Slow. Then Wow. This debut book is very much a slow burn. A recent college graduate circa 2009 becomes the nanny for a Martha’s Vineyard family, only to realize that there is much going on behind the scenes. One of her two charges, a 14yo girl, is coming of age at the same time and realizing that things are not always as they seem. Then, right around the 2/3 mark, The Event happens. Beyond saying that it ties into #MeToo, which is general enough to note a wide range within a given type of event, I’ll say no more about The Event itself. But both women experienced it, and the back quarter (ish) of the book flashes forward a decade to how it has shaped both of them. To the #MeToo era itself, though this is never directly mentioned in the text by that name. And it is here the book ends, with some of the heaviest punches outside of The Event itself. But who knows, maybe, for me, that was due to my own life and how I know all too well how trauma can shape a life, and thus identified remarkably well with a now early 20s and mid 30s female despite being a late 30s (ugh) male myself. Truly a remarkable debut, and I’m very much looking forward to more from Ms. Spiro. Very much recommended.
Loose Threads Come Together Quickly. And Explosively. The front half of this book is very much setup for the back half, but it is intriguing in a very mysterious way in its own right. But then at around the halfway point, Payne inserts a “Holy Hell!!!” moment that explosively changes everything and sets in motion the back half of the book – with some explosive revelations of its own, up to almost literally the last page of the tale. Truly excellent book, and I’ll very much be looking for future books from this new author. Very much recommended.
This week, we’re looking at a tale of the entire life cycle of a marriage which is told in a rare and possibly unique manner. This week, we’re looking at The Ingredients of Us from debut author Jennifer Gold.
Overall, the book is an interesting if slightly depressing look at the entire life cycle of a marriage, told via a present day storyline and multiple flash backs to various events. Stylistically, this book uses dates rather than chapter numbers, always with a reference to a particular event as the anchor. And while it works to an extent, it also leaves the reader a bit confused as the dates jump all over the place with no discernible order and little contextual clues as to what may be coming.
But my one real quibble with the book is that the author doesn’t seem to know of the existence of childfree people or the nascent movement to get such people more recognition and equal rights. Instead, the central conflict comes down to one partner wanting kids and having left a former spouse over the issue vs the other partner being childfree and yet not knowing or recognizing it, and instead agonizing over what they could do differently despite the fact that they really don’t want kids. In this manner, while the book at least addresses an issue not commonly seen in fiction these days, it does so in a bit of blundering and arguably even bigoted fashion where it could have been transcendental had it been handled a bit better.
Truly a very much recommended book, even with the childfree issue. Very much looking forward to more from this author… maybe even a follow on tale with this very couple… 😉
As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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