Monday, December 12, 2011

Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella

          I borrowed Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella from the library and downloaded it to my Kindle.  This was the first time I tried the Kindle method.  I love my Kindle and one of the most frustrating parts of being unemployed is having no extra money to buy Kindle books.  I love being able to get library books on it. 

          Can You Keep a Secret reminded me a bit of Bridget Jones’ Dairy.  A very normal, slightly overweight, not very confident young woman with big dreams is the main character.  She has a long history of going along to get along, not standing up for herself and allowing others to believe her likes and dislikes conform to theirs in an effort to be liked. 

          I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book, but I ended up deciding it was okay, not fantastic, but good enough to keep me interested.  Near the beginning of the story, our heroine, in the midst of a prolonged, and alcohol enhanced, panic attack, spills all her little secrets to a total stranger on a plane, naturally assuming she’d never see him again.  Fate, with her wicked sense of humor, strikes hard at the poor girl.  It turns out the man on the plane is the owner of the company for which she works and is headed into town to visit the local facility.  The ensuing scenes are both funny and uncomfortable.  Fortunately, our girl learns to stand up for herself, finds the man of her dreams and apparently lives happily ever after. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner

          I finished reading Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner.  It took me a while because I never really got into it. I can’t say there is anything wrong with it. It just explores a topic that I’ve never really “gotten”. 

          The story revolves around four women:  A lovely, ivy-league student with an addict father, a military wife and mother of two struggling to make ends meet, a trophy wife with excess baggage and the daughter of the TW’s husband who harbors fantasies of her divorced parents reunion. 

          The student is approached one day by a representative of a fertility clinic.  He asks her to donate some of her eggs.  In return, she will be paid enough money to put her father into an excellent rehab center.

          The army wife discovers a means of improving her family’s financial situation.  She can become a surrogate.  In return for carrying another couple’s baby, she will be paid enough money to give them some security.

          The TW and her husband desire a child, but she is older than he believes and she is unable to conceive.  They choose to go the surrogate route to create their family. 

          The daughter, who still believes her parents can get back together, hires a PI to find out about the TW.  What they discover is disturbing.  The TW has totally recreated herself, from her face to her name.  But once the daughter acquires the information, she cannot disrupt her father’s happiness by telling him.

          As the first three women play their parts, a child is conceived using the student’s egg and being implanted in the army wife’s uterus, and the TW excitedly prepares for the arrival. 

          Due to an interesting twist in the story, which leaves both prospective parents unavailable when the baby is born, the daughter is shocked to find herself the legal guardian of her newborn half sister.  In her attempts to properly discharge her duty to the child, she makes contact with both the egg donor and the surrogate.  They, and their families, become active parts of the baby girl’s life.  Eventually, the TW returns to the fold, and the “village” of women raising baby is complete.

          As I mentioned earlier, I’ve never really “gotten” the need to have a baby.  Perhaps because my own daughter was born when I was twenty-two, I never heard my biological clock ticking. But I never had any desire to get pregnant again either, not even as my childbearing possibilities started to wane. So I fail to comprehend why anyone would jump through hoops in order to have a baby.  While I fully comprehend the primal need of all animals to propagate the species, it seems like humans should be smart enough to simply take over the care of orphaned and unwanted children as opposed to attempting fertility treatments.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Kingdom by Clive Cussler

          I just finished listening to The Kingdom by Clive Cussler on audio book.  I really enjoyed this one.  Mr. Cussler’s imagination continues to amaze me.  How does he think this stuff up?

          The story starts with an ancient soldier, one of an elite group trained from birth to protect their kingdom’s most prized possession, as he runs away from an invasion force with his treasure in tow.  The scene ends as the invaders trap him at the lip of a waterfall.

          The next scene opens centuries later with an Italian man (no, not Leonardo) building a flying machine for an Asiatic despot.  With his brother being held as hostage to ensure the return of the machine, the inventor takes off on the flying machine’s maiden voyage.

          Then the story moves to present day. A pair of treasure hunters, Sam and Remi Fargo, is asked to look for a friend who disappeared while working for a Texas oil man.  They travel to exotic locales, have dangerous adventures, outsmart scary folks, and display a MacGyver-like ability to create life-saving apparatus out of detritus. 

          While the story requires some suspension of disbelief, it stays well away from the edges of fantasy.  Guys will appreciate the car chases and gun battles.  Girls will like the loving relationship between the main characters. I recommend The Kingdom for anyone who enjoys thrillers.