Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel

From Elaine Pasquali

Title:  Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel

Author:  Anya Ulinich

Ever since reading Maus, I have appreciated graphic novels.  This graphic novel  tells the story of Lena Finkle’s life following the end of her fifteen year marriage.  Caught between two cultures, Russian and American, Lena enters the world of online dating and experiences love, sex and loss.  Her present day dating is juxtaposed against previous romantic/sexual experiences.  At the same time she is raising two teenage daughters and juggling a writing career.  While this novel has the sincerity and angst of Maus,  it doesn’t have Maus’ symbolic quality.  An interesting, engrossing, and engaging social commentary about women and divorce.

 

I wish

From  Ellen  Druda
Author:  Kore-Eda   Hirokazu
Title:   I wish [videorecording DVD]
Think back to those great family movies starring plucky kids, like Escape to Witch Mountain, or Flipper, or even The Parent Trap, and you’ll get the same feeling watching I Wish. Set in Japan, this is the story of two brothers separated by divorce, who plan to reunite with the help of their pals.  The new bullet train service is coming, and brothers Koichi and Ryunosuk believe your wish will come true if you shout it when the first trains pass each other at top speed.  The kids spend time planning exactly where this will occur and how they will get there.  They also share their wishes.  The performances by Kouki Maeda and Oushiro Maeda, brothers in real life, bring tons of charm to this movie, which was originally conceived as a promotional film for Japan Railways. VERDICT: A heart-warming Japanese language film that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Wild : from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail

From Margaret Mezzacapo
Author: Cheryl Strayed
Title: Wild : from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Having just read “Called Again” by Jennifer Pharr Davis, I thought it might be fun to play “Compare and Contrast” (as they say in essay questions) between these two books.

Jennifer David: A woman of God
Cheryl Strayed: Ungodly
Davis: An experienced hiker
Strayed: Can put one foot in front of the other
Davis: Decides to break the time record for hiking the Appalachian Trail
Strayed: Decides to see how many men she can pick up in five days
Davis: Happily married to a wonderful man
Strayed: Cheats on her husband with a heroin addict with his hair dyed blue

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Cheryl Strayed, fresh in the midst of personal loss and tragedy, decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (a trail that goes from Mexico to Canada along the West Coast) in the belief that if she does this, her life will be transformed and everything will be all right. The hike does change her life, but in ways she never would have imagined. It is an interesting and entertaining tale.

Live To Tell (Book #1)

From Dawn Moore
Title:  Live To Tell (Book #1)
Author:  Wendy Corsi Staub
The first in a trilogy about a newly seperated woman and her children and a lost toy that can affect many lives. There were many subplots and points of view and at first it was difficult to keep track of all the different players but all worked out in the end which, probably could have been wrappped up sooner. It tended to drag a bit at the end. All told good plot great end and I will continue the series.

Small Hotel

From Catherine Given
Author:  Robert Olen  Butler
Small Hotel
It’s amazing what the element of suspense adds to most any plot. I picked up A Small Hotel by Robert Olen Butler expecting to read the sad tale of a couple’s separation after 20 years. Instead, because the book juxtaposes flashbacks of the couple’s first meeting with a dangerous present-day situation spinning out of control, I couldn’t put it down. Butler is highly adept at capturing both male and female voices delivering a strong dose of emotional truth. The setting further heightens the novel’s impact, highlighting the contrast between the hushed luxury of a landmark New Orleans hotel, and the messy, stressful challenges of an American marriage.

And one last thing

From Andrea Kalinowski
author: Harper, Molly
And one last thing
 “And one last thing” by Molly Harper was an entertaining read, though some would class it as chick lit, I class it as affordable entertainment. A woman receives flowers which were incorrectly delivered and thereby discovers her husband’s true cheating nature. She wallows for a short time and then, in a moment of drunken insanity, sends an email newsletter which details her husband’s perfidy. Wrath rains down upon her head from her society pals and her mother-in-law. They argue that everyone does it and if you want to keep your lifestyle, turn a blind eye. She ignores their advice, and with the assistance of her irrepressible brother, finds a path of renewal. She is a stronger woman at the end and finds a new love interest who will stand with her and lend her wings when she needs them. A very enjoyable read, “And one last thing” details something which is quite common in today’s society, cheating and divorce. The revenge solution also has its roots in today’s technology, since it is with an email newsletter she tries to extract her revenge. Find a cat, a comfortable chair, a daiquiri and curl up with this book. You won’t regret it.