I won this book. I read it in a couple of days. Then I gave it to my mom. The memoir, by Kelly Corrigan, is about her time traveling abroad and particularly her time in Australia, helping to take care of kids who recently lost their mother. She tells the story of taking care of the kids, but also tells the story of her relationship with her mother.
Let me start by saying that my relationship with my mother is NOTHING like her relationship with her mother. Though, after reading the book, I have come to realize that I am more like Kelly’s mother than my own.
Kelly Corrigan and her mother had what I would call a “typical” mother-daughter relationship. Good times. Teenage years. Better times. While she is living in this house and taking care of the boy and girl, she thinks about her mother a lot and what her mother would do. The boy warms to her very quickly. The girl takes longer. She ends up making a strong bond with the kids and their older half-brother. But once she comes back to the U.S.. she loses contact with them.
What I liked about this book wasn’t necessarily the book itself. But the fact that it made me appreciate what my mother and I have. We never had issues when I was a teenager. My mom has been my biggest supporter and my go-to person when something is going on.
When I hurt my back and needed a ride to the hospital (because I wouldn’t let Mike call an ambulance and I couldn’t physically get into the Honda, I called my parents. And even though it was my father who would give me the ride, I wanted to talk to my mom. She was there when I had Patrick and she’s there whenever I need a shoulder or an ear. Or motherly advice.
Kelly Corrigan says that her mother always said Kelly’s dad was the glitter and she was the glue in the family. I think I’m more the glitter than the glue most of the time as well.
This book really made me grateful for my mom. And for the relationship we have. We laugh at the same things. We say some of the same stuff that is only logical to us.
Kelly’s mother was more withdrawn and quiet than my mom is. I am the quiet one. I am the one who likes to read and sometimes needs to be alone. I understand that urge and hope that it hasn’t negatively affected my kids. I enjoyed the vignettes of her mother when Kelly was a kid and I liked the book overall. It’s worth the read.
Last year, I read “Where’d You Go Bernadette?” and discovered the epistolary novel. A novel told with letters, emails, text messages, memos, etc. The Divorce Papers is an epistolary novel about a divorce. So the papers are emails, memos, cases, legal pleadings and letters. I loved this book. So much that I was considering picking it for book club. Alas, I picked something else. But, I still love this book.
Sophie Diehl is a criminal attorney is a smallish New England firm. She is roped into handing the divorce of Mia and Daniel Durkheim. He’s a pediatric oncologist and she’s from old money. Sophie represents Mia. Mia and Daniel have one daughter, Jane.
The book follows the divorce proceedings from first client meeting through dissolution. Since I work in the law, I wasn’t put-off by the legal terminology, pleadings and cases. There are only two or three cases and very few pleadings. Some codes as well. But those documents serve as an education to the reader about the various rules that are to be followed. To me, they did not distract from the story, they enhanced it.
Even though the book is told through letters, emails, memos, etc., the author still manages to develop the characters quite well and tell a really good story. I was really captured early on and read the book quickly.
Overall, I really liked this book and I hope other people find it and like it as well.
I was reluctant to read this book for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a young adult book. I’m generally not a fan of young adult. I did not like The Hunger Games. Second, it’s gotten a lot of hype. A lot. Everyone professes to love this book. When a book gets that much hype, I have a hard time approaching it neutrally. I bought it for Patrick. Or so I told myself. I “borrowed” it. And I loved it. Love, love, loved it.
The story, in case you don’t know, it about Hazel Grace, a sixteen year old cancer survivor with wrecked lungs. She is terminal, but her life is being extended by a drug she takes. At a support group for teens with cancer, she meets Augustus. He had a very survivable form of cancer and he has a prosthetic leg. He’s athletic, handsome, and smart. Hazel is smart – both intelligent and a smart alec. The cast of supporting characters include Hazel’s parents, Augustus’ parents and Hazel and Augusts’ friend. Hazel shares her favorite book with Augusts and he shares his with her. Theirs is a love story.
Two things captivated me about this book. The first is that it’s not a sappy love story though it easily could be. It’s tender and sad all at the same time. It could easily have been sappy and over done. I love the way John Green writes teenagers. He writes them they way I imagine them – smart, hormonal, know-it-alls and full of angst. However, what he does that I think is brilliant is adds a sense of humor. And a sense of mortality and fatality without being moribund.
The second reason I love this book so much is the language. The only person I could think of to compare to him is Aaron Sorkin. The language is crisp and smart. Intelligent, funny, and sad. I was taken aback and blown away by his use of language. Every sentence is perfect. This having been the only John Green book I’ve read, I’m not sure if it is how he always writes or if this is the “one” book. But I will say if all his books are written this way, I have some more reading to do.
I love young adult books that are serious, not condescending, and frankly, not dumb. This book was all of that. I cannot say enough good things about it. I highly recommend it to people of all ages.