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2016 books: 51-54 - Hemlock B. Bootsalotta [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta

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2016 books: 51-54 [Dec. 31st, 2016|01:11 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta


Starting From Scratch by Rita Mae Brown

I bought this back in the 80s, I think I was under the impression that it was an autobiography. Actually it's a book about writing and supporting yourself through writing.

It's dated as hell, written before self-publishing, e-books and social media. Brown also intersperses her writing with a lot of jokes and most of her humour is pretty dated as well. Having said that, there is some really good advice in here, and I ended up tucking this book back into my bookshelf to think about more later.


Failure to Zig-Zag by Jane Vandenburgh
The main character is a girl named Charlotte who lives in California in the early '60s. Her father, who she never met but who apparently suffered from depression, died before she was born. Her mother is schizophrenic and an alcoholic. For most of the time, Charlotte lives with her grandparents who are also understood to have some undefinited mental health problems. Charlotte is neglected physically by her mother and emotionally by her grandparents.

I found it a weird book to read, very difficult in some places if you grew up with or around any kind of mental health issues. Her writing is detailed and descriptive and she effectively manages to convey both the chaos and loneliness of Charlotte's life. There isn't so much a plot here as a series of paintings.


The Lying Tongue by Andrew Wilson

The book has "Uncorrected Proof" stamped across the cover, so I'm guessing it showed up in our library one days.

The main character is Adam, a recent college graduate who moves to Venice to become a writer. Through happenstance he becomes the personal assistant of a reclusive elderly man who once wrote a major best-seller and then stopped writing entirely immediately afterwards. Adam decides to write the guy's biography on the sly.

Adam is a thoroughly detestable individual and his disgust with other humans colours his interactions with everybody else in the book. The writing is very spare and the story moves along quickly. The plot reminds me a little bit of Mimi's Ghost in that it's told from the perspective of the villain, but while Mimi's Ghost ended up being fun while you waited for the main character to get his comeuppance, Adam is just gross.


Thicker Than Water by Kathryn Harrison

This one has my name written inside the cover so I guess it's mine. I'm about three-quarters of the way through it, so I'm going to include it in my count for this year.

Another character being raised by her grandparents, in this case because he mother was only eighteen when she was born and didn't really want children. The character is fixated on her emotionally distant mother. And of course there is sexual abuse because why the fuck not. The first chapter gave me a bad feeling, so I looked up the author and discovered most of her books are autobiographical and about being sexually abused by her parents. Ewwww no.

So in conclusion, extremely well written, very good at what it does, but I think if I come across any more books in this genre I'm just going to give them away because boy howdy, am I done with books about emotionally neglected teenage girls.

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