Just Giblets

Best Books Read in 2015 – #’s 10 & 9

19th January 2016
by Michael

Best Books Read in 2015 – #’s 10 & 9

posted in Nonsense |

After Alice#10 – After Alice by Gregory Maguire

Gregory Maguire has an extensive bibliography, but he has made a name for himself by reinterpreting certain important fairy tales and other works of fantasy, most notably, the Oz books by L. Frank Baum. He returns to this milieu with After Alice, an inventive and enjoyable read that posits, “what if Alice wasn’t the only little girl to tumble down the rabbit hole?”

In an effort to elude her harried governess, young Ada pursues her friend Alice right down the rabbit hole. She then proceeds to have an adventurous afternoon with many of the characters made famous by Alice’s journey as she tries to find her friend and somehow return home. Meanwhie, Alice’s sister Lydia must deal with her household… a widower father, the cranky staff, a some visitors, including the handsome Mr. Winters, and Charles Darwin himself. Add to that Ada’s harried governess who is frantically trying to find her charge, and the fact that Lydia realizes that her sister is missing as well, and it’s hard to tell which young lady’s adventures are more madcap.

Love May Fail#9 – Love May Fail by Matthew Quick
You might accuse Matthew Quick of the same sentimentality that protagonist Portia Kane is slammed for in reviews of her first novel in Love May Fail. But while Quick explores redemption and optimism, his lovely novel is heartfelt, complex, and a delight to read. I often say, “Just because a movie/book makes my cry, doesn’t mean it’s any good,” can also be written as, “Just because a movie/book makes me cry, doesn’t mean it’s not good.” Love May Fail explores the idea of the human spirit returning from crushing blows to contribute beauty and joy to the world. A theme that may sound trite, but in Quick’s hand is powerful and rewarding.

Told from four different points of view, Quick inhabits each convincingly. His supporting characters, particularly a particularly strident nun, add color and depth to an already entertaining read. Love May Fail picks up the strands of The Good Luck of Right Now in creating complex, damaged characters who struggle to do better, and sometimes fail, but often succeed. Love May Fail will hopefully restore, or remind the reader of the power of humanity.

 

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