How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'm very excited to see that I have more new followers today - and I'm not letting the fact that two of those followers are my parents take anything anything away from my victory. I finally convinced them to sign up. Actually, that's not true, I had to sign them up because they couldn't figure out how to do it. My Mom would like it noted on the record that she has been reading the blog from the beginning and didn't sign up simply because she didn't know how, and therefore her signing up in July is not a reflection on her as a Mother in any way. My Dad is comfortable with you thinking badly of him and has offered no apologies.

I'm also reveling in the victory of finally getting the picture of today's book up - although getting it up did require me to call my sister and give her the blogger password so that she could sign in and post it. There's so much behind-the-scenes stuff happening here at the A Book a Day headquarters - "Just like at NASA," as my sister put it.

Today's book, "What do a chamber pot, a famous poet, a family feud, and a long-ago suitor all have in common? In this delicious laugh-out-loud novel of love and loss, rivalry and reconciliation, treasure and trash, we see what happens when past and present collide. . . "

As always, I'm going to have to disagree with the laugh-out-loud part of the book description. They always go too far. There were parts of the book that were somewhat amusing - but I didn't ever laugh, not even once. Despite the lack of laughter, it was still a decent book. There were several things that kept it from being a really good book - several characters who were wearing on my nerves by the end and a main character who seemed to determined to make the stupidest decisions possible where men are concerned - but the plot was interesting enough to make the book an enjoyable enough read. So, while I'm not sure I could wholeheartedly recommend this book, the writing style did make me want to read some of the other books this author has written.

And now that I've talked about what I didn't like about the book, I feel compelled to tell you about what I did like:

  • The author doesn't cram the characters' life stories down our throats. There's very little back story mentioned for the minor characters - which is always a blessed relief to me because if a character doesn't appear on more than 50 pages then I just don't care to hear about the trouble relationship they had with their mother or why they chose to major in their current profession. I only want to hear about the main characters - and in that case, I want to hear those details slowly, throughout the course of the book, and not all crammed into the first 15 pages of the book.

  • The author uses the expression "dear reader" several times. - I don't suppose I even need to explain why I loved that detail.

The main character, Abby, runs an antique store - which was an aspect of the book that I got totally swept up into. I swear there were points during the book where I could actually smell that musty antique store smell. I love antique stores. I especially like to look at the sharp, dangerous, metal toys, so that I can sit around and wonder just how many injuries each toy was responsible for. It's alarming enough to look at antique toys by myself - but seeing them next to a toddler is truly alarming. In my Mary Poppins days I took one of the kids to a history museum when he was two - which created a look of fear on the faces of every person who worked in the museum and also resulted in nearly everyone I know saying You took a two-year-old to a history museum? Are you insane? For the record dear readers, he was so well behaved that the museum employees came over to tell me how impressed they were with his behavior, and he seemed to have a lot of fun. His favorite area of the museum was the exhibit with the antique toys, and while he was standing next to the display case all I could think about was How are there not more old people with only one eye? I mean really, those toys are terrifying. The next time I see my Grandparents I'm going to look at their faces and marvel at the fact that everything is still fully intact.