Thursday, July 21, 2011
The Long & Winding Book Review: Maine
As you all know, I'm quite the reader. Like, I'm usually reading 3 books at a time and so it is right now. I was reading four but I just finished one -- "Maine" by J. Courtney Sullivan -- which I selected for book club, which I am hosting at my place on August 2nd. I can't wait to discuss it with the girls...despite the fact that it was not super deep. I still kinda loved it for a summer read! It was the perfect read for me when I sat on the airport tarmac for four hours waiting for my plane to take off after a thunderstorm. Can you sense the irritation? Yeah, I never want to sit on an airplane without moving for that long again. Especially when I can practically SEE my house from the plane window!
Want to read my review? Hit the jump below!
I originally read about "Maine" while perusing Feministing.com, which I really only go to in order to get pissed off about something. Actually, I go there to spy on the feministas and their silly tactics that need some balance in the world of "most women." But anyway, I was skeptical. Feministing of course touted the fact that the book took on the controversial issue of abortion. However, that was not really much of the book and I found myself irritated that the blog reviewer acted like it was.
The book was a light, easy read that transports you to a gorgeous beach house on the coast of Maine -- a place everyone dreams of having but few ever get to experience it in real life. The characters were slightly overdone -- especially the character of "Kathleen" and "Alice" -- the 80-something-year-old matriarch of the family -- felt almost the same character as "Vivi" in The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. The family arguments, however, were very well written and I was impressed by Sullivan's ability to keep me focused on the story and not critiquing anything in the writing style.
I just recently finished Jennifer Weiner's book, "Fly Away Home" -- probably the 4th of hers I've read -- and found cliche's and irritations throughout every page. In my opinion, Sullivan is a far better writer than Weiner. I'm likely to pick up Sullivan's previous book, "Commencement" but unlikely to get Weiner's new one, "Then Came You."
Moving along, books that feature women in their thirties that are not yet married or similar places as me always pique my interest. While my blog reading habits have me constantly keeping with married 25-year-olds, it's nice to "relate" to characters who are taking the slow road like me. The character, "Maggie", in Maine was probably my favorite and I felt like we could be fast friends. Her boyfriend, "Gabe", was a real jerk and at 36 tells her he "can't do this right now" when she reveals she is pregnant. I felt the author portrayed as too much of an asshole for Maggie to have actually stayed with him all this time.
Lastly, I was irritated by Sullivan's portrayal of Maggie as "brave" for daring single motherhood. The adjective just didn't jive with the story and unlike many single mothers, Maggie's own was offering her $20,000 and a place to live rent free. Another family member bought her a $600 stroller and ALSO offered her a place to live rent-free. I guess it is fiction and really -- who has a $2.6 million beach home given to them -- but I still found those details irritatingly unrealistic.
All in all, I enjoyed reading "Maine" but was disappointed I didn't love it more. Unlike when I read, "American Wife", which I couldn't get enough of, read again and immediately listed Curtis Sittenfeld as one of my oh so favorite authors! I'm looking forward to book club when the girls I analyze this book to pieces like we always do!
The Long & Winding Book Review: Maine
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