Despite the blurbs on the back cover, Bret Anthony Johnston’s debut novel, Remember Me Like This, is not a thriller in the traditional sense. The elements are all here: a kidnapping, a possible murder, a family in turmoil. But to Johnston’s credit, his novel is partly about thwarting expectations—mostly the reader’s, and not always in ways that we’re accustomed to.
In 1928, sixteen-year-old Minka has to make a decision that will affect her life forever: to give up her newborn daughter Betty Jane for adoption. At a sewing class picnic, Minka was assaulted in the woods by a stranger and becomes pregnant. The family has no way to support the baby, so against her strongest desires, she chooses a better life for Betty Jane. But she can't ever forget her little girl, and for twenty years she writes the adoption home trying to find information about her precioius daughter.
I read Dad is Fat for my book club and, as a group, we reached several conclusions.
- If you have children, Gaffigan is really funny.
- If you don’t have children, he’s just “meh."
- While reading the book is okay, listening to Gaffigan read his work is much better. If you can, choose the audio.
This book is a combination of short stories of Niequist's life with a focus on difficulties having children. She is a woman of faith and relates her stories to spiritual lessons which she realized after each individual experience. Almost every chapter is tied to a specific dish which she cooked for a particular experience and she includes recipes at the end of the chapters. I thought that this book was interesting because it was an intimate portrait of a woman's struggle with being thankful for what she had while wanting a larger family.
Anna, a Gold Ribbon Safety Citizen is prepared for anything except moving from her beloved Colorado home to her father’s small Kansas hometown. Her father, a minister, is called to accept this post until a replacement can be found. Most of Oakwood's townspeople are related but she eventually embraces them and their unique ways. Anna has a bumpy ride from the first but she soon comes to see things differently. This book would be appropriate for ages 8-12.
Poor Doug Parker. At 29, he’s living a life he never anticipated. And it's great. Surprisingly great. Great, until his wife Haley goes off and dies, leaving him alone to deal with his 16-year-old stepson, Haley's beefed-up ex-husband, and a crushing sadness that prevents him from really living.
Veronica Von Holten’s life is falling apart. A pre-med student at KU, she normally leans on her mother Natalie for support. Only problem is, Natalie’s life is spiraling out of control even worse than Veronica’s. During her marriage to Veronica’s father, Natalie devoted her life to the family as a stay-at-home mom. Despite their fairly affluent married life, now that they are getting divorced, Natalie struggles to find meaningful, well-paid work and even a roof
Twelve year old Deza Malone in Christopher Paul Curtis’ The Mighty Miss Malone is exactly what the title of the book implies—she is mighty!
Rules for David: If the bathroom door is closed, knock! Say “thank you” when someone gives you a present (even if you don’t like it). No toys in the fish tank. These are just a few of the rules that twelve year old Catherine has written for her brother David who has autism to help him navigate the world and try to look “normal”.
In The Leftovers, Perrotta puts human relationships under a microscope, sometimes to chilling effect. The town of Mapleton has never stopped reeling after the Sudden Departure, when large numbers of random people simply vanished into thin air. When the smoke clears, those left behind not only grieve for their friends and family who are suddenly gone, but also wonder why they were spared (or not spared).