Tag Archives: © 2019 Book Chatter

Review: The New Me

The New Me

The New Me
By Halle Butler
Penguin Books, 9780143133605, March 5, 2019, 208pp.

The Short of It:

Think “The Office” minus all the funny characters who make it laughable.

The Rest of It:

Millie is a thirty-something who hasn’t quite figured out how to be a grown-up. She lives alone in an apartment that is partly paid for by her parents. Friends? Not many. She eats poorly and has become a slob. Dressing is too much effort. Just getting up is too much effort but she drags herself to and from her temp job, hoping for a permanent position.

Millie embodies what I think most people this age feel these days. Their social skills are lacking to the point where everything they do is marked by awkwardness. A simple interaction with a co-worker becomes an anxiety-ridden experience and miscommunications become a daily occurrence. Millie is woefully aware of her shortcomings. Because of this, I found myself wanting to take her out for a coffee just so I could give her a little pep talk.

I really enjoyed The New Me. At first, I thought the entire book would be an outline of her day-to-day existence but although there is a lot of that (what she wears, eats, thinks, does), there is enough self-discovery going on for it all to have a purpose.

I found Butler’s take on cube life to be quite accurate. I’ve always had an office but for the past two years have been working out of a very nice, well-appointed cubical and all the little details she adds to embellish office life are spot on. The noises. The sighs. The trash cans and the smells. I found much of the book humorous but in a dark way.

The ending was interesting and honestly, can be interpreted in a couple different ways. I kind of liked that it was up to me but maybe I am the only one to see the alternate possibility? I haven’t seen it mentioned elsewhere.

Anyway, enjoyable and short and if you’ve ever had to work in a cube or struggled to get by as a young person, you will be able to relate.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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Review: Where The Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing

Where The Crawdads Sing
By Delia Owens
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780735219090, August 2018, 384pp.

The Short of It:

A coming-of-age story interwoven with nature and a touch of mystery.

The Rest of It:

I would say first and foremost that Where The Crawdads Sing is a coming-of-age story. But then, when you find yourself all wrapped up in the story, someone gets murdered.

Hmmm.

Kya and her family live in the marsh. They are considered by the rest of the town as “marsh people”. Poor, scrappy, wild. Kya’s father is a straight-up drunk who beats his wife and anyone else who comes between him and his drink. One day, Kya’s mom just walks away from all of it (her husband, the shack, her four children) and leaves them all to fend for themselves. Then her sisters leave. Then her brother. Kya, at the age of 5 is left to manage the household and when her father eventually leaves, she’s forced to make do with what she has.

The story follows Kya as she struggles to piece together an existence. Her one saving grace, is the marsh itself. Kya sees the beauty all around her each and every day, but when she becomes a beautiful, young woman, she gets the attention of the town’s number one player, Chase Andrews, and it leads to trouble.

I really enjoyed the first three-quarters of Where The Crawdads Sing. The writing was lovely and I loved Kya’s will to survive and all the environmental elements of marsh life made reading this story a real treat. But I didn’t care for the mystery thread which felt a little tacked-on to me. I also felt that the trial at the end of the book was almost an after-thought. It felt out-of-place to me.

This book has gotten a lot of attention and praise. It has been chosen for numerous book clubs and there is plenty to discuss, but if I had my choice I would have skipped the murder plot all together.

Have you read it? What did you think of it?

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.