I picked up my copy of this book just 11 days before Maya Angelou died last spring. I’d always had this book (Amazon link) on my list, but I’d never found a reason to pick it up and for some reason at the library book sale last year I finally added it to my pile. I knew I wanted to read it because it is one of those books that is mentioned by everyone and has such a place in American culture, but not as widely read as I probably assumed.
As I read the novel I was floored at the breadth of experience Angelou faced before she turned 17. At times the novel reminded me a lot of The Color Purple and Bastard Out of Carolina, but I have a feeling both Alice Walker and Dorothy Allison were inspired/influenced by this. That being said, of the three this is the most profound work. Perhaps because it is explicitly an autobiography (and Bastard is semi-autobiographical and Purple is a fictional novel).
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hesitant at first as Bowles’ work was very well written but I just didn’t like the characters. Thankfully, Welch’s characters were a bit more accessible for me. This is two shorter stories (Amazon link) so I’ve separated my response into two parts. The publisher provided a copy of this book and I received no compensation for my honest opinion.
The one over-arching them the two pieces have in common is the idea of sexuality, specifically homosexuality, before it was commonly talked about and/or accepted. I tried (aka did a brief google search) to find out about Welch’s sexuality, but again this was a long time ago before our out and proud mantras of today. Welch died young, he was only 33, and there is only speculation outside of his written works which in today’s society seem pretty explicit. Regardless, I enjoyed both of these snippets of the past for completely different reasons.
I picked up a copy of this and the sequel, Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason, back in January 2014 because they were like $2 each. I knew I wouldn’t read it right away, but what I didn’t know is that when I read it would take less than six hours, including a two-hour walk in the middle of it! I grabbed it to read as it was a quick read. I remembered hearing things around Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, the third book released last year so I figured why not now.
Let’s start with the film adaptation: I LOVED it. The cast was perfect and what they changed was for a reason. It worked as a stand-alone, but even as an adaptation I felt it worked well. That being said, this book was hilariously funny and if you enjoyed the film you should definitely check out the book.
It has been one of those months where I didn’t read a lot but I did SO much from visiting Rockport, MA (photo to the right), releasing my fifth episode of Come Read With Me and staying super busy at work.
I could talk about all the amazing art and the numerous galleries we visited in Rockport, but what was the most exciting thing for me was we went into two little bookstores (Toad Hall and Bullseye Book, I only found a blog talking about a move three years ago here.). At Bullseye, I finally asked someone where they got the bags they use to store paperback books (bagsunlimited.com) and I ordered some for my Wuthering Heights collection and autographed books! (Pictures to follow in another post I’m sure.) What’s also cool about Bags Unlimited, is they have a lot of preservation items so I’m excited about that for my postcard and posters too!
23 days! 23 DAYS! That is how long it took me to read this book and it really shouldn’t have.
Sure it was over 1,000 pages and it took almost 200 pages to hit the “OMG I have to finish reading this” point, but it definitely shouldn’t have taken this long. It was very well written and the story (Amazon link) was fascinating. Unfortunately due to work and trying to edit my podcast it just took me forever.
You might be wondering why I didn’t just give up? Well, that’s complicated you see. A certain someone, who recommended Last Summer and The Bitterweed Path, also recommended this and I promised I would read at least one book every other month that he recommended. And like I said above, it wasn’t a bad book, it probably just wasn’t the best time for me to read this particular book. I’m definitely glad I read it and will read the sequels to complete the series and find out WTF happened!