Mini Thoughts on Recent Reads #3

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The Innocents by Francesca Segal – I was reluctant to read this novel because it is an updated version of The Age of Innocence, one of my very favorite books. This contemporary version of Edith Wharton’s classic Pulitzer Prize winning book takes place in northwest London in a tight knit and loyal Jewish community. Adam Newman is on the brink of marrying his childhood sweetheart, Rachel, when Rachel’s cousin Ellie, a stunning American model, returns to the family and subtly intrigues and entices him. She is a startling contrast to the unadventurous and clingy Rachel and Adam wrestles with his conscience as he slowly gravitates toward Ellie. Francesca Segal has done a marvelous job of transforming Wharton’s tale into a 21st century story of duty vs. desire. The setting is brilliant and utterly fascinating and the characters are all complex and sympathetic. The Age of Innocence flickers through this lovely novel, but it is definitely a strong book of its own.

Every Day by David Levithan – A wakes up every day in the body of a different teen. One day he wakes up in the body of Justin, a gruff and mean 16-year-old who mistreats his beautiful girlfriend Rhiannon. A spends the day with her and falls in love – but the next day he leaves her and wakes up as someone else. The rest of the novel finds A trying to connect with Rhiannon through different people and changing their lives in the process. It is a very clever premise for a book and I admit that I raced through the novel, anxious to know if A would ever escape limbo and find a body of his own. However, many of the characters (particularly the fat boy and the black girl) were stereotypes and treated with disrespect by the author. Levithan also has a obvious agenda for his novel, one that may aggravate some readers with its strong tang.

I still haven’t found a rhythm for my blogging this year, but that may change soon. My cousin and best friend, who is also my roommate, is moving to Colorado in a few days and, though I am terribly sad, I am trying to see the positive aspects of living on my own again. One of them is that I will have lots of time in the evenings to read, blog and comment on your blogs. I might have to cry on your shoulder for a while – I hope you will bear with me!

Have a beautiful week!