Thursday, June 23, 2011

About Alice, Father of the Rain, and Live Bait

I realize that the title of the blog sounds good cuz if you read it, you think, "hmm -- it's about Alice, a father in the rain, and live bait, and how all that goes together," but it's not. This blog reviews three books... you can stop reading now. :)

Even though Alice Trillin seemed like a class act and looked even more like one, this narrow non-fiction work About Alice by Calvin Trillin, dedicated to the Trillin’s grand-children, barely draws an outline of her.

Perhaps, Trillin, who is a good writer with a successful career for the New Yorker, should have just published this book for his grandchildren and not for the masses. At seventy-eight pages long, I read it in an hour and came away from it feeling like Alice Trillin was probably a terrific woman, but who could tell? [ I wrote down one quote from the book that may turn into a later blog...]


Are you still reading? :)

I also just finished Father of the Rain by Lily King. Only King’s prose kept me in this woe-filled modern novel about the relationship between a father and daughter, ripped apart by divorce. His anger [as the daughter is taken away to live with the mother] and her isolation and abandonment [as he openly invites another woman and her children to live with him] fuse them in an odd and extremely un-healthy way as she is exposed to some rather "mature" behavior of her father and the step-mother to put it gently; however, it is the emotional cruelty of the father to the daughter, with whom he takes out his anger, that becomes hard to fathom, much less read.

Daley Amory tells the story of her father, Gardiner Amory, in three piviotal times in their relationship: the first year after the divorce, after her post graduate studies where she quits a promising job to go home and try to save him from his alcoholism, and last at his hospital bed where he seems close to death.

Daley’s valiant battle to save her father and reestablish her broken relationship with him is understandable, but the emotional scars run deep and the scar tissue lays firm.

When I read stories like this, fiction or non-fiction, I continue to look heaven ward and say thank you, Lord, for my own father.

Are you still reading this blog? I love you, faithful reader, if you are. :)

I also read P. J. Tracy’s crime fiction novel, Live Bait. I have no idea why I picked this book up from the library, but after the “heavy” read of Father of the Rain, it was a welcome reprieve.

P. J. Tracy is a mother/daughter writing team who are on their second book of a series, I guess, as their first book was Monkeewrench. I didn’t read Monkeewrench, don’t’ plan to, but I have to admit that I enjoyed the fast pace of the second book in the series and the crime was interesting.

Set in Minneapolis, Minnesota, eighty-five year old nursery owner Morey Gilbert lies dead outside the front door of his greenhouse with a gun-shot wound to the head. No sign of struggle, no robbery, and no forced entry to the property, the crime immediately strikes a cord with the neighborhood who found him “a man without an enemy.” Of course, we all know better, and the twisted route to find the killer begins as Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseith, Minneapolis detectives, search frantically to figure out the case --- as three more murders of the elderly take place in twenty-four hours.

More like reading a screen play than a real novel, I’ll give the writers a thumbs up for bothering to give characters depth and back story to make the fast paced murder mystery more cerebral. Otherwise, eh. I don't read crime fiction. Ever.

*wonders why Live Bait was on my reading list*

Thanks for reading. :)


  1. I'm interested in almost any book that I can read in an hour. What an easy way to feel a sense of accomplishment! I was on a roll with reading this summer . . . until I discovered Sons of Anarchy. Have you seen it? I'm in deep.

    I never read crime fiction (this is not to say that I don't read non-literary books; I was all over Something Borrowed), but I'm not sure why. I think the last time I read a crime fiction book was in your class, Contemporary American Literature! You had us all pick a "sub-literature" book to read, and I chose a mystery called "Emily Dickinson is Dead" because my snobby teenage self felt it was the most legit of what I perceived to be non-legit books. haha. Now, my perception has changed entirely!

  2. Harriet: Oh, I can't wait to read this when I have more back soon! Love your book reviews :-)

  3. I have too many books on my list already, but I always enjoy reading your critiques and reviews. BYW, have you read any Athol Dickson novels. He is one author that I have to read everything he comes out with, every book he writes is just a bit different! Wonderful, have a look!

  4. i've been looking for some good reads! thank you for this, friend!

  5. Well, I've gotta say...I don't think I'll be running to the library after any of these three reads. Better you than me, kid.

    I'm reading "The Shallows" by Nicholas Carr right now. Have you read it? It's about how the Internet and leaving blog comments is rewiring my brain. Good stuff.

    On a more pleasant note...if you come visit me in Nebraska, I'll take you to visit the shrine.

    {and my husband will make us homemade scones to go with our morning coffee. Enticed yet? Or just simply creeped out?}