Posts Categorized: Read in 2011

Cookbook Review – Allergy-Friendly Food for Families

March 12, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cookbook Review – Allergy-Friendly Food for FamiliesAllergy-Friendly Food for Families by Editors of Kiwi Magazine
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on April 10th 2012
Pages: 256
Genres: Non-Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

Feeding a family with food allergies doesn’t have to be boring or tasteless. Kiwi, the premier magazine about raising families the natural and organic way, presents 120 great recipes to keep your family happy, healthy and sane.

Allergy-Friendly Food for Families is the most trustworthy, comprehensive, practical, and kid-friendly collection of recipes that exists for the important and growing audience of allergy-aware families. Unlike other allergy cookbooks, this book covers not one or two allergens, but the five most common allergens in kids: wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts, and soy. Each of the 120 recipes is free of at least three of these allergens; most are free of all five.

When parents are desperate for ideas for what to make for dinner (or lunch, or snack time), they want recipes from someone they trust, for food that tastes good, that doesn't require a lot of fancy ingredients, and that the whole family can eat. Allergy-Friendly Food for Families is the ultimate resource. From the three crucial mealtimes (breakfast, lunch, dinner) to the "fun" foods families can't live without (desserts, snacks, parties), parents are completely covered. Perhaps most importantly, all of these recipes are simple for parents to make.

Recipes such as Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies, Pear Yogurt Dunkers, Good-for-you Nachos, Polenta Mini Pizzas, Giant Cookie Cake, Veggie Bite Soup, and Cool Zucchini Noodles will make kids forget they have allergies. Parents will love the additional informational sections on spotting food allergies, stocking an allergy-free pantry, deciphering labels, and other frequently asked questions.

Food should be delicious; family time should be fun. This book reflects those values.

I was extremely interested in taking a look at this cookbook as I’m plagued by several food allergies and it can be downright difficult for me to find a recipe I can follow to a T without having to replace this and that. When I read ‘120 Gluten-Free Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Egg-Free, and Soy-Free Recipes Everyone Will Love’ I thought I had found the cookbook of all cookbooks; however, it ended up being just like any other cookbook I’ve picked up. My interpretation of the SubTitle was that ALL of their recipes were gluten-freen, dairy-free, etc, when in reality it was a gluten free recipe and then a dairy free recipe; there were few recipes that were actually free of all the common allergens. This brought nothing new and I still found myself replacing ingredients in order for me to be able to eat it.

Another thing that I love from a good cookbook is the pictures that correspond with the recipes and I found pictures weren’t provided for all recipes. There were some interesting recipes that I did try and (after substituting) did actually enjoy, but as I said above this really didn’t bring anything new to the cookbooks I already own.

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Book Review – Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light by Amy Thomas

February 1, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 4 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light by Amy ThomasParis, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (And Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas
Published by Sourcebooks on February 1st 2012
Pages: 305
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

Part love letter to New York, part love letter to Paris, and total devotion to all things sweet. Paris, My Sweet is a personal and moveable feast that’s a treasure map for anyone who loves fresh cupcakes and fine chocolate, New York and Paris, and life in general. It’s about how the search for happiness can be as fleeting as a sliver of cheesecake and about how the life you’re meant to live doesn’t always taste like the one you envisioned. Organized into a baker’s dozen of delicacies (and the adventures they inspired) that will tempt readers’ appetites, Paris, My Sweet is something to savor.

*sigh*… Paris.

And pastries. 🙂

What could be better?

‘I guess it goes to show that you just never know where life will take you. You search for answers. You wonder what it all means. You stumble, and you soar. And, if you’re lucky, you make it to Paris for a while. Here’s what happened when I did.’

On top of tales of wonderful sweets, the author shares her own personal story about finding her way in a foreign place, gaining a new perspective on life and simply learning to be thankful for what life dishes out to you. It was quite a delightful surprise that I enjoyed immensely; am so glad that I requested this book.

Despite my attempts to read this only on a full stomach, I still ended up with one serious sweet tooth by the end of this book (or even by the end of each chapter…or page). The author describes in extreme detail the sweets she eats, and makes each and every one of them sound positively heavenly.

’…her signature pretzel-covered, sea-salted caramel that had crackly, salty pretzel bits coating the 66 percent cocoa shell and creamy caramel center.’

Oh… my… gosh. Who makes these and how can I buy some of these goodies? Apparently her name is Rachel Zoe Insler, owner of Bespoke Chocolates. I was drooling so heavily over the descriptions I went so far as to try and find her online… only to find that her business had actually closed earlier this year. I was one seriously sad puppy. (If I had simply kept reading I would have realized the author spoke of the business closure at the end of the chapter haha). At the end of each chapter, she also tells where to find some of the best cupcakes, macarons, truffles, etc. in New York and Paris. Definitely made me want to take note and write down more than a few for when I eventually make it to each city.

I found myself using Google Translate often and searching for Frenchie terms that I had no idea the meaning (Vélib’ is a bicycle sharing system, fish are sold at poissoneries, and there are twenty arrondissements (or districts) of Paris. I think normally this would have irritated me having to stop every few minutes to figure out what exactly I’m reading, but being that I personally have a crush on anything Paris and cannot wait to go there personally someday, having to search for unknown items and words was actually quite a fun experience for me.

I also quite enjoyed taking a look at the author’s two blogs Sweet Freak© and God, I love Paris. If she didn’t do a good enough job in her book describing all the delicious goodies, the pictures she posts on both blogs are bound to get you. Sure makes this gluten-free girl quite sad (but has me definitely contemplating getting off my butt and at least trying to find and modify recipes for goodies that I can eat too. Inspiration! :D)

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Book Review – The Pleasure of Your Kiss (Burke Brothers #1) by Teresa Medeiros

January 17, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 1 Comment

I received this book free from Book Tour, the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – The Pleasure of Your Kiss (Burke Brothers #1) by Teresa MedeirosThe Pleasure of Your Kiss by Teresa Medeiros
Series: Burke Brothers #1
Published by Pocket Star on December 27, 2011
Pages: 528
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Book Tour, the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Nobody's Darling

five-stars

Ashton Burke is a legendary adventurer who has spent the past ten years roaming the globe to forget the girl he left behind. His devil-may-care life is interrupted when he's hired to rescue his brother's kidnapped fiancée from a sultan's harem. Too late, he discovers she is none other than Clarinda Cardew, the very same girl who made off with his jaded heart a decade ago.

The last thing Clarinda wants is to be trapped in a palace of sensual delights with the man whose irresistible kisses still haunt her sleepless nights. Although he vows he is only doing his job, Clarinda quickly realizes that allowing Ashton to rescue her may put her yearning heart in even greater peril. In a journey that takes them from the delicious intrigues of a sultan's court to the glittering ballrooms of London, Ashton and Clarinda resume the steps of their dangerous dance only to discover the most seductive pleasure of all may be love itself.

I read this a few weeks back but I decided to take some time to sort my thoughts so that this may actually make some sense rather than having me come across as some crazed silly lunatic fan-girl.

The Storyline
Clarinda and Ashton were childhood friends but as the years progressed, so did their feelings for each other. One night, Ashton sets out to leave his home and Clarinda behind but she catches him in a nearby meadow and the feelings that they had kept restrained for so long were finally let loose.

’…the spark of animosity between them had finally flared into something so combustible it had threatened to incinerate them both.’

Ashton inevitably still leaves her behind and Clarinda is heartbroken beyond all reason. As time passes and stories of Ashton are heard at home, it becomes apparent to Clarinda that he’s not coming back for her so she becomes engaged to his brother, Max. Clarinda and her best friend Poppy set sail to meet up with Max for their wedding when their ship is boarded and the two women are captured by the Corsairs. Fearing the worst, the two end up being bought by the sultan Farouk and they are taken to his palace in the desert as his ‘guests’. Despite the fact that he is incredibly kind to both of them, they are still not allowed to leave. Max hires his brother Ashton to rescue Clarinda from the sultan not knowing the position he’s putting Ashton and Clarinda both in.

Thoughts
Teresa Medeiros books were the first romance books I ever read and inevitably got me hooked from that point on. I have yet to be disappointed by her; her books never lack in originality and are always entertaining. Considering this is a 500+ book I think that says a lot for her writing. I loved the exotic Middle East setting and that the majority of the storyline was spent there.

Her characters are always vibrant and full of life. You couldn’t help but love Ashton, even though there were times that you really wanted to hate him. It was painfully obvious how much Ashton and Clarinda cared for each other but he was a fool and left her and never returned.

’No matter how much it galled him, Clarinda belonged to his brother now. He had promised to return her to Max, and that was exactly what he was going to do. With any luck, Max would never find out what had transpired between Ash and Max’s bride-to-be in the meadow that morning.’

On top of loving the main characters, her secondary characters were just as fabulous. Poppy was definitely my favorite character and I loved not only the friendship between her and Clarinda but her infatuation with Farouk (and vice-versa!) was simply adorable.

If you enjoy romance novels, this one definitely needs to be on your list. You’ll laugh, you’ll swoon, and you may even shed a tear. (I know I did!) There was a sneak peek at the end of the next book in this series (yes! A series! yay!) featuring Max. I can’t wait. 😀

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Book Review – Identical by Ellen Hopkins

January 17, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 0 Comments

Book Review – Identical by Ellen HopkinsIdentical by Ellen Hopkins
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on August 26th 2008
Pages: 576
Genres: Realistic YA Fiction, Verse
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Triangles, Crank, Burned

four-stars

Do twins begin in the womb?
Or in a better place?

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical down to the dimple. As daughters of a district-court judge father and a politician mother, they are an all-American family -- on the surface. Behind the facade each sister has her own dark secret, and that's where their differences begin.

For Kaeleigh, she's the misplaced focus of Daddy's love, intended for a mother whose presence on the campaign trail means absence at home. All that Raeanne sees is Daddy playing a game of favorites -- and she is losing. If she has to lose, she will do it on her own terms, so she chooses drugs, alcohol, and sex.

Secrets like the ones the twins are harboring are not meant to be kept -- from each other or anyone else. Pretty soon it's obvious that neither sister can handle it alone, and one sister must step up to save the other, but the question is -- who?

This is not my first Ellen Hopkins book so I know by now not to expect fluffy bunnies and happily ever after endings. I know to expect a vivid depiction of exactly how life can be and is for some… but boy oh boy, this one really takes the cake.

Identical is the story of Kaeleigh and Raeanne, 16 year-old identical twins. Their father is a district court judge and their mother is currently running for Congress. On the outside their family is picture perfect… but look closely and you’ll see the cracks in their veneer. Kaeleigh has been sexually abused by her father since she was nine years old. Raeanne drinks and uses drugs heavily because she feels she’s the lesser twin that isn’t loved like Kaeleigh. Their story is a stomach turning experience.

I’m not sure I would have actually finished this if I didn’t have faith in Ellen Hopkins to pull off one whopper of a story, and sure enough she did. The ending blew my mind and almost had me wanting to sit down and read it again because every notion or preconception I had was way off the mark. Brutal story but so incredibly well done it was shocking.

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Book Review – Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) by Ilona Andrews

December 30, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 1 Comment

Book Review – Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) by Ilona AndrewsMagic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #1
Published by Ace on March 27th 2007
Pages: 260
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Vampires
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Magic Rises, Burn for Me, Magic Breaks

three-half-stars

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for magic…

One moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters. Here skyscrapers topple under onslaught of magic; werebears and werehyenas prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds.

In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, she must choose to do nothing and remain safe or to pursue his preternatural killer. Hiding is easy, but the right choice is rarely easy…

’Magic could not be measured and explained in scientific terms, for magic grew through destroying the very natural principles that made science as people knew it possible.’

So I finally got around to reading about this ‘Kate Daniels’ I’ve heard so much about. I found the world building to be extremely choppy and confusing, but by the end it started coming together and making more sense. I won’t bother trying to explain it to you though; I would only fail miserably so instead I’ll just tell you what I thought about the book.

This story was quite a bit more gruesome than I was expecting! Quite a few eww moments. I’ll share a few with you:

’Garbage fell, revealing yellow bones and shreds of rotting oozing putrid juices.’
‘The flesh and cartilage parted before the blade and I pulled her rib cage open like a bear trap.’
‘The vamp must have been turned on its side to allow the stringy clot of its nearly atrophied intestines to fall out.’
And my personal favorite:
‘Slayer sliced through decaying tissue in a spray of putrid sluice.’

I think by now you get the picture.

The author(s) also had an interesting and original take on vampires.

’Homo sapiens immortuus, a vampire. The vampires knew no pity and no fear; they couldn’t be trained; they had no ego. On a developmental level they stood close to insects, possessing a nervous system and yet incapable of forming thoughts.’

Definitely a diversion from the norm, and like Maja stated in her review, it was not one that I particularly enjoyed as I’m quite the vampire lover (the normal vampires that is).

I loved the characters and oh how wonderful it is to find another snarky and spirited female character in the world of Urban Fantasy. Kate is my new best friend; definitely my kinda girl. Despite the fact that ‘snarky’ is slowly becoming commonplace is many novels I read these days, I must say, I’m not getting tired of it at all. Derek was also an enjoyable additional character.

“Derek, never ever tell a woman that someone is prettier than her. You’ll make an enemy for life.” “You’re funnier than she is. And you hit harder.”
“Oh, thank you. Please, continue to reinforce the fact that she’s more attractive. If you say that I have a better personality, you’ll find out how hard I can hit.”

And of course I could never forget Curran. 🙂 Rawr. I took an immediate liking to him, despite the fact that he can’t hammer for shit. 😀 I look forward to seeing what happens between the two of them. AND finding out what the hell Kate is! Ack!

I must say I was quite impressed overall and am really looking forward to continuing the series.

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Poetry Review – Love Songs by Sara Teasdale

December 30, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Poetry Review – Love Songs by Sara TeasdaleLove Songs by Sara Teasdale
Published by Kessinger Publishing on May 16th 2012 (first published 1917)
Pages: 50
Genres: Poetry
Format: eBook
Source: Freebie
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

1928. Teasdale's work has always been characterized by its simplicity and clarity, her use of classical forms, and her passionate and romantic subject matter. In 1918, she won the Columbia University Poetry Society Prize (which became the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry) and the Poetry Society of America Prize for Love Songs. She later committed suicide. In addition to new poems, this book contains lyrics taken from Rivers to the Sea, Helen of Troy and Other Poems, and one or two from an earlier volume. See other titles by this author available from Kessinger Publishing.

Sara Teasdale wrote Love Songs in 1917 and received 3 awards for it: the Columbia University Poetry Society prize, the 1918 Pulitzer Prize for poetry and the annual prize of the Poetry Society of America. It’s a beautiful collection of poetry that I’m so thankful to have stumbled upon.

My absolute favorite:

“I Am Not Yours”

I am not yours, not lost in you, Not lost, although I long to be Lost as a candle lit at noon, Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

You love me, and I find you still A spirit beautiful and bright, Yet I am I, who long to be Lost as a light is lost in light.

Oh plunge me deep in love–put out My senses, leave me deaf and blind, Swept by the tempest of your love, A taper in a rushing wind.

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Book Review – The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

December 30, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – The Raven by Edgar Allan PoeThe Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
Illustrator: Ryan Price
Published by Kids Can Press on August 1st 2006 (first published 1844)
Pages: 48
Genres: Classics
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Fall of the House of Usher, Tales of the Macabre

five-stars

Visions in Poetry is an exciting and unique series of classic poems illustrated by outstanding contemporary artists in stunning hardcover editions. The fifth book in the series, Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven," delves into the hidden horrors of the human psyche. Originally published in 1845, the poem is narrated by a melancholy scholar brooding over Lenore, a woman he loved who is now lost to him. One bleak December at midnight, a raven with fiery eyes visits the scholar and perches above his chamber door. Struggling to understand the meaning of the word his winged visitant repeats -- "Nevermore!" -- the narrator descends by stages into madness. Illustrator Ryan Price's exquisitely grim illustrations suggest a background story shaped by the narrator's guilt, embodied in the terrifying figure of the raven. Price's drypoint technique, with its rich blacks and feathery lines, perfectly captures the nightmarish atmosphere of this unforgettable poem.

‘Once upon a midnight dreary,
while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume
of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping,
suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping,
rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visiter,” I muttered,
“tapping at my chamber door —
Only this, and nothing more.’

I had started reading the Raven before but was never able to quite get through it. When I came across this illustrated version at my library I decided to give it another shot. The illustrated version made it so much better. The illustrations by Ryan Price are dark and gritty… much like the story of the Raven. I’ve read several illustrated books this year that have added a certain something to the already great story (A Monster Calls comes immediately to mind) and the Raven is no exception.

You can find a few more illustrations by Ryan Price from the book here but I would also recommend checking out the rest of his work here as well, although I must say I think his work in the Raven is my favorite.

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Book Review – Fallout (Crank, #3) by Ellen Hopkins

December 29, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 0 Comments

Book Review – Fallout (Crank, #3) by Ellen HopkinsFallout by Ellen Hopkins
Series: Crank #3
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on September 14th 2010
Pages: 665
Genres: Realistic YA Fiction, Verse
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Triangles, Crank, Burned

four-stars

Hunter, Autumn, and Summer—three of Kristina Snow’s five children—live in different homes, with different guardians and different last names. They share only a predisposition for addiction and a host of troubled feelings toward the mother who barely knows them, a mother who has been riding with the monster, crank, for twenty years.
Hunter is nineteen, angry, getting by in college with a job at a radio station, a girlfriend he loves in the only way he knows how, and the occasional party. He's struggling to understand why his mother left him, when he unexpectedly meets his rapist father, and things get even more complicated. Autumn lives with her single aunt and alcoholic grandfather. When her aunt gets married, and the only family she’s ever known crumbles, Autumn’s compulsive habits lead her to drink. And the consequences of her decisions suggest that there’s more of Kristina in her than she’d like to believe. Summer doesn’t know about Hunter, Autumn, or their two youngest brothers, Donald and David. To her, family is only abuse at the hands of her father’s girlfriends and a slew of foster parents. Doubt and loneliness overwhelm her, and she, too, teeters on the edge of her mother’s notorious legacy. As each searches for real love and true family, they find themselves pulled toward the one person who links them together—Kristina, Bree, mother, addict. But it is in each other, and in themselves, that they find the trust, the courage, the hope to break the cycle.

Told in three voices and punctuated by news articles chronicling the family’s story, FALLOUT is the stunning conclusion to the trilogy begun by CRANK and GLASS, and a testament to the harsh reality that addiction is never just one person’s problem.

Crank series

Crank (Crank, #1)Glass (Crank, #2)

Crank (Crank #1) {Purchase}
Glass (Crank #2) {Purchase}

The final chapter in one of the most heart wrenching trilogies/series I’ve ever read. A truly emotional read and I believe a fabulous ‘ending’ although maybe ‘wrap-up’ would be a better description as the story is far from over.

In ‘Fallout’, Ellen Hopkins has switched up the point of view and timeline of the story. Set in the future, Kristina’s youngest son Hunter who was just a toddler in last book is now 19. The story is told from Hunter’s point of view, as well as Summer and Autumn’s: both Kristina’s children. By now Kristina has yet to fully get her life back on track and has 5 children all living with other family members or in foster care.

I was a bit skeptical at this change and how well I would enjoy it after reading through Kristina’s eyes for the past books, but I was pleased at how well written it was. The multiple POV reminded me very much of Triangles; however, I had difficulty in differentiating between Summer and Autumn for at least the first half of the book.

It was extremely intense ‘experiencing’ the impact Kristina had on each of her children. It was tragic, heartbreaking, and extremely painful to read about. Was it worth it? Yes. Ellen Hopkins has yet to disappoint and I continue to be amazed at how influential and powerful her books are.

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Short Story Review – Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

December 28, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011, Short Stories 1 Comment

Short Story Review – Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman CapoteBreakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Published by Vintage on May 15th 2012 (first published 1958)
Pages: 160
Genres: Classics, Literary Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany's; her poignancy, wit, and naïveté continue to charm.

This volume also includes three of Capote's best-known stories, “House of Flowers,” “A Diamond Guitar,” and “A Christmas Memory,” which Saturday Review called “one of the most moving stories in our language.” It is a tale of two innocents—a small boy and the old woman who is his best friend—whose sweetness contains a hard, sharp kernel of truth.

Having watched the movie, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ I never really had any desire to read the book. Finally deciding to do so, I was quite surprised that the movie created a superb rendition of the book and that the role of Holly Golightly, played by Audrey Hepburn, was an absolutely perfect portrayal.

Holly Golightly has to be one of the strangest fictional characters I have read to date. She’s eccentric and odd in a completely entrancing way and yet shows no attempts at actually trying to be this way; she just simply is.

“So,” he said, “what do you think: is she or ain’t she?”
“Ain’t she what?”
“A phony.”
“I wouldn’t have thought so.”
“You’re wrong. She is a phony. But on the other hand you’re right. She isn’t a phony because she’s a real phony. She believes all this crap she believes. You can’t talk her out of it.”

I quite enjoyed Truman Capote’s writing and look forward to his next book on my list: In Cold Blood.

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Short Story Review – The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark

December 24, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011, Short Stories 0 Comments

Short Story Review – The Driver’s Seat by Muriel SparkThe Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark
Published by Penguin Classics on 1970
Pages: 128
Genres: Classics
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

Lise leaves her home in northern Europe for a holiday, but it is not rest and relaxation that she is looking for...

Driven to distraction by an office job, she leaves everything and flies south on holiday—in search of passionate adventure, the obsessional experience and sex. Infinity and eternity attend Lise's last terrible day in the unnamed southern city that is her final destination.

I had a really hard time at first getting a grasp of what this story was really about. Essentially, it’s about a peculiar woman named Lise who travels to a Southern European city, presumably Naples, to meet a supposed boyfriend. Once she arrives, all the men she meets she’s mentally judging them based upon whether they are ‘her type’ or not. It’s not till later in the story you realize she’s looking for a specific ‘type’ for a completely different reason than you may originally think. By the beginning of the third chapter, you’re already made aware of a shocking fact:

’She will be found tomorrow morning dead from multiple stab-wounds, her wrists bound with a silk scarf and her ankles bound with a man’s necktie, in the ground of an empty villa, in a park of the foreign city to which she is travelling on the flight now boarding at Gate 14.’

It’s tough not to become immediately enthralled in watching the rest of the story progress to find out how this could possibly have occurred.

There’s something incredibly strange about this woman but it’s never revealed what exactly is wrong with her or why she is the way she is. (But then again, many of the characters in this story are odd. Like Bill? And his ‘I haven’t had my daily orgasm. It’s an essential part of this particular variation of the diet, didn’t I tell you?’ Excuse me?!?) You catch a glimpse early on in the story of her mental instability when she proceeds to flip out on a sales woman who attempted to sell her a dress made of stain resistant material. She took this as a personal insult as if the sales woman was attempting to say that she was a messy eater.

“Do you think I spill things on my clothes?” the customer shrieks. “Do I look as if I don’t eat properly?”

Suffice it to say that was her first but not final moment of unpredictability. She’s a habitual liar and it’s quite shocking how easily the lies flow from her mouth. And she definitely found her type in the end.

“Will you feel a presence? Is that how you’ll know?”
“Not really a presence,” Lise says. The lack of an absence, that’s what it is. I know I’ll find it. I keep on making mistakes, though.”

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