Mid-Summer Mini Reviews

by Joli
Published: Last Updated on

Summertime and the pages are flying in this girl’s house! I’ve been reading up a storm, and there have been a couple books that I’ve wanted to review, but just haven’t had the time. So, here are three mini-reviews for two books I absolutely loved, and one that was….well, meh.


I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

If you’re a fan of memoirs that read like great novels (or just amazing memoirs), I recommend this one. It’s a memoir told in separate stories, but it really doesn’t feel like you’re reading short stories. They all work together, since they’re all snapshots of the same life: Maggie’s. Each chapter/story is a different brush with death. Yep, the subtitle of this book is “Seventeen Brushes with Death”. O’Farrell is a fantastic storyteller, and I plunged into each one wondering what was going to happen this time, and how she was going to escape it.

I couldn’t put this book down! The way she tells the story of her life in brushes with death is so compelling, and so original. Each story is an intimate glimpse into her life, and I was hooked. 5 out of 5 stars.


Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen

This was my very first Anna Quindlen novel. I’ve had her on my list ever since one of our previous contributors, Kathleen, reviewed Miller’s Valley. I’d known of Quindlen for a while, and Kathleen’s review made her writing sound right up my alley. Unfortunately, Alternate Side didn’t quite live up to my expectations. The novel has mixed reviews across the web, though, and some of Quindlen’s other books are rated better, so I’m definitely not letting this one spoil the rest.

There were moments in Alternate Side that I enjoyed, but overall, it fell a little flat. It’s definitely character driven, which I normally like, but I was just kind of bored reading this. In short, it’s about a well-off neighborhood in NYC and is about relationships between neighbors, with elements of prejudice (and maybe some feminism?) thrown in. It was okay, but not what I was expecting. 3 out of 5 stars.


This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel

This is one of those books that make me SO GLAD I joined a book club! I had never heard of it until it was picked as a Girly Book Club book. I opened it without expectations and was just blown away. Laurie Frankel is an amazing storyteller, and I’ll definitely be reading more of her.

From page one, I was in love with her writing style. She’s a master storyteller and she just makes it seem effortless! Every time I opened this book, I fell into the world of a family learning to navigate the youngest brother’s transition to youngest sister. The way Frankel tackles this theme was just so on point. It was looked at from multiple angles through multiple characters, and I really felt this one while I read it.

Definitely recommend this one. 5 out of 5 stars.

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