Spring Book Reviews: 2 of 3
It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.—Rainer Maria Rilke
As the book stack dwindles for spring, I am replenishing with a ton of wonderful fiction and nonfiction for summer I can’t wait to share with you. In the meantime, spring here in Michigan has been slow in coming. We’ve had lots of cold, rainy days. But, hallelujah, the grass is green and the tulips are up. It’s May 1. What could be more hopeful than the first day of May?
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
At the heart of this novel is the love story of Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne and the reason why their band, Daisy Jones & The Six really split up. Told in an oral history as if from a documentary we are on the roller coaster of the rise and fall of the 1970s iconic rock band. At the start of the story, we see Daisy sneaking out of her house to hang out on the Sunset Strip first as a groupie then as a musician songwriter. On the same streets, she meets The Six, led by vocalist-songwriter Billy Dunne. Eventually, they lead the mega-hit band into stadiums all over the world. Relationships between the band members are chaotic at best with love interests and jealousies around every corner complicated by copious amounts of drugs and alcohol. The author smashes this one out of the park. The wild road tour she takes is on is so worth the messiness of these characters lives. Reese Witherspoon is set to produce 13 episodes of Daisy Jones & The Six on Amazon video. Can’t wait!
Favorite line(s): Simone: I was the only one encouraging her to make something of herself with her talent. Everybody else just tried to make something of themselves with what she had.
Daisy: I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse. I am not a muse. I am the somebody. End of fucking story.
BLUE NIGHTS by Joan Didion
Written after the death of first her husband and then her daughter soon after, “Blue Nights” explores the weight of loss, of regret, of motherhood, growing old, and mortality. In fragments of memory, we learn of Didion as mother and wife—not the revered journalist we know her as, but what she endured in loving and losing her daughter, Quintana. The mother-daughter story is told with a reporters sense of trying to understand what she saw, what she understood, what she remembers. Still, this reader doesn’t know what Quintana died of. (Google search: acute pancreatitis.) Although we know she spent 20 months in the intensive care units of four different hospitals. This is a deeply moving chronicle of those harrowing months interwoven with happier moments. The memoir opens with the day of Quintana’s wedding and ends with Didion’s own medical hurdles.
Favorite line(s): I continue opening boxes. I find more faded and cracked photographs than I want ever again to see. I find many engraved invitations to the weddings of people who are no longer married. I find many mass cards from the funerals of people whose faces I no longer remember. In theory these mementos serve to bring back the moment. In fact, they serve only to make clear how inadequately I appreciated the moment when it was here. How inadequately I appreciated the moment when it was here is something else I could never afford to see.
I WAS TOLD THERE’D BE CAKE: ESSAYS by Sloane Crosley
In these 15 essays, Crosley writes about growing up a child of the suburbs and as a single woman in NYC. She attends an all-girls summer camp. Works in retail at the mall. Throws herself into a publishing job with an abusive boss. Agrees to the matron of honor job for a friend she barely remembers from high school. Humorous and biting, there isn’t one false note in this collection. A false fascination with plastic ponies in “The Pony Problem” begins with the question of what would people think of her messy apartment if she should die that day. “The day I get shot in a bodega (buying cigarettes, naturally) will in all likelihood be the day before laundry Sunday and the day after I decided to clean out my closet . . .” In “Smell This,” a dinner party turns into a mystery after the author finds a surprise on the bathroom floor. “Jesus, she’s got shit on her floor.” You’ll laugh out loud and wish Crosley lived next door.
Favorite line(s): You’re qualified. Why not be the first in line for a grade-A white-collar beatdown? Pack up your college degree and camp out in your new suit the night before your interview. Pitch a tent using a Montblanc as the pole and watermarked resumes for the walls. When your future boss comes into the office, greeting the downtrodden mouse of an assistant you hope to replace with an “Any messages now?” let yourself scream inside: “Pick me! Punch me! Thank you, ma’am, may I have another?!”Pay your dues like a Girl Scout and crumble like a thin mint. I’ll tell you why not.