Winter in June

Sunday, October 18, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS 1943: She arrived amid the grace and charm of a bustling college town at the height of its golden age, a cloud of mystery surrounding her wherever she went. As she stepped from the Packard, the early morning fog gathering around her, all eyes turned toward her in curiosity. Who was she? Where did she come from? And why did she carry a book with her?

Okay, sorry about that dear readers, but you didn't really expect me to read a mystery book that takes place in the 1940s without getting a little caught up on the spirit of it, did you?. My real day went a little something like this:

INDIANAPOLIS 2009: She awakens to the sound of an alarm that she doesn't remember setting, and is somehow unable to find it. She spends ten minutes desperately searching for the alarm in question, which has gone off exactly five hours after she fell asleep. She is never able to locate said alarm . . . or to fall back asleep. She stumbles through the morning in a fog of incoherency, visits her sisters alma mater where no fog surrounds her and no heads turn as she emerges from her car, and somehow manages to read her book for the day all while acting more dramatic than is ever necessary.

Here I am reading in Holcomb Gardens while trying to stay warm and avoid falling into the mud. Being a blogger is so glamorous.
We spent half of the day reading our way across Butler's campus. While I was reading today's book, my sister was attempting to finish the last 250 pages of her 1,135 page FDR biography that has been in her to-read stacks (yes, it's a family trait) for five years. I am happy to report that she was successful!

Here I am reading in front of Jordan Hall.
Alissa would like it noted on the record that she hit the 1,000 page mark while sitting on that bench. I was relieved as well because I have been listening to her complain about having to lug that huge book around for so long that I was dangerously close to getting her a Charlie Brown style wheely cart to ease the strain. Do you remember Happy New Year, Charlie Brown dear readers - the special that Warner Home video refuses to release despite it being one of the best Charlie Brown specials ever?

Today's book, "New York 1943: Aspiring actress Rosie Winter has been marooned in New York throughout the war. Now, faced with the news that her ex-boyfriend Jack might not be coming home again, she's desperate to leave the home front and head for the war front. So when Rosie and her best pal Jayne get an offer to go to the South Pacific to perform with USO Camp Shows, they jump at the chance. But being a greasepaint soldier isn't as easy as they had hoped. Not only are the cast members surly, the schedules inhumane, and the housing conditions primitive but they also have to travel with a major - and majorly difficult - Hollywood star. But none of that is as bad as living in a war zone, and when tragedy strikes, Rosie and Jayne are left wondering if they are being targeted by the enemy of if something far more sinister is afoot."

Retro thoughts:

  • As I'm sure you're all aware dear readers, I love all things related to the 1940s (okay, well maybe not the polio, rationing or that whole Hitler business - but everything else), and so I was easily led astray by my sister who picked today's book out while we were at the library yesterday. Sadly, it did not live up to my high expectations. There was a generic quality to the story that would have made it hard to place the time period if not for the frequent references to movies and songs from that time. I suppose that's one way of approaching writing about another time period - but it seems a bit lazy and it started to wear thin after a few pages.

  • There was also the problem of the characters blurring together. I was on page 150 and I was still struggling to sort out who everyone was - not because there were so many characters, but because the characters were all so poorly defined, not to mention boring. So, while I love the idea of a mystery novel that takes place in the 1940s, I would not recommend reading this one dear readers.