Tuesday, July 09, 2024



WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

PS I no longer participate in WWW.WEDNESDAY via that link because her blog won't accept Blogger comments. I mention this only to save you the frustration I experienced trying to link up.

1. What are you currently reading? The Hollywood Daughter by Kate Alcott. In 1950, young Jessica Malloy idolizes Ingrid Bergman. She has a closer connection to her favorite movie star than other fans, since her dad is Ingrid's publicist. And dad has a supremely tough job in 1950 because Ingrid is pregnant, out of wedlock and by a man not her husband. America in the days of Joe McCarthy goes apeshit, and Jessica tries to make sense of the controversy, the impact has it on her family, and what it means about life and love.


The Washington Post said of this novel: "(it) comes at a perfect time to remind us what happens when conspiracy theorists and authoritarians are loosed on the land." I just saw Dr. Fauci interviewed. Conspiracy theorists -- the ones who embraced Hydroxychloroquine, who insisted he had a financial stake in Remdesivir, who still eschew the vaccine -- are still threatening him and muddying the good doctor's career and legacy. Well, fuck them. Are they evil? Are they morons? Are they the puppets of authoritarians? Maybe this Hollywood fiction will help me work that through.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Looking for Jane by Heather Marshall.  This novel takes us back to those tragic days before abortion was safe and legal, and though it's sent in Toronto, it's a harrowing harbinger of what the Republicans and Project 2025 want to return us to.*


It centers on three women living in three different time decades: in the 1970s, a girl is sent to a home for wayward women where she awaits the birth of her baby; in the 1980s, a young woman finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn; in 2017, a woman accidentally comes into possession of a letter with explosive information about a long-ago family scandal, and wrestles with what to do with it.


While the women are three-dimensional and are treated with the compassion they deserve, the plot and the writing isn't as solid. I was so fond of these women, I wish they'd gotten a better book, one that didn't depend so much on melodrama and circumstance. So while I'm glad I'm read it and would recommend it, I didn't love it.

I found the afterward, where the author explains that she is in her first trimester as the book is being edited, more moving than much of the fiction she wrote. Maybe just the stories of the women involved, without trying to force a plot that has them interacting, would have been more effective.

3. What will you read next? Don't know.


*I am personally opposed to abortion. My faith should not be the law of the land, because legislating one religion over another is unpatriotic. I've spoken to friends who are Jewish and agnostic and 100% respect their points of view, and whoever you are reading this, I respect yours, too. Just as I'd never force a woman to have an abortion, I wouldn't presume to forbid her, either. Because as a proud American looking forward to July 4, I respect the separation between church and state.




1 comment:

  1. Your point about the contrived way the three characters come together was a lot of our book group discussion.


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