Month: November 2014

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax


The short of it is this is Jane Austen Book Club with Downton Abbey.

The long of it can be described in the following conversation I had with my friend Kelly Anneken, the podcast host for a Downton Abbey podcast called Up Yours, Downstairs (which is great).

Me: It’s a book about a young woman who married too young, an empty nester who doesn’t know what to do with her life, a woman in a sham marriage, and then this concierge at this fancy Atlanta apartment complex that coordinates a weekly date to watch Downton Abbey.

Kelly: Zzzzzzz



Food, A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

So happy for these two lovebirds

I would like to mention I am a huge fan of Jim Gaffigan. I loved Dad is Fat, I love his standup, and I follow him on twitter and various other social media platforms. I’ve loved him since all the way back to his hot pocket days. I am a Jim Gaffigan hipster. We’re clear? Good? Now onto the review.
I didn’t love Food: A Love Story. It just didn’t have the same hook or story arc that Dad is Fat did, and this book doesn’t feel as strong to me. That being said, I think anyone that loves food will enjoy it a lot. This is a good uncle book. Buy this for your uncle who really likes ribs for Christmas. This book has an audience, I’m just not it. I’m sorry, Jim. I still really love Dad is Fat. Food just felt really sporadic and that the concept wasn’t as solid as it really needed to be. I just wanted this book to be tighter. Although his missives on Midwestern food is on point. His point about Cincinnati serving chili over spaghetti is entirely accurate and we need to stop doing it. As a former Midwestern resident, I understand the amount of mystery and butter that goes into every item that makes up Midwestern cuisine. (Hint: Germans, Polish, Italians – it’s all beef and carbs). But once we got to the hoaky names like “Wineland” and “Coffeeland” the joke began to just wear thin.

Jim Gaffigan’s website and comedy things are here.
Jim Gaffigan on Twitter.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

2am at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie – Helene Bertino


This book is so gorgeous. It’s been a long time since fairly simple prose and evoked such a complex story. Right away I was drawn it the character of Madeleine – a nine-year-old girl whose mother has died and whose father has completely checked out. Madeleine has the qualities of great children in literature, the toughness and headstrong nature of an Anne Shirley or a Harriet M. Welsch, with this added layer of having the drive to a jazz singer. She’s classic in her underdog standing but so layered and unapologetic in her depth. She is Jane Eyre before she grew up and got super irritating. Following the arc of a single day in the life of all of these characters is actually an interesting twist on the novel format. It pushes the minutia of the story to be so significant and to take up so much space in the narrative. The end result is a beautiful book with multifaceted plot revolving around the crux that is the Cat’s Pajama’s ¬†Club. Part club, part public nuisance, part halfway house, the Cat’s Pajamas seems to fit into the Philadephia setting so completely that I could see it so clearly wedged among old warehouses and run down apartment buildings.

This book was so witty and shines in the overcrowded sea of 2014 novels.

If you’re interested in learned more about Marie-Helene Bertino, her social media is below including Twitter and Facebook.

Marie-Helene Bertino on Twitter
Marie-Helene Bertino on Facebook
More Info
Author Bio

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.