Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Sunday Salon

We had the unexpected treat this morning of going out to breakfast with The Husband's cousin and her fiance, who happened to be here in Pittsburgh for the weekend. We took them to - where else? - that icon of Pittsburgh dining establishments, the infamous Eat'n Park, which has now become my kids' favorite restaurant. (I admit, I'm becoming quite fond of it too.)

I've learned something about Eat'n Park in my seven months here. Seems that one cannot walk out of said restaurant without buying something in addition to one's meal. Marketing geniuses that they are, they make this rather easy for you to do by having all kinds of bakery items conveniently displayed right by the cash register. On Monday, when Betty and I went there for lunch, we left with a dozen mini Smiley cookies. Today, it was the Pie of the Month (Chocolate Creme) AND a four-pack of chocolate chip muffins.


Lest this week's Sunday Salon be mistaken for Weekend Cooking, I do have one bookish update to share. I'm halfway finished with This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman, which I'll be reviewing here on the blog Tuesday for TLC Book Tours.

This is a fast read, and I'm thankful for that. Because of my work schedule and concentrating on getting my March submission ready for my writing group to critique (the Prologue and Chapter One of my novel), I confess that I didn't have a chance to sit down and start This Beautiful Life until last night. Once I did, I breezed through the first 136 pages of this novel about the all too perfect Bergamot family and the aftermath of what happens when 15 year old Jake forwards to his best friend a rather explicit video made by a 13 year old girl, which then goes viral and results in consequences for everyone involved.

Thus far, all of the reviews of This Beautiful Life on the TLC Book Tours site are raving about This Beautiful Life, as are many others. As is too often the case (at least in my view) with books others are embracing, I'm wondering if we're reading the same book. I'm very much in the minority with this one and unfortunately, am having a tough time engaging and connecting with the characters. (I'm finding them to be stereotypical and as such, I don't like any of these people.)

I've got issues with the writing style. There are a lot of gratuitous f-bombs and slang, which I'm aware is hypocritical coming from me because I'm certainly prone to letting loose more than a few myself, but it's in areas of prose where it is absolutely unnecessary. For example, this is Liz Bergamot, the mother, explaining that the family just moved to New York City from Ithaca. "In Ithaca, where they'd lived pretty fucking happily the last ten years -" (pg. 5) and then again nine pages later: "That was life in Ithaca, and it did not suck." (pg. 14).

WHAT? I'm sorry, but in my view that's not exquisite or riveting writing.

(Nor is it an example of - in my very, very strong opinion - writing that deserves to make the cover of The New York Times Book Review.  But that's another issue altogether.)

So, yeah, even though I think the premise of this one is compelling and thought-provoking, I don't think I am going to be among the adoring fans of This Beautiful Life. That's OK.  Our role as bloggers (as I see it) is to offer up our honest reviews, and that's my honest opinion, take it or leave it.

Maybe I'll just shut up now and leave you with a slice of Chocolate Creme pie.

copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Megan said...

I hate that feeling of being the odd (wo)man out on the book that everybody else seems to be loving. It always makes me think that I must be missing something important when, in truth, every book just isn't going to work for every reader even if it's a "good one." Honest reviews are what it's all about for me - both writing them and reading them - even if it means I have to be the scrooge about the book that everybody seems to be drooling over. LOL!

Enjoy your pie - sounds delicious! =)

Unfinished Person said...

I'll take the chocolate creme pie. Thank you very much, but please do continue your discussion. ;)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

eueueu, I'm with you on the writing!