Holiday Reading – March 2014

This month’s books were actually read while I was on holiday.  As regular readers know this isn’t always the case with my ‘holiday reading’.  The first book I started at home and finished on holiday and I can honestly say I didn’t want it to end.  For anyone who is a fan of big stories which take you deep into families and relationships then you need to read a Curtis Sittenfeld book.  The one I read this month was Sisterland but I can really recommend The American Wife and Prep too.  I’m also very excited that I have missed one of her releases so will be buying The Man Of My Dreams soon.

Anyway, back to Sisterland.  It is the story of twins Kate and Violet from their childhood to adult lives.  Sisterland being the name of the notice which Vi puts on their bedroom door from an early age.  Ever since their younger days they knew they had a gift to predict the future and at age 13, desperate to be liked, Kate reveals this gift and its powers to one of their classmates Marisa.  As is the case with most teenagers Marisa reacts to this in a negative way and it is only once she goes to university that Kate feels like she fits in.  She is originally called Daisy but changes her name to  Kate so as to reinvent herself.  Vi, however, always seems to revel in their gift and the fact they are different from the other girls and this continues when she leaves for university where she drops out pretty quickly and returns back to their hometown.

Sittenfeld’s books always seem to explore fitting in as a theme, be it from a young age or as an adult and this book is no exception. In their adult lives Kate has settled down and is married with two kids and seems happy being a stay at home mum who has stopped using her gift whereas Vi has continued to use their gift and set up her own business reading people’s futures as well as giving up on men and deciding to embark on a lesbian relationship instead, much to Kate’s annoyance and although she won’t admit it, embarrassment.

It is when Vi predicts an earthquake giving the exact date and igniting a media storm that things really start to get interesting.  The earthquake threat becomes a catalyst for so much more in their lives and it is Kate who it affects more, not only in her concern that Vi will be right and panicking about how to protect her children but also the earthquake acts as a sort of metaphor for the cracks in her own relationships with her sister, father, husband and close friends.   I won’t give away whether the earthquake happens or not as that is one of the things that kept me hooked throughout and I don’t want to spoil it for any potential readers.  It really is a good book and well worth a read for anyone who loves losing themselves in a good story.

Sisterland and The Rosie Project

Sisterland and The Rosie Project

I really wanted to like the next book, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, as I had heard such good things about it and I always like reading books about relationships written by men.  The story centres around Don Tillman, a 39 year old geneticist who never seems to get a second date.  Although when you hear about his first dates it is pretty obvious why.  He decides to embark on something he calls The Wife Project, where he devises an in-depth questionnaire to root out women who are going to waste his time.  Potential dates have to complete the questionnaire and get the answers ‘right’ by his standards in order to secure a first date.  He is assisted by his friend and colleague, Gene, who has his own project involving sleeping with women from every country in the world, despite being married to Claudia, who also acts as Don’s confidante.

Gene offers to look through the questionnaire responses and suggest a couple of candidates but unbeknown to Don he sends in Rosie, who hasn’t even completed the questionnaire, and that is when The Rosie Project begins.  According to Don she is completely incompatible with him but when she tells him about a problem she is trying to solve with regards to who her father is he can’t help but want to assist her.  But why?  He starts feeling emotions that are alien to him and very unsettling.  Surely he can’t be falling in love with someone as incompatible as Rosie?

Although the book is  a good read there was something about it that irritated me.  Don clearly has undiagnosed Asperger’s and I found the tedious descriptions of his routines etc, well, tedious.  I also thought it was pretty unlikely that he wouldn’t be aware of his condition although maybe that could be me being naïve about the condition in the first place.

Again, I won’t spoil it for any potential readers about whether Don and Rosie get it together or not.  And despite some of my reservations about the book there are some very funny scenes involving a skeleton in Don’s office and a sex manual.  And, to also prove how much I don’t know the book is being made into a film 🙂

I am very proud to be shortlisted in the MAD Blog Awards under the Family Travel Blog category.  If you enjoy reading this blog please take a second to vote for aroundtheworldwithahighchair, I really appreciate it.  Thanks, Mrs ATWWAH

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