December was a big month for me. Wrapped up classes with an A average, launched a new international gaming product at my old job, accepted a new job, enjoyed the holidays with family and friends and had some other interesting personal things happen outside of everything else. Believe it or not, it actually resulted though in one of my heaviest reading months in a while. All three are modern authors who I more, or less, ran across by accident and if I had to figure out a common theme for them I would be tempted to say it is about a turning point in the re-definition of how one leads their life. All three deal in some way with love, and love lost, but moreso I felt it was the character development overall that helped truly put the theme in play
kirk farber postcards from a dead girl
Faber’s debut offering crafts an quirky coming-of-age style tale that defies the normal conventions of such an effort. Sid is a mundane salesman who’s girlfriend dies but the delivery of her last words comes post-mortem in the form of post-cards from around the world. Worried he is going insane from the haunting of his dead mother and the constant delivery of the mysterious cards he embarks on a series of odd-ball journeys to extricate the truth about her and moreso, himself, that changes the course of his life.
Along the way Sid turns to his dog Zero for advice in oddly driven monologues playing at the dilemmas he facts in the blurred lines of reality. He leans on his doctor sister for a unique range of counter-supports that demonstrate the complexity of his mind’s eye. He befriends a postal worker who seems sympathetic to his plight with his own oddball guidance through Sid’s plight. Ultimately, he attempts to date women he meets along the way to finding his own redemption.
At times it can be difficult to identify with the self-deprecating nature of Sid’s character as he makes untimely decisions that nearly cost him every aspect of his life. Although some of the mistakes he makes along the way are universal, the calamity of them can make it frustrating to watch him spiral into points that make the reader rethink their own choices and how they would have reacted in a more rational manner. All in all though Sid provides a unique focal point for how we might each deal with loss and our own emotions.
Toby Devens my favorite midlife crisis (yet)
This probably seems like an odd read for a less-than middle aged male but it was a really intriguing read into the mind of women for me. Devens however creates memorable characters that transcend their prescribed ages to tell the tales of their lives in a satirical way that makes the reader rethink the trajectory of their own lives.
Gwenith is a prominent Baltimore doctor struggling to find her way in her career, in her love life and with her elderly dad while her friends are confronted with their own trials and tribulations. After a marriage that ended with her husband leaving her for their homosexual decorator she is forced to redefine her own perception of love and embarks on a hot tryst that leads into a real, healthy relationship. After younger doctors in her practice encroach on her authority she is forced to redefine her career aspirations allowing her to fulfill her Hippocratic oath dreams that rose from her roots in the ghettos. After dealing with her father’s alzheimers she comes to understand the depths of what real family and friendship mean.
In the meantime, her best friend Kat is forced into dealing with her own version of single life. She meets a man who’s relationship becomes fodder for her own family’s conflict as her daughter struggles with her mother’s new-found romance in the wake of her father’s death. The romance helps Kat identify her true calling as an artist and bring her own aspirations to a new level as well. But she’s not without her own personal struggle after a bout with breast cancer that tests her will and identity.
The third friend is the well-to-do and voluptuous entrepreneur Fleur who