the way the different characters evolve and grow throughout the pages is so beautifully done. Highly recommend!
Would love to hear what you’re reading and loving lately!