Summer Reading So Far

Next to Love: A Novel by Ellen Feldman

5 out of 5 stars


From Amazon: t’s 1941. Babe throws like a boy, thinks for herself, and never expects to escape the poor section of her quiet Massachusetts town. Then World War II breaks out, and everything changes. Her friend Grace, married to a reporter on the local paper, fears being left alone with her infant daughter when her husband ships out; Millie, the third member of their childhood trio, now weds the boy who always refused to settle down; and Babe wonders if she should marry Claude, who even as a child could never harm a living thing. As the war rages abroad, life on the home front undergoes its own battles and victories; and when the men return, and civilian life resumes, nothing can go back to quite the way it was.
From postwar traumas to women’s rights, racial injustice to anti-Semitism, Babe, Grace, and Millie experience the dislocations, the acute pains, and the exhilaration of a society in flux. Along the way, they will learn what it means to be a wife, a mother, a friend, a fighter, and a survivor. Beautiful, startling, and heartbreaking, Next to Love is a love letter to the brave women who shaped a nation’s destiny.

I really love historical fiction books so I found this book a good read. I loved the characters, all though at times I was frustrated with them and for them. The pace of the book just right with the chapters follow the close friends for about 25 years, detailing their struggles, triumphs, and relationship. I stayed up several nights getting this book finished.

Mommy Tracked by Whitney Gaskell

2.5 out of 5 stars


From Amazon: For Anna, Grace, Juliet, and Chloe, the idyllic town of Orange Cove, Florida, is home…but even in paradise, balancing the challenges of motherhood and life is never easy.

With a son in the throes of the Terrible Twos, divorced restaurant critic Anna has too much on her plate to reenter the frightening world of dating—no matter how expertly her new admirer wines and dines her….Grace has three beautiful daughters and the perfect husband, yet she’s increasingly obsessed with one nagging flaw: her excess baby weight…. Ambitious Juliet is desperate to make partner at her law firm. Fortunately, her husband stays home with their twins. But at the office, Juliet is finding more than work to occupy her time….When newest mom Chloe gives birth, her husband seems indifferent to parenting their son. Chloe is so overwhelmed that she finds herself slipping into a nasty habit she thought she’d overcome.

Kind of couldn’t wait for this book to end. It started off promising but I just didn’t care what happened to the characters. Using a supplement to help you lose wait and you end up in the hospital? I had no sympathy. About to have an affair with your boss? No sympathy. Your husband gives a stranger your baby so he can go play golf? Complete sympathy but that only lasts for a few pages.

The Beginner’s Goodbye: A Novel by Anne Tyler

3 out of 5 stars


From Amazon: Anne Tyler gives us a wise, haunting, and deeply moving new novel in which she explores how a middle-aged man, ripped apart by the death of his wife, is gradually restored by her frequent appearances—in their house, on the roadway, in the market.
Crippled in his right arm and leg, Aaron spent his childhood fending off a sister who wants to manage him. So when he meets Dorothy, a plain, outspoken, self-dependent young woman, she is like a breath of fresh air. Unhesitatingly he marries her, and they have a relatively happy, unremarkable marriage. But when a tree crashes into their house and Dorothy is killed, Aaron feels as though he has been erased forever. Only Dorothy’s unexpected appearances from the dead help him to live in the moment and to find some peace.
Gradually he discovers, as he works in the family’s vanity-publishing business, turning out titles that presume to guide beginners through the trials of life, that maybe for this beginner there is a way of saying goodbye.

Several years ago I read Anne Tyler’s book, Digging to America, and loved it. So when I saw The Beginner’s Goodbye on the library shelf I decided to give it a whirl. To be honest, I was disappointed but I think that’s only because I remember loving Digging to America. This book deals with Aaron and how he handles the death of his wife Dorothy and everyone trying to help him. Interestingly, the book is written using Aaron’s voice so all of the thoughts are from a male perspective.  While I found the characters pleasing I did not get a great sense of caring one way or the other what happened to them. If you’ve got a choice between reading this book ot Digging to America, go with the latter.