Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Biittner's Book Review: Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Our book club tries to select a memoir every year. I had no idea what to expect with "Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir" by The Blogess Jenny Lawson but heard it was "funny". It was! I made the mistake of bringing this book along when I was invigilating the final exam (three hours!) for my summer session course. It was a mistake because I actually laughed out loud at one of the stories and got the nastiest look from my students who were trying so hard to focus on the task at hand. So the book is a collection of stories, "mostly true ones", about her life; some are downright bizarre (her dad is one kooky character), while others deal with some very real and tough situations. I probably laughed the hardest at the "diaper at the swimming pool incident" and the story of what she got her husband for their anniversary. I really connected with her awkwardness in social settings, especially with other women and in party scenarios (I swear I have similar odd/inappropriate dialogues run through my head but luckily I have a strong filter in place that has mostly kept the more ridiculous comments from spilling out my mouth). She does love to swear and I quickly got tired of it (but get that it is just part of who she is). It's a great pick up and put down book to have on hand. It is not something I'd re-read (the shock of the punchlines is part of the fun), but is something I'd recommend.

We'll pick our selections for next year at our next book club meeting. Can't wait to see what we come up with.

Biittner's Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Our October book club selection was one of my picks: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I selected it as it was listed by Veronica Roth (the author of the wonderful YA Divergent series) as something she had read that she really enjoyed. I agree with her assessment that the writing and the characters were "TO.DIE.FOR". Well maybe not "to die for" but they were exceptional. In particular, I really appreciated the adults in this book. Too often YA writers (not necessarily the good ones) tend to write their adult characters as if all adults are total idiots who have no idea what is going on around them or are so concerned with being the compassionate and caring adult in the life of a troubled youth that they are incapable of functioning as a normal human being *end rant* Actually all the characters are well written; I liked the dynamics that were set up between them. The plot is really solid and engaging; my only critique is that it felt like the first book in a series - many story arcs were established and you could tell very quickly that few would come to conclusion by the end of this book. I would highly recommend this book, and am looking forward to reading the next in the series.