Sunday, March 7, 2010

This is What Frustrated Looks Like ...

Eh.... I decided not to put up my mug shot. I look very bad - trust me. It does not help that my Father is blasting the Benfica game loudly in my ear. Sigh.

Does not help that Boyfriend eagerly jumped at the chance to watch said game instead of listening to me recite from my book. The blaggard.

Onwards ...

Today - another two part review:

Strange, I came upon this series when perusing the shelves at the Indigo at the Eaton Centre (back when I was gainfully employed) with Cookie - now, I suppose I should tell you about Cookie. A few years ago ... I think it was Christmas 2007 or 2006 ... Let me think ... yes, Xmas '07, and I was working downtown (where I hope to work this summer) and McP and I went into the bookstore to find good Xmas presents - for her then-bf-now-fiancee (Pk) and my sister, Blondie. Anyways, we found a super cute youngish boy to be at our beck and call ... except that he was not knowledgeable about ... well, anything. I was looking at the paranormal romance for Blondie (she is such the fan) and McP was looking for a good mystery. And I was also in the Horror section because I had just gotten into a few series there and wanted to see what else they had. Anyways, cute guy runs away and brings back a God - named Cookie. Cookie is in his late 40s with a sort of beard and a long chestnut braid. He has glasses, tonnes of earrings, tattoos, a tongue ring, and is built like a biker. He was a biker. Then he decided that his biker tendencies were more akin to style instead of substance. So now he worked there - and he was a God! Hearing our bequests, he runs us around the store and introduced me to a bunch of things I promptly bought and devoured (they included, Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, "Sunshine" by Robin McKinley, and "13 Bullets" by internet sensation David Wellington). Anyways, that is Cookie. Yes, that's his name.

So, I was at Chapters, maybe a year later, talking about my obsession with Jasper Fforde and such when we came across the second book (Belong to Me). I am a sucker for good cover art. So I grabbed it. I read the back and bid Cookie adieu as he had other customers waiting, and then I took it to the cash and bought it. About Chapter Two I realized it was the second of a series and went out in search of #1. I found a copy of it in mid 2009, and finally got around to reading both after a wicked awesome New Years Party.

Loved Them.

So, let's start with the first: "Loved Walked In" - I admit, I was not entirely convinced at first. Cornelia seemed a tad dreamlike, her objectives so single minded - must have a man. This is not me. Not me to the point of spending half the time I was reading the first few chapters, wondering what the heck was going on in her brain ... then enter Clair - the other main character. Amazing girl - again, a tad dream like at first, though there is always this ominous black cloud hanging over her - like the fates have taken a special interest in destroying her world. Of course, that is what happens and it is at the moment that Clair's life is destroyed and she gets together with Cornelia that the book takes an upward swing and becomes an instant classic for me.

The relationship between Cornelia and Clare is the focus of the book - how their own faults are related to their outside relationships is filtered through the lens of their interactions with each other - and the tragedies that they both suffer together are mitigated through their relationship. This little girl and little woman are opposites that somehow, lend each other strength in order to become true heroines. There is a lot of pain and disappointment, but all in all, this is a coming of age story set in two distinct periods of time in each life that creates a nuanced kind of story.

The end of the novel left me in tears, slightly disappointed, but also slightly relieved. I was glad that Cornelia's story would continue solo for the next, and glad that Clare's wish was finally realized in terms of her mother.

The second book opens up a little while after the first.

It starts out with a move for Cornelia, and the hubby - the face you will remember from the first book since he melted our hearts and heated our loins - Teo. They are moving from their city hipsterness to a suburb of Philly, hoping to start a family. Enter crazy neighbours that have a Stepford quality. And, Piper. She seems like the neighbour from Hell - but when it's her turn to narrate - let's just say that I could not put the book down when it was inside the head of Piper. Amazing. There is another storyline that ties into Clare again - a character more mature and more flippant, I think - but for me, it was all about the contrast between Piper and Cornelia and the way that one echoes the other eerily, though subtly - so I was not initially aware of it. But it does creep up on you and eventually you realize that all of them - all these faulty characters, are essentially the same types of hopes and dreams and let downs, and the percentage of let down determines which character you're reading.

I really liked the second book - probably a tad more then the first. I think it is a fresh perspective on an otherwise scarily retold story (seriously? What is the current obsession with revisiting the housewife thing?) . I like the characters and how they clash against each other, sometimes painfully, to produce such a sad but comforting novella.

I highly recommend both books - especially for those who poo poo women writing about women in general and the romance genre in specific. There is great substance in this - read it, and I'll prove it to you.

So boyfriend left.
Not before making fun of my own writing attempt - but then, that's his way of saying "I am so proud of you!" I'm sure.
Mother has decided to read my book. Goddess save me.
And I am still getting through a few books:
- Steig Larsson's "Girl with a Dragon Tattoo" (really good, but heavy)
- "The Seamstress" by Brazillian born Frances de Pontes Peebles
- "Twenties Girl" by Sophie Kinsella (swloly but surely! This one keeps making me cry)
- "Weaveworld" by Clive Barker (I have been reading this since August 2008 - sad, right?)
+ others.

I think I will review ... hrm ... Not sure what I will review yet.
Surprise for tomorrow?
Anyways, the count is at: 7 for 2010! Go me!
I should be at: ... 9.
But then, I don't type all that fast.


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