Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Talking as Fast as I Can (Lauren Graham)

It's really funny -- a friend of mine has always told me that I needed to watch this terrific show called Gilmore Girls.  So one day over Christmas break, I began a Netflix binge, finishing the show completely (including the revival) last week.  I loved Lauren Graham's portrayal of Lorelai Gilmore so much that I recently read and reviewed her fiction novel (Someday, Someday Maybe) and began watching another show she was in, Parenthood (perfection!).  Her latest collection of essays, Talking as Fast as I Can, is a book that all of Graham's fans can enjoy, no matter what you know and love her from.

I got one thing straightaway from this book: Lauren Graham IS Lorelai Gilmore.  Whether she's talking about her experiences on Gilmore Girls or Parenthood, or all her many jobs before she became a bona fide TV star, reading her essays is as comforting as a hot cup of coffee from Luke's.  Graham's warmth comes through loud and clear, and her honesty is really refreshing in this day and age.

You can devour Talking as Fast as I Can in a single afternoon or savor each essay so the book lasts longer.  Either way, I bet you're going to love it.


The Girls (Emma Cline)

Every once in a while, a book comes along that has a huge waiting list at the library and many readers fawn over that I just don't understand why.  Such is the case with Emma Cline's The Girls.  To me, this novel didn't live up to its hype at all, and judging from other reviews on Goodreads, quite a few people seem to agree with me.

To put it simply, The Girls takes the horror of the true Manson murders and for the most part, just plops in fictional characters to replace the real life killers.  We see the "family" through the eyes of Evie, a 14-year-old girl living in the late 1960s who is completely disillusioned with her life.  Upon meeting members of this cult, she is drawn to them and their leader, Russell (you can only guess who he is supposed to represent).

If you think The Girls is going to be mostly about the actual killings, think again. They don't even happen until almost 90% of the book is finished.  Many times in these fictionalized accounts, knowing that something is definitely going to occur draws up quite a bit of suspense.  However, Cline just fills the previous pages with mundane details and lots and lots of sex, so The Girls was definitely not the page-turner I was expecting.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Big Little Lies (Liane Moriarty)

Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies features an unforgettable cast of characters and a storyline that seamlessly alternates between all of them.  Even though Moriarty is often considered a chick lit type of author, her books are usually pretty smart, and Big Little Lies is one of the smartest of all of them.

The main premise and setting are odd for a novel like this -- a school where helicopter parenting abounds and lots of gossip takes place.  The three main women (Madeline, Celeste, and Jane) have much turmoil going on with their relationships, children, and lives in general, much of which are secrets they're keeping.  From the very beginning, the reader knows that something tragic will happen at the school's trivia night (of all events); Moriarty does this effortlessly by including snippets of conversation that characters in the town divulge to the detective on the case.  The fun comes from trying to figure out what exactly will occur and which character will be the victim.

Extremely well written, truly suspenseful and often downright funny, Moriarty reminds us that as much as we try, we probably don't know everything there is to know about our families, friends, and neighbors.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Someday, Someday, Maybe (Lauren Graham)

"You have to watch Gilmore Girls!  What are you waiting for???"  After hearing this for the umpteenth time, I decided to catch the first episode on Netflix.  Six hours later, I realized I was still watching it.  I have since finished the series and loved every minute of it.  Even though the show is called "girls" plural, to me, it centers around Lorelei, which is why I was excited to find out that Lauren Graham, the actress who plays her, wrote Someday, Someday, Maybe.  Watch for my upcoming review of her book of essays, Talking as Fast as I Can.

Franny Banks is a New York City actress trying to make it in the big time.  When she first moved there, she gave herself a strict deadline: if she didn't have success by a certain date, she would go back home.  Time is running out, and even though she is getting a few minor jobs, she still hasn't broken out.  She lives with two roommates, Jane and Dan, and seriously struggles to make ends meet in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Someday, Someday, Maybe is often laugh-out-loud funny, and Franny is certainly a character that most people will find themselves rooting for.  Even though most of us don't know what it's like to be grasping at straws trying to make it as a working actor in New York City, we do understand what it's like to be a twentysomething (or older) attempting
to get all aspects of our lives straight. Because of this, Graham's novel is really quite relatable.

Celebrities writing fiction (or anything really) is sometimes not a good thing.  I'm happy to say that this isn't the case with Someday, Someday, Maybe.  Even though it's an average read, I found most of it enjoyable, so I'm going to give it a solid 3.5 rating.