I’m still coming off the summer reads, and at times I feel like by the time I get around to my “fall” reading, it’ll be winter! Oh well – it’s Friday, and that’s basically all that’s on my mind…
My latest read is “Modern Lovers” by Emma Straub, who you may recognize from her very popular first book, “The Vacationers.” Initially, I didn’t have a huge interest in reading “Modern Lovers”, but I kept noticing that it was ALWAYS checked out at the library!
Two things to note here: 1. Yes, I go to the library that often where I notice when certain things are missing on the shelf, and 2. It’s true, we always want what we can’t have. So, I finally got it. Here’s the scoop:
Back in the 1980s at Oberlin College, in Ohio, Elizabeth, Andrew, Zoe, and Lydia had a band called Kitty’s Mustache. Elizabeth wrote a song called “Mistress of Myself”; Lydia sang it and made it famous, but she died of a heroin overdose at age 27. Two decades later, Elizabeth and Andrew are married and have a son, Harry.
Living nearby in Brooklyn’s Ditmas Park neighborhood are Zoe and her wife, Jane, with their daughter, Ruby. They own a neighborhood restaurant called Hyacinth. Midlife crises are roiling both marriages: Zoe and Jane are considering divorce; Andrew, the scion of wealthy parents, has never held a meaningful job and is now bemoaning his failure to find fulfillment, and Elizabeth sells real estate in Ditmas and feels responsible for everyone.
To further complicate matters, teenagers Harry and Ruby suddenly discover sex. Into this volatile mix comes a Hollywood producer who’s making a movie about Lydia and urgently needs the former band members to sign over their rights to the iconic song.
Straub (The Vacationers) spins her lighthearted but psychologically perceptive narrative with a sure touch as she captures the vibes of midlife, middle-class angst and the raging hormones of youth. Straub excels in establishing a sense of place: the narrative could serve as a map to gentrified Brooklyn; it’s that detailed and visually clear. Events move at a brisk pace, and surprises involving resurgent passion enliven the denouement. Readers will devour this witty and warmly satisfying novel.
If you can’t tell from the book’s description, there’s a lot going on in this book – that’s my fair warning. I’ll admit I didn’t love this book as a whole. There were portions of it that I really enjoyed – particularly the romance between Harry and Ruby. But, other parts of it moved slow, and this may be my own failing, as I’m not very good with books that have lots of characters, especially similar ones.
This book got rave reviews from critics, but equally mixed reviews from us normal folk – so it could very well be a tossup. I’d recommend this book to anyone who thinks they may be able to relate, and hey, I’m still not going to give up on Straub, as “The Vacationers” sounds pretty awesome.
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “The Girl’s Guide to Moving On” by Debbie Macomber. Want to read it with us? Hit me up on SnapChat, Twitter, and Instagram @OrangeJulius7, leave a comment here, or shoot me an email at Holly@thebitterlemon.com to chat about it!
Meanwhile, I got home last night to find four giant houseflies in my apartment – YUCK! Where the hell did they come from is what I want to know, or do I? I was able to catch 3/4 in my bathroom, close the doors, and swatted at the suckers with a twisted towel. Killed them all and laughed like a psychopath, until I had to clean up the mess.
I then hunted around the apartment to see if I could spot any areas that may be contributing to the problem. I didn’t see anything of the obvious, but I wiped down my trashcans and cleaned out my garbage disposal. Any ideas out there? I’m hoping it was a one-time issue and that I won’t come home from work today to find MORE flies – ugh! I had a minor mosquito infestation just a few weeks ago that had me up at 3 am with my swatter. I ended up cleaning off my patio thinking perhaps there was some secret spot they were breeding.
Damn you, Texas, and your critters!
Anyway, I hope you all have a fantastic weekend ahead – I have a busy October planned, so I’m taking advantage of these final days of relaxation, and will probably be rolled up in my comforter for most of it… and I’ll be damned if I hear a fly buzzing overhead.