What I’ve Been Reading Lately

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This book made me feel all the feels.  I wanted to ignore all other responsibilities until I’d finished it. Eleanor is such an endearing, lovable character.  Her story is so difficult to read at times, but also inspiring as she overcomes her upbringing and learns to make friends.  Because we served as a foster family for several years, I have deep issues with the stereotypical abusive foster family situation that is often portrayed in books. This one was a bit better than most, but I still feel that it doesn’t accurately represent a most foster families. (Warning: the language is rough at times.)

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

I’ve been hearing about this book for months and finally picked it up.   I loved the descriptions of the girls, how they saw the world and their interactions as children. I have mixed emotions about it the rest of the book.  I was anxious to discover what happened to each of the characters, but disappointed that they didn’t develop into the people I wanted them to be.  I certainly don’t need a book to have a happy ending, but I did want more than I got.  I suppose that’s also partially due to the fact that this is the first book in a series. I’ll probably get more answers as I go along. Has anyone else read more of the series?  

The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride

Because I am a white mother of a black boy I was hesitant to pick up this book.  I worried it would break my heart.  It turned out to be nothing like I had expected, but I really liked it. James’ white mother is his biological mother and her mysterious story is extremely compelling.  Here’s what I shared on Instagram: Oh, my heart.♥️ It was not at all what I was expecting, but still so, so good. It’s the incredible memoir of the 8th of 12 children in a biracial family. The author’s mom was white, and his dad was black in a time when interracial marriages were not only uncommon, but dangerous. Despite her heartbreaking childhood, she goes on to send all 12 of her children to college and most of them earn graduate degrees. This book is about love, tenacity and motherhood, messy families and deep faith. One of my favorites of the year, for sure.

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

I loved this book.  Not just because of my Horticulture background, but I’m sure that helps.  But also because it’s a meaningful story well told.  It’s the story of a difficult childhood, a passionate female scientist, deep life-long friendships and overcoming mental illness.  I don’t feel like I can accurately describe this book.  The insights into what it’s like to be a research scientists, always worried about grant money and living on nothing was fascinating.   That the author is female in a very predominately male profession adds an extra measure of interest. In addition to all that she has overcome a tremendous amount of heartbreak and difficulty as well. So, so good.

Head to Modern Mrs. Darcy for more quick book reviews.