Rachel Jensen has an almost perfect life: two beautiful children, a terrific husband, a nice house in a small town, and a job that she enjoys. AlthougRachel Jensen has an almost perfect life: two beautiful children, a terrific husband, a nice house in a small town, and a job that she enjoys. Although she is often a worrier and pessimistic, it still takes her by surprise when her entire world crashes around. Her daughter has turned into a sullen, angry, volatile teenager practically overnight. And then when Kate is left alone with her baby brother, a horrific accident occurs that threatens to tear the family apart.
The book was pretty good and kept my attention longer than most of the recent bad books I've read, but it wasn't terrific. Shapiro seemed to drag things out and by the time I read about the incidents that she had been alluding to throughout the book, they were not only not a surprise, but completely anticlimactic. It could have been better, but it wasn't a horrible book. So-so. ...more
Rosalind had two mommies, but after a tragic accident involving "foodstuffs," she's left with no mommies, only the sperm donor "father" she refers toRosalind had two mommies, but after a tragic accident involving "foodstuffs," she's left with no mommies, only the sperm donor "father" she refers to as "donorboy." She doesn't care about school. Her old friends no longer hold any interest for her. And she's taken up smoking. Sean is at a loss for what to do. One day he's a single man who gets occasional updates about Rosalind from her moms, the next he's suddenly a real father with all the rights and responsibilities. This epistolary novel is full of emotions and through it we see both Sean and Rosalind learn to live with grief and, in the process, grow up a little.
While I didn't find this to be nearly as fantastic as Halpin's memoir, It Takes a Worried Man, it was enjoyable. It was stuffed with pop culture and had several laugh-out-loud moments (I particularly enjoyed Rosalind breaking the hockey player's nose and the BINGO games). ...more
Living in a teeny tiny town myself, I was interested to read this. Also, I've always wanted to live on a small island. After reading this I'm not entiLiving in a teeny tiny town myself, I was interested to read this. Also, I've always wanted to live on a small island. After reading this I'm not entirely sure I could do it. But it's an interesting read. I found it to drag at times, but overall a good description of her life on a teensy island in Alaska....more
This book is just plain awesome. Ever wanted to know anything about cadavers? This is the book for you. You will probably even find out way more thanThis book is just plain awesome. Ever wanted to know anything about cadavers? This is the book for you. You will probably even find out way more than you wanted to. You find out what may happen to you if you donate your body to science (it can be way more interesting than a boring old dissection lab, let me tell you); what happens during the embalming process (I'm skipping that myself), cremation, and the future (maybe?) of disposing of cadavers; what can happen in a plane crash; and what exactly a cadaver's role in bullets and bombs really is. If nothing else, the book will force you to think about what you want to happen to your body after you've exited it (Roach has much more tact and respect than I do).
I found this to be absolutely fascinating. If I hadn't have decided weeks before what to do with my body after I'm gone, I probably would have gone for donating it to science after reading this. It can really be put to good use for countless others. Unfortunately for science I discovered this awesome company called Eternal Reefs that puts you in the ocean. Wait, it gets better: you're cremated, then your family can travel down (or over, depending on your starting location) to Florida and mix up your remains with some cement (my mom has already told me that if I go first, she's not doing the mixing herself, but will gladly watch the company do it--something they not only allow, but encourage), then the cement is put into a mold to create a man-made reef (complete with a plaque that states you name and maybe a bit more info), and then later they cart the reef to one of their authorized spots and have a viewing day where the families get to view the reef, take pictures, etc., then the next day they charter a boat and all your family and friends can go out and watch them drop your reef into the ocean. Cool, right? Supposedly they last forever. I'm not naive enough to believe that, but I know that it'll last a hell of a lot longer than most graves; and it has the ecological benefit of helping preserve the ocean and its wildlife. My mom's doing it too. I'm more excited about it than I should be seeing as it can't be done until after I've kicked it.
So back to the book--I found it to be really great and chock full of fun facts that my family and co-workers really wished I kept to myself. I don't get grossed out often, but if you have a weak stomach, you may have a few problems getting through this one (trust me, I'm very glad that I decided to skip the cannibalism chapter during lunch and come back long after I had any feeling of food remaining in my tummy). Really great read....more
Kitty is a spoiled, self-centered woman living in Hong Kong with her husband, Walter (whom she married in a panic only after finding her younger sisteKitty is a spoiled, self-centered woman living in Hong Kong with her husband, Walter (whom she married in a panic only after finding her younger sister engaged before herself). Walter is a bacteriologist, and is as boring as he sounds; but desperately in love with Kitty. Desperately in love, that is until the day he discovers that she is having an affair. Kitty's life is soon turned upside down as she is forced to move with Walter to the heart of a cholera epidemic, with the almost certain risk of death. As if moving away from the city to a village of death isn't enough; Kitty finally understands that Walter is purposefully trying to kill her. Once she arrives in the village, however, Kitty finds that there is a lot more to life than parties and dresses and one-sided love affairs.
I really enjoyed this one. While my own life is not exactly like Kitty's, there were many similarities between our situations. Reading this after my life-altering break up (yeah, I'm still hung up on that), I was really able to see how much of a jackass my ex is (he is very, very similar to Charlie. Just saying). The book is very quotable, my favorite being: "She wished to despise him, because so long as she only hated him she knew that she was very near loving him...It is a great misfortune to have a heart." Or, at least quotable to me and my shredded heart (oh, it's way past broken). While I sort of balk at one reviewer's description of this book as early chick lit, it is an apt description. Anyway, this one spoke to me and I really liked witnessing Kitty's growth and coming to terms with her actions. Now on to the movie, where I bet Edward Norton won't make Walter so boring......more
This is not the book I should have been reading at this exact point in time. I can be a total hypochondriac--but only about the big stuff. A few signsThis is not the book I should have been reading at this exact point in time. I can be a total hypochondriac--but only about the big stuff. A few signs of a cold, eh. Doesn't faze me. But big, big stuff? I'm convinced that something major is going to happen. Take for instance breast cancer--I know I'm going to get it. Know it for a fact. Why, you might ask? No idea, but I know it's coming--it's just a matter of when. Then we can take the time when I was absolutely convinced that I was both pregnant AND HIV positive because of my Scottish boyfriend I had at the time. AIDS runs rampant in Edinburgh. So I'm HIV positive (and somehow pregnant). Totally overlooking the fact that 1) Angus does not live in Edinburgh, he lives on the tiny Isle of Skye and 2) we always used condoms successfully (btw--I was never pregnant and continue to test negatively for HIV 4 years later). So anyway, after some strange and unexplained symptoms, I started digging around my copy of "Our Bodies, Ourselves" and another women's health book I have and now I am absolutely convinced that I have ovarian cancer. I do have a lot of the symptoms, but they can also be explained away by stress (which I have had quite a bit of lately, what with the love of my life leaving me and all). Want to terrify yourself? Convince yourself you have ovarian cancer and start reading about how it's diagnosed and the treatment plans. Then pretend you're me and concentrate on how much you really want children. Forget horror movies, this is the real deal.
So with my overactive imagination, reading a book written by the husband of a 32-year-old woman (that's me in 5 months) diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer is not the best way to spend my time. But in a lot of ways it was worth it. Halpin is a high school teacher, married with a three-year-old daughter when they get the horrible news. He writes about Kirsten's diagnosis, meetings with the medical teams, treatments, and everything in between. We get a lot of pop culture, a lot of dark humor, and an awful lot of honesty. Sarcasm is king...and that makes me happy. Halpin describes life as a temporary single parent; the recipient of a ton of pity; and his fear of losing the most important person in his life. Sometimes he is angry, sometimes he is sad. He's almost always funny.
I found this to be a great, great book. There's a lot of cursing, a lot of soul-searching, and a lot of questions. Many of the questions can't be answered, but like all of us, he tries his best with what he has to work with. Recommended to anyone who does not have a ridiculous imagination and convinced that she has ovarian cancer. Although recommended to those aforementioned hypochondriacs if they do actually get a diagnosis of cancer. Let's hope that means I won't be rereading this in a few weeks....more
Amy Haskel is a junior at Eli University, the editor of the Literary Magazine, and waiting to be tapped into Quill & Ink--the literary society. HeAmy Haskel is a junior at Eli University, the editor of the Literary Magazine, and waiting to be tapped into Quill & Ink--the literary society. Her interview, though, is rather strange: she can't see any of her interviewers, the girl she assumes is her sponsor is sitting in the class Amy is currently skipping, and the panel seems to know everything about her. Things get even stranger when she receives a note. This note isn't decorated with the Quill & Ink colors and the seal is that of Rose & Grave, the most secret, most elite, most prestigious secret society on campus. One that also does not tap women. If Amy is confused at first, things only get worse from here. She goes through some very strange initiation ceremonies, is constantly being distanced from her real friends, and making new friends with her fellow brothers and sisters. If the rush of a foreign experience isn't enough, it turns out that immediately there is a major power struggle within the society. One that Amy will be thrust in the middle of.
This was very enjoyable. Amy is a likable character, with flaws and self-doubts (but not too many to make her whiny). The pace of the book was good and kept me interested throughout. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series....more
This was the second in the Ivy League series and nearly as good as the first. More drama in the Rose & Grave tomb. Good, simple chick-lit. ExcitedThis was the second in the Ivy League series and nearly as good as the first. More drama in the Rose & Grave tomb. Good, simple chick-lit. Excited to read the next....more
Blessings is the swankiest house/property around. The old house has been in the Blessing family for as long as anyone can remember; and Skip, fresh ouBlessings is the swankiest house/property around. The old house has been in the Blessing family for as long as anyone can remember; and Skip, fresh out of prison, has found employment there. He also found a baby in a box left outside his apartment over the garage. Skip decides to care for the baby on his own, but is careful not to let Lydia Blessing, his employer, find out about the newborn. Lydia Blessing has lived at Blessings her entire adult life, and now she mainly lives in the past. In her eighties, she lives alone and is quite unhappy. She's not close to her only child, Meredith. She was widowed by WWII mere months after her wedding; and her best friend died years ago. Inevitably, Lydia finds out about the child, but instead of insisting the Skip leave or turn the baby over to authorities, she begins to help him care for the child and an unlikely friendship begins.
I agree with other reviewers that the book was slow to begin, but after it picked up, I really enjoyed it. The characters--especially Lydia--are well-defined. It's a story of new beginnings, which always involve re-examining the past. Both Skip and Lydia evolve over the course of the novel--Skip eager for the change; Lydia, not so much. It's a nice story and a good read....more
I can't even summon the will to write a real review on this one. I did not like it. Gay man moves from Virginia to NYC. He lives with roommates. He'sI can't even summon the will to write a real review on this one. I did not like it. Gay man moves from Virginia to NYC. He lives with roommates. He's a hypochondriac. He does not write in chapters. There were two parts where I actually laughed out loud (the fat man stuck on the toilet and his discussion with his Aquarian roommate). But otherwise it blew. ...more
I read this mainly because I wanted to prove the naysayers wrong. I kept reading reviews that said this was horrible, that Eckler is a horrible mom-toI read this mainly because I wanted to prove the naysayers wrong. I kept reading reviews that said this was horrible, that Eckler is a horrible mom-to-be, etc. I'm thinking that they're just old stick-in-the-muds who lost their sense of humor when they gave birth. Not so. They were right. While I didn't *hate* the book, it was pretty horrible. Short synopsis: Eckler gets knocked up the night of her engagement party and is thrust into pregnancy and motherhood unexpectedly. She's a 29-year-old journalist who is used to partying and writes about the social scene. We are with her as she goes through her pregnancy and (unfortunately) are privy to her thoughts, fears, and neurosis.
Even shorter synopsis: whine whine whine, the baby is making me fat. Whine whine whine, why am I eating so many Big Macs? Whine whine whine, pregnancy is horrible. Whine whine whine, my friends aren't interested in me anymore. While I'm not quite as hard on her about the smoking (she honestly doesn't smoke that much, and as a smoker myself--yes, I know, I'm quitting soon--I can understand how hard it would be to immediately quit due to an unexpected pregnancy) as most others, and I really don't think that getting a nanny is absurd because she primarily works from home (and hell, wouldn't you get one too if you could afford it?). I'm right there with the other readers on a lot of things, though. She's whiny. Oh, so whiny. Self-obsessed. Self-indulgent. Self-centered. I think you're getting the idea. Everything's all about her her her. How the pregnancy is horrible and her ass is so fat. I DON"T CARE. Her whiny "No one is paying enough attention to me" is obnoxious the first time. Then the next 300 times are even worse. Please don't read this book. It will just make you hate her and hate yourself for wasting your time....more