So…last week I announced that I’d chosen the very first book I wanted to write a review on. Woo hoo! (Hey, I was excited.) There were several candidates on the block, but in the end I was drawn to We Are Water by Wally Lamb because a) he’s a favourite author of mine and b) the plot line intrigued the hell outta me. However. I may have been just a teensy ambitious in announcing my review. The book is 29 chapters long (plus prologue!) and since I only seem to make time for reading before passing out in bed, it may take me some time to get my sh*t together (lol). In the meantime, because I want to get you reading a really good book, without further adieu, I’m happy to present you with the top five reads of
all my time.
#5. She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
Surprised? Come on now. I already said he was a favourite of mine, so there should be no surprise he makes the list. Strangely enough, his first book was the one I read after I’d read his later books of I Know This Much Is True and The Hour I First Believed. But of all his characters, Dolores Price is the one that sticks. It always impresses me when a grown man can write a relatable, believable story about a 13-year old girl turn pained overweight adult when, presumably, he has no idea what it’s like. It’s what good storytellers do, and it always knocks my socks off. I hope one day I figure out how to write like that.
4. Kit’s Law by Donna Morrissey
A fiercely protective grandmother, a mentally challenged mother, and a smart, funny 14-year old coming of age. It’s been quite some time since I read this book, so the details aren’t exactly clear anymore, but I do remember reading this book in two days. Flat. To me, a sign of a great book. (And perhaps a more relaxing life back then? Those were the days…) To me, this book perfectly captures the lengths we will go to keep what we love, the life we’ve become accustomed to, the people we would be lost without…exactly the same, even when we know it can’t possibly stay the same. Makes total sense, right? It will. Read the book.
3. The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
This might be a tough read for anyone with mommy issues. Which I may have. (Sorry mom. But really, who doesn’t?) It doesn’t just toy with the “if I had the chance to kill my mother…” umm, idea? Fantasy? (Gasp! No, not you, I know.) This book flat out goes there. But it’s because of those very issues and the secret, sinister (albeit fleeting) thoughts we have that we’d never dare give voice to combined with the utter complexity of the mother-daughter relationship that makes this an intriguing read. Not for the weak of heart. I just hope this one doesn’t turn a great book into an average movie starring Mark Wahlberg. Just sayin’.
2. Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Seriously. You haven’t read this yet? You won’t be able to put the damn thing down. I picked it up for next to nothing at a used book sale. Still can’t believe someone let it go – but then, I collect books and refuse to let the good ones out of my sight in case they never come back to me. You know who you are. Anyway. This one will never leave my collection because I couldn’t possibly say goodbye to Frances. Or Lily. Or Ambrose. They’ve had a hard enough life as it is…
1. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve recommended this book. It’s So. Very. Good. And yes, I’ve read The Corrections too, which received very high praise indeed, and rightfully so. It’s a serious piece of fiction. But I had to pry into that book with a crowbar before I felt comfortable with the story. That is not a criticism. It’s just that intense. But I digress. None of Franzen’s work is warm and fuzzy, feel-good fiction, so if that’s what you’re searching for, hit the bricks, missy. But it is honest. Almost disconcertingly so. And I love it when a book just goes there and makes no apologies for it, which is signature Franzen. I can’t wait to see what (I imagine to be) his tortured mind comes up with next.
Honourable Mention: Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey
Remember the guy that wrote that book that Oprah practically wet herself over, only to publicly roast the author later when she found out he had embellished certain “truths” in A Million Little Pieces? Yah, that guy. Only this time, he’s clearly writing fiction, but you get the sense that some of the crazy stuff in this book actually happened to him. It almost makes me want to live in L.A. Almost.
And there you have it! What do you think of my top five? Any recommendations for me that would bump one of these off the list? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Hit me up on twitter @farmfreshkaren or Facebook at Facebook.com/farmfreshcreative.