Tuesday, August 15, 2017

TOP TEN TUESDAY: All About the Classics

Top Ten Tuesday for me this week is all about Classics. I picked five I loved, and five I did not. This is making me think about the classics I have not read yet. That may be next weeks list.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Maybe if I'd been made to read this one in school I wouldn't have loved it so much, but as an adult reading it for the first time, it was wonderful. Attacus Finch is a version of Gilbert Blythe.

Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
I have loved this in every version I've looked at - print, audio, musical, television. Each time I adore a different character and I don't know if I will ever tire of Anne. And Gilbert, Matthew, and Marilla.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winnifred Watson
Not sure if this counts as a classic, but it was such a delightful little tale that it should be more read. 
I read this one the same time as Major Pettigrew Lives for a Day, and both have the same British feel.

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
I'm not usually a fan of the classic American novel, but this one is such a crazy ride. I always feel like it could be a Dateline Crime Special from the 90s. The Leo diCaprio movie version was also very well done.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I wish I had read this when I was much younger. Part of my appreciation of Jane Eyre is reading why other women have loved Jane. This is a book where the feminist analysis I've read greatly enhanced the experience. The most recent movie was also very good.

Least Favourite Classics

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
I like Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Ernest, but his other books have disappointed me. I've even tried Dorian Gray twice - once on paper, once audiobook, and while the idea of the book is fabulous, the execution leaves me sleepy. Part of it is the style of writing at that time and part is all his double talk.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac
First book in my life that I did not finish. All it felt like to me was a bunch of guys doing drugs and avoiding life. Pretty sure we call it an opiod crisis today, but back then it was the beat generation.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
Nothing here was offensive, just bored me and I couldn't even stick to the end to see what happened to silly Bilbo Baggins.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
I couldn't get past the dialect in this one.

Lord of the Flies by William Goldberg
I hated this in grade ten, and when I listened to it last year I hated it all anew. I get why it is a classic, but the basic premise of resorting to evil and atavistic nature is the one I have a problem with.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

BOOK: Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta, 308 pages

review copy from Simon&Schuster Canada

Perrotta, author of Little Children and The Leftovers, is becoming one of my reliable authors and moving into MRE (must read everything) territory. One of the things I like is that each of his books are so very different although all so far have been very readable.

Mrs Fletcher has many characters with decent backstories, very contemporary with autistic and trans characters, millennials and divorced parents discovering porn on the internet but the plot overall is minimal. Eve, divorced mom, takes her jock son, Brendan, to college, and needs to find ways to deal with having an empty nest. She takes an evening college course on Gender Studies and hopes to make some new friends, while Brendan has the adjustment of going from a big fish in a little pond to a little fish in a big pond. The narration changes between the two - third person from Eve's point of view but first person from Brendan's. I liked this choice, as it lets the reader be able to have some tiny bit of sympathy for Brendan which would not be possible without his inner thoughts. His actions are terribly immature in nearly all cases.

There are a number of things that shouldn't make this a good read, but I really enjoyed it! The characters don't grow or change very much, especially the son. Not much really happens over the course of the year that the book takes place. Many characters make bad decisions, especially with their sexual partners, but I kept hoping they might improve. There was a happy ending that was pretty obvious. And yet, I flew through this fast and fun book and liked how all the characters tied together.

I think the title is wrong; it's okay, as Eve is the main character, but there are so many other things going on. The title may be a play on Mrs Robinson from the movie which almost works. It needs more of a chick lit title like The MILF and the Empty Nest