Gosh, I have had a busy summer...a few of my spark friends have inquired what I have been reading so I thought I would give you a sampling of my summer reading list .
The Tatooed Girl by Joyce Carol Oates
Plot Synopsis from Amazon.com:
Celebrated author Joshua Seigl, an idiosyncratic bachelor and confirmed recluse—young but in failing health—reluctantly admits to himself that he must hire a live-in assistant to help him with his increasingly complicated professional and personal affairs. Then one day at the bookstore he encounters Alma, a young woman covered with bizarre tattoos, who stirs something inside him. Unaware of her torturous past—the abuses she's suffered, the wrongs she's committed, the virulent hatred that seethes within her—Seigl decides that she is the one, and he has no idea that he is bringing an enemy into his home.With her unique, masterful balance of dark suspense and surprising tenderness, Joyce Carol Oates probes the tragedy of ethnic hatred and challenges the accepted limits of desire.
This is a dark, dark, dark book (did I mention it is dark???). Well written (as all of JCO's books are), and worth reading but be warned it is NOT a feel good book.
Belong to Me by Marisa De Le Santos
Plot synopsis from Amazon.com:
Cornelia Brown surprised herself when she was gripped by the sudden, inescapable desire to move to the suburbs with her husband. Her mettle is quickly tested by her impeccably dressed, overly judgmental neighbor Piper Truitt—the embodiment of everything Cornelia feared she'd find in suburbia. With Lake, another recent arrival, Cornelia shares a love of literature and old movies—as she forms an instant bond with this warm yet elusive woman and her perceptive, brilliant young son Dev. Acclaimed bestselling author Marisa de los Santos's literary talents shine in the complex interactions she creates between three unforgettable women, deftly entangling her characters in a web of trust, betrayal, love, and loss that challenges them in ways they never imagined
Chick lit at it's finest...In other words, I liked it.
The Help by Kathyrn Stockett
Plot Synopsis from amazon.com:
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step. Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone. Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken. Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own. Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times
EXCELLENT. YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!
But Inside I am Screaming by Elizabeth Flock
Plot synopsis from amazon.com:
But Inside I'm Screaming is one woman's unforgettable story about what it is to lose control as the world watches, to figure out what went so very wrong and to accept an imperfect life in a world that demands perfection. While breaking the hottest news story of the year, broadcast journalist Isabel Murphy falls apart on live television in front of an audience of millions. She lands at Three Breezes, a four-star psychiatric hospital nicknamed the "nut hut," where she begins the painful process of recovering the life everyone thought she had. But accepting her place among her fellow patients proves difficult. Isabel struggles to reconcile the fact that she is, indeed, one of them, and faces the reality that in order to mend her painfully fractured life she must rely solely on herself.
This book is an interesting look into what happens when a highly successful but also highly depressed person just can't go on pretending that everything is "Fine". I would complain that the character's breakdown is somehow cushioned by being dropped into a 'four star' treatment center with the knowledge that her job and bank account won't suffer while she's "away." That aspect of the novel made me wonder how an average person would fare given the same circumstances. Certainly I understand that class and income weren't part of what the author was trying to expose about mental health issues, but I still wondered what happens to other patients who an not afford to be in a mental hospital of that caliber. The character's nervous breakdown was well-written as were her attempts at returning to work. All in all, it was worth reading.