The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo | Doubleday Books | Book Review

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

Book Summary:

A dazzling, multigenerational novel in which the four adult daughters of a Chicago couple–still madly in love after forty years–recklessly ignite old rivalries until a long-buried secret threatens to shatter the lives they’ve built.

When Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that’s to come. By 2016, their four radically different daughters are each in a state of unrest: Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator-turned-stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety, and self-doubt when the darkest part of her past resurfaces; Liza, a neurotic and newly tenured professor, finds herself pregnant with a baby she’s not sure she wants by a man she’s not sure she loves; and Grace, the dawdling youngest daughter, begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects. Above it all, the daughters share the lingering fear that they will never find a love quite like their parents’.

As the novel moves through the tumultuous year following the arrival of Jonah Bendt–given up by one of the daughters in a closed adoption fifteen years before–we are shown the rich and varied tapestry of the Sorenson’s past: years marred by adolescence, infidelity, and resentment, but also the transcendent moments of joy that make everything else worthwhile.

Spanning nearly half a century, and set against the quintessential American backdrop of Chicago and its prospering suburbs, Lombardo’s debut explores the triumphs and burdens of love, the fraught tethers of parenthood and sisterhood, and the baffling mixture of affection, abhorrence, resistance, and submission we feel for those closest to us. In painting this luminous portrait of a family’s becoming, Lombardo joins the ranks of writers such as Celeste Ng, Elizabeth Strout, and Jonathan Franzen as visionary chroniclers of our modern lives.”

Publication Date:

June 25, 2019

Genre:

Family Life Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

I have read a lot of books this summer but none that really blew me away. A memorable book for me is one that keeps me thinking about it long after finishing it. Many of my book choices during this time of the year are easy and engaging but not always ones that stick with me forever. There is definitely a time and place for both of these types of reading and they each fill my reading bucket in very different ways.

I kept seeing The Most Fun We Ever Had on Bookstagram and I put it on my TBR list but I  wasn’t sure if summer was the time to read it. I was a little nervous about the length and I didn’t know if I was in the mood for a family saga piece of writing during this more hectic time of the year. After seeing yet another raving review I decided to read it on a whim and boy was I wrong!

When you are reading a 500+ page book it is a real commitment. Your reading experience is more like a marathon and just not a sprint to the finish. Author Claire Lombardo pulled me right into the lives of the members of the Sorrenson family and I had a hard time putting this one down. The writing was both captivating and completely absorbing. I ended up going back and forth between both reading the hard copy and listening to this on Audible. This made it an absolutely amazing and engrossing reading experience and was perfect for this style of writing.

While there were a lot of well-developed characters and the narration jumps back and forth from present (2016) to the past I never felt confused or that it was hard to keep track of it all. This is all such a testament to Lombardo’s skilled writing ability.

The story was compelling and the characters were both raw and relatable. I loved that their relationships with each other and themselves showed the intricacies of both families and just being human. The nuanced history and complexities of relationships that have spanned decades were presented in such a completely compelling manner. There were humorous parts and so many memorable quotes that I will never forget.

When I wasn’t reading or listening to this book I was thinking about it.  It was difficult to leave this fictional family at the end of my reading journey, which for me, makes this truly a remarkable read. I highly recommend this debut(!!) novel and I can’t wait to read what Lombardo shares next.

Happy Money by Ken Honda | Gallery Books | Book Review

book review Gen The Bookworm

Happy Money by Ken Honda

Book Summary:

“Too often, money is a source of fear, stress, and anger, often breaking apart relationships and even ruining lives. We like to think money is just a number or a piece of paper, but it is so much more than that. Money has the ability to smile, it changes when it is given with a certain feeling, and the energy with which it imbues us impacts not only ourselves but others as well.

Although Ken Honda is often called a “money guru,” his real job over the past decade has been to help others discover the tools they already possess to heal their own lives and relationships with money. Learn how to treat money as a welcome guest, allowing it to come and go with respect and without resentment; understand and improve your money EQ; unpack the myth of scarcity; and embrace the process of giving money, not just receiving it.

This book isn’t to fix you, because as Ken Honda says, you’re already okay!”

Genre:

Self-help & Personal Finance

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

Happy Money is not a self-help book about how to manage your money but more about your actual relationship with money. It covered some really thought-provoking topics including how many of us have deeply ingrained thoughts and beliefs about finances that we adopted from our experiences with money as young children.

Honda’s theory is that your relationship with life will mirror what your relationship is like with money. I appreciated his dialogue about being grateful about money going out and coming in and the power of having a healthy and positive mindset about money.

I didn’t think there was anything earth-shattering in this book but I liked the proactive approach he shared while also being aware of how our foundations and histories with money are a huge part of the relationship we have with it now. Sometimes the biggest thing we need to make a change is having the awareness of how we became the way we are today, so this in itself was very insightful.

*I was given a copy of this book to review. All opinions are my own. 

 

Rouge by Richard Kirshenbaum | St. Martin’s Press | Book Review

Gen The Bookworm book review

Rouge by Richard Kirshenbaum

Book Summary:

“Like Swans of Fifth Avenue and Truman Capote’s Answered Prayers, Richard Kirshenbaum’s Rouge gives readers a rare front-row seat into the world of high society and business through the rivalry of two beauty industry icons, by the master marketer and chronicler of the over-moneyed.

Rouge is a sexy, glamorous journey into the rivalry of the pioneers of powder, mascara, and rouge.

This fast-paced novel examines the lives, loves, and sacrifices of the visionaries who invented the modern cosmetics industry: Josiah Herzenstein, born in a Polish Jewish Shtlel, the entrepreneur who transforms herself into a global style icon and the richest woman in the world, Josephine Herz; Constance Gardiner, her rival, the ultimate society woman who invents the door-to-door business and its female workforce but whose deepest secret threatens everything; CeeCee Lopez, the bi-racial beauty and founder of the first African American woman’s hair relaxer business, who overcomes prejudice and heartbreak to become her community’s first female millionaire. The cast of characters is rounded out by Mickey Heron, a dashing, sexy ladies’ man whose cosmetics business is founded in a Hollywood brothel. All are bound in a struggle to be number one, doing anything to get there…including murder.”

Genre:

Historical Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

Rouge is a historical fiction novel that introduces you to two women who are competing against each other in the beauty industry starting in the 1920s. Kirshenbaum delivers an entertaining read that gives us a look at high society, business tactics, betrayal and the power of beauty.

I found that the story was engaging but that the characters lacked a depth that would help me understand them more as people and not just as business rivals. Women running businesses at this time was not common and I would have loved to see more behind the scenes details of this important and powerful topic. Because of this I had trouble really connected with the characters are anything but a more superficial level. I would have loved to hear more of the “real story” and less of the rivalry and antics that took over during the storytelling.

*I was gifted a copy of this book to review and all opinion are my own.