Tag Archives: Riverhead

Review: Gold Fame Citrus

Gild Fame Citrus

Gold Fame Citrus
By Claire Vaye Watkins
Riverhead Books, Hardcover, 9781594634239, September 2015, 352pp.

The Short of It:

Gold Fame Citrus is about a dry, brittle world and the desperate people clinging to hope within it.

The Rest of It:

Southern California’s landscape is drastically changed by drought. Water rationing, scavenging for food and supplies and rogue bands of people called Mojavs roam the earth in search of water and a better life.

Luz and Ray, holed up in an abandoned Beverly Hills mansion make an excursion trip to the bottom of the hill and encounter a child by the name of Ig. The people that Ig is with, don’t appear to be her parents and the signs of neglect are hard for them to ignore. They decide to take the child and raise her as their own. This is a rash decision given their lack of supplies and the fact that neither of them have experience caring for a toddler but they venture out of the hills, thinking that if they can get far enough away, their lives will take a turn for the better.

This is a tough book to read. The subject matter is bleak and depressing. Watkins does a stellar job of describing the landscape but since I am a resident of Southern California, the drought we’ve been living with these last few years has really taken its toll and this book magnifies that times twenty. As I said, this is a depressing story.

Everyone in this book is just so dirty and filthy and desperate. At one point, drugs enter the picture in the form of something they call root and it lends a surreal feel to what is already a bad situation.

None of this sounds good, does it? But somehow, it is good. I’ll admit, it does get a little cult-y when it all turns into one hippie love fest but I seriously could not stop reading.

I had planned to pitch this book to my book club but feared that the subject matter would be too much. I think I was correct in thinking that but there is plenty to discuss with a group should you decide to read it.

Oh, and in case you are wondering about the title, the title is fully explained in the book but it has to do with what people come to California for… gold, fame and citrus.

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

Review: The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train
By Paula Hawkins
(Riverhead Hardcover, Hardcover, 9781594633669, January 2015, 336pp.)

*No Spoilers*

The Short of It:

A nosy woman on the train witnesses something odd and decides to look into it further.

The Rest of It:

This book is a lot of fun. Lots of page turning, plenty of twists and a classic unreliable narrator. Good stuff.

Rachel is an alcoholic and has lost her job. She rides the train all day to keep her roommate from knowing that she’s now unemployed. Her train happens to pass by the house she once owned with her husband, Tom. Tom is now married to Anna and they live happily in what was once her home. Rachel’s train ride through London is often spent tipping a bottle back. Seeing her old home and sometimes even catching a glimpse of the other woman, is enough to make her drink and drink she does. So much so, that what she sees is often not remembered later.

That memory thing becomes a problem early on.

Yes. It. Does.

Rachel’s daily observances include a couple that she’s come to know as Jess and Jason, names she’s made up to give them substance. She watches them interacting on the balcony of their apartment, and she’s dreamed up a back story for them. But when Jess does something out of character for her, and then a crime is committed, Rachel takes it upon herself to investigate.

As you can imagine, things get out of hand. Rachel sticks her nose into their lives and in the process, ends up involving her ex-husband and his wife. Both, really want nothing to do with Rachel but out of obligation, aware of Rachel’s raging alcoholism, Tom tries to look out for her when he can, which infuriates Anna.

Tension mounts as the story unfolds and when you get to those last few chapters, you can’t help but turn the kids away, let your dinner burn, etc. The ending needs to be read uninterrupted. Don’t tell me that I didn’t warn you.

But, honestly, Rachel’s antics were a little tiring. Just when I started to grow bored with her, some critical piece of info would surface and then I’d be flipping pages again. I suppose that’s a sign of true suspense because there was no way I was going to put the book down. I knew that from the start. Does it deserve the hype? Yes, I think so. If you pick it up for pure fun, you will enjoy it quite a bit. If you pick it apart and compare it to other books, you might find fault with some of it but really, who has the time for that?

Read it, because it’s fun and it’s a great distraction from all the crap going on in the world today.

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