Today I thought I’d share the books I read in September. I managed to finish four of them! That’s averaging about a book per week, which made me pretty happy! I had a fifth book I started and abandoned, so I’m not even mentioning it here. Instead, I’ll share the four books I read and enjoyed!
Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy – I have heard good things about Julie Murphy’s book Dumplin, but wasn’t able to get a copy from the library. Instead, my library had this one. It was a great read, Julie writes characters with a lot of depth. Ramona is our main character. She’s a senior in high school who is the most adult person in her household, basically caring for her irresponsible sister and hopeless father. They live in a tiny trailer where after they were forced from their home when Hurricane Katrina hit. Her parents split up and Ramona and her sister stayed with their father. Ramona now works two jobs trying to help support the family and spends her days with her friends/co-workers. She is pining for her summer romance with a girl who has since returned to her home two hours away when her childhood best friend Freddie moves back to the neighborhood. They grow close and suddenly Ramona is questioning everything she thought she knew about herself as she finds herself falling in love with him. Overall it was a kind of a different sort of coming of age story and I also like that it didn’t necessarily end in a neat little bow, but it was satisfying. 3.5/4 stars.
Class Mom by Laurie Gelman – I’d seen this book on someone else’s blog (I can’t remember who though, I really need to write these things down!) and it looked like a fun read. It’s about a mom who is one of the older moms in her son’s class as she’s had a late in life baby and how her PTA president friend coerces her into being the class mom for her son’s kindergarten classroom. She’s a no nonsense kind of mom and her sarcastic emails to the parents in the class are some of the best parts of the book. Most chapters start with one of these emails and then we see the responses. This class has all different types of parents and I think moms will relate to some of what they deal with. The rest of the story is a hair on the weak side, with our protagonist mom kind of pining for her high school crush when she discovers he has a daughter in her son’s class. But then of course she realizes she’s happier with her own husband by the end of the book. I didn’t necessarily enjoy that spin, but overall it was a fun read with the interactions between the various parents and I definitely found myself laughing at many points. 3/4 stars.
The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan – After I read Glitter and Glue last month I knew I’d want to read anything Kelly writes. Her prose is amazing. The Middle Place details Kelly’s experience when being diagnosed as a young mother with breast cancer and what happens when her father is diagnosed with bladder cancer as she’s recovering. Kelly is extremely close to her father, so she explores a lot of her relationship with both him and her mother from childhood to early adulthood and the shared experience they have in dealing with cancer side by side. Every other chapter is something from her past and the alternating chapters are in the present. Reading her book you feel like you’re having coffee with a good friend. And even with the subject being heavily weighted in cancer, it’s not that dark and depressing, it’s actually somewhat uplifting and I find it is more about family relationships and dynamics than it is about cancer. It will make you contemplate your relationships with your parents as a child and as an adult. And not in a bad way. I think it’s good to stop and think about. I cannot recommend this book enough. 4/4 stars.
The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan – Marina Keegan was a Yale graduate with a promising future when she was in a fatal car crash just days after her graduation. In her memory, one of her beloved professors and her family compiled a collection of essays and fiction pieces she had written in her writing classes at Yale. She was extremely talented and it’s a shame we will never see more from her than what’s contained in this book. I especially enjoyed her short fiction, she wrote short stories that contained more depth and intrigue than some longer novels I’ve read. I’ve often wished I could be a writer and having read this book I have realized, it’s never too late to try. I may look into some creative writing classes, even if it’s just something for fun. This is a nice fast read and I would also highly recommend it. 4/4 stars.
We’re moving into the hibernation season where a book and a blanket sound more inviting than being out doing things, so I think my reading progress will increase. Have you read anything good lately?