I'm a little behind in my book blogging, mostly because my surgery seemed to sap my typical book obsessions. Instead I've been watching lots of DVDs (movies and TV programs). I did read a few books in December, but not as many as I usually do. Overall it was a disappointing month for reading...the only book I'd recommend of the three would be the first one, and even that one was not fantastic. For full reviews of these books, click on the title to go to Marie's Book Garden.
The Treasure Map of Boys, by E. Lockhart
I don't read much young adult (YA), but from what I understand from my middle-grade writer husband, YA is often full of a lot of angst and dysfunctional relationships. Ruby Oliver, the protagonist, struggles with making and keeping friends and has a lot of stress around relationships with boys. Reading this book made me SO GLAD I do not ever have to do high school or junior high ever again.
Ruby's parents are well-meaning hippies, and she actually does have some friends worth keeping. The stories about her teachers and baking were amusing...also her time working in the Birkenstocks store at Pike Place Market. Ruby is a smart, well-meaning girl, and she really doesn't want to screw up her friendships, but somehow she has a knack for that. After I said that I don't read much YA, I now realize that this is actually the fourth or fifth YA book I've read all year...and it was fine but it's my least favorite. The others--Wonder, Marcelo in the Real World, and Shine--focused on much more serious issues, and this was like marshmallow fluff in comparison.
The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver
I had to give up on this one. I got up to page 207, after putting it down to read a lighter book group selection, and tried to pick it up again. I will never forget my delight in reading my first Barbara Kingsolver novel (The Bean Trees) back before she was very well known. I have loved so many of her novels. I am interested in Mexico, Frida Kahlo, and Diego Rivera and loved a biography of Frida I read several years ago. So I really, really wanted to stick this one out. But I had to give up...I just couldn't get connected or drawn in. So disappointed!
Daughters-in-Law, by Joanna Trollope
I picked this book up at the library because I was stocking up on some lighter fiction to read after my brain/ear surgery. I've read a few Joanna Trollope books in the past (my mother-in-law likes her), but I hadn't read her for a number of years. I should have known better...I gave the last two books I read only two stars. This was definitely light, but it was not interesting. I wish I'd given up halfway in, but I finished it. Trollope said she wanted to write about the relationships between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law because she believes they are more difficult than relationships with sons-in-law. But this book missed the mark. Some light reads are enjoyable or memorable, but this book is neither. It was a waste of time.
For better recommendations, refer to my "Best Books of the Year," in 2012 and also in previous years.