Tag Archives: Fiction

Review: Henry, Himself

Henry, Himself
By Stewart O’Nan
Viking, 9780735223042, April 9, 2019, 384pp.

The Short of It:

Thoroughly enjoyed visiting with these characters again.

The Rest of It:

There are three books about the Maxwell family:

Wish You Were Here
Emily, Alone
and lastly, Henry, Himself

In the first book, we already know of Henry’s passing and witnessed its effect on the family he left behind. In the second book, we focus on Emily, Henry’s wife and how everything has changed and how she suddenly finds herself on her own. In Henry, Himself, we go back to Henry’s last time at the lake house, before Wish You Were Here.

Are you still with me?

In Henry, Himself, O’Nan makes it clear that Henry’s days are numbered which adds a layer of sadness to the story. In fact, even Henry is aware that the day is coming.

What you should know about these books is that they are day-in-the-life type reads. Henry and Emily go about their days making sandwiches, painting window trimming, taking Rufus for a walk. When a holiday weekend comes up, they pack it up and head for their house on Lake Chautauqua and all their adult kids and their kids descend upon the place for a few days. As with any family, there are family struggles to deal with and nothing brings them out like togetherness.

I have to tell you, even though there isn’t a lot of action to speak of, I adore these books. There is something comforting about routine. The whole process of packing up one house to go to your lake house and vice versa is so soothing. I’m not even sure why. Henry’s willingness to be the “yes” guy to all of Emily’s requests, although sometimes grudgingly, is sweet. But aging can be a beast too and O’Nan reminds us of that.

In summary, all of the books together tell the story of a family that has been through  many challenges but somehow manages to always come together when they need to. I’ve loved all of the books in this series and I have hope that Rufus (the dog) will get his own book soon.

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

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Review: Daisy Jones & The Six

Daisy Jones & The Six

Daisy Jones & The Six
By Taylor Jenkins Reid
Ballantine Books, 9781524798628, March 2019, 368pp.

The Short of It:

An accurate depiction of what fame can do to a person, to a band, to a family.

The Rest of It:

Daisy Jones & The Six has been everywhere. It was chosen for Reese Witherspoon’s book club Hello Sunshine and so many of my reader friends have read it…or tried to. Not everyone has loved it, which is the way it goes when a book hits the scene with so much hype.

I, however, loved it. I’ve not felt like this about a book in a long time.

The story is about the beginnings of a fictional rock band called The Six during the late 60’s, well into the 70’s. Headed up by Billy Dunne, a writer and singer with talent coming out of his pores, The Six clearly has a sound that the record industry immediately notices.

At the same time, Daisy Jones is this barefoot wisp of a thing. Young and strung-out on drugs, but possesses a voice and presence that is hard to ignore. Under the same record label as The Six, it’s only a matter of time before their manager tries to put the two of them together and their chemistry if off-the-charts. The crowd loves them.

What happens when you put two, larger-than-life people together and ask them to share the stage? What happens to the rest of the band? What happens to Billy’s relationship with his wife and kids? What happens to Daisy as she slowly sinks ever deeper into a cloud of drugs, desperately wanting what other people have?

Wow. Wow. Wow. The story started off slow but once I got into it, I could not turn the pages fast enough. Throughout the story there is this sense of doom that I could not shake. I had to know what it was.

The format did not bother me. It’s written like a script so it’s not surprising that it’s slated to be a TV series soon. Reid mentioned that Fleetwood Mac might have been the inspiration behind the book. I can totally see it. What I cannot stress enough is how the story made me feel. It contains that classic mix of love and pain and recklessness and danger. Anyone who has experienced complicated love or love that makes you question everything you know to be true will get totally caught-up in this story. You don’t even have to love rock and roll to get it.

This is a book you must experience for yourself. Read it. Feel it. That’s all I can say about it. Readers have said the audio book is fabulous so if you don’t like the script format perhaps that’s the way to go.

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