Tag Archives: Father-Daughter Relationships

Review: Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach
By Jennifer Egan
Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9781476716732, October 3, 2017, 448pp.

The Short of It:

A satisfying, well-told story about a young woman’s contribution to the war effort and how her family’s history shapes who she is.

The Rest of It:

The story begins with young Anna and her father Eddie, visiting the illustrious gangster Dexter Styles. Eddie needs the money for a special wheelchair for his crippled daughter, Anna’s younger sister Lydia so as a last resort, Eddie accepts the job that Dexter offers. Dexter is taken by Anna’s youth and her bold display of strength while visiting his home in Manhattan Beach. Years later, that brief encounter is remembered when Anna and Dexter meet again.

There is a lot of great storytelling in Manhattan Beach. Anna’s dedication to her sister Lydia, is fully explored as is her love of the sea and her inevitable path to becoming a diver for the war effort. Anna’s complex relationship with her father and the diving details Egan includes had me turning the pages quickly. Nothing felt rushed. Egan takes her time and the story unfolds effortlessly. I’ve read a few of her other books but this one by far is my favorite and I do not normally enjoy novels centered around war.

It’s early in the year but this could end up being on my list of faves for 2018.

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

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Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
By Gabrielle Zevin
Algonquin Books, 9781616204518, December 2014, 288pp.

The Short of It:

A sweet, feel-good story that includes lots of literary references for your bookish self.

The Rest of It:

It took forever for me to pick this one up and to be honest, had my book group not selected it, I probably would not have gotten to it. I thought it was a story about a grumpy old man.

Well, he’s kind of grumpy but not old and it reminded me a lot of the movie Baby Boom but with the roles reversed. A.J. Fikry owns an island bookstore but it’s not doing well and he doesn’t really do much to help that. His salty personality keeps people at bay, even though he is a long-time island resident and pretty well-known by the locals. But… his wife passed away not too long ago so his less-than-lovely personality is understandable.

Things change quickly when a young mother decides to leave her baby in his shop with only a letter asking that she be taken care of. After calling the appropriate authorities and discussing what will happen to the child, A.J. decides to foster her and then adopt her. This presents challenges for him but in the end, changes him forever.

As a book lover, it’s hard not to enjoy the literary references. The story is at times a little sappy and yes, there’s a little bit of romance tossed in but it’s one of those books that you just read and enjoy and that’s it. I loved the characters and setting. As a book club book, there was hardly anything to discuss but I could see it being made into a movie and having it star Tom Hanks or somebody like him.

Overall, enjoyable.

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