I read a fair bit while we were out west. There were a lot of garden-variety weekdays with the girls in school, Mr. Sandy at work, and with inclement weather and/or too little time for a drive to the mountains or the coast. Some of those days, I headed to the library to read whatever caught my attention.
The Bell Jar -- Sylvia Plath's semi-autobiographical novel about a young woman's descent into mental illness, her suicide attempt, and her treatment -- in one sitting. Now I wouldn't say don't do that, exactly, but if you do, be sure you're in a resiliently good mood when you start. Particularly if you are a woman who (ahem) sometimes feels she doesn't quite belong where she is, who ever doubts her self-worth, and who is even somewhat prone to dark moods, or who has ever, ever thought of killing herself.
"To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream.How, indeed. The lure of the novel is its perspective - the reader is on Esther's path with her, and when she tries to kill herself, it seems almost reasonable. Unnerving in 1963, still unnerving today.
How did I know that someday — at college, in Europe, somewhere, anywhere — the bell jar, with its stifling distortions, wouldn’t descend again?"
Best Friends Forever, about a woman whose childhood pal arrives at her doorstep desperate for her help after decades of estrangement. Wacky adventures naturally ensue. It was entertaining, but to my mind, not her best. If you're new to Jennifer Weiner, start at the beginning, with Good in Bed, a very funny novel about a humiliating break-up and Our Heroine's life afterward, or Goodnight Nobody, in which a mother of toddlers doesn't fit in at all with the perfect mommies in her new town, but becomes obsessed with solving the case when one of the perfect mommies is murdered. At some point I will get Weiner's latest, Fly Away Home. It looks to be a bit different from the others, with a more mature protagonist, and possibly without the once-fat-sensible-heroine/skinny-kooky-friend motif that is becoming just a little bit tired with BFF.
There's more, but hey. That dishwasher's not going to empty itself.
What are you reading?