Sunday, June 22, 2014

THE INTERESTINGS by Meg Wolitzer✎✎

Not. Despite some stellar reviews by big names.

Starts out breezy and fun, but somewhere in there it turns whiney and… not very interesting. Poor Jules. Her BFFs are… rich!! And she is… poor??? She has a full-time, private therapy practice in NYC. Gimme a break. Okay, so her hubby is Mr. Mom and doesn’t work. Her apartment is small. (Dude, this is NY.) Wouldja stop bitching? Newsflash, Meg Wolitzer: Your heroine is in the top 10% on the planet. Her problems are the dull, ordinary middle class ones we read to escape from. Somewhere around page 400, I realized how annoyed I was. But judge for yourselves: “Over time, the two couples continued to live their lives, sometimes separately, sometimes not, but always differently from each other. One couple traveled the world. The other couple unpacked the rest of their boxes and hammered the same old posters up on the walls, and placed the same lightweight silverware in a drawer.” I should have closed the book at the word ‘lightweight,’ but I didn’t. I finished the last 150 or so pages anyway.

THE SNOW QUEEN by Michael Cunningham✎✎✎

I loved The Hours enough to buy Cunningham’s latest in hardcover. The characters and setting of The Snow Queen—a group of proto-hipsters making their way in a pre-gentrified Bushwick—enticed me. But the book didn’t deliver vigorously on the promise. I enjoyed it, but wasn’t blown away. It’s overwritten in places, and never fully takes off. Granted, I expect a lot from Cunningham.

AMY FALLS DOWN by Jincy Willett ✎✎✎½

I love Willett.  Amy Falls Down continues Willett’s dark, sharp, comic take on writers, writing, writing class… the whole industry. While the first half of the book is stronger than the second, this is a smart, funny, thoroughly entertaining read. And if you haven’t read Willett’s Jenny and the Jaws of Life, do.