It definitely falls under the "Dynamite Comes in Little Packages" Category; it's a small book in terms of physical size, and whiWhat a fantastic book!
It definitely falls under the "Dynamite Comes in Little Packages" Category; it's a small book in terms of physical size, and while it clocks in at 236 pages, it's a short 236 pages. And each of the words in this book counts. Each word, each brief chapter, packs a lot of punch. The chapters are mostly pretty brief; meant to reflect middle-aged, never-married Lillian's thoughts on life. Of course, love and lovers are themes that come up again and again in this book, but don't be fooled: Lillian's got a lot of lessons about life as a whole, tucked away in those stories of lovers lost.
Lillian's "spinster" status is all the more eye-opening in that she came of age in a time when marriage and family were still the predominant expectations that were placed upon women's shoulders. Her words, and this book, provide inspiration and reminders that, regardless of whether a woman achieves husband and children, a life of passion, adventure, courage, resilience, and wisdom is still possible.
On getting out of bed when in a depression: "I didn't just get out of bed on that dark day a few weeks ago. I got up, I got dressed, and I went to the supermarket. No luck [on meeting anyone] but I felt better for having put myself on the firing range. And then I had eggs in the fridge, which is so much better than not having them." (p. 201)
On telling her sister-in-law about her conquests: "Whenever I leave after telling Judy about my sex life, I know she tells George Junior my stories. I worry a little about that. But if I've learned anything, it's this: The world has never loved a spinster, and never will. The more people she tells, the merrier." (p.180)
On speaking for yourself: "You must tell your own story. Never let someone, even someone as familiar to you as your sister-in-law, think she knows you better than you know yourself. She only sees what you do; she doesn't see who you are inside."(p. 217)...more
Let me just get this out of the way. If any two or more of the following apply: a difficult relationship with your mother, your mother is dead, or youLet me just get this out of the way. If any two or more of the following apply: a difficult relationship with your mother, your mother is dead, or your mother is an alcoholic, proceed with caution. You're in for a potentially rough ride.
Summary: When Irene's problematic, alcoholic mother suddenly dies, Irene feels free to return to her hometown of Toledo, where she can pursue her career as an astronomer and scientist. Almost immediately, she becomes entangled with a colleague, George, who effortlessly blows past every defense Irene has ever built. But soon, an unsettling truth comes to life: Irene's mother and George's mother had plotted many years for them to come together. Can love that is planned and programmed and manipulated truly be love?
This book contains a somewhat predictable plot, characters who are remarkable for their extreme oddness and selfishness, elements of magical realism that remind me somewhat of Alice Hoffman, and a few moments of philosophical and sweet ruminations on love, that go a long way towards redeeming the book. Also, kudos to the author for not taking the easy way of going for an easily recognizable town. Midwest, represent!
********************SPOILER ALERT!!!! THIS IS AN ONGOING LOG OF MY IMPRESSIONS************************
2/3/15: Still reading. So far, I am hating this. I can handle the fact that a large part of the story line is about an alcoholic spacy mom dies suddenly at home alone before having a chance to make things right with her rightfully-resentful daughter. BUT the resentful daughter is just...ODD. And an asshole. In fact, ALL of the characters are assholes. Is it worth it to finish this book?...more
So far, loving it. Which, duh. Of course. Definitely one that I will read again...but with the intent to cure homesickness or invoke it? Unknown at thSo far, loving it. Which, duh. Of course. Definitely one that I will read again...but with the intent to cure homesickness or invoke it? Unknown at this juncture.
"Doorways Into the Depths" captured, stunningly, the rich nature of a summer afternoon in Southern Indiana.
"How I Tried to Become Hoosier"-a recounting of a European-Californian who moved to Bloomington, Indiana, and tried to belong, resonated with me on a gut-level--not just the author's knowing descriptions of town and gown, but the struggle to make a place your own.
"Redneck Gifts" is a wonderful exploration of the character of Indiana's people, their reserve, their hospitality, and the gross misperceptions so many people have of them.
"The Saintly and the Sinful: A Vision of Indiana Cities" is a refreshing read--not the least reason being that the author of this essay grew up in Illinois, viewing the Hoosier State as a cosmopolitan promised land. He eventually adopts Indy for his own and celebrates it in such a way that I think I may have to read this many times over and agree. And maybe propose to him....more
This exhaustively researched (long after it was originally written) and annotated memoir of Laura Ingalls Wilder was the basis for her beloved, charmiThis exhaustively researched (long after it was originally written) and annotated memoir of Laura Ingalls Wilder was the basis for her beloved, charming Little House series, and shows just how much of the Little House books were fictionalized. But even after all of the facts are presented--including the sordid and sad and problematic episodes that Wilder omitted from the novel, what we are left with is still a solid (and true) story that celebrates hearth, home, and the hard-working and courageous spirit that I believe still beats in the hearts of most Americans. ...more