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review 2017-01-10 12:46
Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk by M.M.Allen
Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk - M.M. Allen

Darkness. Utter blackness. Was this why his mother had refused to let Jack unlock his father’s old trunk? It had been two years since his dad had died, and all Jack could think about was examining whatever treasures were stored inside the beloved trunk. But when he finally lifted the lid, he didn’t just fall in—he fell through it into a pit of rattlesnakes!

Trying to recall his mother’s stories about “the Breath of All Good Things”—anything to shed light on his current situation—Jack wishes he’d paid better attention rather than mock the tales as childish myths…and that he’d waited to enter the trunk with his sister, Lilly, so they could at least face this together.


*I won this book on Goodreads giveaway*

It is strange for me to say, but I think this book should have been longer, because as of right now, I'm not sure if even kids, with great imagination, would understand all that chaos that is going on in this book. Some parts of this story needs more explanation and backstory, because without it it looks like some random scenes put together.

Also even though it was full of action (to much, actually) it put me to sleep, and for adventure book I don't think that it is a good thing.

It can be a good book, but it needs more editing.

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review 2015-05-30 07:30
it went down easy, but it probably won't stick
Indiscretion - Charles Dubow

The plot was predictable and the characters unlikable, yet I was drawn into the tale of this foursome.  I kind of want to hate this book, but I just can't.

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review 2015-05-08 06:08
Girl in the Moonlight - Charles Dubow
That afternoon was my first inkling that there was more to the world than it appeared. Like the glimpse of a secret garden through a crack in the door, I discovered something I hadn’t known was missing. Where colors were brighter, tastes stronger, feelings deeper. And once I recognized it, I wanted it, missed it—and was unsure I would ever find my way back to it. It was a land of Cockaigne, the hidden kingdom.

Girl in the Moonlight (originally, and better titled Naked in the Moonlight) is the second novel by Charles Dubow, author of the wonderful, steamy 2013 novel, Indiscretion. In …Moonlight, he brings us back to the Hamptons that was the setting for much of the earlier book. Wylie Rose is closing down a summer house where he’d spent much of his youth, and remembering. No madeleines required. But an evocative painting brings back to him, and us, the story of a lifetime of passion, obsession, and love.



Charles Dubow


How young is too young to meet The One? Wylie was only 10 when he first met Francesca, at 12, the oldest of the four Bonet sibs. A hidden kingdom of attraction opens its doors to him. He falls hard for her, literally. Wylie forms a close friendship with Aurelio Bonet, Cesca’s younger brother, and through this bond, Cesca will pop into and out of Wylie’s life for the duration of his Odyssey. The driving force to the story is the will-they-or-won’t-they-wind-up-together question as they sail through their lives. Of course, even as a young thing, Cesca is special. In adolescence she begins to take on the characteristics of a siren and sings for all the ships to hear as an adult. Wylie may have known at some level that he should have plugged up his ears (and covered his eyes, for that matter) but he would spend most of his life tied to the mast, enduring the song. Will he be drawn in to his own destruction?




Ulysses and the Sirens - by John William Waterhouse - from the National Gallery in Melbourne


There are certainly gross similarities in form with Dubow’s earlier work. We revisit the Hamptons, and the company of the very well-to-do. The author is of this set and writes what he knows. There is an almost supernaturally attractive female, and a smitten male. (Indiscretion actually had two smitten males, the secondary one having a bit more in common with Wylie than the primary) Trouble soon follows, with a trail of emotional collateral damage. But, lest one suspect that Dubow has shoved off into the water to net the same fish, there are significant differences. In the earlier book, a successful, well-known middle-aged, married man is drawn from (leaps from) his life by an admiring young thing. Here, the two know each other from childhood, growing together and apart over their lives. The time span of the core story (not backstory) is far greater in Moonlight, decades instead of a few years. Indiscretion had much to do with discontent with one’s life, and insecurity about one’s place in it. There is some of that here but Wylie and Cesca are not struggling with the detritus of generations. They seem perfectly content to employ their advantages in pursuit of their movable dreams, trying this and then that in hopes of plotting a steady course. Wylie, for example, opts to pursue a course of study, so enrolls in Harvard for his advanced-degree training, as if it were the equivalent of stopping off at the corner store to buy a lottery ticket. While both novels have a love story at their core, among the one-percent, so do a billion other books. There is a geographical sweep in Moonlight that extends far wider than that in Indiscretion, with stops in Spain, Paris, London and even some connections to Tokyo and Africa, in addition to the usual Hamptons/NYC setting. Indiscretion and Moonlight are indeed very different tales.


There are several elements in Moonlight that stand out. First there is the tension of wondering if the two will ever get together. That sort of thing may be standard fare for stories of this kind, but how that is executed is significant. I found it was quite well done here. Plenty stands in the way of the two getting together (has to be, of course, or there wouldn’t be a story to tell) not least Cesca’s ability to attract men. Second, there is a feeling of melancholy, which may summon your own regrets to mind.

What if I had chosen differently? Would I be here at this moment? There are the dreams our parents have for us, and then there is the life that we create for ourselves. It is impossible to know. The secret, they say, is not to regret—but that, I have found, is impossible. The most one can hope for is to forget. Memory, though, is a poor servant; it bursts in on you when you least expect it.

And there is the ever-present element of hope. It is not a misdirect, there really is a chance they might get together. But I will not tell if they do or don’t. Of course if hope is a thing with feathers, is that a good thing? Would it be better if hope were a thing with scales?



Ulysses and the Sirens - by H.J. Draper - from Wikipedia


I have spent as much time with the one percent as I have with the Illuminati, so I did not feel much connection based on socioeconomic commonalities. On the other hand, I have had my share of emotional disappointments, false steps and traumas, so on a feeling level I found that it was quite possible to connect. Wylie is a very relatable character, a decent guy trying to find himself. Effective writing takes you past surface differences to core emotional experience. Can she hold him off forever? Doe she really care for him or is Cesca only toying with Wylie, luring him to his own destruction? Can he endure long enough? Should he? What about having a real life and not one based on a myth? At what point does one cross over from being dependable to being a doormat? When do you just throw up your hands and sail back out to sea? And what might happen if you did?


Dubow has a wondrous ability to describe places, imbuing them with life, with history. He can paint a scene beautifully, which is not surprising given that he once planned to be a painter. He can create living characters. Wylie Rose is the evidence. None of the other characters is as fully realized as Wylie, but they are still well done. Aurelio was also very appealing, but we do not see enough of him. Cesca’s path may seem scattered, but Dubow’s explanation for her zig-zag route is believable. I found the other characters much less well realized, but not everyone has to get center stage. They are filled in enough to contribute to the story. The author also has a wondrous gift for communicating the ambivalence we all experience, in looking back, at roads not taken.


Girl in the Moonlight will keep you turning pages, maybe not so quickly as Indiscretion did, but it is a solid read. It will pull you in and hold you, without, thankfully, dashing you on the rocks.


Review posted – 5/8/15

Publication date – 5/12/15

This review has also been posted at Cootsreviews.com



======================================EXTRA STUFF


Links to the author’s Twitter and FB pages


A piece Dubow wrote for Newsweek Magazine on Stuttering


About five minutes of the audio book


My review of Indiscretion

Source: wp.me/p3I01S-lU
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review 2013-07-30 00:00
Indiscrição - Charles Dubow «Um livro soberbo. Ainda me pergunto como pode uma estreia ter a pujança, a força e o impacto avassalador que este romance tem (e teve em mim).

Rendi-me a este maravilhoso e tocante romance, entreguei-me sem condições nem restrições e o re...Ver mais em:

Opinião Indiscrição|Livros e Marcadores
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review 2013-07-02 00:00
Indiscretion - Charles Dubow ”It is one thing to be lied to, but it is something else again to be the liar. But even then, most of us don’t look at it like that. We make up our own excuses, justifying the betrayal, clothing it in nobler raiment. It is easy to pretend that maintaining a lie is in the best interest of those we might hurt, supreme in the confidence that we will never get caught. Of all deceptions, that is the most common and the most foolish--and the one for which people have the least sympathy.”

A couple of decades ago I made the momentous decision not to lie anymore. I’m not talking about the white lies that we all tell to keep from hurting someone’s feelings which is all part of being a good human being, but the big lies. I decided I was secure enough in who I am as a person to take the heat instead of using a lie to extract myself from a difficult situation. (I do reserve the right if someone has a gun pointed at my head to lie my ass off.) I also believe in the burden of truth. Sometimes it is my responsibility to carry the truth on my shoulders and not share that burden with others. This book reminded me of the importance of staying true to those principles.

Harry Winslow has it all. He is married to one of the most lovely women on the planet and she has a trust fund. ”Maddy is … strikingly beautiful. Long red-gold ringlets...and pale blue eyes. No makeup. A patrician face.”He has a son who adores him. He has friends, good friends, who hang on his every word. His latest novel has just won major prizes. The world has bowed at his feet. ”He was always a self-contained unit, someone so supremely confident in his own abilities that he never once questioned them. He had never needed to. I know he worked hard, but it was the work that a gifted athlete puts into his training regimen. It helps to elevate his game, a game that most of us could never hope to play and never pretend we could.”

His relationship with Maddy has evolved. ”Over the years, they had made love with less and less frequency. Theirs had become a working relationship, and had long ceased being a passionate one. They were a team, she explained to me. After twenty years, some things change.” To me what she is really saying is they have become comfortable. They have long since fought over what they needed to fight about and now instead of battles they have skirmishes. They have sacrificed some passion to achieve peace. They have heard each others best stories several times, but the retelling is like listening to Homer sing the stories of Troy. You may have heard them before many times, but with each telling there is always someone new hearing it for the first time and their reactions give the story life again and again. Harry and Maddy are securely nested and as long as neither one of them go through a major personality change or tell one of those BIG LIES their lives will keep spinning in this carefully cultivated orbit.

And then Claire arrives.

”The poet Lamartine wrote that a woman is at the beginning of all great things. It’s indisputable. After all, women give birth to us, so they are always at the beginning. But, whether they mean to be or not, they are also present at the beginning of terrible things too.”

She is pretty, maybe even stunningly pretty, but more importantly she is young, vibrant, and humming like a live wire. ”And she, like so many of the young, was looking for a shortcut, an edge over the competition, always in a hurry, not yet realizing there is no benefit in speeding up the journey, that the destination is not the point but merely part of the process. They also don’t fully appreciate that their actions have repercussions. That lives can be ruined. Of course, the young don’t have a monopoly on selfishness. We want what we want. The bitter truth is that it rarely makes us happy once we get it.”

Temptations are bombs wrapped with pretty bows. It always amazes me to watch people crater twenty years of work in twenty minutes. If you had asked Harry if it was even a possibility that he would have an affair he would have told you emphatically, probably with a boisterous laugh, that it was impossible. I have never fooled myself that way. I know it is possible and I believe I need to always keep the mirror of that knowledge in the pupil of my eyes so that I’m not vulnerable to my own stupidity. Charles Dubow, I will admit, writes some pretty steamy sex scenes; and yet, at the same time I found them not just titillating, but also introspectively tasteful.

She pulls down his trousers...She slowly rubs...Oh god...She takes him in her...looking up at him...She shudders...He watches...She moans, clenching herself like a fist...deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper...My god, My god, My god...

Well okay so I left out all the good parts and the introspective parts, but to read the rest is just another great incentive for all of you to buy, borrow, or steal this book.

Harry lies to Maddy and that is the unraveling of twenty years of trust. There is never enough air for any of them after that.

The book is narrated by Walter, a childhood friend of Maddy, but also very good friends with Harry. He is godfather to their son Johnny, he has always been in love with Maddy, and he is one of those friends that every single person on the planet needs. Similar to Nick Carraway he is included in nearly all aspects of their lives, confided in with what he doesn’t see, and tenaciously investigates what he doesn’t know. He is why we have this story instead of just pieces of a tragic tale that collapses for lack of ropes, guide wires, and stage direction. Like any good playwright Walter will misdirect you, make you question your beliefs, and throw glitter in your eyes. This book was like a Milky Way candy bar for the brain, impossible to put down, and every bite is just as good as the last. This cast of characters will seduce you, and bring joy and pain as if you are there at the table drinking martinis(martinis are like women’s breasts; one is not enough and three are too many.), eating Maddy’s food, and gazing with fondness at their majestic faces. Highly Recommended!!!

And if you don't believe me read the review that convinced me. To read this book by my friend Will Byrnes. Link to Will's Review
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