Saturday, October 6, 2012

Office Girl - Joe Meno

One line of the description of this book hooked me, "Nothing takes place during a World War."  Not that there aren't great books that take place during World Wars, but I have read many of them in my time, and I could use a different setting (as long as it's not also post 9/11 PTSD land).  Office Girl, however, was not quite what I was looking for.  It tells the story of "artists" Odile and Jack and reads like a literary version of Zooey Deschanel's quirky too-cool projects.  As the two work menial office jobs during the day, they spend their evenings contemplating the more esoteric - condemning commercial art and making renegade art of their own.  I think I am too old for this book - not that I'm too mature by any means, but just that I find characters in their 20-somethings who are complaining about life and finding themselves to be tedious.  I just want them to get over themselves.  That being said, some of their art was clever and funny.  Overall, however, I found the book a little too hip for my tastes.

Double Dexter - Jeff Lindsay (Dexter #6)

Once again, I've caught up with this series, and reading it always makes me want to start watching the HBO TV series - though I'm not sure I can handle all the gore visually.  This installment finds Dexter back to his old tricks, but this time, it seems he has been observed by someone who doesn't plan just to expose him, but to give him a taste of his own painful medicine.  While Dexter aids in the investigation of a serial killer targeting Miami police detectives, he is simultaneously looking over his shoulder for the killer trying to track him down.  In typical Dexter fashion, I found myself simultaneously rooting for him while also cringing at his internal monologues and the example he sets for his step-children.  A thoroughly entertaining series that I hope will continue.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Turn of Mind - Alice LaPlante

Awhile back, I read a fiction book called Still Alice about a woman with early onset Alzheimer's disease.  I highly recommend the novel, though it is a frightening reality, I found the book immensely intriguing in its portrayal of this degenerative disease.  Then the Stanford Book Club picked this novel - Turn of Mind - a murder mystery also feautring a main character with Alzheimer's.  With recent media attention on the possible connection between Alzheimer's and diabetes, this condition has been much on my mind and with that background, I picked up this thriller.  Written in the first-person, this is the story of former hand surgeon, Dr. Jennifer White, has a caretaker and is watched over by her daughter and delinquent son.  She suffers from Alzheimer's and when he best friend is found murdered - with several fingers severed from her hand - Jennifer becomes a prime suspect.  The book is written in fragmented sections - there are present day interactions such as the repeated interogations by the police in which Jennifer is painfully reminded at each visit that her best friend has been murdered.  And there are fragments of memories from Jennifer's past - descrbing her marriage, her friendship, her practice, and the raising of her children.  Like Still Alice, I found this a very painful and difficult read, while at the same time fascinated by the author's ability to get into the mind of someone with this disease (as realistic as we can ever know that the portrayal is).  In terms of a murder mystery, the plot unfolds nicely with the reader constantly wondering if Jennifer committed the crime, and if she did, whehther she actually remembers doing so.  The end unfolded a bit strangely, and while I want to avoid any spoilers, I'm not sure I was entrely satisfied with it.  But, I loved the writing in this book and the interactions between the characters - a little frustrating at times, but certainly nothing compared to the frustration of having this disease, or caring for a loved one suffering from it.