Saurabh Padhye Padhye 从 Bát Xát District, Lao Cai, 越南
I read this because it was our book club selection for the month. A nice, 90 year old woman, Elner Shimfissle, falls off a ladder and "sort-of" dies but not quite. A variety of cliche characters in an "America-small-southern-town-applepie-gossip-knowingeverybody'sbusiness" setting. A couple of pages on what her funeral arrangements were, part of a chapter on looking for her cat etc etc - a very simple story. Could be a sitcom on the country channel CMT. Good grief there are recipes at the end of the book... one for Heavenly Caramel Cake. Way, way too sappy for me.
** spoiler alert ** One star because the prose is lovely. Another because, I mean, I finished it. Despite my issues with Sarah Dessen (and they are numerous), I really enjoyed Lock & Key so I hoped that meant she was moving away from the crap that annoys me so much about her writing. Alas, it is not to be. I liveblogged reading this for a friend, so instead of writing up AGAIN why this book made me so furious and frustrated, I'll just copy and paste for you: pg. 33, a dude is all OOH YOU'RE THE HOTTEST GIRL to Auden who is just WALKING BY which is, OK, perhaps supposed to be high-school-era-smooth or dorky BUT it basically paints the world as a place where women who ignore street harassment as ungracious frigid bitches with little experience. AGGHHHH. pg. 43, OMG, "maybe my mom could play the aloof, selfish bitch" - first of all WTF, secondly, ever think that your mom IS OK with just doing dudes and not getting attached? LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE. OMFG. This is a general complaint, but I think Sarah Dessen should have written the book about Heidi because that is clearly what she cares about more. Shocking she'd pen this one right after having her own baby, Y/N? I had this problem with the Megan McCafferty books as well, but I hate books where girly-girls are to be mocked and patronized and feminists are to be mocked and patronized, because it is such bullshit that there is a respectable space where women are allowed to exist, where the societal conventions aren't taken too far but where feminism is for lesbians and harpies. And I fucking hate it. I fucking hate it too because I think it's such a real thing, not just in literature, I see it all the time. Let's laugh at the Elle Woods of the world but let's laugh at self-identifying feminists too. Bull. Shit. I hate being expected to remember people from all other Sarah Dessen books. Here's news: I DO NOT. I feel like I'm reading fanfiction for a series I never watched. I hate this self-referential bullshit. God I'm saying bullshit a lot. I'm not sure why it's so awful Auden's mom came to town with the hot grad student. Or at all. Mothers are allowed to have sex lives. It's generally how they became mothers. pg. 158, that whole street smarts/book smarts dichotomy? Scientists have done studies. IT DOESN'T EXIST. IT IS A WAY FOR STUPID PEOPLE TO PRETEND THEY ARE NOT STUPID. IT IS A WAY FOR INTELLECTUALS TO BE RUDE. IT IS NOT OK GAHHHH. pg. 160 and leading up to it, I cannot believe the reason it was OK for Auden to be talking to Eli WASN'T because people aren't fucking possessions but because actually Eli and Belissa (UGH BELISSA ALSO OF COURSE SHE HAS BAD SKIN AND A POINTY NOSE) are actually broken up DUH! I'm sorry, but "hot dog party" sounds more like a "sausage party" to me. OK I finished it while out and away from my computer, but, anyway, other issues: I hate the implication that the only way to truly let people into your life and not be a lonely bitch is romantic attachment. I also hate the idea that you're either a girl who is partially girly and details her life's minutiae or you are a lonely bitch. I don't even get why the mom is so lonely. I don't know many women who don't have a group of friends, unless they are awful people. Even serious academics hang out with other serious academics or writers or researchers or whatever else. I think the either/or dichotomy is another huge falsehood. Also: hanging out with a bunch of grad students who think you're awesome and want to discuss literature with you? Sounds pretty good. Sounds like a social life to me. HATE that Heidi and the dad end up together after all. He is awful. He had so much more to learn and yet that is mainly glossed over. I mean, men fare so much better in the Dessenverse. Also confused about how Heidi understands Auden's mom because she was a lonely bitch once too. Uh, except she is 26. I don't think you really had time, Heidi. Dessen really seems confused about when life happens, or at least that's how I see it. Eli is fine and all but does he have much to him besides biking and helping Auden with HER quest? If this was backwards, I would call a book sexist for making a girl exist primarily to help a dude find out who HE is. I want more. It's not fair to Eli, also I can accept why she'd spend time with him but I never felt their relationship was actually justified to me. Also, back to the Dessen Has No Idea When You Are Supposed To "Grow Up", why is whatshisface that Auden slept with and Maggie used to date such a huge asshole? He's 18 and sleeps with girls who he thinks are hot. Ohhhkay? I thought that was... being 18. OH AND EDITED TO ADD THAT I FORGOT TO MENTION... that Auden's mom's boyfriend basically stalks her into submission. That's a GREAT lesson!