April Reading Wrap-Up time!
April showers bring book powers? Okay, enough with the cheesy rhymes. On to the books!
The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
Carlos and Nicole meet. What follows is a lot of conversations, rosÃ©, and getting funky.
Things I liked about The Proposal include diverse characters, positive female friendships, and the fact that Nicole is an independent woman. Carlos complements her. He doesn’t complete her.
Ultimately, The Proposal is kind of bland. I hate to say that because it’s a refreshing change from some of the manufactured and unnecessary drama that I see another romances, but there’s no real conflict here. I like Carlos and Nicole. But I’m not sure what makes their story book-worthy.
Southern Lady Code by Helen Ellis
Ellis delivers nonfiction essays, discussing what it’s like to be a proper southern woman living in New York. The real-life wife portrayed here is a bit softer than the fictional one in her previous book, American Housewife. A bit more compromising, sometimes old-fashionedly so.
I may be a bit biased in Ellis’ favor, though. I am a grandchild of a proper southern lady. Southern ladies live on. And they are fabulous.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Doubleday Books for an advance e-reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth
Though The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth at first appears to be domestic thriller, I’d say it’s more of a book about relationships.
Lucy is a warm-hearted mother. Diana, her mother-in-law, is cold, disapproving, aloof. Through their alternating points of view, we see the miscommunications that divide them. The men in their lives, while well-meaning, are not much help.
Hepworth is great at illustrating these relationship dynamics. While I’m not thrilled with books that criminalize women based on their biology, The Mother-in-Law is an excellent book. I came to love Lucy and Diana and their different approaches to life.
Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Fruit of the Drunken Tree begins with Chula, a girl living with her financially comfortable family in Bogota. They hire a maid from the poor neighboring village named Petrona.
This fictional story happens during the real-life height of Pablo Escobar’s power as a drug lord. Regular car bombs, kidnapping, and murder made Colombia a very unsafe place to live.
Fruit of the Drunken Tree took a moment to grab me. It was the aftermath of surviving Ramon that started to get me. Surviving survival, for Petrona, didn’t mean happily ever after. It meant a possible unending bleakness.
“The Screwfly Solution” by James Tiptree Jr.
I tend to pay a lot of attention to gender dynamics in the stories I read. “The Screwfly Solution” by James Tiptree, Jr. feeds that need in me perfectly.
This sci-fi short story is told mostly in the form of Anne’s letters to her scientist husband, Alan. While he’s away on a research trip, Anne writes of the mass femicide (murder of females) spreading across the globe. A men’s cult, the Sons of Adam, uses religion as justification to commit rape and murder.
Fascinating story and fascinating author! Check out my latest #booktube video for more on “The Screwfly Solution” (link in profile) and the remarkable life of James Tiptree, Jr, AKA Raccoona Sheldon, AKA Alice B. Sheldon.
The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
When a woman’s friend commits suicide, he leaves his great dane to her. She knows nothing of raising a dog, but together, they speak the universal language of grief and find comfort in one another.
The only drawback: I’m not 100% sure if I liked this book. It takes a lot (A. LOT.) of diversions. The narrator chases after trivia like a dog with a bone (see what I did there?). I could make the argument that this was her way of processing her grief, remembering this sharing of knowledge she had with her friend as their love language. But I’m still not fully convinced that these tributaries contribute to the story.
Watch this April Reading Wrap-Up and other book reviews on my booktube channel.
Music credit: YouTube