The Girls – Emma Cline

“Emma Cline’s first novel, “The Girls” (Random House), is a song of innocence and experience—in ways that she has intended, and perhaps in ways that she has not. It’s a story of corruption and abuse, set in 1969, in which a bored and groundless California teen-ager joins a Manson-like cult, with bloody, Manson-like results. Evie Boyd, an only child whose upper-middle-class parents have recently divorced, wants to be older than her fourteen years, and is drawn to the free-spirited, rebellious young women she sees one day in a Petaluma park. They are looking for food to take back to the ranch where they live. The novel charts Evie’s accelerated sentimental education, as she is inducted into the imprisoning liberties of free love, drugs, and eventual violence, all of it under the sway of the cult’s magus, Russell Hadrick. In another way, though, Cline’s novel is itself a complicated mixture of freshness and worldly sophistication. Finely intelligent, often superbly written, with flashingly brilliant sentences, “The Girls” is also a symptomatic product not of the sixties but of our own age: a nicely paced literary-commercial début whose brilliant style, in the end, seems to restrict its reach and depth.”

~ The New Yorker

Red Comet by Heather Clark

I’ve been waiting more than two months for this book to come out. It was released on Sylvia Plath’s birthday (Oct. 27th). I picked it up yesterday and it is amazing so far, but it’s long at 937 pages. Instead of the focus being on her suicide it is on the amazing art of the written form she composed during her lifetime.

The author spent eight years researching, given access to previously unseen journals, letters, stories and poetry. Highly recommend for anyone who wants to see through the mythology of Sylvia Plath and see the real woman and artist.

Here’s the NYT review:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/27/books/review/red-comet-heather-clark-sylvia-plath.html

Book Review: Buddha & The Borderline

This book is atypical of the type I will normally review or discuss, but it is a phenomenal book that tangentially discusses Buddhism.  The book is really about a woman who suffers from borderline personality disorder and her journey through the depths of the disease and into recovery.  Buddhism plays a fundamental role in her recovery, but if you are looking for a deep discussion of Buddhist thought look elsewhere.  What you will find here is an inspiring story that will make you laugh out loud for real, cringe and possibly cry in spots.  There are parts of the true story that are just plain ugly and scary.  This is one of my favorite quick reads which gives you a sense of the importance of Buddhism in the life of a pained individual as she struggle to redefine herself.

The Buddha and the Borderline is a cross between Girl, Interrupted and Bridget Jones’s Diary.While reading it, I found myself admiring Kiera’s talent for vividly describing borderline hopelessness and pain while keeping me laughing with her tales of life as a ‘lonely and increasingly horny receptionist.’ While this book has something for everyone, Kiera’s detailed account of how she recovered from this deadly disorder will be enormously inspiring to people with borderline personality disorder and their family members.” (Randi Kreger)

“Kiera’s book is destind to become a classic in the growing literature on borderline personality disorder. I expected to get a somber account of a transformation from suffering to enlightenment,but the book I read was not only entirely entertaining and revealing, but also had me up way past my bedtime in stitches. The Buddha and the Borderline is seriously funny, authentic, and sublime in its wisdom. The book embodies the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism and integrates the world of core unrelenting suffering with the world of freedom from suffering. Transcendent stuff.” (Blaise Aguirre,MD, medical director of the Adolescent Dialectical Behavior Therapy Residential Program at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA)

Book Review: A Dog’s Head by Jean Dutourd

“Jean Dutourd’s A Dog’s Head is a wonderful piece of magical realism, reminiscent of Voltaire, Borges and Kafka. With biting wit, Dutourd presents the story of Edmund Du Chaillu, a boy born, to his bourgeois parents’s horror, with the head of a spaniel. Edmund must endure his school-mate’s teasing as well as an urge to carry a newspaper in his mouth. This is the story of his life, trials, and joys as he searches for a normal life of worth and love.”

~From The Back Cover