Book Review: A Selfie as Big as The Ritz – Lara Williams

“Imagine being that lacking in wonder, aspiring to jobs in logistics or IT services, imagine never entertaining frothy careers scouting bands, imagine never picturing yourself in front of a glossy iMac. Did it make the heartbreak easier or earlier?”

As soon as I’d read those words – and on page 3, mind you – I knew I’d like this collection. I’ve had that exact thought before and there it was, on the page right in front of me.

Lara William’s A Selfie As Big as The Ritz is an interesting, introspective short story collection, which perfectly depicts the confusion of millennial life. There’s a sure, taught point of view here – the collection is well composed and ties together nicely. You never have to wonder if Williams scrambled to fill her collection. While a many of these stories have appeared in other publications, they still feel natural together, as though Williams wrote them with the intentions that they should form a collection.

The stories are comprised of first, second and third person perspectives. I really enjoyed that as it allows the stories (for me, at least), some room to breathe and to not feel as though all the protagonists were merely clones of one another.

I do have to say, though – A Selfie as Big as The Ritz isn’t for everyone. While it’s obvious that Williams is extremely talented, it’s also obvious that this collection really lends itself to be enjoyed by a particular sort of person and they seem to evoke a certain spirit of being. This is a collection, I think, that wouldn’t exist if not in this time and place; it really seems to call to mind the thoughts, fears, pains and fleeting fortunes of a specific generation – millennials. Even still, this collection feels like it’s meant for those millennials who haven’t even begun being settled.

The first story, “It Begins” resonated with me the most, but standouts also include  “Sunday’s at the Tipping Yard”, “One of Those Life Things”, “This Small Written Thing”, “Dates”, and “Treats”.

*I, of course, must divulge that I received an ARC of this collection from Flatiron Books as a Goodreads Giveaway

 

Book Review: The People We Hate at the Wedding

Back in April (May?), I won an ARC of Grant Ginder’s The People We Hate at the Wedding as a Goodreads Giveaway. Because I am, as always, somewhat behind in my reading, I didn’t get a chance to read this until a few days ago.

If one only looks at the cover image – the headless figures of a bride and groom atop a wedding cake, you would guess that the novel centers on the a bride, a groom, and preparations for their wedding. You’d be wrong. The groom actually doesn’t figure into the story much at all –  The People We Hate at the Wedding centers around the bride, Eloise, her mother, Donna and her half-siblings Paul and Alice in the lead-up to the wedding.  

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Paul and Alice have always had a particularly fraught relationship with Eloise, caused by the fact that Eloise has always lived a life of privilege, thanks to the her father’s wealth. Alice and Paul’s childhoods were far less lofty and there’s always been a wedge between them and Eloise, no matter how Eloise has worked to bridge it. Additionally, Paul has been icing Donna out of his life since his father’s death a few years prior due to her attempt to erase him from her life. He also has an iffy relationship with his boyfriend, Mark. On her end, Alice is still reeling from a tragedy which occurred five years prior and is currently carrying on an affair with Jonathan, who’s entirely unavailable to her.  Continue reading

Book Review: A Small Indiscretion

A few months ago, I won a Goodreads Giveaway. I’d been waiting to read Jan Ellison’s”A Small Indiscretion” for months – it was simply something which kept getting pushed back to the back of my To Be Read list.20382027

So, I was excited when I won and pleased as I’d now move the book farther up my reading list. As I was in the middle of a few books, I didn’t get to it right away. Finally, after some time, I did.

I find “A Small Indiscretion” to be a difficult novel to consider.

The novel centers around Annie Black and hops between her misspent youth, living in England and her more stable adulthood in San Francisco.

The book is narrated in Annie’s voice. This is her story that she tells us. The catalyst for this divulging of her secrets is the rather serious accident in which her son was injured.

I found it somewhat difficult to keep my attention on this novel. In theory, this is just my sort of book – it’s all about the internal turmoil caused by silly actions.

Continue reading