Let's get right to my late June mini-reviews...
by T Kira Madden, narrated by the author
This beautifully written coming-of-age memoir, told through a series of short vignettes, is brutally honest, raw, gritty, and sad... yet somehow achingly tender, too. It's a memoir of trauma, loneliness, confusion, families, and forgiveness.
Madden grew up in a loving household in Boca Raton, FL, yet her parents continually battled alcohol and drug addiction. She was often left alone to deal with the constant barrage of pressures inflicted upon preteens/teens in our society.
Hearing the author narrate her own story was especially impactful. I'm glad I decided to listen!
You Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld
I don't read many short story collections, but it may be time to start! This was one of the many books I grabbed off the library shelf just prior to the pandemic shutdown. It took several months to finally read it - wish I'd picked it up in April.
The stories, mostly about relationships, all managed to draw me in immediately. They show average people as they really are... which isn't always flattering. The writing is excellent - sharp and without an unnecessary word. I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite. Now it's time to try one of Sittenfeld's novels. Do you have a favorite to recommend?
Passing by Nella Larsen
This classic novella of the Harlem Renaissance was originally published in 1929. It's a story of two childhood friends who reunite after many years. Irene is shocked to discover her friend, Clare, has been "passing" as white. Clare misses her old community and is eager to reestablish a connection, but must do so behind her husband's back. Irene, afraid of the consequences of such actions, is reluctant to rekindle their friendship. The conclusion of the book is startling, to say the least.
Larsen's writing seemed ponderous at times, but still completely readable. The reader is allowed into Irene's head enough to make it reminiscent of The Awakening, at least for me. Larsen's autobiographical first novel, Quicksand, is now on my reading list.
28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of the beach read and, now that summer is here, what better way to round out the month? Her latest novel is a Same Time, Next Year story spanning 27 years, 1993 to 2020. There isn't much more to say other than I loved it.... set aside a sunny weekend and give it a try.
Bring on July!