Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Leavers

Deming Guo grows up in a small town in upstate New York. He is the only Asian kid in school and staring at his adoptive parent’s, knows from a young age that he just doesn’t belong. Losing himself in music is the only way Daniel (his newly adopted name) feels happy. But Peter and Kay Wilkinson, Daniels parents who live a life of academics, can only see as far as the classroom. He is fed, clothed and has a nice home. But it is not enough. As Daniel becomes a surly teen, he dreams of a life where he can finally be himself, play his guitar and stop pretending he belongs. Following glimpses of memories from his younger self, Daniel begins the search for his birth mother and the life he believes he was meant to lead. Scared and alone and making quite a few mistakes, Daniel fights his way to the truth, for better or worse. This is a beautifully written story about motherhood, friendship and following your heart. Like the butterfly effect - one decision, a single choice can change the lives of everyone it touches. Filled with beautiful characters, I enjoyed this read  - BUT I must admit it is a slow go. Lisa Ko is definitely an author to watch but you have to be in the mood for a quiet story where not much happens.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Book of Summer

Bess Codman’s life has turned upside down. She is a beautiful, smart ER doctor in San Francisco embroiled in an unexpected and bitter divorce and has flown back to Nantaucket to stay at her family’s summer home called Cliff House. Her eccentric, bizarre mother is there trying to save their historic home as the nearby cliffs erode into the sea. (One interesting point is that these cliffs did erode in real life!) The danger is threatening and her mother’s behavior is beyond passionate and borderline schizophrenic. Bess has flown across the country to convince her mother to pack up and also attend her favorite cousin’s wedding, in the interim spilling the beans about her impending divorce. Her childhood sweetheart, adorable and perfect magically appears by her side to console, assist and rekindle long ago highschool feelings. The story is alternately narrated in the past by her grandmother Ruby, for whom Cliff House held great historical importance, and Bess dealing with present dangers and dramas. This third novel by Michelle Gable was my least favorite. (I devoured her other two!) Although I liked the idea and setting, I found the characters unrealistic and situations improbable. Some of you may enjoy this as a light summer read but it was no vacation for me, I couldn’t wait for it to end.