Friday, October 29, 2010

Ladder of Years- by Anne Tyler

Ladder of Years- by Anne Tyler

As I was sitting a month or so ago, twiddling my thumbs at Parent-Teacher Conferences, since I rarely have parents show up, one of my assistant principals came down to my room to chat with me. We somehow got started talking about books and our family lives and she recommended this book to me. She said it was one of her favorites, and promptly sent a student with a copy for me to borrow the next day. I'm always intrigued by book recommendations, especially since I get them surprisingly rarely, so I dove in and hoped for the best.

Ladder of Years features Delia (coincidentally the name that I chose for myself in high school Spanish class), a middle-aged housewife who feels rather, well, beige about her life. She married Sam, the doctor set to take over her father's practice, right out of high school, promptly had three children and now that her kids are mostly grown and her husband completely settled in his practice, she doesn't have much to do with her time.

The book opens at the grocery store, where an attractive young man asks Delia to pretend to be his girlfriend so he doesn't have to encounter his estranged wife and her new boyfriend. She is secretly thrilled by this little escapade and when she later bumps into him on the street, begins a clandestine, though small affair. Her building dissatisfaction with her home life comes to a head when she is with her extended family on their annual trip to the beach. She's fed up, so she picks up her beach tote and walks away without ever looking back.

Now, in theory, I should have loved this book. I have upon many occasions, since the age of oh... nine or so, fantasized about simply running away from my life to try something new. Not that my life is particularly dissatisfying, or bad in any way, but there's just something about how beautifully free I would feel walking away from it all. So, I should have liked this book. I should have related to Delia and her plight to start from scratch. I should have, but I didn't. At all. I was rather disappointed by the whole thing. The writing was lovely, but I had a really hard time getting a sense of time in the setting. The book itself was published in 1995, but the social morays and way people acted felt more like 1950 something. But, then there would be other indications that it was more recent, computers, medical stuff, etc. It probably shouldn't have bothered me as much as it did, but I just felt lost in time. The characters also felt flat to me. Now, that may have been the point, showing how Delia was really nothing in her world, felt see-through, blah, blah, blah. It still didn't work. The plot was meh and the end really left me wanting something more substantial.

I may not have connected as well to this book as the middle aged housewives this book was geared towards would have, but who knows. It just didn't speak to me. It was interesting enough, I guess. I did keep turning the pages because I wanted to see what was going to happen to Delia, but it's not a book that's going to stick with me. So, I guess, in the end, I would probably recommend this book to anyone who has kids, a husband and not much else on their reading list. Otherwise... skip it.

Read my other reviews HERE.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Still here- with a Wee Bit of Me Wednesday

Well... yeah... not a whole lot to say. :) I'm still alive, still reading, writing, knitting and panicking, but just not blogging about it. In an effort to get back into the groove of blogging, I'm going to start participating in Wee Bit of Me Wednesdays which I shamelessly stole from Jumblemash (who is awesome!) and who stole it from myleighashley (also awesome). I have read roughly one bazillion books since April, bought a Kindle, went back to work and have not been writing at all... so I do have quite a bit to talk about, but blogging just seems so daunting, for no particular reason. At any rate, I'm going to do Wee Bit Wednesdays so I can have something to write about. Hopefully it will get me back into the groove of blogging. I'll keep my fingers crossed. :) So without further ado...

{one} have you ever seen a ghost?

Oh, goodness... a complicated question to start. Yes, I believe I have seen a ghost. When I saw my mother right after she passed away there were a few moments where she was standing next to me before she left. An interesting experience to say the least.

{two} when was the last time you dressed up for Halloween?

Last year. I generally dress up every year, but the hubs was out of town last year and so I only sort of dressed up. This year we're going to a club themed party though, and I'll be rockin' a totally sweet 80's outfit. We'll see if I wear it to work on Friday as well. I may just blend in with all the retro 80's looks the kids wear.

{three} what’s your favorite candy?

That is a tough one. I used to love Twix, but since I can't eat gluten any more that's out. I do love caramel though, or Skittles.

{four} did you have a favorite costume growing up?

I think my absolute favorite costume was the black cat costume that my mom made me. It was a huge furry body suit that she accidentally stitched her thumb to in the process of making. It was warm and fuzzy (two of my favorite feelings) and perfect for cold Colorado Halloweens.

{five} did you carve pumpkins this year?

No. Halloween always sneaks up on me and I never quite remember to carve pumpkins.

{six} what’s your favorite scary movie?

I'm not a huge scary movie fan, but I did love Zombieland, though that wasn't really scary. The Shining  is good, as was the Aliens trilogy, but I don't really like hard core horror.

{seven} haunted houses or corn mazes?

Mmmmm.... not so much on either. Corn Mazes are fun, unless they have those ridiculous chainsaw dudes. And I really don't care for Haunted Houses. These aversions may also be due to the fact that both places are generally infested with high school kids acting dumb, which I get enough of at work. :)

{eight} are you superstitious?

Sort of. I'm not super superstitious, but I do knock on wood, throw salt over my shoulder, say rabbit rabbit, etc.

{nine} have you ever owned a black cat?

Yes, one of my favorite kitties, Ralphie. He was the sweetest cat.

{ten} what are you plans for this coming Halloween?

We are heading over to a friend's house for a Halloween Party. It should be fun! I'd like to hope that we'll get Trick or Treaters, but we've only had two ever in the six years we've been in the house, so I don't think I'll worry about it this year.


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