All posts tagged: Book Review

Friday Reads: September 2017

Curated by SARAH WHELAN

Folks, it’s September. Time to stow away that summer beach read and pull out the award-winning tome that’s going to get you noticed by the cute grad student in the coffee shop. This month, read about starkly different economic and cultural worlds existing side by side. As the poor and the rich, the colonizer and the native shift uneasily along slippery fault lines, these recommendations offer brutal looks at friction between and within communities. Harrowing and insightful, you’ll be so engrossed you won’t even notice the number written on your to-go cup.

Recommendations: Tales of Two Americas edited by John Freeman, Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo, and News of the World by Paulette Jiles.

Friday Reads: September 2017
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Review: Home Field

Book by HANNAH GERSEN
Reviewed by KELLY FORDON

Home field

The publisher of Hannah Gersen’s first novel, Home Field, is marketing the book as a cross between two TV shows about teens, Friday Night Lights and My So-Called Life.  My So-Called Life, an angst-ridden and artsy TV show about teenagers in the 90s, is a better comparison than Friday Night Lights,  which is about a high school football-crazy small town. But the teen-pop culture comparisons don’t do justice to this empathic literary novel’s reach into emotional depths that will resonate with seasoned readers, who appreciate how complicated even an ordinary life can get.

Yes, Home Field is set in an isolated town, Willowboro in western Maryland,  that’s reminiscent of FNL’s Dillon, Texas. And yes, Dean, the main character of Gersen’s novel is a football coach, but he quits coaching football in the fourth chapter because his wife, Nicole, has committed suicide, and his family is unraveling. Gersen chips away at her characters’ façades like a miner removing layers of rock. The novel alternates between Dean’s perspective and that of his stepdaughter, Stephanie, but also follows Dean’s two young son’s Robbie, eleven, and Bry, eight, as they attempt to understand what happened to their mother.

Review: Home Field
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Review: Valparaiso, Round the Horn

Book by MADELINE FFITCH

Reviewed by JEN HINST-WHITE
 
VAlparaiso

I like stories that leave me feeling I’ve encountered a living creature, or eaten a spicy meal, or sat stunned in a light-drenched temple. When a book feels like that, I want to offer a chili-studded forkful, or make urgent gestures: Feral pigs that way!

In the case of Valparaiso, Round the Horn, the debut short story collection by Madeline ffitch—which does, in fact, include feral pigs, along with myriad other wild creatures—I would hand it to you green and dripping, like a poultice of macerated plants, as an antidote to ennui.

Review: Valparaiso, Round the Horn
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