Friday, July 07, 2006

BOOKS: It's Short. It's Sweet. It's Summer.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I my very own self am getting the hell out of Dodge for the weekend. Some of my fellow Bored Housewives and I are packing up our boys and men and heading for the wilds of Whistler. But before I take off, I wanted to leave you with a little Rx for a summer reading weekend.

A Boy of Good Breeding
by Miriam Toews (#22)
I considered Toews's novel
A Complicated Kindness one of the best books I read in 2005, which makes me unsure why it took so long for me to look up her earlier books. But we all know how the tortoise fared in that infamous race, and thus it was with me. I win!

If you're like me, you like the idea of fun, goofy, Tom Robbins-esque stories, while the actuality of his novels bugs the living shit out of you. So imagine a Tom Robbins novel, minus the laboured, fey, irritating, Tom Robbins-y element, and you've pretty much got A Boy of Good Breeding. It isn't as heavy as Kindness (which is an amazing book that you should read if you haven't already), but that's A-OK, because it's summer, dude. You can save the heavy lifting for October.

The story follows the overlapping narratives of two characters. Knute has just returned to her hometown of Algren, Manitoba, with her four-year-old daughter, Summer Feelin', to figure out what to do with the rest of her life. She gets a job as secretary for Algren's mayor, Hosea Funk, who, for reasons that become apparent, is obsessed with keeping the town's population at an even 1500. Hijinx ensue.

I already hate myself for the adjectives I'm about to use to describe this novel: Funny. Quirky. Charming. Heartwarming. Urgh. Well, read it anyway, and I'll promise to buy a better thesaurus.

And I'm out of here. Catch you on Monday, comrades.


Anonymous said...

You have an uncanny knack of reviewing books I've been just about to read. I LOVED A Complicated Kindness and just managed to snaffle a proof of 'a boy...' which is just getting released here... so, hurrah. And spookiness.

landismom said...

Sounds like fun--and what a brilliant description of how I feel about Tom Robbins. Hope you have a great trip!

Tammy said...

Whoa... that IS pretty weird, Anna. I'm reading another Canadian novel right now. When I post about it, it'll be interesting to see if this one has been on your radar.

Landismom, it was a great trip! The weather was still June-uary-ish, but we still had fun. AND I discovered that Sam has the ability to sleep through pretty much any amount of Cranium-induced adult ruckus in the next room. His "princess and the pea" days seem to be behind him. Woo!