I hoped I will like Beach Read by Emily Henry, especially after hearing raving reviews from all over the blogosphere. But when I found out that it was about two writers, I knew I was going to love it. Did that happen so for me?
Read my book review of Beach Read by Emily Henry to know more.
January Andrews, a romance writer, gives up her belief in love when she hears some life shattering news at her father’s funeral. And that pushes her into a writer’s slump and a financial crunch.
What happens when a romance writer stops believing in love and romance? Ask January Andrews. Her father is dead and she comes to know that her parents’ marriage was not a fairy tale romance as she grew up believing.
Now she is in a writing slump, her mother is not speaking to her and she has to go to her father’s cabin for the summer, because that is all she can afford to, anymore.
To make matters worst, her neighbor is her college nemesis, someone who ridiculed her women centric romance novels.
Does the summer get any better for January? Can she win over her toughest critic? You have to read Beach Read by Emily Henry to know more.
Book review of Beach Read
As a bibliophile, I love reading about writers, and a romance with two writers was just a perfect way to spend my afternoon.
Despite that Beach Read was a bit hard to get into. Of course, it could have been a totally “me” situation. But it is not exactly a fun read that the book cover or the blurb made it out to be.
I loved the witty banter between the main characters and Beach Read was more than a rom-com or just a romance. It deals with many intense topics like grief, loss and infidelity.
The best part about reading Beach Read is getting to know the working process of two different writers and understanding what goes inside their brains. I enjoyed that entirely.
What worked for me
I loved the witty banter and lively romance of the lead pair.
Beach Read deals with intense topics like grief and infidelity and is more than just a romance book.
If you want to see what goes behind your favorite author’s brain, Beach Read might show a glimpse of their writing process.
What may have been better
If you are looking for a breezy read, Beach Read may prove a bit beyond that. But that may not be a bad thing.
Mention of a cult, past mentions of child abuse and domestic abuse, mentions of breast cancer and chemo, adultery, death of a parent.
Beach Read by Emily Henry is a well written romance book that deals with grief and loss. If you wanna read a book about writers writing your favorite book, this might be a great choice.
I picked Mrs. Everything without any idea what the general theme was about and I was pleasantly surprised that it was a historical fiction, a genre I rarely read. Let us see how it turned out for me in my book review, shall we?
Mrs. Everything follows the story of two sisters, Jo and Bethie Kaufman, right from their childhood when they move into Detroit in the 1950s. Jo, the elder one, is quite tomboyish and feels uncomfortable in skirts and frills who Bethie bonds with their mother through the pretty, girlie things.
Jo grows up edgy, socially aware/woke and outspoken while Bethie loves being the mother’s pet, pliable and the center of attention. Over the years, we see them grow into their rebellious teens alongside the political and societal changes in the USA.
As more matured adults, their roles reverse. Jo gets into the more traditional mother/wife role and Bethie becomes the free spirit and joins a woman only commune. What does it take for these sisters, and the world, to stick together despite all their flaws forms the rest of Mrs. Everything.
My initial thoughts
Mrs. Everything is pretty predictable and the plot by itself has been told countless times. The lives of Jo and Bethie can be yours, mine or any other woman – it is about the roles we play to keep the world running. It is relatable and has happened to each of us, in pieces at the least, and hence “Mrs. Everything”.
I have read a few Jennifer Weiner’s books in my late teens. I remember them being lighthearted (I may be remembering it wrong), so I was surprised Mrs. Everything being so intense with multiple themes like civil rights, women rights and LGBTQA. And she has done a great job with it.
I found Mrs. Everything a bit longer than it could have been. While I loved reading about the sister’s lives, the history part felt longer and repetitive in places.
Things that worked for me
The plot and the characters felt relatable.
The author has done a great job handling multiple themes.
Things that didn’t work for me
Mrs. Everything felt a longer than it could have been.
The history part felt repetitive in places.
Mrs. Everything does a perfect job of interweaving the historical facts with the lives of ordinary women, that are so closer to every other woman. If only it were shorter it would be my go to recommend for woman fiction genre, easily.
Let us chat
Have you read Mrs. Everything? Do you read historical fiction or literary fiction? Have you read any of Jennifer Weiner’s other books? Let us talk.
There are some books that we read because someone recommended them to you. Or maybe because you read about them somewhere or you found them read by someone you know. And there are some that you pick out of curiosity. Many times they end up making you feel sorry for that moment of impulsiveness. But there are those rare occasions that the book that you picked out yourself, that you had never heard of earlier, might just be the one book that you needed then. It might turn out to be the one that you would revisit once in a while. You know what, it might be the one reason that you have not stopped picking random books, without hoping much from them.
This favorite book of mine to revisit time and again was found out of nowhere. I confess it is the name of the book that reeled me in. By now you might have guessed that the mere word ‘suicides‘ compelled me to read it. Well, there is not just one suicide, but five. What could stop me from devouring it, right? Well, it was not just what I expected at all, I should say that.
Book Name: The Virgin Suicides
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
Genre: Fiction – YA, Classic
Characters: Cecilia, Lux, Mary, Bonnie and Therese Lisbon
Setting: Michigan, The USA, 1970
The Virgin Suicides could easily have been the story of five sisters Cecilia (13), Lux (14), Bonnie (15), Mary (16) and Therese (17) who succumbed to suicide. Yes, it spoke of possible depression, failure at a suicidal attempt, pretense at normality and everything that I have come to love about the genre. But it has more than just that.
The story talks about the fascination of the neighborhood boys, now adults, about the secluded and cloistered Lisbon sisters, who committed suicide all in the same year. For all the flaws of the sisters, the boys consider them perfect and worship them through their memory. They try to figure why they did what they did and how their deaths affected them and the entire neighborhood, even after so many years. Though the reason for their deaths remains unknown, the ghosts of the sisters haunt the boys as they rot with guilt that they remained mute voyeurs through their painful existence.
They go through their collected memorabilia and recollect faint memories of their teenage crushes, to relive those golden years. They seek out insights and experiences from other boys, teachers and their other neighbors to understand their childhood Goddesses’ lives under their strict mother and submissive father. The boys’ attempt to resolve the mystery seem to be the only thing that holds them together anymore. But as time passes, just like their ‘exhibits,’ their memory start to fail them, and the fact that they have to concentrate harder to invoke their nostalgia devastates them more than the suicides themselves.
The Virgin Suicides is not just about the girls or their suicides. It is more about the boys and their reminiscence of their adolescent infatuation and lust for their young neighbors. I felt that I was one among the boys, even though they are well into their middle ages in the story now – and my feelings towards the boys felt undiluted even during my second and third reads of the book. Their voyeuristic adventures from a tree house or the telephone conversations they had with the girls by playing songs or even the fateful school dance they had accompanied the girls to, may have been part of any coming of age novel, but for the melancholy tone that hangs as the reminder the imminent deaths.
I cannot say enough that I loved the writing, especially the unique protagonists. It is one of those books that the story doesn’t matter, as much as the prose. The prose oozes out with pensiveness and poignancy that would stick on to you much longer after you finish reading. The author makes the best use of metaphors and detailed descriptions to paint a vivid picture of the lovesick boys or the fate of the dying town. The Virgin Suicides talks about the loss of the lives of the Lisbon girls, by not talking about them at all. It tells what happens to us after the great loss, after the momentous despair – an abominable lull in whatever life that remains thereafter.
The Virgin Suicides is a must-read for anyone who reads for the love of the language and is not afraid to reach out for the dictionary when things get tough. You would either hate it and call it pretentious or add it to your favorites – there is no in between.