Monday, August 25, 2014

Me Before You

Oh, you guys.  How to review this book!  I've been wandering around aimlessly after finishing this read, like I do whenever I'm fresh out of a good book.

This is such a tough one to review, because it's hard to talk about without giving away really important stuff.  I'm being extra careful, since the big stuff was spoiled for me by a bunch of Amazon reviewers, so I'm not going to do that to you.

I found this book like I do most of my books-- by googling "best book club books."  I like the style of book club-y books: quality writing & thought-provoking for starters.  This one though I wish I had actually read with my book club.  It's so controversial and just begs for a book club discussion.

The basic, non-spoiler premise is that a highly successful, wealthy 35-year old man gets hit by a motorcyclist while crossing the street and becomes a quadriplegic.  Meanwhile, a 27-year old woman with little to no ambitions in life but a quirky, bright personality loses her job at the local bakery and lands a new job as the caretaker for the quadriplegic man.  

Initially their relationship is one of mutual dislike and struggle, but it quickly evolves into something quite different.   Will (the man in the wheelchair) is intelligent, interesting, and witty, but also stubborn, depressed, critical, and sarcastic, with some dark secrets.  Lou (the caregiver) is chatty and wears fun, funky clothes, all the while dealing with family drama, relationship drama, and finding out that she's never found her voice in life.

Through the book, Jojo Moyes leads you to believe that Lou is helping Will and changing his life, when in fact in the end you see that it is Will who has changed Lou's.  The title "Me Before You" seems to refer to Lou before Will, but perhaps could also doubly refer to Will before Lou.

I can't make any promises about how you will feel about the book, because like I said, it's incredibly controversial.  But I can tell you that I absolutely could not put it down.
And I absolutely love that experience!

I'm about two seconds away from clicking another Jojo Moyes book into my Amazon cart.

*A few people who I think would like this book for sure (you probably already know who you are!): Aunt Melissa, Ilene, Kim, Kristin, Mom Anderson, & Allie's Book Club.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bringing Up Bebe

Bringing Up Bebe
by Pamela Druckerman

My friend Allie recommended this book to me when she was visiting Chicago this summer.
When Neal & I are with Allie & Joel, we discuss everything.  There's just nothing off limits.  It was only natural that during their visit, some of our conversation included my and Neal's experience of parenting Augy so far and what that transition has been like for us.

Through the course of such conversations, Allie talked about reading this book Bringing Up Bebe and how it was such a fascinating read regarding how the French raise their children.
One of the things Allie told me that was of interest to me is how the French have one national approach to parenting, not a pool of options and theories and approaches and camps and books and "wars."
When I was pregnant, I read next to nil about pregnancy/children/parenting just to escape this overwhelming pool of information-overload, so the French way of "one way" sounded interesting (appealing?) to me.

And that is just the beginning.  Delving into Bringing Up Bebe was profoundly interesting and satisfying for my curious soul regarding all things anthropological.

The book is written by an American journalist who married a British man.  Together they moved to Paris where they started a family.  They noticed French families all around them appearing to have a very different-- namely calmer-- experience of parenting small children than they themselves were having, and so this book is a result of Druckerman's research via observation, interviews, and personal applications in the matter of French parenting.

It is such a blast to read.  I thought it was funny, witty, delightful.  Thought-provoking, sharp, and demonstrative of great research combined with great writing.  It's memoir-style, which I find accessible and enjoyable.

I promise you (most of you?) will find it interesting.  You don't need to be a parent by any means to enjoy this book, although if you are, I'm curious what you'll think of the French's parenting principles; I liked quite a few of them and am trying a few with Augy!