…was a lot of magazines belonging to the girl whose East Village apartment we borrowed, including the prom issue of Cosmo Girl, which had a post-it on it that said, Jen, I know this isn’t the kind of magazine you usually buy, but I thought of you when I saw all the pretty dresses, which you’d look fabulous in. SO MANY PRETTY DRESSES. Love, Mom
But I also read:
The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman: I loved so many elements of this book--the lightning-scarred characters, the intersection of science and fairy tales. And Hoffman works her motifs beautifully: ice, butterflies, the color red. But the characters, a pair of adult orphans and a recluse with a mysterious past, were painted in somewhat broad (if lovely) strokes. I felt like Hoffman kept having to remind me how they were conflicted and why--so it never quite added up emotionally. Maybe in that way it's too much like a fairy tale.
Three Junes by Julia Glass: I loved spending time with the sweet, surprisingly (sort of refreshingly) functional family at the core of this novel. Julia Glass' intricate weaving of past and present is a brilliant lesson in structure. But while the book--like all the best ones--is about everything (family, loss, love, etc.), it is never enough about ONE thing for me. It's like flipping through a photo album--really interesting, narrative by default, but not exactly plotted or themed.
A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes: A strange, smart little story in which children are haplessly evil and pirates are haplessly kind. It's darkly hilarious, if you don't mind reading about innocents meeting all sorts of bloody ends only to be forgotten about on the next page (and, less hilariously, some blatant 1920s-style racism). This book is merciless and fascinating, much like the childhood adventure it depicts.