I adored Karen Abbott’s previous book, Sin in the Second City, so I actually got my hands on this one as soon as it was published. As is typical for me, the book then sat on my shelves for awhile before I finally got around to it.
American Rose is the story of famous/infamous performer Gypsy Lee Rose. Gypsy was a vaudevillian performer as a child and later on became a burlesque dancer around the time of the Great Depression. She was basically a stipper. Which nowadays is no big thing, but in that time period it was shocking. And for a stripper, Gypsy was actually quite tame. You still had a little mystery remaining once her act was finished.
I had never heard of Gypsy before but apparently she is still well known. I had more than one person approach me as I was reading this and upon hearing who the book was about, they would respond with recognition. Given her reputations, as well as the life she lived, I expected to fly through American Rose. I can’t pinpoint the exact problem, but I just felt bored for most of the book. It seemed a little too dry and Gypsy’s life didn’t enthrall me the way I expected. The disconect was too great for me to overcome and I was left feeling lackluster about the book once I finished it.
Domestic Violets is one of those books that it seemed like every blogger was raving about. Initially I was going to skip it only because there were so many other books I needed or wanted to read first, but I am a sucker for a lot of good hype, so I ended up requesting this one from Netgalley.
Tom Violet is just kind of stuck. He and his wife have been trying to conceive but it’s been taking longer than they had hoped and sex, not to mention their relationship in general, has become mechanic. Tom’s got a soulcrushing job as a copywriter but he really wants to be a novelist. His father is renowned author and Pulitzer prize winner Curtis Violet, and Tom is stuck in his shadow with no one taking him seriously.
The satirical tone of Domestic Violets is what really sets it apart from most novels. I laughed out loud throughout the whole book. When done well, I am such a fan of satire and this one was along the same vein of And Then We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris. I would not hesitate to recommend this one and I will be keeping an eye out for any future books from Matthew Norman.
Are you all sick of books about the Holocaust, because I sure am! All you have to do to guarantee I will stay far away from a book is to tell me that it is about the Holocaust. I didn’t use to be that way, but one can only take so much. Anyway, you can see now why I stayed away from Sarah’s Key so long. I could only hold out for so long, because once the movie was released, my book club was chomping at the bit to read this one. I was forced into it I tell you.
Sarah’s Key is about a young girl, Sarah, who is arrested with her parents in Paris during a roundup of Jews during WWII. They are shuttled to a local venue where they are held in squalor for awhile before being separated and deported to concentration camps.
There is so much I could say about the plot of this book, but I would hate to spoil it for anyone who may not have read it yet. What I described above is the absolute barest of blurbs I can come up with and trust me, I am dying to say more! The movie is just as moving and I can’t decide which rendition is more heart wrenching. I shudder to think about Sarah returning to her former apartment, and what she finds there.
Please please please, if you haven’t read Sarah’s Key yet, you are missing out and you need to run out and get a copy ASAP. It is absolutely worth all the hype. Oh, and once you read it, watch the movie!