Sunday, May 7, 2017

Just One Day

Image result for just one day book
Just One Day
By Gayle Forman

Well I don’t choose many “chick-flick” books, so when an RA suggests it, I’m often surprised it makes the list.  But, why not?  Another “coming of age” book, this time for an 18-year-old, Allyson, who is on a summer-before-college trip abroad with her best friend Melanie.  On the next to last day of the trip, Allyson meets a 20-year-old on the train, who flirts with her and offers to take her for a one-day excursion to Paris, the one city she was unable to visit on the excursion around Europe.  Her friend says “she will cover for her” while the rest of the group goes on to London.  Allyson does the one thing she never have done before, takes a high risk and follows the unknown young man, whom she had met during a performance in the park doing a Shakespearian production.  The next twenty-four hours are bliss, a ride on the Seine, dinner at an upscale romantic restaurant, an escape from a fight with three drunken Frenchmen in a park, and ending in a night together having sex in an old rustic art gallery floor.  Sounds like a book that an 18-year-old female gets from the grocery store stand?  Well it is!  And it gets better, Allyson wakes up and the guy is gone!  The rest of the book is her struggle to understand was he really in love with me?  How will I ever find out?  How do I deal with college life at Harvard (well that’s the school we are led to believe it is)?  (a funny side note is that her best friend goes to some school in NYC…. Which later we learn that the friend got an easy 4.0 in her fall semester at a school where you make up your own major called Gallatin!! – I wonder what my son will think?, Funny how the author  never mentions NYU, but Gallatin.)  Allyson learns through her near failure of pre-med in college, and an outreach by an advisor who tells her to change her course selection for the spring, that Shakespeare will help her find the answers!  And Shakespeare does, through a new friend, Dee (a gay African American male) who gets her to open up about her past during their meeting in the Shakespeare course.  Allyson defies the odds, tells her parents of her quitting pre-med and then venturing the following summer to find the mystery man so she can face her demons!  Guess what happens?  Well, you don’t need to because I’ll tell you… she finds him after a long adventure and also learns of a new woman in his life.  What will Allyson do?  I shouldn’t have thought the ending would be as it was expected, but it was.  Only in this romantic grocery store books does “happy ever after happen”….    If you find yourself on a beach around a group of tanning young people, drop the book off, they may like it.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Rolling the R's

Image result for rolling the r’s by r. zamora linmark
There are some of the favorite reads you immediately connect, and others, you don’t.  This is an “in-between” book for me.  Not that I didn’t like the very unique way in which the other discusses the issues, it was the format of jumping around, less linear, that at times lost me.  Rolling the R’s by R. Zamora Linmark is written in the late 1970s in the midst of the cultural immersion of music and TV.  Zamora’s writing style is in short 1 to 3 page chapters that connect through the story of the young friends who are maturing at a time where everything is connected to “what’s playing” on the radio or on tv.  The cultural icons of the 70s, singers: Donna Summer, Captain and Tennille, and the Bee Gees; and TV fame: Farrah Fawcett (Charlie’s Angels), Scott Baio (Happy Days), set the stage for the world these Hawaiian children grow up.  The book shares the various highlights, through the music/tv and their own development such as, report cards for the four children in 4th grade, moments of how they started thinking about their connections to others, and then the exploration of their own heritage as immigrants and understanding their sexuality.    It is a forerunner to today’s oft-discussed “intersectionality” of gender, sexuality and ethnic identity.  A complex set of issues for any reader, and certainly harder to concentrate on a 15-hour flight.   I was humming the songs and thinking about the celebs and how old they have gotten throughout the read.  I may need to give this one another chance down the road.  Known as a cutting edge book in sociological circles. 

Friday, May 5, 2017


Image result for rules by cynthia lord
What a way to celebrate one’s birthday, a 26 hour flight to Tasmania.  But it gives me time to read RAs favorite books.  Just finished a beautiful story by Cynthia Lord called Rules.  It is the story, told by Catherine, who lives with her brother (David) and her parents.  It is one of the first books from a sibling’s perspective on how to live with her brother’s autism.  Catherine is a twelve-year-old who struggles with having to grow up in assisting her parents with David, ten years old, with everything from setting boundaries, to rolling the video cassette that he continually breaks.  It is summer break from school and Catherine has a new neighbor, a twelve-year-old, and feels she can finally have a new best friend, but how will David and his autism stand in the way?  This is a heartwarming story that includes the villain, the nasty neighborhood boy who also wants time with the new neighbor, the boy who provides Catherine with her learning moment (not her brother, but a disabled young boy who falls in love with her, and the parents who expect so much of Catherine.  Sometimes growing up is painful, especially when you fight the idea that sometimes worrying about what other people think, just doesn’t matter.  Thank you Taylor, our new RA, for sharing your beautiful story.  Your brother is lucky to have you as a sister!