Books We Read: October
We don't read as much as we want to, not with all the wonderful growth of The Opal Club! These are the books we read this month.
A quick day's read, but this novel is anything but something flighty to be forgotten. The Lauras by Sara Taylor is a poignant and complex novel about a teenager named Alex whose mother, a rather free-spirited and harsh woman, takes Alex and takes off in the middle of the night, leaving her husband. It's a coming of age novel as well as a Great American Roadtrip novel. The child and mother set off on an extensive road trip around the country. The writing is not complicated, but it can't be - with the weight it carries. The type of heavy subjects which this book attempts cannot allow for the prose of the author to be evident to the reader. They have to be a feeling, or feelings, rather. The need to be felt thoroughly, because they are confusing. Besides the mother-child relationship which is anything but stereotypical, the most difficult and unique part of the story is Alex. We are led to believe that Alex is genderfluid, and here rises the most complex theme of the novel - Sara Taylor's raw and unapologetic execution of interweaving Alex's budding sexuality and her self-identity. There is also a weakness in this particular choice because as readers we must create a mental image of the characters about which we are reading, and it is difficult to do so with Alex. This is intentional and respectful (certainly), but from the technical perspective of someone who had studied English and Creative Writing, it falls short. Nonetheless, it is definitely a Great American Road Trip of the 21st Century and should be read for its presentation of Alex's non-binary identity, if not for the rest of the accomplishments and the absolutely grotesque (well-written) blowjob scene. Contact us if you want to send us your opinions of this book!
Fair warning, The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride book has actors and acting and drama school. (Yes, major eyeroll.) A plain, young, naive 18-year-old girl arrives in London from Ireland in hopes of finding fame. And then she meets a man. He 's 20 years older (it's always so, isn't it?). He has baggage. This relationship - this story of passion in mid-1990s London gives a new light to love, lust, and innocence. Unlike 50 Shades of Grey (major vom), sex is secondary to emotions in this novel, and that is a great accomplishment. We do want to say that this is a book for seasoned readers. The prose is experimental and unique in its attempt to be poetic. It is trying to capture the way we think, not in complete sentences, but rather in shards of assessments and feelings. At times, the prose is awkward and breathless (rightfully so, considering the age of the narrator). In difficult passages, it seems the author is challenging the reader's intelligence and patience - therefore it is not a book for the general public, but rather for a select few (which gives it all the more credit). In that, it is both strong and weak, but it greatly depends on the reader. Most of us couldn't get through it, and those who did still carry a melancholic impression. Read this if you want to feel a lot of emotions at once and want to challenge yourself with the strange, intricate, yet familiar protagonist.
Considering the fact that we read some pretty heavy stories in October, this book was a blessing to cleanse the palate before November starts and we dive into something serious once more. In a true lazy girl way, we actually put this off until the end. Obviously. We expected this to be an offense to our "girl-power-women-can-do-anything-even-better-than-men" daily attitude, but it was actually nothing of the sort. It was hilarious, well-written satire. We, women, always put on the super tough, inexhaustible front because we have to give 200% to receive the same credit as a man would get for giving 5%. So it's nice to decompress and just freaking relate to Jennifer Byrne who is the complete opposite of the perfectly effortless, carefree "French Girl" Vogue is trying to shove down our throats every day. (In fact, being lazy takes up a lot of effort.) Byrne is hilarious, honest, snarky, and says everything you don't really want to admit to doing and thinking. Ultimately, this book made us get our shit together more. Which is great. Thanks, Jennifer. One of our fave sections (very relevant to us right now) is: Your Friend Breaks Up with Her Boyfriend, but You Don't Care Because You Hated Him:
I mean, this guy is a grade A loser in almost every way. He's selfish, lazy, mean-spirited, and the intellectual equal of an amoeba...How do you pretend now to celebrate with the fervent joy of a thousand repressed societies? How do you not roll your eyes as you listen ot your friend greive her sucky relationship for the thousandth time?
We received copies of these books in exchange for our honest reviews.