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My Austen Obsession

Just when I think I am off my Jane Austen kick, it comes roaring back.

I know that I should read other pieces of fiction that have nothing to do with Austen. And I do. Recently I read China Dolls by Lisa See, Without You there is No Us, and Escape from Camp 14 in a fit of need for knowledge about Asia. I have one more book to read about an American soldier who defected to North Korea during a period of homesickness and depression.

JA Death Comes to PemberleyBut ever since my book group read Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James, I have found my self lost in a round of Austen that is not even written by Jane. I have even delved in to the Austen Project by Harper Collins.

In this book, we are back at Pemberley but it is six years later. Darcy and Elizabeth are deliriously happy with two little boys. Georgina still lives with them but has shown interest in a busy but successful lawyer. Jane and Bingley live nearby with their children.

Life couldn’t be happier as they prepare for the annual Autumn ball that is held in the memory of the last Mrs. Darcy.

But on the night before the ball Lydia comes to the front door, screaming that Wickham has been killed and They must do something about it. Well, he is not dead but his friend, Denny, has a nasty blow to the head.

Here is my problem with this book. It is stiff. The language, the action, the formalities between people who should like each other and feel at ease. The story is told from Darcy’s viewpoint most of the time and perhaps that is one reason for the constant formal atmosphere. Except that Elizabeth has taken on some of that as well.

This was not a favorite and nor shall I be reading it again anytime soon. I liked the story but some of the relationships seemed a bit preposterous. It was a mystery and not a comedy of manners in the way of Pride and Prejudice. in this book the problems of the past could not be laughed away. Instead there was too much analysis.

JA Sense and Sensibility_trollope_Well, having failed that my other faux Austen adventure was sinking into the new versions of Northanger Abbey, and Sense and Sensibility. Harper Collins has put together a group of modern-day writers who take on of the six and write it in the modern era. That means there are constant references to iPhones and texting.

Joanna Trollope took on Sense and Sensibility. For me, this should have been a slam dunk for Joanna. If you have read her novels, you know that she has a knack for describing the human heart and it’s layers of feelings. I have enjoyed her writing over the years.

In this book, mom and dad never got married so Norland goes to John. Fanny comes in with plans to make the old manor home into a B&B. Elinor is yanked out of her architectural program, Marianne is an asmathic, and Margaret is a sulky pre-teen.

Thank God for cousin Sir John Middleton who offers them a home on his estate near Exeter. He owns a clothing company and uses members of the family as models for his catalog. He also finds Elinor a job in her field and introduces the Dashwoods to Col. Brandon.

I enjoyed the pace of this book, I enjoyed how Trollope worked around various parts of the story that made sense in 1802 but not 2014. I did not enjoy how rude the girls became to one another. I never felt that until Elinor gives up her secret, Marianne was nothing more than a selfish little twit. Margaret wasn’t much better but she is 12. Worse was Mrs. Dashwood who never understood Elinor’s worries and was the example that Marianne seemed to live by.

If it wasn’t for the fact that Alexander McCall Smith is working on Emma, I might have to give up on this series.

JA Murder Most PersuasiveIn truth, I find the best adaptation stay away from the source books with only a tiny bit of a story working its way in to whatever the main plot turns out to be. At Christmas, my mother sent me a newer mystery series by Tracy Kiely. Here our detective is a Jane Austen devotee. She quotes Jane Austen whenever possible. It is a sickness shared by her favorite aunt who has a B&B in Martha’s Vineyard named after Longbourn.

While some portion of the story has characters lifted from the canon but given different names, the murder mystery often has nothing to do with that bit. I have read all but one book in the series. Sadly it ends at number four, which is too bad because I think Kiely was hitting her stride at no. 3, Murder Most Persuasive.

In this book, Elizabeth is helping out her cousin after the death of a beloved uncle. That is when the body of a former friend of the family is discovered. Worse yet, he is the former fiancee of the cousin’s older sister. Soon one of the plot lines resembles Persuasion and Elizabeth’s sister is almost word-for-word like Mary.

What I love about this series is that it is light and breezy, a great read for summer time or anytime you want something quick. They have been great when I need my mind to focus on something other than my father’s death. And my daughter has picked them up. I was able to get the rest of the four book series through my library. We are in Austen heaven for the time being.

JA Jane Austen and the Maddening Lord ByronNext on my list to read is Jane Austen and the Madness of Lord Byron by Stephanie Barron. When I read Barron’s work in the past I found the language too formal and the relationships too casual.

However, I have a huge crush on Lord Byron. I would never want to  be married to the man as he has way too much baggage. But to be in his circle for even a short time would be something.

I will get to this book as soon as I am done with the latest book club book. Then I can get back to my Austen Obsession.

What books have you been obsessing over?

A Helipad What?

I learned something new yesterday. There is a new parenting term out in the world.

Helipad Parent.

While listening to Bill and Wendy on WGN yesterday, they had a woman come on who came up with something new that describes her style of parenting.

Which is not to denigrate those helicpter parents per se. This is what works for them but I wanted to raise children who are capable of taking care of themselves. So does Katie Slivovsky who works at the Chicago Children’s Museum.

Katie Slivovsky with Wendy Snyder and Bill Leff

Katie Slivovsky with Wendy Snyder and Bill Leff

Katie admits in an essay on www.Freerangekids.com that she does not have the attention span to be a helicopter mom. Lord knows, I do not. But she is a loving prescence in her kids life who makes them a priority and always tries to listen to what they have to say. Her goal is to raise kids who know what to do in tricky situations when Mom is not there. And when the going gets rough, they know they have some place to land.

There are times when Katie admits that she can seem to be an unattentive parent. Such as when she completely missed the signs that her daughter might be diabetic. Personally, I might have missed that too if this is not something common in my family. I have a heightened awareness, she might not. I don’t think there is a need to kick her in the shins for that one.

The point here is not to look at helicopter parents and say “you’re doing it all wrong,” even if you think that. Which I do because I want my kids to be able to live and make decisions and learn from their mistakes while I am around to help them figure out a better way. The point is to say that there is this whole other way to do it. That you have to allow some hurts and failures and a soft place to land when wounds need licking.

Way back in high school and college, we studied different styles of parenting, one of which was called the Laissez-faire method. Which essentially means you let the kids do what they want, starting at a small age. While it certainly led to a child making mistakes to learn from, the problem is there are no rules as a guideline. That is not what Helipad parenting is about.

Helipad is about setting rules, guideline, and then allowing a child to be responsible for his/her school work/chores/responsibilities. It is about getting them ready for the time that adolescence hits when there will be choices that are not so easy.  It’s about being there to listen and to help. It is not about doing the kids’ homework for them.

Let’s face it, not every kid is going to work with a one-size fits all parenting philosophy. What works for one kid may not work for another. That requires us parents to bend and flex a bit.

Because this is a relatively new term, it has not been fully defined yet beyond what I have stated. There is a bit more that needs to be hammered out. And I do not see much difference in this and free-range parenting. But I really want to know what are your thoughts.

Are you a helipad parent?

Helipad

Rockstar Mom

I am sure that many of you have seen the meme that was going around saying how parents/moms are like rockstars.

Rockstar

I loved it because I live it. I know a minivan can be rocked by singing and dancing teens. I get followed in the bathroom still. The phone only rings when I step in the shower. Sit on the couch doing nothing and no one bothers you, start a project and there is nothing they don’t want – especially the husband.

But when I saw this meme, I decided that I should dress and live like a rock star.

Why not?

I already have the ridicuous back leather purse with black leather ribbon on the front. I have long hair that sometimes accepts a curl. Plus, I have lost weight that allows me to wear clothes that look better on this body.

So my skinny jeans are paired with long sweaters and shiny silky camis. I wear boots with a corduroy printed skirt and a coordinated tee. My black leather skirt is paired with statement cardis or colorful tees. If I am not wearing the boots, I am wearing a silver pair of flats.

Then I found this book.

Cook Like a Rockstar

It seemed funny to me that I found this book while I am on the journey to be my best with a little flair. So, of course, I had to check it out.

I love this book because Anne Burrell gives a bunch of great recipes. But before that she explains what items you should have in your kitchen as well as what staples should be in your pantry.

For those of you who have wondered what you need besides some of the basics, this list is really wonderful. The truth is, once you have these items in the pantry you don’t have to go buying them special. When I add something new, it tends to stick around and get used for something else. I have never made polenta but I am considering it just to add to my repetoire.

Many of Anne’s recipes has an Italien flair to them but with a little something different such as fish fillets in paper or braised lamb shanks. I was looking at the Brussel Sprouts with Walnuts, Sausage Ragu, and Pasta Fagioli as possible dishes to try. For me the Rockstar part of cooking is using fresh herbs whenever possible along with a little Balsimic Vinegar or wine in your cooking to give the dish a little extra flair.

Are you a rock star parent? How do you show off your style?

Before All That

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

With Valentine’s Day close at hand, I always fret about what to write.

I have my favorite movies that I have recommended for years. Some of them are becoming dated Before Sunrisedespite how good they are to watch. I encourage you to watch great romantic comedies such as Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, Tin Cup, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and Forget Paris. But lets not rehash them one more time for the sake of Valentine’s Day.

For this week, I decided to review a movie series I have never watched before that has been hailed as one of the greatest romantic series of movies. As I watched Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight I knew it was directed by Richard Linklater who has been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Director category this year for his movie Boyhood.

Before SunsetWhat has brought this series so much acclaim is the way these two people interact with each other. In the first movie of the series, Before Sunrise, Jesse meets Celine on a train. He is getting off in Vienna, she is going to Paris. They begin talking and realize they do not want to stop. Jesse suggests she spends the night with him in Vienna so that they can talk some more before he takes off on a plane to go back to the U.S.

Their conversation is filled with questions about each other, their dreams, their past, their theories about life. As I watched this movie, I realized that their conversation was something that happens with people in their early twenties. It felt real, it felt like conversations I had with people at that time in my life.

It is in Before Sunset that we find out Jesse has written a book about that magical night and he is on an international book tour. It is in Paris that he meets Celine again. They catch up on each other’s lives and share what that night has meant to them over the years. Again the dialogue is honest and brutal but this time they are reflecting on the shoulda’s and coulda’s of their relationship. What if they had kept better contact or made better decisions about this or that relationship.

Before MidnightIt is in the final installment of Before Midnight that we see Jesse and Celine in a true relationship, not in the starting blocks or the wishful ‘what if’ state. They are married with two adorable girls. His son from a previous marriage is flying back to the States. Each has their regrets and happiness with the relationship. He wishes to be closer, geographically, with his son. She wishes to be able to do more as an environmental activist. They love each other and yet neither wants to lose out on these goals and dreams. There were times in this movie that I realized these people talk to each other like my husband and I speak to each other.

What makes these three movies potent is their romanticism, even in the midst of everyday routine things. It is how they speak and how they listen to each other that matters, that makes or breaks the relationship. There are times in the final movie in which parenting and those chores take away from the romance but it doesn’t mean they are less in love. It’s simply that chores get more precidence than having sex and being googly eyed with each other.

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy has tangible chemistry. We see why they are truly interested in each other. Those feelings from one day spent together never went away, even 18 years later they are still fascinated with each other but they can attend to the other parts of their lives. But let me have this one bit of snark. At some point in the third movie, Hawke is wearing his shirt with one end tucked in and one end pulled out. Bad fashion move and I am not sure Jesse would have cared enough to make that move. Then again, Celine appears to be wearing the same jumper she work 18 years ago, so what do I know.

Now for the word of warning. I do not believe younger children should watch this movie series as it is too adult in context. Secondly, this is not a high action movie. There are no car chases, no cutesy togetherness scenes, no big misunderstanding that requires a temporary separation. What we get is a lot of talking and walking. The first two movies are about the couple while the third movie incorporates other people before there is a more intimate setting. Throughout we see how this couple interact with each other and the people around them. It is sweet and disarming and unforgettably real.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Just Another Week

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

This has been a few weeks of big ups and low downs in the Bowman household.

It started with a call from my mother stating that my father died in the early morning hours. He wasn’t sick, it wasn’t expected. He was there and then he was gone, just like that. Since then there has been his cremation, trips to Missouri and back, and a memorial gathering in my home town. Family and friends came to remember my father, some that I haven’t seen in years. A few I knew off the bat, others were different in my memory. They all had something to share about my dad that made me smile and cry all at the same time.

I received a lovely phone call from some regular readers who enjoyed a recent column that touched on a favorite movie of their mother’s. It is a reminder that while I sit alone in my office surrounded by disorder and the chaos of family life, the words I write do have meaning for others. I am glad that what I write can bring back such happy memories for a family who have lost a loved one.

Things were beginning to settle down when my 17-year-old received word that he had gotten into his first choice of colleges. The one he wanted is the one he got! There was much celebration.

While I am tremendously sad about losing my father, and I will write about that at a later time, I can see all around me that life goes on. My world stopped for a bit but all around things kept moving on. One of the grown-up girls from my youth group just had a baby. Another girl is about to have her first child. I saw in the paper that one of my former neighbors recently passed; some friends from church are dealing with the sudden loss of their son.

In this time, I guess it would be expected that the movies I would choose to watch are the old favorites. They can be comforting because you know what to expect. We did that this week with Monsters Inc. and the first Harry Potter movie.Chef - cover

But a movie I really wanted to watch was Chef starring Jon Favreau and Sofia Vergara. In this movie, Favreau plays a chef who’s restaurant is about to be visited by a big time blogger food critic. His owner wants him to play it safe and to make the man happy, the chef does just that. But when the two star review comes out and a twitter war brews between the chef and the reviewer, the chef loses his job and self respect.

Not that he didn’t have issues before. He allowed his job to get in the way of being with his son. He allowed past hurts and a divorce to build up a wall. That is until his ex wife throws out a lifeline, a chance to do something different, which the chef grabs onto and follows.

I love movies like this one, the slice of life that is willing to be honest and raw at times. It’s not enough that the Chef and his son have honest conversations, they seem to follow through on them. The Chef admits to being a bad dad and loves when his kid shows him how to be better. The relationships with Vergara and the other people feel true with their bits of honesty and dysfunction.

But here is the warning. If you do not like swearing, if foul language sets you off, this is not your movie. I loved how the cooks in the kitchen interacted with Favreau because it spoke of deep friendships. I knew/know these guys. But the way they spoke to each other is harsh, especially to a stranger. Funny enough, as the movie went on the swearing decreased.

Chef - food truckWhile Chef may not get nominated for any awards, movies like this just don’t because they are not flashy enough, it is worth your time. If the last scene of the movie had been cut, the movie might have been better. But we love to know the whole story, don’t we?

I allowed my high schooler to watch it but not my eighth grader. I am not ready to share a movie with this much swearing in it with her just yet even though the rest of the story would have been Okay for her to watch. All I know is that I felt great after watching this movie and how a movie makes you feel is perhaps the most important indicator.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

All About Bette

Family Movie Night
by Karyn Bowman
Last week I talked about Bette Davis and her role in Dark Victory.
It was an incredible movie and her performance keeps it from being melodramatic crap. You see, Bette Davis wasn’t willing to ever give it a part of her effort. She wasn’t willing to simply show up on the set.
Who rocks the sweater and belt ensemble? Bette does!

Who rocks the sweater and belt ensemble? Bette does!

She was one of those actresses who showed up knowing her lines, knowing her character, and being ready to perform. She is now seen as an iconic actress. But I described her to my son as the Meryl Strep of her time. Not because she changed her appearence or accent with each role. But because she came to each role ready to play that person honestly. That is why she was the first actress to receive ten nominations for best actress.

So what made her so great? It might have been her theater training, it might have been her dedication to her craft. It might have been her abborhance for those actors who didn’t take their craft seriously. That is a part of her reasons for hating Joan Crawford and Errol Flynn.
The other part is that Bette Davis was a tough broad. Her life was not always easy with four marriages and three divorces. Her second husband died suddenly and, despite her grief, was forced to work on a movie by Jack Warner. She was reportedly difficult to work with on this particular set, not her usual behavior. Her only excuse was that in being unhappy, she lashed out rather than whine about her situation.
But let me also suggest that you see All About Eve, one of her finer movies towards the end of her Hollywood Glamour days. Once again she is playing a character not easy to like, one who shows her varying emotions of jealousy and insecurity. Here, she stars as a mature actress who has been followed by a young fan. But in one eventful night, that young fan tries to take over her life. It is from this movie that we get the famous line “fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”  This movie would earn her an eighth nomination for Best Actress.
Bette Davis All About Eve
However, the movie that gave her the tenth nomination might be the best known one. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? starred David and her hated rival, Joan Crawford, as two sisters living in an old Hollywood mansion. Davis portrays a character who was popular as a child. She still dresses like a ten year old girl with the heavy curls of the silent era. But Crawford’s character career was starting to take off when a horrible car accident paralyzed the beatiful young woman. Was it caused by Baby Jane who may have been jealous of her sister’s growing fame while her career went away?
This movie in 1962 reminded people of Davis’ power to project the emotions that some of us would rather not delve into. She continued working until the end of her life, putting together screen performances and lecture tours while still hitting the talk shows. Davis knew it wasn’t her looks that got her to Hollywood. She knew she wasn’t the most beautiful of actresses despite being attractive in her own way. It was her can-do spirit, her willingness to take on roles of unlikable characters that made us love her. And while she made acting look effortless, she also wanted to alway make it ‘bigger than life.’
How can you not love a broad like that?
 
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Watching a Christmas Movie?

by Karyn Bowman

So what makes a good Christmas movie?

This time of year we all talk about what we like or don’t like in a Christmas movie. But it comes down to a few factors, two actually.

Redemption and Reconciliation.

After much thought and deliberation, it seems true that the best movies in this genre are all about the redemption of a lost soul or the reconciliation of a relationship whether it is between lovers or among family members.

Do I need to bring in a case in point?

Bruce Willis going through a window in "Die Hard." Image from IMDb.com

Bruce Willis going through a window in “Die Hard.” Image from IMDb.com

How about Die Hard? In this movie the good guy, that’s Bruce Willis, is visiting his wife and children in California. He is a New York City police office unwilling to move to California but he still loves his wife. So he comes to visit at her Christmas office party.

To say things go horrible wrong as terrorists invade the party would be an understatement. But with a few smart moves and a partnership with a Los Angeles police officer, McClain is able to save his wife and most of her co-workers. In the end, there is a satisfying reconciliation between the couple.

If you need more, there is always A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer find redemption from being a miser who cares about no one to a man who keeps the spirit of Christmas in his heart all year-long. Granted, he needs the help of four different ghosts and to see what lies ahead in the future if he does nothing. We stick around for the journey because we love the destination of Redemption.

What other movies can we label this way?

Poster image from IMDb.com

Poster image from IMDb.com

Elf   – Reconciliation and Redemption

It’s a Wonderful Life   –   Redemption

A Charlie Brown Christmas  – Redemption

A Christmas Story   –   Redemption

The Holiday  –  Redemption

Love Actually  –  Redemption and Reconciliation

The Cheaters  –  Redemption

Bad Santa  –   Redemption

The Santa Clause   –  Redemption

Miracle on 34th Street   – Redemption and Reconciliation

Any Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie  –  Redemption and Reconciliation

We could go on and on like this. The truth is if movie makers could figure out the perfect Christmas movie we would have more of them that are great. But perhaps we must remember Bette Davis who once shamed a reporter who tried to say there were many great movies in the vaults. She responded by saying that about 5 – 10 great movies were made on any given year but the rest were crap.

Christmas movies get us in the heart whether it is about a reindeer, a journey to the north pole, or an old man who says he is Santa when logic tells you there is no way that man could be Santa. I love watching them and know I will be doing a lot of that this weekend.

So what about your favorite Christmas movie? Is it about reconciliation or redemption?

To

Dear Jane,

Happy Birthday and all that. It is another grey day here.

Joanna Trollope, S&SWell, I had just written a lovely letter talking about the new Austen Project that Harper Collins is working on when my computer decided to lose everything. I had a link for you( http://theaustenproject.com/) and a little discussion on it all. But so much for that. I have neither the patience or the time to rewrite everything.

The first book in the series is Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope, yes, of that Trollope family. Why did they need to use the exact same titles I do not understand but there it is. I have request a copy from the Library and hope to get it soon so that I may devour it. Then, and only then, will I come back with a full review.

Jane AustenWell, I would write more but the shower awaits and then I am off for the day to do numerous errands before showing up to work. This is a long day at work, which I do appreciate. Lord knows the money is helpful. I will tell you about my novel which is going through various re-writes before I send it off to my beta readers. I only have five chapters to go. Perhaps someday I will see it published but that is next year’s goal.

Once again, wishing you happy, happy. Have a lovely day, doing whatever it is you do there in heaven.

Yours, etc.

Karyn

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

With all of the food that we ate this past week, I find it amazing that any of us are still able to stand. We had our usual Thanksgiving meal, Pizza Friday night, dinner at a friend’s house on Saturday, and a potluck on Sunday night.

There was lots of good eating including a somewhat spicy chili and turkey enchiladas. But it was also about getting together with friends and family that made the meals special.

Another thing we did this past weekend is watch lots of movies. I can only say that we went through movies like water. The Lion King, Ella Enchanted, Gnomeo and Juliet, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, and The Wizard of Oz.

The last one was my pick. For some reason I had a vague memory that we always watched this 1939 during every Thanksgiving. Not that I have anything specific to that point. I don’t remember watching it at my grandmother’s or my parent’s houses. It is just there in my memory.

Wizard of Oz 2What I discovered is that for some years, The Wizard of Oz was shown on Thanksgiving for a while. Then it was shown between Thanksgiving and Christmas until later deals placed it in the month of January. One Ted Turner bought the rights and technology brought us VCRs, well the movie lost some of it’s big draw luster on TV. But not in the hearts of the fans.

People still buy the various editions which includes featurettes and documentaries about anything regarding the production. We looked at a few included in our DVD but that might have been to avoid bedtime.

Watching the movie again for the first time in a long time made me realize how much I did not know about it. Such as Dorothy trying to run away. I thought she and Toto hid in her room until the tornado came. Nor did I ever remember the scene in which she visits Professor Marval’s camp.

Wizard of Oz 3But the rest of it I did. The glorious flight into Oz, the terror of Margaret Hamilton’s witch, the wonders of the Poppy field. As I watched, I began to see the little pieces that made last year’s The Great and Powerful Oz starring James Franco and Michelle Williams so familiar. Those little touches, such as Professor Marval’s flim flam routine and the bubbles in which Glinda travels about, expanded the experience more for me.

After we watched the movie, my daughter stated she wanted to learn more about Judy Garland. I am not sure if I can break it to her that for the next ten years Garland was a tremendous performer but drug use would take over her life. Well, it probably won’t stop me from getting Meet Me in St. Louis and listening to the wonderful ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Night.’

As with so much of her work, it is Garland’s singing voice that carries the movie. The sadness in her voice is heavy with regret and worry which is amazing when you think about the fact that Garland is so young in this movie. She was only about 17-year-old at the time of filming.

But to me the most amazing part is that of the Scarecrow as played by Ray Bolger whose dance steps are so loose and floppy. It made me wonder if he hurt his feet during any of his dance scenes.

All in all, I would say it was worth the time to watch it again.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

From the Bookpile

Have you ever had an off day, a not so good project?

For me the last few weeks have proven I am not always as efficient or competant as I like to believe I can be. So I understand when this happens to other people or at least I try to understand.

I have been on a reading tear lately, reading authors in the genre I want to write in to see what makes them good, what makes their stories readable or not.

One of the authors I have been exploring is Barbara Delinsky. She writes women’s fiction and has been at it for a long time. I read The Secret Between Us and Sweet Salt Air.

So what happened? I loved one book and totally hated the other. I almost gave up on her because the first book I read, Sweet Salt Air, was the one I hated.

Book Sweet Salt AirThe story is about two friends who come back together to write a cook book about the Maine island where they spent their summers. Both have secrets that could dammage everything.

I liked the writing, the decriptions of the island. I felt as if I was there. But it was the lack of suspense, the excessive reference to the one big secret (three times in the first chapter before being revealed in the second chapter) was the real turn-off. And that was before some conversation turned me off to one character in particular. I kind of sort of read the end but even that did not save my interest in the book.

I hated the book, gave it what I felt was the appropriate rating on Goodreads and felt guilty. I wanted to like it, I really did and knew I was telling the author she stinks when maybe this was just a bad outing. So I used the resources at hand, I asked another librarian to help me find a book by this author.

My thought was maybe I caught Delinsky on a bad day, maybe it was the topic I didn’t like, who knows. That is when I was handed The Secret Between Us. As I type this in, my mind is going into bad soap opera drama voiceovers. That voice in my head is going deep and melodramatic. Book the secret between us

The story is about a mother and daughter who are in a car accident. Their car hits a man on the side of the road during a rainy night. He dies but what everyone does not know is that the daughter was the one driving. She is on a permit and so Mom is right there. But Mom doesn’t tell the police that. She lets them assume she was driving.

There are more secrets that will come out. And we have to deal with an autocratic father, a selfish ex-husband, a pregnant sister, a child with vision problems, and the grieving family members of the victim. But I liked this book better. Perhaps it was because I can identify with this cast of characters better. Perhaps it seemed to me that this situation could really happen. Perhaps it was because the secret affected people but it was not as longly held.

For whatever reasons I felt one book was better than the other. When I looked at Goodreads I noticed that both books received positive reviews, both received negative. I hoped that Sweet Salt Air was one of her earlier efforts but it came out last year. Secret was published in 2008.

Perhaps Delinsky’s next book will hit me better. In the meantime, I am reading Delinsky’s 3 Wishes. Strangely enough, it feels like an upbeat Steven King book.

What are you reading?

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