Since one of my favourite things to read in blogs are book reviews, I thought that this year I would start talking about the ones I get through this year. I am a huge bookworm and always have been – there is nothing quite like escaping to a world that is not your own, and yet find pieces of yourself inside other people’s stories.
My current obsession is Oxfam Books. A charity shop, selling tons of books for a mere couple of pounds? Yes please. I recently discovered one right in my neighbourhood, which is both wonderful and dangerous.
Anyway, American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld is one that I had been meaning to pick up but never quite got round to. And one day, there it was, waiting for me on an Oxfam bookshelf. This is possibly my favourite thing about charity shops and their books – you never know what you will find.
I adored this book. The writing spoke to me, it was easy to read yet substantial, the story kept me interested and I felt a strange connection with the main character, Alice. Although the blurb reveals that the story is about her reflecting on her life and how she became first lady, it’s not really at all about her being the president’s wife. More than anything, it was an expanded coming-of-age story, about Alice and her life, in a much broader sense. I highly recommend it.
Now, another thing I tend to do – if I like a book by an author I’ve never read before, I go on a little binge-read of their other books. This time was no exception, and I found Sisterland on offer in WH Smith, and Prep in another charity shop.
Sisterland is, at the core, a story about the relationship between twin sisters, and also about the relationship between them and their close family and loved ones. Prep is about a girl who grows up in a prestigious boarding school, and learns the ins and outs of being a teenager and, basically, how to survive high school.
Quite frankly, I was underwhelmed by both. Sisterland was my least favourite – I felt like the plot was too weak, even if the central interest was not supposed to be the plot, and Prep was interesting enough but nothing mind-blowing. I did finish them both though, which I do try to do with every book I pick up, but some have been so terrible I haven’t been able to. So, that’s something!
If you’re interested in seeing what this author is about, I urge you to pick up American Wife. That was definitely worth a read, and I will probably try out whatever else she comes out with next, because I haven’t written her off yet. I do like her style.