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I’m Done with Girly Books!

I’m Done with Girly Books!

I’m officially done with girly books! I’ve just read two of them and wish I hadn’t. Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett is a story about a blended family, the parents of which are all adulterers with a bunch of kids spawned from both the cheated-upon first spouses and their current unhappy unions. The parents (there are four of them to try and keep straight) are self-centered boobs, and the kids that comprise their various broods are bratty ne’er-do-wells. There’s really nobody to like in the whole dysfunctional mess. Even the one main character that isn’t a member of this icky family is a jerk. He’s a washed up novelist trying to seduce one of the screwy girls who is infatuated with his work and also half his age.


I’ve decided that there are only a certain number of messed up people stuck in messed up relationships that I can stand reading about, and Patchett put me WAY over the limit! I liked her novel, State of Wonder, which, if I recall correctly, had some passing mentions of relationship ups and downs (loss, guilt, love, fulfillment, blah, blah, blah), but was mostly an action-suspense type story set in a really dark and spooky Amazon rain forest. In my opinion, she should stick to the jungle.




Adriana Trigiani tricked me into reading her novel The Shoemaker’s Wife. It begins in the mountains of northern Italy and follows the travails of two young boys left by their mysterious and widowed mother to be raised as orphans by a bunch of nuns in a convent. They are nice boys, and so are the nuns, and so are the nearby villagers, and Trigaiani’s descriptions of turn-of-the-century rural Italy are nicely atmospheric. When one of the boys, Ciro, is banished from the convent by a dastardly priest and forced to immigrate to America, I thought I’d be in for a sweeping saga about immigrants pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. There is plenty of that kind of stuff to be sure, but what we’re really talking about here is a mushy romance novel. Will Ciro overcome all the obstacles put in his way and finally hook up with his one true love, Enza, whom he first meets in the Italian Alps after digging the grave of her baby sister, and whom also happens to immigrate to New York City at about the same time he does? Or, will she marry the moneybags PR exec that can give her the dazzling American life she has always longed for?


I was halfway through the novel, and grumped to Julia that it was nothing but a dime store soaper, and she said, yea, I know and I’m surprised to see you reading it. NOW you tell me! I roared, but continued on. I have to admit, Trigiani is an excellent storyteller. She makes you want to see how everything for all her heartwarming characters turns out. But by the end of the novel my heart was so f-ing warmed I could hardly stand it.


After wasting so much time on these two novels, I’m definitely changing tacks. I need to get back in touch with my masculine side.

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