Wednesday, November 16

Book Reviews

On our recent trip to Texas I finished two good books. You may not understand the significance of that statement. I, a mother of pre-schoolers, read two complete books! The interruptions of Mommy, come draw with me! and I need juice! are more conducive with the short spurts of reading of magazines or blogs. You are just setting yourself up for frustration if you even attempt to delve into something that requires more than ten minutes of concentration. But I digress...

Light on Snow by Anita Shreve
Twelve-year-old Nicky and her dad, Robert, come across a newborn baby who has been abandoned in the snow in the woods behind their New Hamshire home. Through a series of events, Nicky and her cautious father spend time with the baby's young mom, Charlotte, and are tossed into a whirlwind of grief, conflict, anger and hope.

This is a truly beautifully written book. I fell in love with each of the three main characters and was drawn into their formidable situation. When Allan first saw the book, he declared it to be a "chick book". No doubt the pink cover did not help. If a chick book is defined by a lack of explosions and is a well-spring of emotions, then this does, in fact, fit the bill. On the other hand, it does not have an iota of romance involved, so I think it could pass as gender neutral.

Shreve writes from Nicky's perspective, capturing the tumultuous time between childhood and adolescence for this young girl. I kept thinking as I read the book that Nicky's thoughts seemed rather mature for a twelve-year-old, only to discover later that the author was writing as a thirty-year-old Nicky, looking back on this earlier time of her life. In that case, Nicky has a much better memory than I!

The Constant Gardner
by John Le Carre'
Tessa Quayle is a young, beautiful and vivacious advocate for the poor of Kenya. Her husband, Justin works for the British government, who often gets in the way of Tessa's humanitarian work. After Tessa's gruesome murder in northern Kenya, Justin sets out on a personal odyssey to uncover the mystery of her death.

This is no chick book; it has it all wrapped up in one package - romance, intrigue, spies, murder. Le Carre' wrote this book with just enough complexity to keep one's mind active and involved, but not so complicated as to get lost in too many characters or geographical locales (e.g. Clancy). It is written from a British background, which can be a tad hard to follow at times (am I making myself out to be an idiot?). This is not my normal read, but it was a hard one for me to put down.


Allan White said...

I think it's Chick Lit, not a "Chick Book".

Glad you got some reading time in. The speed at which you read the snowy pink Chick Lit was truly amazing - one flight leg!

fczzsb: An ill-fated General Mills cereal brand in the mid-seventies, e.g. "fczzsb Flakes".

Lindsey said...

Not necessarily; romance novels would fall under the category of "chick books" (i.e, books written for women) without necessarily being "chick lit" (a genre pretty much defined by Bridget Jones' Diary).

Thanks for the reviews! That first one sounds intriguing. I look forward to having time for recreational reading again.... :)

kristi w said...

From Allan's link: "'Chick lit' is a term used to denote a genre of popular fiction written for and marketed to young women, especially single, working women in their twenties."

I am definitely not single, and I am fairly sure I left my twenties behind some time ago, so this book can not be "Chick Lit". From the women I see picking it up in Costco, it appeals to those well into middle-aged (whatever that means) as well.

lpruke: a small pruke

Glenn said...

I am half way through "The Constant Gardener" and find it interesting, but as you said, a little slow to follow all of the Brit. pharases. It has some course language by some of the characters, but alas I understand those. Having been to Kenya makes it real. When we travel, we tell people that we speak Western American, not English - they are not the same language, although coming from the same roots. Don't tell me "who done it."

phyllis said...

Thanks for reviewing those two books for me as they are on my "to read list." I'm looking forward to our book club becoming a reality soon. Reading has become one of my passions of late, chick lit. or whatever!

phyllis said...
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