I am back in DC. No more beach, no more sand, no more leisurely naptimes (the kids’, not mine!) taken up by reading. Back to real life and errands and work, tomorrow.
Before I left NC, I started a new book – Free Food For Millionaires. It’s long, so it will probably be a while before I post one of my own reviews. (So far, I like it. Surprisingly engrossing).
While I was in Corolla, I visited my favorite bookstore, Island Bookstore, four times. I still think it has the best fiction collection of any bookstore I’ve been to, including those that are 5 times its size. I went through the whole section very closely and wrote down the names of no less than 20 books that look worth reading. Here is one: The Rest of Her Life, by Laura Moriarty.
[Moriarty] explores a tense, fragile mother-daughter relationship, this time finding sharper edges where personal history and parenting meet. Now a junior high school English teacher married to a college professor, Leigh has spent much of her adult life trying to distance herself from her dysfunctional childhood. Raising their two children in a small, safe Kansas town not far from where Leigh and her troubled sister, Pam, were raised by their single mother, Leigh finds her good fortune still somewhat empty. Daughter Kara, 18 and a high school senior, is distant; sensitive younger son Justin is unpopular; Leigh can’t seem to reach either—Kara in particular sees Leigh (rightly) as self-absorbed. When Kara accidentally hits and kills another high school girl with the family’s car, Leigh is forced to confront her troubled relationship with her daughter, her resentment toward her husband (who understands Kara better) and her long-buried angst about her own neglectful mother. The intriguing supporting characters are limited by not-very-likable Leigh’s POV, but Moriarty effectively conveys Leigh’s longing for escape and wariness of reckoning.
From the blog Seeing Indigo:
Smart but not weighty and a page-turner for both its plot and character, Laura Moriarty’s second novel, The Rest of Her Life, is perfect reading for a long summer afternoon, a sleepless night, that commute back home. It quiets the mind; it focuses it with beautiful language… [A]ll the characters learn their lessons slowly, connecting pieces over the course of the novel, rather than just in a rush at the end. It takes a talented author to move a character from feelings of selfishness and stupidity, which haunt Leigh, to the equally quiet and introspective gift of mercy. Moriarty succeeds.
Conversations with Famous Writers loved the book, calling it "emotional and touching and thought provoking," and has an interview with Laura Moriarty up.
Did anyone read her first book, The Center of Everything?