Welcome to Friday Reads. Each Friday, I’ll review any books I’ve completed that week, as well as share what I’m reading right now. And by “Each Friday,” I mean “some Fridays.”
Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng – 4.5* (June 19)
Strong 4.5. Beautifully written, complex characters and stories. The ending left me wanting a bit more, otherwise it would’ve been 5.
While I didn’t always agree with the characters’ actions, I feel that Ng does a great job of making their reasons relatable. “Relatable” is a good word in general for this story. I haven’t been a teenager in awhile, but the teens behaved in ways I would expect teens to behave. They were neither too young or too old.
The character I felt was most underserved was Isabelle, the youngest Richardson child. Arguably, the way she’s somewhat lost in the story reflects how she was somewhat lost in her family. The “oh, Isabelle exists” attitude had major repercussions, but I still would’ve preferred to witness more of her. I also felt that of all the characters and storylines, hers had the most unsatisfying ending.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman – 5* (June 28)
When I started this book, I was under the impression it would be a comical read, perfect for summer. It was that, but it also included serious elements I wasn’t expecting. Some of these plot points (especially toward the end) hit particularly close to home.
Eleanor somehow manages to be both complicated and simple at the same time. She sees the world through eyes that don’t succumb to (or even acknowledge) most social norms. It’s amusing to watch as she orders pizza delivery for the first time or tries to make sense of a fast food restaurant. The most basic concepts are foreign to her, whether they involve birthday gifts or the notion that she didn’t deserve some of the treatment she’s faced over the years.
This story is full of humor, but it’s also full of heart. It probably should come with a trigger warning about abuse, but the character development is top-notch and I was left with hope. It wasn’t the mindless book I was looking for, but it turned out to be much more.
The Doll – Daphne du Maurier – (37%)
This month’s short story collection. I bought this collection in Paris last year at Shakespeare & Company so it has their lovely stamp on the front cover. I really want to finish this before July 1, in which case I’ll return and update with my review.
I’ll get back to this eventually.