Saturday, July 30, 2011
I co-read this book with a co-worker during the summer of my freshman (or sophomore) year of college. We would plant ourselves on the big green sofa in the Barnes & Noble campus bookstore and take two hour lunch breaks. We got paid to do nothing most of the time so our boss did not care or probably did not notice our long absences. Ah, those were the days...
Recently, when I was watering our neighbor's plants while she was out of town, I noticed that she had the entire Jessica Darling series. She very kindly lent me the first two books and I am sure she would let me borrow the other three, if I decide that I am interested.
I had thought that Sloppy Firsts was very witty and clever years ago but for whatever reason, I did not feel as connected to it as my co-worker. I found myself thinking about it over the past few years and had considered checking it out from the library when I noticed that my neighbor had the series. It must have been fate!
Now, what did I think of the book the second time around? First of all, it was like I was reading it for the first time. There were few sections of the book that I remembered well enough to want to rush to the next scene. I still think it is clever and witty and relevant. And despite being much further away from high school, I feel more connected to the book and the protagonist's teen angst than I did years ago.
In a lot of ways, I see myself in the protagonist although, I think she puts even my hours of introspection and analytical thinking to shame. And there are times when I find her overactive brain a little tiresome. At some point in the book she makes fun of the Dawson Creek characters for being too smart or adult-like to represent high schoolers, which is weird because sometimes Jessica Darling's ramblings are just as unrealistic and too mature for her age. *shrugs*
I do not like her all the time - what does that say about how I feel about myself? But other times, I can totally relate to her self-isolationism and feelings of being little understood or only understood by a select few. While I question Jessica's authenticity in terms of her age, she is a three-dimensional character and one that you do grow to care about, even if she can be frustratingly anti-everything.
Sloppy Firsts sort of ends abruptly or at least, with the intention of being a cliffhanger for the sequel. Being the almost hopeless romantic I am, I was kind of hoping that she and Marcus Flutie, the ultimate intellectual and sexual challenge, would "end up together" but the course of true love never did run smooth.
As I recall, I think one of the reasons I was not interested in carrying on with the series years ago is that I disliked the "unhappy" ending. I was at a stage in my life where I only wanted happy endings. Unlike Jessica Darling, no one was pining after me. If I was not getting affirmation that love existed in real life I sure as hell wanted affirmation in my literature. After college and post-marriage I was totally cool with taking on tragic classics like Wuthering Heights and Anna Karenina.
This is definitely chick lit but it is thought-provoking not fluffy. I almost hesitated to call it chick lit because in my mind, that term has a negative connotation. But I do want to emphasize that it is geared toward women.
I look forward to reading the next installment - Second Helpings.
Posted by Denise at 11:46 PM
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
I really related to and liked Bethenny Frankel when I used to watch The Real Housewives of New York City. I liked her even more on her spin-off shows. I think she is a really admirable businesswoman and person so when I heard about A Place of Yes I thought it was something I should give a try.
In A Place of Yes, Bethenny shared things about her personal life that she never really goes into detail about on television. I think the book was an appropriate forum for her to be more forthcoming and transparent about her traumatic and fractured childhood. If she had shared that stuff on camera she might have come across as an attention whore or victim. In the book, she talks about her past as a learning tool. She shares how it shaped her as a person but did not define her.
There is some repetiveness and the book gets progressively cheesy although, not cheesy enough to be a deal-breaker. There is also a fair amount of self-promotion, which can be annoying but it is nowhere near as obnoxious as Oprah promoting OWN on her talk show.
She offers ten rules to live by. Some of the rules are a bit of a stretch or overlap with other rules but for the most part, I found a lot of inspiration in what she had to say. She talks about how we all have an inner voice that we allow to be stifled by noise - worry noise, money noise, family noise, etc. I could totally relate because I listen to outside noise all the time and I need to stop that.
At times, A Place of Yes does seem more geared toward the business-minded but it is meant for all women (sorry guys) from all walks of life with different goals whether they be entrepreneurial, romantic, familial, etc.
Unlike other motivational/inspirational fare I did read every word. I guess you could say it is half-biography so that makes it more palatable/interesting. If you are looking for a kick in the ass and need some words of wisdom from an interesting and relatable source, I would recommend A Place of Yes.
Posted by Denise at 1:02 PM