One fiction and three memoirs. Well, in my defence, nonfiction books are much easier to read than fiction ones.
I’d say that the fiction one (Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine) is the highlight though. It’s beautifully written, and I find myself being really drawn into the story, in a way that only a good fiction can do. Needless to say, it comes really highly recommended. I’ve heard that the book’s movie adaptation is coming out soon, so make sure you read the book first before hitting the cinema.
The other three memoirs are a hit and miss, or more precisely: one hit, one miss, and one somewhere in the middle. I love There Are No Grown-Ups—it’s the second book by Pamela Druckerman, who wrote about French parenting I’ve read a few months back. I’m quite disappointed with Everything Happens for A Reason, which despite its strong story and lots of marketing, just fell flat for me. I can’t quite connect with the writing. The last book—If You’re in My Office, It’s Already Too Late—is quite good, but it’s the sort of book that you enjoy but doesn’t leave a lasting impression on you.
So without further ado, here are October’s books.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Recommended for: Everyone! Especially those who love The Rosie Project
Review: Honestly, I guessed what happened correctly. But it’s still such a satisfying read nonetheless.
This is, I would say, a feel-good book, but it’s written so beautifully that you feel totally absorbed in the story. It is also one one of those books that reminds you to still believe in humanity, in the greater good of people—to be kind.
And I have to say this one more time: it’s really well written, and I love Eleanor’s voice so much.
Really highly recommended.
There Are No Grown-Ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story by Pamela Druckerman
Genre: memoir, nonfiction, middle life crisis, adulting
Recommended for: Those who are of age
Review: I really like this book.
While I’m not necessarily the target market of the book (I’m still in my 20s, although slightly in the late rather than early group), I really, really enjoy it. I love reading other people’s life stories, and the author has quite an aura that she’s writing as a friend.
The book picks up, chronologically—well, sort of, from her other book Bringing up Bebe, which talks about French style of parenting. Her kids have grown up a little bit more, and she’s faced with problems that plague those in their 40s. She’s gone through sickness, a request from her husband to engage in threesome (seriously), and other things. Her stories are funny and often feel so close to home (despite me being twenty years her junior).
Everything Happens for A Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler
Genre: nonfiction, memoir, dying
Recommended for: I’d rather not say…
Review: When’s the last time I’ve given less than a three-star review for a memoir, especially for a memoir of this kind? Well, I’m not sure.
I am with the minority here. And it’s hard to give this book two stars, especially when it’s discussing illness, death, and dying. I just want to say that my review is not the same as me looking down on her circumstances.
I just can’t connect with the writing.
As other reviewers have said, the book is a bit of a mess. It is not told in chronological order, and sometimes it gets a bit personal, but skips a lot of details. She spends more talking about prosperity gospel but merely on the concept of it instead of how it really works in her life. Does she believe in those messages? I actually don’t know. Somewhat, maybe. How are those messages affecting her life and her cancer diagnosis? I know a bit, but it’s not explored thoroughly.
I was expecting a raw story, looking really deep into someone’s life, gaining perspective on death, an area of life where it’s mostly talked about in hushed tone. But I don’t think she hits the mark for me.
I do find the ‘things not to talk to grieving people’ at the end of the book quite helpful though. But overall, I lose interest somewhere in the first few chapters, and struggle to finish the book, despite loving to read memoirs and having read many of them before. I do hope nothing but the best for her.
If You’re in My Office, It’s Already Too Late: A Divorce’s Lawyer Guide to Staying Together by James J. Sexton
Genre: nonfiction, memoir, marriage
Recommended for: Those interested in reading this kind of book
Review: I really enjoy this book—I’m just not too emotionally involved with it.
The author’s quite good in terms of writing (which sometimes can be a rarity among those of other professions who are not writers), and I connect with his voice quite easily. I enjoy reading the stories of other couples, the circumstances that bring them to his office, asking for divorce, and the lessons learned along the way. It’s probably good to note that a lot of divorces come down to (mostly) two things: infidelity or money.
Those are October’s books. You can see all the books I’ve read this year on my Goodreads page. Tee-hee, till next month!
Ps. What books are you reading now? Feel free to give me recommendations on what book to read next!