2013: A Whole Bunch of Elinor Lipman

       One of the things that the cancer thing has left me with is a desire for comfort reading.  One way I've tackled that is by re-reading old favorites.  Another is to seek out books that will entertain and not tax me (but not be so totally stupid that I'm unable to read them).  My sister helped me out tremendously in this regard by sending me five terrific young adult books - a post on those will be forthcoming.  Another thing I did was to read a whole bunch of books by Elinor Lipman. I've only blogged about one of her books, The Family Man, but in the time I wasn't blogging a read a whole host of her other books, and quite enjoyed them.  

       I would characterize Lipman as chick lit plus.  It's not trashing embarassing to read books with pictures of highheeled shoes on the cover, but her books are definitely written and marketed for women - stories about women figuring out their lives  and usually ending up with a romance. And they are usually pretty funny, and written well - so the characters seem like real people (if perhaps a bit larger than life - Lipman writes a little broadly sometimes).  It's not Proust, but I enjoyed reading them immensely.

       I've read the following in the past year:

The View from Penthouse B

This is her most recent book.  It is the story of two sisters.  One is recently widowed, and moves in with her recently divorced sister who has a fabulous penthouse, but not much else, as her money was all lost in the Madoff crash.  The two of them try to rebuild their lives together, and it's all great fun.  Not taxing, but I recommend it.

I Can't Complain (All Too) Personal Essays

This is a random collection of essays she'd written, a number of which were Modern Love type columns for the Boston Globe. They are ok - pretty thin, and I don't think I'd bother with them if I was you.  I read the whole thing in about 30 minutes.  Luckily it was a library book!

My Latest Grievances

The story of Frederica Hatch, who is growing up in the dorms of a small woman's college where parents are both professors.  She is precocious (Eloise like, even) and self satisfied, until a woman named Laura Lee French arrives.  Laura Lee has a connection to Frederica's past, and blows her small self-satisfied world apart.  I really liked this one, because it was fun to watch Frederica get taken down a peg, and it was fun to read about Laura Lee, even though she is the kind of person that I would loathe in real life (probably I'm a bit too much like old Frederica).

The Pursuit of Alice Thrift

Alice is a type-A medical resident, who doesn't have time in her life for friends - or a life at all - let alone a love affair.  But she gets entangled with Ray Russo, a fast talking fudge salesman from the wrong side of the tracks and her tightly planned world unravels.  Another book about an overachiever forced to deal with the messinesss of life, but another fun one.  Alice is practically an alien in the beginning, but she loosens up a bit (but not so much as to be unbelievable).

The Dearly Departed

When Margaret Batten and Miles Finn are found dead in the same cottage (no foul play, more frisky business), Margaret's daughter Sunny has to come back to the small town she's been avoiding for the past fifteen years.  And when she meets Miles's son - and notices a distinctive resemblence to herself, she realizes there there is more to her own story that meets the eye.  Sunny has a lot to learn about herself, too, and she tries to untangle her mother's affairs, and gain some perspective on her own life.  Same sort of thing - young lady figuring out her life, but funny and charming.  V. enjoyable.

All are pretty fun, if you like that sort of thing. 


© Carrie Dunsmore 2017