Monday, March 28, 2011

Crime: Stories by Ferdinand von Schirach

This is a very interesting book as it reads like a collection of short true crime stories, but they are all fiction. The author is a German defense attorney so the 11 cases are all based on true stories--he has just added all the backstory so that the reader can actually feel compassion toward some of the criminals. I'd recommend it to all Law & Order fans!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Can't Think Straight

Can't Think Straight: A Memoir of Mixed-up Love by Kiri Blakeley

I've got to hand it to Blakeley--after a 10-year relationship, her boyfriend tells her he's gay, and she carries on with her life. However, the carrying on that includes hooking up with all kinds of slutty men is not admirable, and I found myself pitying her more than rooting for her to learn the big life lesson I'm sure she meant to learn. I'm not really sure she learned any lesson, though. Disappointing.

Half in Love

Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide by Linda Gray Sexton

Linda, daughter of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Anne Sexton, writes an affecting story about growing up with her mother's mental illness. She then details the mental illness that struck her after her mother's mental illness--an illness with which she still battles. It's a page-turner, as enthralling as a novel.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

I was in tears twice during this book which speaks for not only the compelling subject matter, but for the nuanced writing that offers a powerful look at an intense marriage. At one point, Hadley loads a suitcase full of three years of Hemingway's work to bring to him because she is certain it is the most loving thing she can do, but the suitcase is stolen. The pain of both Hadley and Ernest in this scene is just devastating--and it's this type of intensity that surrounds their five year marriage. To be sure, McClain has added the emotions to Ernest Hemingway's first marriage, but it is a marriage that could belong to anyone who has ever loved with all his being, only to wonder how to keep such an almighty love afloat.

At the end of the novel, "Hem" calls Hadley while writing his memoir "A Moveable Feast," a time of his life in which she is a central figure, the support that buoys his early writing career.
"Tell me, do you think we wanted too much from each other?" he asks.
"Oh, I don't know. It's possible."
"Maybe that's it. We were too hooked into each other. We loved each other too much."
"Can you love someone too much?"

McClain sprinkles other literary figures from 1920's Paris into the story including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and James Joyce. She says she tried to stay as true to the facts as she could, which makes this book all the more intriguing.

The Paris Wife is incredible-- one of the very best books I've ever read.