Our book club has been struggling this summer, both with our reading and with our getting together to discuss what we're reading. As a result, we're g...moreOur book club has been struggling this summer, both with our reading and with our getting together to discuss what we're reading. As a result, we're going to meet this week to discuss our June and August books. We're skipping our July book, which was maybe a little depressing to add to a summer month. Anyway, thankfully our August book is the Mindy Kaling autobiography. Easy enough.
And fluffy. And only mildly funny.
I'll confess to being a bit disappointed. I don't know really what I was expecting, except maybe some wipe the tears from my eyes laughter and hilarity. I didn't get that. The book is certainly light and easy to read. It will be even easier to discuss, I'm sure.
Kaling is a good writer. She turns a phrase nicely from time to time, and her descriptions of herself are candid. I appreciate that she doesn't try to make herself more amazing than she already is (which is pretty amazing, if she does say so herself). There are certainly moments when I laughed out loud. Those came in her description of one-night stands, the "Irish" exit, and the pictures on her Blackberry.
The subtitle of this book is perhaps the most descriptive title I've ever seen in a book. Sometimes when I'm reading a book I will read almost the entire book before I understand where the title originated. Other times it is only on reflection days later. With this it was clear from the beginning--Kaling is simply sharing 200 or so pages of her concerns about growing up, friendships, work, boys and men, and fashion. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I'm just saying that sometimes it's funny, and sometimes it isn't. But all of it made me like her more and wish that we were friends. My concerns are pretty random and only mildly funny too. (less)
Dominick Dunne has got to be one of the most interesting men who have ever lived. Somehow he seemed to have a face or a personality or something about...moreDominick Dunne has got to be one of the most interesting men who have ever lived. Somehow he seemed to have a face or a personality or something about him that led people to trust him and share secrets with him. He took those secrets--and honored the secret tellers when they were honest or fair--and wrote gripping fiction and compelling nonfiction. I used to love reading what he wrote for Vanity Fair and was sad when he passed away. Surely we had lost a great story teller who knew how to make nonfiction read like fiction and fiction carry the true weight of nonfiction. Brilliant.
Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments is nonfiction. In it, Dunne recounts his own daughter's murder, which drew him in to telling the stories of victims and their families while exposing the lengths that defendents and their lawyers will go to to keep guilty men (and women) out of prison. Dunne also includes his essays on several popular trials of the '90s and early 2000s: the Menendez brothers, O.J. Simpson, and the murder of Martha Moxley and subsequent arrest--25 years later and in part because of Dunne's digging--of Michael Skakel.
There are also chapters dedicated to other murders and trials that are less familiar, except to those who have read some of Dunne's fiction. This was perhaps my favorite part of the book. It was "fun" (if one can say that regarding reading about murders and justifications) to read the true story behind some of the Dunne novels I have enjoyed over the years. He really changes remarkably little and somehow managed to avoid lawsuits even while building more than a few enemies among the rich and powerful. I wish I could have sat in a room with him for even a short time . . . I bet the conversation would have been fascinating.
Overall, I really liked this book. Why the three stars instead of four or five? I guess it's still too soon for me to read 10 chapters about O.J. Simpson. The trial truly was a debacle of justice, with the murders of two innocent people getting swept under the rug of pretending that a police officer's racism was a worse crime. Those 137 pages left me disgusted and hurt and angry all over again. It also left me grateful that he was caught in the Vegas robbery and is finally serving time. I find it ironic that for robbery he is serving a minimum of 9 years, with a maximum of 33 years, while he served no time for murdering two people. Yeah, it's still too soon. (less)