Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Book review: Still Alice & The First Time

I set a goal for myself in 2011, my only new New Years Resolution. I am going to read 50 books this year. That's approximately 4 books a month. I'm doing pretty well so far! Right on track, in fact.

The Borders right in front of my house is closing, and I ran in there last week to see if they had Still Alice, which my Twitter Book Club was reading! I didn't find Still Alice on sale, but of course I found something else. I bought both books, and high-tailed it home before I got sucked into spending $100 on books. It's happened before. Have you seen my bookshelves?

I read Still Alice while I was traveling for work. It was how I unwound at the end of a long conference day, which I think is possibly why it didn't make me quite as emotional as I was expecting. I think I also knew what was going to happen in the book having lived through it myself with my grandfather. I was less emotional because I knew what it was like, I knew the feelings her family was going through, and I knew what the loss of someone who was still standing right in front of you felt like. I was emotional, but I didn't cry at the end of sob through any portion of the book, which I have done before with only one book. (My Sister's Keeper, while on an airplane, with a boy who's definition of reading for pleasure meant he watched Sportscenter on ESPN while simultaneously reading the ticker across the bottom of the screen. To say he didn't get why I was crying giant alligator tears on an airplane and thereby humiliating him in public would be a mild understatement).

The other book I bought on my Borders binge was The First Time by Joy Fielding. I just randomly picked it up and decided it looked like the kind of book I would like. Mother-daughter troubles, check. Infidelity in a marriage, check. Some sort of dramatic twist of fate, check plus. I started this book on my way to work in the rain on Friday, and then promptly forgot about it because Friday was like... the busiest day of my life. After dinner & drinks & bachelorette party discussion, I was mentally WORN OUT and I knew I needed to read something to distract myself or I would lie awake thinking about all these things. Instead, I laid awake reading the first 2/3 of this book. I got completely sucked in and really didn't want to turn out the light at 1:30 in the morning, but I knew if I didn't, I would just lay awake thinking about the book's ending. Instead, I woke up at 8am and continued reading until 9:15 when I finished the book and for only the 2nd time in my life, cried giant tears over a book. It was so touching. I loved it because I have a mom who loves me more than anything, and I have been that daughter who hated her mom and her dad more than anything. And I could empathize with that sweet 16 year old girl. And then I thought about what I would do if anything like that happened to my mom (the disease, not the unfaithful husband) and my world was completely rocked. I loved this book, and I recommend it to anyone who is willing to shed a few tears over text. You can borrow my copy once it's dried out.

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