Turn off your cell phone and butter up some popcorn when you read Spare Change because you’re reading a book you’ll swear some studio has already boug...moreTurn off your cell phone and butter up some popcorn when you read Spare Change because you’re reading a book you’ll swear some studio has already bought the rights to turn into a movie. I admit, I’m drawn to southern characters and southern tales and Ms. Crosby has cooked up a good one in Spare Change. The characters are fully developed and layered with endearing traits, annoying habits and the right amount of quirkiness. They were so real, I wanted to sit in a booth next to them just to eavesdrop on their conversations you’ll be sure they’re having outside the book’s narrative.
Olivia Westerly is a confirmed bachelorette in an era when women aspired to marriage versus a career. Marriage means children and children mean emotional imprisonment. Olivia passes judgment on motherhood as she describes the birth of a friend’s child as having “added another one to her litter” and the baby as “howling like a banshee”” and how all the children “suck on her like so many leaches”. Ms. Crosby puts the reader in the mind of the characters in such a way that although we may not see the world the same way as her characters, the reader will certainly find her characters believable. The dialogue is refreshing, as well. Many writers struggle with bringing a voice to their characters through effective dialogue, but not Ms. Crosby. It is another hidden gem in this thoroughly enjoyable tale.
When Olivia is past childbearing years, she allows herself to fall hopelessly and deeply in love with Charlie Doyle. But their life together is not destined to be long one. When he passes suddenly, he unexpectedly leaves her with his young grandson. Except Olivia doesn’t know it, because besides her own story, there is another story unfolding which will soon bring together the lives of a young boy and an older woman who never wanted children.
Ethan Allen Doyle grew up in a combative household with a father who could be cruel and a mother so self absorbed and resentful of her life she couldn’t nurture him. The boy is a survivor who is both wise and naïve. Without some positive change to the trajectory of his life, you sense he will end up living the same sad life his parents do. When he runs away from home under tragic circumstances, he ends up on the doorstep of Olivia Westerly Doyle. The reason he is there and the ensuing drama bring a touch of suspense to this southern read.
Spare Change is a book about transformation, most notably Ethan’s and Olivia’s. But there are also the characters surrounding them who are transformed. I especially love the eclectic group of elderly neighbors living in the same apartment building as Olivia. They not only change the apartment building’s rules to accommodate a boy and his dog but to embrace and protect him. The rascally young boy changes them, as much as, their influence and the influence of his adopted grandmother Olivia, who never a desire to raise a child, changes him.
Word of advice, if this ever makes it to the big screen, bring tissues to the movie theater. At the end, I found myself brushing back my tears. Meanwhile, you can catch all of the action on your Kindle or in paperback. (less)
This was a fascinating book. I am a history lover and enjoy history books and biographies. I have read countless books on my favorite president, Linco...moreThis was a fascinating book. I am a history lover and enjoy history books and biographies. I have read countless books on my favorite president, Lincoln, and countless books on many other great presidents in history. I would not have ever though to read a book about President Garfield because he was assinated within months of moving into the White House. And I would have missed out if not for a friend who handed me the book and told me what a great read it was. This story is part history lesson, suspense, medical mystery, and drama. The other historical figures that are part of this story make it several books in one. The more I learned about President Garfield, the more I thought "what if...". He seemed like President destined for greatness instead of a footnote in history. I am glad I listen to the recommendations of readers and friends otherwise I would have missed out on this gem. For American istory lovers and presidential biogrpahy readers, this is a must read. (less)
The Bachelor Farmers is a family tale, a history lesson and a love story wrapped around easy to read prose. I sat in the family house in the countrysi...moreThe Bachelor Farmers is a family tale, a history lesson and a love story wrapped around easy to read prose. I sat in the family house in the countryside of Minnesota, warmed myself by the fire, braved the bitter weather, browsed through a frontier store and soaked in the beauty of the land. Sorrels paints a beautiful tale with words that seamlessly carry the reader through the story. As I read through The Bachelor Farmers, I kept thinking to myself that this writer knows how to use words and descriptions to bring the reader into the story so that prose and story flow harmoniously together.The Bachelor FarmersBrenda Sorrels(less)
This is my daughter's favorite book. When she finished it she repeated all of her favorite quotes to me and raved about how great it was. Wanting to...more This is my daughter's favorite book. When she finished it she repeated all of her favorite quotes to me and raved about how great it was. Wanting to connect with my daughter on books since reading is a shared passion and since I am not cool, can't sing, don't wear the right clothes, and can sometime cause embarrassment...you get the picture, I read this book. My first reaction I shared with her was "you are never going to a boarding school". Boarding school shenanigans revolve around drinking, pranking and panting for the opposite sex. Wow, it has been a long time since I was a teenager. I also understood why my daughter enjoyed this book. There was the witty banter between the characters, and the strange and shy attraction young adults feel but are ill prepared to express. And the clever pranks played on other teens and sometimes the school administration. There is nothing more satisfying than pulling one over on the adults. And then there are the underdogs of this world my daughter roots for that are the stars of this book.
I would like to pretend the inappropriate language and sexual obsession doesn't exist among teens which the author reminded me most certainly does. I don't know if I needed to read it all of the F-bombs tossed about as if they were teenage goodfellas or looking for the next drink like crack addicts needing a fix, but I respect that this was part of the psychology of the characters and was glad I took the time to read my daughter's favorite book. (less)
Not being a MAC person and not being an early adopter of the technology Steve Jobs made commonplace (iTunes, iTouch, iPOD, iPhone & iPAD), I marve...moreNot being a MAC person and not being an early adopter of the technology Steve Jobs made commonplace (iTunes, iTouch, iPOD, iPhone & iPAD), I marvel his vision as I use these devices today and appreciate how he revolutionized modern society. He was the Thomas Edison of our time. He is the classic example of our greatest strengths being our weaknesses as well. His pursuit of perfection gave us products that changed our lives and also made him intolerant and bullying in his leadership style. It is a must read for any business executive and business management student. There are things to be learned and admired and aspects of him that should never be emulated. A brilliant man and a brilliant read.(less)