My Review: Lillian Dunkle is in legal hot water but she still The Ice Cream Queen. And don't you forget it, darlings!
"Ever since my arrest at NBC, andMy Review: Lillian Dunkle is in legal hot water but she still The Ice Cream Queen. And don't you forget it, darlings!
"Ever since my arrest at NBC, and my conviction for tax evasion, it has become open season on Lillian Dunkle. Never mind that the U.S. embassy was bombed in Beirut. Or that President Reagan has announced he's deploying a missile shield in outer space. Some weasel-faced journalists have nothing more important to do, it seems, than to dig up dirt about me."
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street is much more solid and funny than the "fluffy beach-read" cover suggests. The novel opens with Lillian Dunkle introducing herself to her readers and beginning her first person retelling of her life. By the fifth page, we know Lillian is in some trouble but she is far more annoyed by her current situation than upset by it: "WPIX was only a local station, for God's sake. And we aired at 7:00 A.M on a Sunday--A Sunday! And maybe I had had a few drinks. But darlings, you try hosting a kiddie show for thirteen goddamn years." After arriving in America as Malka Treynovsky Bialystoker, 6 year-old Malka/Lillian and all of her siblings are forced to find work but after the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire two years prior, she has a rough time finding a job so she learns to hustle (singing, dancing, and cleaning.) One day, while running around the neighborhood trying to find her father, she is trampled by the Italian Ice man's horse, crushing her leg and leaving her crippled. In a turn of events, the Italian Ice man and his family take Malka home from the hospital and she begins assisting them with making the Italian ices. Malka changes her name to be more American and to more fully integrate herself into her new family. Lillian Dinello works hard and learns everything about the family business, from how to physically crank the machines to profit margins. The story progresses through her marriage to Albert Dunkle and her savvy business skills. In an era when women and the drive for success in business did not usually mix, Lillian faces obstacles and each one only makes her stronger. She believes that her hard work makes her superior and says wonderful things like: "So your eldest brother, Lord Such-and-Such, inherited the family estate, and you, Poor Thing, had to make your fortune in the New World instead? Please. Don't even bother me with that." She is "old school" and definitely makes her opinions known, and like anyone that's had to pull themselves up from the gutter, she has no time for things she considers frivolous and unneccessary such as paperwork: "Today, if one of our franchises wants to hire a sixteen-year-old to scoop ice cream for a summer, the management is required to provide more information than my entire family was asked to supply at Ellis Island." Which leads to some problems..... This book is a funny take on what might be behind a headline. When we see something in the news about a rich business person taking a fall, we are rarely sympathetic. Author Susan Jane Gilman lets Lillian show us her side of the story. This book is funny, extremely detailed, and provides a great heroine.
Ariel Lawhon transports readers to 1930's New York gatherings full of corrupt police, politicians, and showgirls. Too often movies and books depictingAriel Lawhon transports readers to 1930's New York gatherings full of corrupt police, politicians, and showgirls. Too often movies and books depicting this era take on the masculine angle of guns and gangsters with girls on the side and while women have often been embroiled in controversies and conspiracies, the focus is generally on the men. Until now. Lawhon's three female main characters exemplify the three layers of social strata of the time: politician's wife, working class woman, and showgirl. Each of these women have problems that the other women have no concept of, but they are all linked in that they each have ties to Judge Joseph Crater. The three storylines are all equally interesting. Often I find myself reading a book with multiple storylines and will rush through one storyline to get to the next. While I must admit that Ritzi (the mistress) was my favorite, Maria (the maid,) and Stella (the wife) each found themselves stuck in tough situations that I found myself squirming empathetically to find out what they were going to do. As for the judge.....I haven't loved to hate a character so much in a long time! Each time I thought I had figured out what really happened to him, the story took another turn. I was flipping the final pages with a passion to know what happened next while simultaneously savoring every word. I also especially loved the author's notes at the end of the novel supplying information about the characters and settings in the story because I found myself wondering throughout my reading which parts were true and which were provided through Lawhon's imagination. The characters, settings, and multiple story angles made The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress the best reading vacation I have been on in a long time. So grab a copy, pour a glass of champagne, and prepare to travel back to noir 1930's New York.
** I received this book in exchange for an honest review **
What a great read! I was excited about this book as soon as I was contacted to review it. I was drawn in as soon as I started reading the story but waWhat a great read! I was excited about this book as soon as I was contacted to review it. I was drawn in as soon as I started reading the story but was worried that 500+ pages would cause me to lose interest somewhere along the way. That was not the case. It is hard to describe this book because I haven't really read anything like it. This is a book that is difficult to fit into a single genre but I will try. The setting is not dystopian nor post-apocolyptic but occurs in a time after The Great Chaos. The village is modern yet rustic, (there is a library and upholstered furniture but no technology.) I got a feeling of "The Lord of the Rings" in that there are other villages, journeys, and deeper lessons in every action, but this novel contained no magic or fantasy creatures. There are sex lessons but this is not erotica. The story is a feminine retelling of warrior training stories. Where other such stories focus on physical strength, brutality, pain, and imminent battle, this story tells of young men being trained to maintain The Peace by being taught to honor other tribes, to read someone by their body language, use their intelligence, and resort to combat as a final option in defense of their villages. I'm pleased to hear that the author is currently working on another book to accompany this one that will tell the story from a handful of other characters' points of view.
This is in the running to be my favorite historical fiction read of 2014 and will definitely be on my favorite historical fiction reads of all time liThis is in the running to be my favorite historical fiction read of 2014 and will definitely be on my favorite historical fiction reads of all time list. Described as similar to Diamante's The Red Tent, I found it to remind me much more of Hoffman's The Dovekeepers. Desert villages, a little girl who wants to read and not be married off to an old man, the microcosm of families, and Adela's knowledge of her expanding world were all a rich story unto themselves, but the final third of the book is an even larger story. Readers will follow Adela from a young girl hopeful to not be rounded up as an orphan to a woman far from her birthplace and loved ones. The henna artwork pulls so many of the individual stories together. I learned so much about a time and culture that I knew nothing about before reading this book. I definitely recommend this book to any readers interested in expanding their knowledge of Yemenite Jews from a female perspective. Read my full review here: http://ivoryowlreviews.blogspot.com/2......more
Sue Monk Kidd's childhood in Sylvester, Georgia influenced her debut novel, The Secret Life of Bees. After publication in 2002, it didn't budge from tSue Monk Kidd's childhood in Sylvester, Georgia influenced her debut novel, The Secret Life of Bees. After publication in 2002, it didn't budge from the New York Times bestseller list for almost three years. After selling more than 8 million copies worldwide, it would be an understatement to say that anticipation of her latest release is met with high expectations. So let me tell you...it doesn't disappoint.
Inspired by the historical figure Sarah Grimke, Sue Monk Kidd describes The Invention of Wings as "a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women. A masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world." The novel opens on Charlotte telling her ten year old daughter, Hetty "Handful," a story of people in Africa being able to fly, but after they were taken as slaves their magic disappeared. Charlotte tells this story while the two are snuggled up in their bed in the Grimkes' barn. The next day, Sarah Grimke's eleventh birthday, Sarah's parents give her Handful as a gift. Sarah rejects her gift, and is exiled to her room to write eighteen letters of apology to the party's guests, while Handful is positioned in her new sleeping quarters on a mat outside of Sarah's door. She'd "lay on the floor in the hall, trying to stay warm in the draft, twisting round in search of the softest floorboard."
Over the next thirty-five years, each woman sees the injustices of slavery and dreams of freedom. While her entire family, (as well as most Southerners,) defends slavery, Sarah Grimke rejects it at every turn. Handful gains knowledge, strength, and cunning from her mother, Charlotte. She experiences losses but finds a sense of self by realizing "I have one mind for the master to see. I have another mind for what I know is me." Sarah's aspirations, loves, and acceptance by her family are all crushed. Her comment on one occasion is "My aspiration to become a jurist had been laid to rest in the Graveyard of Failed Hopes, an all-female establishment." Each woman repeatedly challenges the restrictions placed upon them and each setback merely serves to motivate them further.
It is only her younger sister, Angelina, that shares Sarah's views of equality between men and women and the abolition of slavery. Due to a large gap in age, Sarah treats Angelina like her own daughter and Angelina follows in her older sister's attempts to have her voice heard and do something to change the current institutions. History tells us how the the two sisters were leaders in the suffragist movement, but Kidd provides a backstory of how they may have come to their beliefs.
The Invention of Wings has recently been selected by Oprah Winfrey for her Book Club 2.0. Winfrey explained that her choice was made the moment she finished reading the novel because “these strong female characters represent the women that have shaped our history and, through Sue’s imaginative storytelling, give us a new perspective on slavery, injustice and the search for freedom.”
Taking four years to complete, it is hard to distinguish which characters are real or invented, just as it impossible to tell which parts of the story are factual and which are imagined. Kidd provides great detail in a special section at the end of the novel about her thoughts while she was creating what is sure to be her next best seller.
I have never read such a heart-pounding, stomach-wrenching, nail-biting, edge of my seat, can't put down thriller! I had to force myself to slow down I have never read such a heart-pounding, stomach-wrenching, nail-biting, edge of my seat, can't put down thriller! I had to force myself to slow down because I was tripping over every word to get to the next. Just like the husbands we see in Sleeping with the Enemy or Enough, Gordon is a powerful man who is viewed as a pillar of the community. His expectation of perfection manipulates every situation to his advantage while putting up a perfect facade. His wife, Jillian, believes she can control his rage by being perfect, but as a working mother, things fall through the cracks. A forgotten lunch, a missed pick-up, a child's public tantrum are all chalked up to a bad day for a regular working mom. But Gordon's keeping a list, retaliating, and leaving no loose ends. The fact that he is a cop lends an extra layer of protection to his cruelty. He has created a perfect image of himself and a very tarnished image of his wife. His abuse knows no bounds whether they be physcial, emotional, financial, or reproductive. Read my full review here: http://www.ivoryowlreviews.blogspot.c... **I received this novel in exchange for an honest review**...more
Intimates and Fools is a cheeky, fun read that explores women's complicated relationship with our undergarments and breasts. We are poked, prodded andIntimates and Fools is a cheeky, fun read that explores women's complicated relationship with our undergarments and breasts. We are poked, prodded and pinched into our bras and can't wait to take them off. We shop for the newest colors and styles, shuck out small fortunes, and then curse their restrictiveness. Laura Madeline Wiseman's poetry will have you conspiratorially chuckling and each page of Sally Deskins' painted illustrations are frame-worthy. This short book is a great gift for your sister, best friend or mother. Or better yet, treat yourself...and your boobs!
This flash fiction piece of work may appear small, but it is indeed mighty. Part journal format, part poetry, but all fiercely female, Spindrift deconThis flash fiction piece of work may appear small, but it is indeed mighty. Part journal format, part poetry, but all fiercely female, Spindrift deconstructs feminine ideals through modern perceptions of mermaid myths. While a few statements in this work contain flashes of thought toward the idealized concept mermaid's represent ("paint their lips with crushed anemones,") Wiseman provides a feminist interpretation of the fantasy. In Against Myth the mermaid is not long flowing hair and seashell pasties, she exists regardless of belief and outside of scientific explanation (no exoskeletons or horns) and gender norms (hairy armpits and unibrows.) In Whoppers, Wiseman references Peter Pan's mermaids and gives a chillingly realistic interpretation of Melville's Moby Dick and Disney's The Little Mermaid: Ahab lied. There was no whaler, no dick of Moby. Ahab was simpy a dick. The old man in the sea, he lied. Not a marlin. Ariel lied. She wasn't mermaid or fish, just another voiceless woman with amnesia. Anyone would forget an event that turned every step into a feeling of knives. Wiseman walks a fine line between providing us with another, more feminist, mermaid narrative and pointing out inconsistencies in yet another perpetuated myth personifying feminine concepts. The effect is a dreamy swirl of bedtime story and call to action. Again, I am beyond impressed with Wiseman's work and strongly recommend it to anyone, but especially those interested in gender theory.
My review: I was so excited to read this book. Bracing for the second snowstorm in two weeks, I stocked up on supplies and we all planned on just hunkMy review: I was so excited to read this book. Bracing for the second snowstorm in two weeks, I stocked up on supplies and we all planned on just hunkering down at home. I snuggled up and read the best retelling of Sleeping Beauty I could ever imagine. I'm not a fan of sweeping, sighing romances and too often fairy tale retellings are too sappy for me. The main character of While Beauty Slept is not the princess but instead a village girl who leaves her childhood farm to work in the castle. Beginning as a chambermaid and rising through the castle caste system to become the closest person to the royal family, Elise Dalriss is constantly questioning everyone's motives. This story has everything a great fairy tale should have: a castle, doting townspeople, and a loving king and queen, but also: twin sisters practicing herbal medicine and dark arts, womanizing knights, and betrayals. I compare this book to Mists of Avalon with an upstairs/downstairs theme because Elise is a servant but in direct contact with the royal family. 55 years ago, Disney adapted Grimm's Sleeping Beauty for the big screen and this year Maleficent releases in May. Blackwell's timing for this release is perfect. I read this book in paperback version and I suggest reading it in the same format if possible because this book begs you to cuddle up with it at night for a grown up bedtime story.
** I received this book in exchange for an honest review **
For the last fifty years Aaliya Saleh has begun a new translation every January first. Now she is seventy-two years old and has chosen a 900 page unfiFor the last fifty years Aaliya Saleh has begun a new translation every January first. Now she is seventy-two years old and has chosen a 900 page unfinished book to translate this year. As Aaliya tells readers why she has chosen which books to translate, we begin to see inside her little world. Any book loving hermit can understand the contentment she feels where others see a hermit. She doesn't produce the translations for the public or for pay, she simple does them because the words make her happy. The stories around her apartment are interesting in that she is in the middle of a war, has a gossipy group of neighbors, and is outcast from her family. As a bookworm, she's a very lovable character:
I walk myself back to my bedroom, back to the stack of books on my mirrorless vanity, unread books that I intend to read, a large stack. Choosing which book isn't difficult. The choice is typically the last one I brought home. I acquire books constantly and place them in the to-read pile. When I finish with whatever book I'm reading, I begin the last book I bought, the one that caught my attention last. Of course, the pile grows and grows until I decide that I'm not going to buy a single book until I read my stack. Sometimes that works.
I mean what book lover can't relate to that? This book is a wonderful microcosm of daily life and Aaliya is a lovingly relatable character. I will be recommending this, especially to women's fiction lovers looking for a bit of diversity.
This book is a great addition to "Lean In" and covers aspects other books such as "The Feminine Mystique" missed. For example: "The women who were inteThis book is a great addition to "Lean In" and covers aspects other books such as "The Feminine Mystique" missed. For example: "The women who were interviewed for this book, represent a wide range of ages, ethnicities, ad backgrounds. Joan C. Williams interviewed 67 women for The New Girls' Network. These women were roughly 40 to 60 years of age and at the top of their fields. They worked in business, medicine, academia, government, and the legal profession. Three ran their own businesses. Eleven identified themselves as women of color, specifically as black (or African American), Latina, and Asian (or Asian American). The interviews were conducted over the phone between June 2, 2010, and November 6, 2012."
"For the National Science Foundation Project, 60 women-of-color scientists were interviewed by Erika R. Hall, a PhD candidate at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. The scientists interviewed represent a variety of scientific disciplines Most of the women worked in academic settings. They identified as black (or African American), Latina, and Asian (or Asian American). These women were roughly 30 to 60 years of age. The interviews were conducted over the phone between June 4, 2012, and October 5, 2012." With a foreword by Anne-Marie Slaughter, Williams and Dempsey identify four patterns of behavior that create the primary obstacles to women's advancement to leadership positions across every industry:
Prove-It-Again! The Tightrope The Maternal Wall Tug of War After detailing these four behavior patterns, the authors give readers great section such as BADASS WOMEN WHO BROKE THE RULES, options for how to respond to various situations, and how to protect your rights.
I would like to say I was equally involved in each storyline but, in fact, I was more interested in Sophie's. I usually steer clear of German occupatiI would like to say I was equally involved in each storyline but, in fact, I was more interested in Sophie's. I usually steer clear of German occupation stories and war stories in general. I respect the stories that are written to illuminate these topics but I usually can't handle them as a personal reading choice. However, Jojo Moyes created a novel with the perfect combination of hope and despair. This wonderfully complex story is a reminder of a dark chapter in history that obliterated masses of stories. Read my full review here: http://www.ivoryowlreviews.blogspot.c......more