FOR: The What’s in a Name 5 Challenge: Find in a Pocket category.
I guess I wanted the book in case I got thoughtful. These transition can be tough, and people find themselves asking difficult questions. I was tired enough to be vulnerable and I didn’t want to have to face the kind of question that might arise: Can a thirty-five-year-old, divorced vegetarian feminist psychiatrist with two lovers and an Angora cat find happiness and fulfillment? Better to read a not too demanding book, get through the flight and leave that sort of doubt to a time when the energy level is higher.
FIRST SENTENCE: What is normal?
WHAT’s it ABOUT: A psychiatrist returning from a conference decides to pickup a paperback in the airport bookstore so that no one will bother her on her flight home. However, she reads about an office being broken into and the description is exactly like her home office; to the artwork on the wall, the unique items on her desk and her baby blue file cabinets.
She becomes a bit unglued. And starts her own investigation.
WHAT’s GOOD: The first chapter is brilliant in the setup, the intrigue, the feeling of being extremely unsettled and violated. Our protagonist, Sarah Chayse, is feisty and independent. The characters were interesting and the dialog believable. For a book set in 1975 it is both amazing in how relevant many cultural mentions still are and also sad that we haven’t come further in terms of racial and gender equality.
WHAT’s not so GOOD: The book loses some steam after the fabulous first chapter and slows down during the chase to figure out who and why. It becomes so obvious when our girl is going to get into some serious trouble that there is never quite that big surprise moment. The worse of it, however, is when the author drops the name Friedrich Nietzsche into way too many discussions and unfortunately, I do not have a concept of his philosophy. This proved distracting and frustrating. I even went to Wikipedia hoping to get one nugget that would help me get over these speedbumps but knowing his ‘God is dead’ quote only confused me.
p. 68: “Is there anything else that might be helpful to me?” I asked. “Not for my conclusions, but for my decision really as to whether to drop it. Anything you think I ought to know that fits, or that surprises by not fitting?”
“He talked,” Herndon said, “a lot about Nietzsche.”
p.100: Modesty and gentleness are worth all of Nietzsche.
FINAL THOUGHTS: However, I did enjoy it well enough and was especially keen on the Boston setting. I had purchased this book on a day a friend and I went into town to do the May Beacon Hill Garden Tour. The character traveled many of the streets I had just walked on and that was really fun for me.
RATING: Three slices of pie. With extra whipped cream.
rarebit – p.140 – “I went off to fix myself a rarebit.” First attempt to look up this word, I found out it is a Welsh rabbit. HUH? She is a vegetarian! So I explored further and found it is a dish of melted and seasoned cheese on toast, sometimes with other ingredients.
Who hasn’t read a book on a plane to avoid conversation?