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review 2017-06-04 00:14
Edith's Diary
Edith's Diary - Patricia Highsmith

His mother was fighting a losing battle, Cliffie thought, because she was trying to fight the majority. The majority wasn’t even fighting back, it was just indifferent.

Oh, gadz, I wanted to hit most of the characters in this story. Repeatedly. With a shovel. Not only was this story of the suburban dream more of a nightmare, but Highsmith's detailed character description made the characters come to life more than I cared for.


Edith is looking forward to the prospect of moving from New York to Brunswick Corner,  a small town in Pennsylvania, where she hopes to settle with her husband and son into a calmer more wholesome life. But soon the suburban dream falls apart as the model family shows cracks:

Edith's son, Cliffie, is a despicable little horror (he tries to kill the cat a couple of times and that is just the start). Her husband turns out to be self-righteous, selfish coward. And Edith is left to bear the strain of all of it. 


What makes the book truly miserable is the way that Edith's cracking up is dealt with by the people around her, and so her keeping a diary, where she records a fantasy of a perfect life she imagines, becomes the symbol of her madness, her rebellion, as well as of the way society hides what is perceived as the imperfect, the damaged.


This is one of the most political works I have read by Highsmith. It heavily features Edith's (not necessairly the author's) thoughts on the Kennedys, the Vietnam War, Nixon, Watergate, etc. as a backdrop to Edith's alienation with her suburban neighbours.


Even tho I found it compelling, Edith's Diary is not a book I would recommend easily. It just really too depressing and frustrating to pass on to a friend. However, for the Highsmith enthusiast, this shows another side of her writing where she explores the connection between societal norms and psychological derangement.

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text 2017-06-03 15:41
Reading progress update: I've read 32%.
Edith's Diary - Patricia Highsmith

Well, this is depressing, but also another fine character study. As with anything by Highsmith, I expect this to take some unusual turns, yet.


It is really depressing, tho, and I will need the next book to be more ... fluffy.

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text 2017-06-02 21:54
Reading progress update: I've read 7%.
Edith's Diary - Patricia Highsmith

And we're off. :D


The towns' names may be similar, but there is no Grover's Corners feel to Highsmith's tale.

"That night, just as Edith was walking toward the bed in her nightgown, she remembered a dream she had had. In the dream, she had closed the refrigerator door, into which Mildew had been poking her head, and cut the cat’s head off. Either she had fainted in the dream or not realized what had happened, because later she had seen the cat walking around the house headless, and when she had rushed to the refrigerator and opened it, the cat’s head had been in there, eating the remains of a chicken, eating everything. Often Mildew stuck her head into the fridge, and Edith had to push her away with her foot before closing the door. Would Cliffie some day slam the fridge door on Mildew’s neck and say it was an accident? Edith found herself clenching her teeth. It hadn’t happened. It wasn’t true. But in her dream, she had done it."

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review 2017-06-02 09:24
Review: Diary of an Accidental Wallflower by Jennifer McQuiston
Diary of an Accidental Wallflower - Jennifer McQuiston

It's amazing what insomnia can do for your reading. I finished this book at 1 am.


This is the story of Clare, a shallow, immature, snobbish, spoiled viscount's daughter and Daniel, a doctor who should have stayed the hell away from her and her awful family. That wouldn't be much of a romance, but it would've made a lot more sense. The big conflict was the difference in class between Clare and Daniel, with a little racism thrown in (Daniel is half Roma, but the term Gyspy is thrown around a lot). Daniel was just too perfect, and all the women wanted to be bed by him! - I hate that characterization. Daniel was being a doctor and aspiring inventor (his invention was a medical device for regulating chloroform in gaseous forms for surgeries).


All the side characters were just awful: Clare's father leaves his family for long lengths of time every day; Clare's mother is an alcoholic and spends her days in a booze fueled shopping sprees; Lucy and Geoffrey are Clare's younger siblings who must have been raised in zoos since they don't seem to have one iota of common sense or manners; Lady Sophie and Rose are Clare's society "friends" that turn the book into a re-hash of high school; and Lady Austerly, Daniel's patient who plays matchmaker to Clare and Daniel and was the only decent character in the book.


The plot line was decent but the characters sucked and the writing was too modern at times (the book is set in Victorian England).


Read for BL-opoly

334 pages $4





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text 2017-06-01 11:00
June 2017 Reading List
Diary of an Accidental Wallflower - Jennifer McQuiston
Not My Father's Son: A Memoir - Alan Cumming
In the Midst of Life - Jennifer Worth
Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected--A Memoir - Kelle Hampton

Once COYER starts on the 17th, I will be reading mostly from the reading list I created. I am going to try my hardest to use the books from the list for my BL-oploy plays.


The base library starts its summer reading program on the 19th. The theme this year is Reading by Design, with STEM being the focus on weekly activities and books read at the various story times. The kids have their own accounts for this program. Son wants to read more beginner reader books (he will be a first grader at the end of August); daughter wants more fantasy and fairy tales retellings.


I want to regain my BL-opoly mojo get to $100 bank balance by the end of the month (a $32 increase). I seem to put the game on the back burner in May with RT con and the big read. I still need to read Diary of an Accidental Wallflower by Jennifer McQuiston, a BL-opoly book from the end of May.


There are a couple of books that I want to read that are not related to BL-opoly or COYER. Those books are to keep me progressing on the Pop Sugar Challenge. Not My Father's Son by Alan Cummings (prompt - family member term in the title), In the Midst of Life by Jennifer Worth (prompt - Interesting Woman), Bloom by Kelly Hampton (Pop Sugar prompt - by/about a person with a disability). 

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