The Dud Avocado

Goodreads Synopsis
The Dud Avocado follows the romantic and comedic adventures of a young American who heads overseas to conquer Paris in the late 1950s. Edith Wharton and Henry James wrote about the American girl abroad, but it was Elaine Dundy’s Sally Jay Gorce who told us what she was really thinking. Charming, sexy, and hilarious, The Dud Avocado gained instant cult status when it was first published and it remains a timeless portrait of a woman hell-bent on living.
“I had to tell someone how much I enjoyed The Dud Avocado. It made me laugh, scream, and guffaw (which, incidentally, is a great name for a law firm).” –Groucho Marx

I put out a recommendation request, looking for a chick-lit book that actually had a cool female MC in it. I read most of the books that were recommended to me, last being The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy. I was quite disappointed with the other books that were recommended but this one ( although not exactly what I was looking for) definitely got my attention.

This book was exactly like reading some type of Sex and The City movie , only it's set in France in the 1950's and instead of SJP, we have a pink-haired Sally Jay Gorce, who just wants to be young, and wild, and free.

I am NOT a Sex and the City fan, but this was definitely a fun read. It wasn't extremely exciting, definitely not a must read, and it did drag in the middle, but I still found it fun. It was like reading an old movie and it was exiting to picture what the characters looked like and what the night clubs were like and what Paris in the 1950's looked like. Just a good time!

When God Was A Rabbit

Goodreads Synopsis
This is a book about a brother and a sister. It's a book about secrets and starting over, friendship and family, triumph and tragedy, and everything in between. More than anything, it's a book about love in all its forms.
In a remarkably honest and confident voice, Sarah Winman has written the story of a memorable young heroine, Elly, and her loss of innocence- a magical portrait of growing up and the pull and power of family ties. From Essex and Cornwall to the streets of New York, from 1968 to the events of 9/11, When God Was a Rabbit follows the evolving bond of love and secrets between Elly and her brother Joe, and her increasing concern for an unusual best friend, Jenny Penny, who has secrets of her own. With its wit and humor, engaging characters whose eccentricities are adroitly and sometimes darkly drawn, and its themes of memory and identity, When God Was a Rabbit is a love letter to true friendship and fraternal love.
Funny, utterly compelling, fully of sparkle, and poignant, too, When God Was a Rabbit heralds the start of a remarkable new literary career

At the end of this one, I needed a beer.

This book was a bit strange to me. The first half is about Elly's childhood and all the horrible things that happen in it. The second half is about her in her twenty-somethings and all the terrible things that happen in it. I thought this was supposed to be about the relationship between her and her brother, but really it's about Elly's life and HER relationship to him, and all the other characters in this book. I'm not sure still why the synopsis' make a point to tell you it is a brother/sister story because I didn't really feel that.

It wasn't a bad book at all. In fact, I gave it 4/5 stars. It was a very dark and intriguing book to me. It sort of reminded me of the move Little Miss Sunshine, because of all the dark things that happen sometimes hidden in humour.

In the Author's note, Winman tells us violence is one of the common themes in this book, as well as the "magic" of being about to start fresh when this is entirely impossible in real life, and we carry our past with us no matter how hard we try not to. I think she did a great job in sticking with these themes, and after reading her author's note, I feel like I "got it" because the whole second half of this book lost me. I still couldn't put it down but it went from this weird dark book about a child , to a very heavy, very realistic 9/11 story that almost had me in tears.

So although I do feel this book to be a bit strange, I am definitely glad I took the time to read it. I little out of my comfort zone genre wise but I like doing that from time to time.

This weekend, as I anticipate the arrival of my new kitty,(we get him tomorrow!) I distracted my excitement with John Michael Cummings Ugly to Start With. This book was a really suburb literary piece of work. There is no doubts that Cummings is a talent author with some incredible ideas. However, the short stories featured in this book really didn't connect with me. You get the point of them, how young Jason, an aspiring artist, figures out his fit in the interesting world he lives in, but they seemed lacking in any kind of structure. You would almost get to a climactic point in the story, and then you'd be cut off. This was probably intented, but didn't fulfill me at all. Although we see snippets of Jason's family, I don't really feel like I know or understand them at all, or him for that matter. It was just a bunch of random weird things that happened in his life, that didn't really come from anywhere, go anywhere, or make much sense.  It was only 168 pages long, so I was able to enjoy it as a literary piece enough to not be so disappointed by it, but I feel like I definitely missed something.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Jason Stevens is growing up in picturesque, historic Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in the 1970s. Back when the roads are smaller, the cars slower, the people more colorful, and Washington, D.C. is way across the mountains—a winding sixty-five miles away.

Jason dreams of going to art school in the city, but he must first survive his teenage years. He witnesses a street artist from Italy charm his mother from the backseat of the family car. He stands up to an abusive husband—and then feels sorry for the jerk. He puts up with his father’s hard-skulled backwoods ways, his grandfather’s showy younger wife, and the fist-throwing schoolmates and eccentric mountain characters that make up Harpers Ferry—all topped off by a basement art project with a girl from the poor side of town.

Ugly to Start With punctuates the exuberant highs, bewildering midpoints, and painful lows of growing up, and affirms that adolescent dreams and desires are often fulfilled in surprising ways.

Paperback, 168 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by West Virginia University Press

My Rating: 3/5