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I'm reading a great book!

I'm reading a great book!

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  • rudolphia rudolphia's Avatar 02-28-11 | 03:28 PM
  • It's a short one (less than 200 pages), but powerful! Fully developed characters, beautiful language, and a riveting subject matter make this a great book. I'm attaching a review from The Chicago Examiner.

    We’ve all heard of families stricken by a singular tragedy that is both impossible to grasp yet universally haunting. The kind that leaves people silent except for the utterance, “I can’t imagine what they’re going through.” Billy Lombardo can. In How To Hold a Woman(OV Books), the follow-up novel to his 2005 award-winning story collection The Logic of a Rose, Lombardo’s gift for empathy involves you so deeply in the Taylor family that they are almost enviable—tragedy notwithstanding—in how fully human they are.

    The slender novel-in-stories is not about what happened to Isabel, the Daisy Buchanan-quoting pubescent eldest child of Alan and Audrey Taylor; it is about what is happening to the Taylor family in her absence. At first, it feels as if you’re being deprived of essential information. Over the subsequent five or so years, as the Taylor family stretches between the isolation of despair and the bond of love, it becomes apparent that Lombardo isn’t depriving you of what happened—he’s showing you how it keeps happening: to Alan and Audrey’s marriage despite their love; to her younger brothers Dex and Sammy, who are old enough to know that their drawing of Baseball Guy, a sketch of a ballplayer diving for a catch—his hat flying off—is symbolic of something more.

    It is a beautiful book, so rich with the truths of so many kinds of love that it seems simple.

    Each chapter holds a singular point of view in a specific time, so even though the narrative moves chronologically, each story is an isolated moment. In the third chapter, “The Business of Night”, we get from Audrey that they’ve separated, though Dex later will tell us, “…my parents are still friends. They’re not divorced.” On the first night that Audrey and the boys sleepover at Alan’s new place, the boys’ backpack is stolen. Audrey’s mortified enough at the thought of her boys coming across their Superman underwear trampled in some alley but what worries her more is what the sleeping arrangements imply about Alan’s love for her. While the boys nod off to Sandlot on the couch, and Alan sleeps fully clothed on one side of HIS bed, Audrey gets naked. Then she’s twirling, holding herself and affirming her womanhood, “awakening something so deep inside her that it might have been beautiful, might have been terrible.“ This story is indicative of the book: the stories start with some common conflict of domestic love, nothing new, but Lombardo digs deeper and deeper into each character until he hits this nerve, this complex emotional ambivalence of being lost in love. It’s a core that resonates down to even the smallest day-to-day tragedy of learning how to get it right.
  • MrsPook MrsPook's Avatar 02-28-11 | 03:43 PM
  • WOW! Sounds good!
  • Oreo Oreo's Avatar 02-28-11 | 09:08 PM
  • Wow!!! That reviewer sure can sell a book!!

    I just enjoyed a quick little read myself... It's a teen book called The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry. Take an hour or so and read it... lively, enriching vocabulary and references to so many other classics. I think it is a better read for adults than kids who won't understand the context or references... I really enjoyed it. Parts were laugh out loud funny. A fun light read.
Thank you Oreo!
rudolphia (02-28-11)
  • rudolphia rudolphia's Avatar 02-28-11 | 10:58 PM
  • I like Lois Lowry - I read lots of hers back in the day. This one looks like a ton of fun. Thanks for the tip!
  • onemellogirl onemellogirl's Avatar 03-01-11 | 01:59 AM
  • Looks good Rudi, did you read the previous book/collection as well?

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