Lately, I’ve been reading faster than I’ve been reviewing, which is totally stressing me out because CHARTROOSE ABSOLUTELY MUST BLOG ABOUT EVERYTHING SHE READS! Don’t ask me why I have to be so anal about this, but I do. So, here is one of the books that I finished recently and neglected to write about:
Dani Shapiro, 2003, 269 p.
I snuck this in between a couple of other more difficult reads. It was fast, easy, and definitely lower middle-class as far as enjoyment and literary merit are concerned. I think part of the reason I had some problems taking this seriously is due to the fact that it’s one of those “marriage and family” women’s books which always tend to bother me. So many of them seem too formulaic: an ideal family (mom, dad, a couple of kids and usually a common type of pet) have their peaceful existence shattered by some kind of horrendous trauma. Will they be able to survive it, or will the family break apart forever? They all end the same: happily ever after. I guess I’m just not “girly” enough for this kind of melodrama. I much prefer space operas to soap operas, thank you very much!
Family History is about Rachel and Ned Jensen, a very nice couple whose daughter begins to go loony tunes when she hits puberty and becomes a defiant little brat. She really goes over the edge after she accidentally drops her baby brother on his head while babysitting one evening, seriously injuring him. Rachel and Ned end up having to place her in a residential treatment facility because she starts to self-destruct in a big way. The ending is totally saccharine, and the very last sentence is a stupid cliché. Gawd! Here’s the last part of the last sentence: “…and we all hold onto one another for dear life.” Can you believe it? The editor of this novel should be horsewhipped or at least severely chastised!
I’m going to go through my TBR list and eliminate most if not all similar novels. In addition to my current memoir moratorium, I’m going to stop reading “mommy” and “chick-lit” novels, at least most of the time. They really do disgust me.