All This Could be Yours by Jami Attenberg | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt {Book Review}

All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg

All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg

Book Summary:

“‘If I know why they are the way they are, then maybe I can learn why I am the way I am,’ says Alex Tuchman of her parents. Now that her father is on his deathbed, Alex—a strong-headed lawyer, devoted mother, and loving sister–feels she can finally unearth the secrets of who Victor is and what he did over the course of his life and career. (A power-hungry real estate developer, he is, by all accounts, a bad man.) She travels to New Orleans to be with her family, but mostly to interrogate her tightlipped mother, Barbra.

As Barbra fends off Alex’s unrelenting questions, she reflects on her tumultuous life with Victor. Meanwhile, Gary, Alex’s brother, is incommunicado, trying to get his movie career off the ground in Los Angeles. And Gary’s wife, Twyla, is having a nervous breakdown, buying up all the lipstick in drug stores around New Orleans and bursting into crying fits. Dysfunction is at its peak. As each family member grapples with Victor’s history, they must figure out a way to move forward—with one another, for themselves, and for the sake of their children.

ALL THIS COULD BE YOURS is a timely, piercing exploration of what it means to be caught in the web of a toxic man who abused his power; it shows how those webs can tangle a family for generations and what it takes to—maybe, hopefully—break free. With her signature “sparkling prose” (Marie Claire) and incisive wit, Jami Attenberg deftly explores one of the most important subjects of our age.”

Publication Date:

October 22nd, 2019

Genre:

Family Saga Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

My Review:

family saga fiction book review

All This Could Be Yours was one of my most highly anticipated fall 2019 book releases. I have been on a family saga kick and after hearing some great reviews I couldn’t way to start it. I absolutely loved Jami Attenberg’s approach to the complexities and intricacies of family life, especially when it is dysfunctional.

We meet a family who’s toxic patriarch, Victor, is on his deathbed. Attenberg gave an intricate look at dealing with the complexities of grief and loss when the relationship you had with the person was deeply troubling at times. The desires we wish for with others (closure, forgiveness, and answers) are often up against the reality that sometimes we have to find this within ourselves.

The novel has flashbacks that help us see the history of this family which totally worked for me as I always enjoy knowing the who and why of this family drama genre. We learn family secrets and the emotional and physical damages Victor caused to his family members. Even when all of the characters were not super likable, I felt like I understood them because of Attenberg’s ability to create such multi-faceted personas. This was completely engaging to read while also being super thought-provoking which would make it a fantastic book club discussion.

Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an advanced copy.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson | Riverhead Books {Book Review}

book review of Red at the Bone

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Book Summary:

An unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming.
 
Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson’s taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child.

As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony in her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody’s mother, for her own ceremony– a celebration that ultimately never took place.

Unfurling the history of Melody’s parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they’ve paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives–even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.

Publication Date:

September 17th, 2019

Genre:

Literary Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

audiobook recommendation

The hard copy of Red at the Bone is patiently waiting in my October TBR pile but that stack is getting pretty big…So a couple of weeks ago I looked on the Libby App (you can read more about the Libby App on my blog post about Kindle e-readers HERE) and our library recently purchased a copy of the audiobook so the wait was only 2 weeks. I listened to this one yesterday (clocking it at 3.5 hours it was totally doable!) and wow!

This was an amazingly beautiful audiobook and the four narrators along with Jacqueline Woodson were just incredible. ⁣⁣I love stories that bring us back to how someone arrived at a poignant moment in time. Red at the Bone moves back and forth with different timelines to include stories of the main character’s family members and flowed very easily for me as a listener. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
The perspectives on life, parenthood, identity, race, class, and self-discovery are raw, powerful, thought-provoking and also heartwarming. While this book is on the shorter side, it packs a punch. Woodson’s writing evokes emotion and I love that she had each multi-faceted character speak for themselves which I think added so much depth and perspective.  I highly recommend this and it was just wonderful on audio!

Recipe For a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown | Penguin Group Dutton {Book Review}

Recipe For a Perfect Wife Dutton

Recipe For a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown

Book Summary:

“In this captivating dual narrative novel, a modern-day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her home’s previous owner, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As she discovers remarkable parallels between this woman’s life and her own, it causes her to question the foundation of her own relationship with her husband–and what it means to be a wife fighting for her place in a patriarchal society.

When Alice Hale leaves a career in publicity to become a writer and follows her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. But when she finds a vintage cookbook buried in a box in the old home’s basement, she becomes captivated by the cookbook’s previous owner–1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she realizes that within the cookbook’s pages Nellie left clues about her life–including a mysterious series of unsent letters penned to her mother.

Soon Alice learns that while baked Alaska and meatloaf five ways may seem harmless, Nellie’s secrets may have been anything but. When Alice uncovers a more sinister–even dangerous–side to Nellie’s marriage and has become increasingly dissatisfied with the mounting pressures in her own relationship, she begins to take control of her life and protect herself with a few secrets of her own.”

Publication Date:

January 21, 2020 (You can pre-order HERE)

Genre:

Domestic Life Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

book review of Recipe For a Perfect Wife

Wow!! Recipe for a Perfect Wife was a surprise hit for me and I just enjoyed it so much. This was my first book by Karma Brown and it definitely won’t be my last! I loved the format of the dual timelines and I became very immersed with both of the main characters.

Brown introduces us to Alice, who has recently moved out of the city to a fixer-upper with her husband. As her roles are shifting in her own home life, Alice discovers a cookbook and magazines from the previous homeowner. This discovery introduces us to the other main character in this book, Nellie.

The storyline then goes back and forth between present-day Alice and Nellie a “housewife” in the 1950s. I loved how Brown took us back to that era and really dove into what life was like for women and the expectations there was of Nellie as a wife in that time period.

The story shifts between Nellie’s narrative, and Alice’s discovery of Nellie’s past while also learning more about her own marriage. Each chapter started with quotes from marital advice from the (not so distant) past and it really helped set the scene for how different life was in the early and mid-1900s.

Brown keeps you super involved in both storylines and I loved that while it was a completely engaging read, it took on some powerful and timely topics. The twists at the end were satisfying, clever and bold. Recipe For A Perfect Wife will definitely stick with me and it would make a wonderful book club discussion.

Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton Books for an advanced copy.