Daily Archives: August 20, 2017

Review: ‘We All Love the Beautiful Girls’ by Joanne Proulx

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Who do the lucky become when their luck sours?

One frigid winter night, the happily prosperous Mia and Michael Slate discover that a close friend and business partner has cheated them out of their life savings. On the same night, their son, Finn, passes out in the snow at a party — a mistake with shattering consequences.

Everyone finds their own ways of coping with the ensuing losses. For Finn, it’s Jess, a former babysitter who sneaks into his bed at night, even as she refuses to leave her boyfriend. Mia and Michael find themselves forgoing tenderness for rougher sex and seeking solace outside their marriage: Mia in a flirtation with a former colleague, whose empty condo becomes a blank canvas for a new life, and Michael at an abandoned baseball diamond, with a rusty pitching machine and a street kid eager to catch balls in Finn’s old glove. As they creep closer to the edge — of betrayal, infidelity, and revenge — the story moves into more savage terrain.

With honesty, compassion, and a tough emotional precision, award-winning author Joanne Proulx explores the itch of the flesh, sexual aggression, the reach of love and anger, and the question of who ultimately suffers when the privileged stumble.

Review:

Think Jeffrey Eugenides, ‘The Virgin Suicides’. ‘We All Love the Beautiful Girls’ by Joanne Proulx is hardly an easy read but like Eugenides work, Proulx’s work requires your entire attention and a keen eye to look outside of your moral compass code.

‘We All Love the Beautiful Girls’ reads like a thriller film. A cast of characters with a Canadian connection (the setting is in Quebec) whose individual lies are closely examined.  As they begin to untangle and snap, the reader is catapulted into a reality that is not only vivid but jarring to the eye and heart.

‘We All Love the Beautiful Girls’ reads like a television drama. Secrets, denial, compulsions and sexy scenes with a clear intent. If you like ‘Pretty Little Liars’ meets ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’, ‘We All Love the Beautiful Girls’ will bring you close to her bosom.

The reader participates in the child’s social pressures and the quest to fit in. While the marital cracks and tears of a parental woes that has its quirks.  A strong mother with a clear vision towards change but also working out her own strife.  A father who is weakened by a loss of a job and perhaps a burnt pride that resonates deeper than just in his unemployment.

Themes of grief, loss and interrupted love are explored in ‘We All Love the Beautiful Girls’. Proulx’s brand of writing is rich, sultry and brimming with verbose detail that takes the reader willingly down the rabbit hole towards a dim light full of whispers and questions.  Digging yourself out of that hole in one piece could be a tad startling.

http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/545769/we-all-love-beautiful-girls#9780735232884

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Review: ‘The Child’ By Fiona Barton

 

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As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

Review:

‘The Child’ from Fiona Barton is a true crime story that could easily be ripped from the headlines. A child’s abduction and the threads of characters who may or may not have done ‘it’.  The story is rich, the characters are hardly easy to get along with and the plot riddled with intrigue.  Your Netflix account can easily be avoided for a few days once you bring ‘The Child’ home.

Barton can conduct a Master Class in writing suspense and thriller tales that will not only keep you up at night but will challenge the most seasoned reader to dig deep and examine the psychopathy of the characters that Barton is so well versed in creating.

The personalities of the characters came to life as well as their personal journeys. Individual stories of angst and bravery, show the reader that some childhoods never leave. The reader inhales in the lies, deception and the selfishness of the exposed narratives and how deeply corrosive their thoughts, behaviours and instability runs through the entirety of the novel.

http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/531857/child#9780143197737

Review: ‘Mrs. Fletcher’ By: Tom Perrotta

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From the bestselling author of The Leftovers and Little Children comes a penetrating and hilarious new novel about sex, love, and identity on the frontlines of America’s culture wars.

Eve Fletcher is trying to figure out what comes next. A forty-six-year-old divorcee whose beloved only child has just left for college, Eve is struggling to adjust to her empty nest when one night her phone lights up with a text message. Sent from an anonymous number, the mysterious sender tells Eve, “U R my MILF!” Over the months that follow, that message comes to obsess Eve. While leading her all-too-placid life—serving as Executive Director of the local senior center by day and taking a community college course on Gender and Society at night—Eve can’t curtail her own interest in a porn website called MILFateria.com, which features the erotic exploits of ordinary, middle-aged women like herself. Before long, Eve’s online fixations begin to spill over into real life, revealing new romantic possibilities that threaten to upend her quiet suburban existence.

Meanwhile, miles away at the state college, Eve’s son Brendan—a jock and aspiring frat boy—discovers that his new campus isn’t nearly as welcoming to his hard-partying lifestyle as he had imagined. Only a few weeks into his freshman year, Brendan is floundering in a college environment that challenges his white-dude privilege and shames him for his outmoded, chauvinistic ideas of sex. As the New England autumn turns cold, both mother and son find themselves enmeshed in morally fraught situations that come to a head on one fateful November night.

Sharp, witty, and provocative, Mrs. Fletcher is a timeless examination of sexuality, identity, parenthood, and the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure of who they are or where they belong.

Review:

A wonderful book to get stuck into over the weekend. Three different perspectives from three characters whose life experiences vary and collide. But their entertaining voices will make for some memorable images and a wonderful conversation starter for a summer book club.

The characters choices and individual life threads may not falter from the beginning of the book to the end, but they do provide for some fascinating input on their observations of life, their personal mishaps and want for change.

‘Mrs. Fletcher’ is a modern day ‘Mrs. Robinson’ for a millennial audience or a adult in transit reader who needs some lighter fare to keep their chin up and free styling giggles.

http://www.simonandschuster.ca/books/Mrs-Fletcher/Tom-Perrotta/9781501144028