Wednesday, November 27, 2013

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

I discovered All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Janelle Brown at a thrift shop, and bought it for $2.50.  It's an Advance Reading Copy, and the need for proofreading was a bit distracting.  I'm sure the final copy didn't have this feature!

BUT, the story was an enjoyable Silicon Valley family satire, where a long-married couple has just taken their pharmaceutical company public.  The day the company goes public (this is all in Chapter One, so I'm not giving away too much of the story line here), wife Janice plans and prepares for a celebratory dinner with her husband and their younger daughter, who still lives at home.  Janice is instead surprised with a telegram from her husband Paul stating he wants a divorce.  From there, the book takes the reader through the summer months with Janice and her two daughters (the older one returns home, having failed at starting a magazine), each living their own lives and not sharing their burdens with the others, ignoring the impending divorce and what it might mean for their daily lives.

Each character let something get out of control, and each character is determined to fix her life on her own.  The story makes it easy to understand how 'regular' people can get into unacceptable, irresponsible, dangerous situations.  It seems that one bad decision follows another.

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything is a great sandwich book.  Read it, enjoy it, laugh and gasp.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Prairie Evers

Prairie EversPrairie Evers by Ellen Airgood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I bought this book from Ellen Airgood at an author reading/signing event in De Tour Village, Michigan.  It's a young adult genre book, but it's really a book for all readers.

Prairie Evers has just moved to New Platz, New York, with her parents, from North Carolina.  Until now, she has been home-schooled by her Grammy, who is staying in North Carolina.  Prairie is lonely and struggling with the sudden changes in her life and starts raising chickens to keep her mind occupied, when her parents tell her she has to start going to school.  At school, she meets a girl named Ivy and they become fast friends. Imagine the challenges she faced at school, with a name like Prairie and a Southern accent!  Prairie and Ivy save each other and learn more about the world and themselves in the process. The story even made chickens seem interesting, which I thought was impossible!

This is a book about friendship, family, trust, hard work, perseverance and silver linings.  It's a great book, for all readers from ten to one hundred.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Testing the Current

Testing the CurrentTesting the Current by William McPherson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the story of a year in Tommy McAllister's life, beginning when he's 8, then going back to his 7th year and ending just past where it begins.  It takes place in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, which is called Grand Rivere, in the late 1930s.  Tommy's family is wealthy, so they didn't feel much effect from the Depression, but some of his classmates and neighbors did.  He's careful not to show off in front of those who have less than he has.

Tommy is trying to figure out life, and he learns a lot during this year.  He's very curious, always asking questions, and giving out too much information at inappropriate times.  The book effectively illuminates that time in history, and the class levels and traditions of that time.  I imagine this is what my grandmother's life was like then, as she lived in that town during that time and had small children much like Tommy.

It's a subtle tale, a bit wordy, but very enjoyable.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

The Third Son

The Third SonThe Third Son by Julie  Wu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was not in the mood to read about a Taiwanese immigrant (I've read many immigrant stories lately), but when I started this book, I couldn't put it down.  Saburo, the main character, is the third son of a Taiwanese politician.  He's the least favorite child, and his parents habitually call him stupid and put him down at every opportunity, even to the point of giving him such a meager amount of food, he becomes malnourished.  He meets his dream girl at the age of 8 during an air raid, and when he finds her again years later, she is with his eldest brother and biggest rival.

This is an amazing tale of perseverance, familial sense of duty and loyalty, and learning to depend on yourself rather than others.  Saburo learns he can survive, and succeed, despite his family's continued resistance and the bad luck that seems to follow him.

It's a good one...put it on your reading list, if it isn't there already!  

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