Sunday, May 6, 2012

Reviews a few weeks late

First up: Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

So. Much. Love. 
I managed to ration out my reading of this book so that I didn't finish it too quickly (and also so that I made sure I ate and slept). 

Jenny Lawson is intelligent and witty and inspiring and all the things I wish I could be. She is living proof that you don't have to be "normal" to be happy and successful. Not only can you get through life's everyday ups and downs, you can be a famous blogger with a penchant for long dead (and taxidermied) animals in awesome outfits and a book deal. And that, friends, is the American Dream. That, and giant metal chickens named Beyoncé.

Since this has thus far been less of a review and more of an open love letter to the author, I think it's probably clear that I liked the book. 

It was very similar to her blog in writing style, so I think her editors did a good job in letting her stick to her voice. There were a few things in the book that appeared on the blog, but with added insight. I'm not sure there was any chapter that was taken solely from the blog (but I'd have to check, and then I'd get so engrossed that I'd end up re-reading the whole thing and you wouldn't get this review for another two weeks). In short: I loved this book, just like I love the blog. 

Moving right along...

I've been familiar with the musical for years (and I think they might have shown us the movie in 9th grade), but I'm only now getting to the book, which is completely backwards for me. It was interesting though, to read phrases that appear almost verbatim in the lyrics. 
Reading while having the music of the scene was a new and somewhat bizarre experience. I also found myself anticipating scenes ahead of time, but, of course, there was more in between in the book than in the soundtrack for the musical.
For whatever reason I found that I didn't sympathize as much with any of the characters as I would have expected. I'm not exactly sure why that was, but I think it probably affected my overall view of the book. 

It was interesting enough, but not a particularly inspiring read. I'm particularly drawn to characters, so since I had issues with these, maybe that's why I was so underwhelmed by this book. 

And finally, Taft 2012

It was really just a fun and quick read. 
I have to admit, pretty much the only think I know about Taft is the bathtub incident — that and his fairly spectacular mustache. Other than that, I am clueless about the man and his politics. About halfway through reading this book I decided I should find out what actually happened to him — Chief Justice of the united states 1921-1930. Not bad, William Howard, not bad at all. That further cemented the whole alternate universe thing, but it would have been kind of cool if Taft had, in fact, mysteriously disappeared the day his successor was supposed to be sworn in. But then, we would probably learn more about Taft in school. People tend to talk more about mysteries for some reason. 

Anyway, Taft comes back. No one is really sure why, and for whatever reason they don't spend too long trying to figure it out. On a basic human level I kind of take issue with this because if a presumably dead former president fumbles into the next century as if he just woke up from a cat nap, I'm going to want some answers, but I digress. It kind of annoys me that Heller doesn't spend a bit more time with this issue, but I get it. That's not what he's focusing on. It's not "The Point."

This pokes gentle fun at the whole political process these days (like spending 3 out of 4 years on the campaign trail) and the media frenzy that goes along with it, but I don't think it quite reaches satire. It isn't subtle enough, but it doesn't dig deep enough either. I don't necessarily mean this as criticism, just observation. As I said, this is a fun book. It was an easy and enjoyable read.

It did lack closure though. The ending, while (for lack of a better word) cute, doesn't resolve the whole he-traveled-to-the-future think. Heller kind of leaves us hanging with that one. So what happens? Does he live out the rest of his "natural" life in this century? Does he travel back in time to 1913 and pick up where he left off? Does he vanish into thin air? I needed a bit more of a resolution there, but it just ends.  Oh well, I guess I can't always get everything I want, right? 

So now we're nearly caught up with reviews. I have a few more in the works and I'll post those in the near future. Any other exciting New York plans will go up here as well, though nothing seems to be moving forward in that arena.

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