This book was ... interesting. First, I should say that this is a great companion to This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. You can very neatly slipThis book was ... interesting. First, I should say that this is a great companion to This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. You can very neatly slip some of the more heavily autobiographical essays from that collection into sections of this book to paint a fuller picture of Ann Patchett's life. Lucy was mentioned briefly in, I believe, two of the essays included there. By briefly, I mean without the level of detail my curiosity craved. The two books complement each other well.
That being said, I do not think this book provides a full picture of a friendship. The way it seems to recount their meeting is that Lucy latched on to Ann in Iowa, Ann accepted it, and the two remained a constant presence in each others' lives from there. While the book kept me wondering what Lucy would do next (mostly because I knew the tale would end with her death), I never quite understood what Ann was deriving from the friendship or why she was drawn to Lucy in the first place. I got the sense that to some degree Ann was attracted to Lucy's otherness. All the things Lucy felt made her an outsider were interesting to Ann and therefore drew Ann, who is somewhat of a self admitted goody two shoes, to her. There is also the ever obvious issue of Ann serving as Lucy's constant savior. I couldn't help but wonder how true Lucy's comment about Ann wanting to be a saint (or to be viewed as a saint) really is.
The relationship seemed to be a one sided friendship at its worst. While accepting the true difficulties and tragedies of Lucy's life, I think it is fair to say that Ann painted Lucy as the neediest and most jealous of friends. At certain points, Lucy's behavior (mostly incidents in which she literally clung to Ann and acted like an impertinent attention starved child) really left me confused. I don't understand why Ann chose to remain her friend. Likely the reason I don't/can't understand is because so little of the book offers any of Ann's personal feelings or reflections. The book isn't so much about a friendship as it is about Lucy and all of her faults. The story never presented me with the good parts about Lucy that would otherwise allow me to understand why Ann loved her.
That aside, the writing in this book was nothing to celebrate. While Patchett's prose is (in general) better than most, this book wasn't particularly stunning. There were a few metaphors that didn't quite land and the language was unexciting....more
This story was utterly bizarre but somehow I loved it. And of course I did. Something strange and vaguely otherworldly happening to a young man, whileThis story was utterly bizarre but somehow I loved it. And of course I did. Something strange and vaguely otherworldly happening to a young man, while remembering to group the reader in reality? One of the reasons to love and read Murakami. I was oddly drawn in by my mental image of the Sheep Man and his dialogue. Everything felt like a dream and to some degree I suspect it was. The delightfulness of this story was supported by the amazing artwork and the great choice of typeface. All in all a great little package. ...more
Ann Patchett's prose makes my heart sing. Her writing is to clear, so fluid. I am and will forever be a huge fan. I found myself wanting to mark passaAnn Patchett's prose makes my heart sing. Her writing is to clear, so fluid. I am and will forever be a huge fan. I found myself wanting to mark passages, read entire essays aloud to my husband, and reread entire essays. I am so happy I finally got around to picking up a copy at my local bookstore. In one of the early essays, she mentions that she was somewhat afraid of publishing a non-fiction series because it would be like publishing a map to her home. She was right. That her essays felt so openness and honest was one of of the things that kept me wanting to shut everything else out if only I could read a little longer....more
My rating of this book is maybe closer to a 3.5 than a 3 but I chose to round down. Overall, a fast paced and fun read. I enjoyed the blending of mystMy rating of this book is maybe closer to a 3.5 than a 3 but I chose to round down. Overall, a fast paced and fun read. I enjoyed the blending of mystery, science fiction, and fantasy throughout. However, the mention of Google on nearly every page got tiring about halfway through. I get the author's reliance on tech to tell the story and make a point but I fear this might make the book feel dated in a few years' time. All in all, an entertaining read. ...more