DAUGHTERS OF THE REVOLUTION by Carolyn Cooke. It’s 1968. The prestigious but cash-strapped Goode School in the town of Cape Wilde is run by its aging, philandering headmaster, Goddard Byrd, known to both his friends and his enemies as God. With Cape Wilde engulfed by the social and political storms of integration, coeducation and the sexual revolution, God has confidently promised coeducation “over my dead body.” And then, through a clerical error, the Goode School admits its first female student: Carole Faust, a brilliant, intractable fifteen-year-old black girl.
Jumping around in time, this is more a novel of interconnected stories than a conventional novel and it is very, very good. It's often moving but at least on one occasion it's laugh-out-loud funny. That's when a woman in her early 20s, after having had an alcohol-related fall that lands her in the ER, upon exiting the hospital, suggests to the male neighbor who took her there, "We could go somewhere and have a drink," to which he replies, "Are you out of your nmind?"
THE END OF EVERYTHING by Megan Abbott. Thirteen-year old Lizzie Hood and her next door neighbor Evie Verver are inseparable. They are best friends who swap bathing suits and field-hockey sticks, and share everything that's happened to them. Together they live in the shadow of Evie's glamorous older sister Dusty, who provides a window on the exotic, intoxicating possibilities of their own teenage horizons. To Lizzie, the Verver household, presided over by Evie's big-hearted father, is the world's most perfect place. And then, one afternoon, Evie disappears. The only clue: a maroon sedan Lizzie spotted driving past the two girls earlier in the day. As a rabid, giddy panic spreads through the Midwestern suburban community, everyone looks to Lizzie for answers. Was Evie unhappy, troubled, upset? Had she mentioned being followed? Would she have gotten into the car of a stranger?
Considering that this is a literary novel and not a mystery, it certainly reads with the page-turning quality of the latter.
WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT by Sarah Winman. This is a book about a brother and a sister. It's a book about secrets and starting over, friendship and family, triumph and tragedy, and everything in between. More than anything, it's a book about love in all its forms.
In a remarkably honest and confident voice, Sarah Winman has written the story of a memorable young heroine, Elly, and her loss of innocence-a magical portrait of growing up and the pull and power of family ties. From Essex and Cornwall to the streets of New York, from 1968 to the events of 9/11, When God Was a Rabbit follows the evolving bond of love and secrets between Elly and her brother Joe, and her increasing concern for an unusual best friend, Jenny Penny, who has secrets of her own. With its wit and humor, engaging characters whose eccentricities are adroitly and sometimes darkly drawn, and its themes of memory and identity, When God Was a Rabbit is a love letter to true friendship and fraternal love.
Highly unusual and emotionally satisfying plus the school Nativity play is hands down one of the best school Nativity play scenes in fiction.
And that's it!
So how about you? What truly great books have you read lately?
Oh, and don't forget to get the latest Sisters 8 book and all The Sisters 8 books. If you love my writing, give them to a young person you love. And if you hate my writing? Then give them to a young person you intensely dislike!
Be well. Don't forget to write.