Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November Novels: and No, This Does Not Include the One I'm Supposed To Be Writing

I'm taking a quick break from NaNoWriMo to bring you this public service announcement, I mean blog. I took a not so quick break from NaNoWriMo on Monday and Tuesday to read The Help (let's be honest: I took a not so quick break from life on Monday and Tuesday to read The Help...), but that's the second part of this blog.

First, let's discuss Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquirel, which I read right at the end of October before my decent into the insanity that is November. Esquirel's book comes with its own self-description in the subtitle: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies. My way of breaking it down for the innocent reader: it's like Sarah Michelle Gellar's Simply Irresistible on some magical realism crack. Plus tortillas. If you never had the misfortune of watching the aforementioned movie (I laughed so hard I cried), essentially, what happens is that the heroine cooks her emotions into her food, thereby spreading them to the recipients of the food. She's sad: she cries into the lasagna: all the people who consume the lasagna end up sobbing uncontrollably. You get the point. Similar things happen in Like Water for Chocolate but the story line itself focuses on a youngest daughter who falls in love and is kept from marrying by her mother who believes that youngest daughters should always stay at home to care for their mothers. Instead, the mother marries off her oldest daughter to the youngest daughter's lover. Annoyingly, the lover agrees to this because he's so in love with Y.D. (who also happens to be the emotive cook) that he just wants to be near her but doesn't have the balls to get her to elope with him. Also annoyingly (this could be considered a spoiler), this never backfires on him. Anyway, fascinating read if you're into magical realism, which I am. Esquirel definitely would've received an R rating on this one though, so read with discretion. And prepare to want to kick certain characters in the face most of the way through the book. That may just be my pregnancy hormones speaking.

But on to this week and The Help by Kathryn Stockett. After months of saying, "I need to find that book at the library" every time I saw the little yellow cover in a bookstore, I finally realized how dumb I am and found The Help on (my internet home away from home). I really did suspend life for about 36 hours in order to read it. I mean, obviously, I couldn't suspend Little Man or any of the responsibilities attached to him, but I put everything else on hold to read it. By now, I'm sure you know the book's premise so I won't repeat it, but I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed my read time, and if I was going to become an awful human being (and by awful, I mean lazy) for two days, at least I did it for a book like this. I will also say that I'm now eagerly awaiting my girl date with Awesome Next Door Neighbor to watch the movie. If you haven't read it: it really is a good choice to pick up. I thought it was especially interesting having 1. lived in Memphis and experienced this decade's version of race relations and 2. had "help" in my home as a child. On the whole, I think Stockett did an incredible job dissecting the complex emotions and interactions prevalent not just then, but also now in their own way, but I realize that I'm saying that as a middle class white woman. Regardless, it was thought-provoking, which is always a good thing.

Anyway, back to wracking up the word count for NaNoWriMo. We're halfway through the month, and I will not despair! Or give up! Hopefully... And also maybe...

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