One of my favorite parts of our annual beach vacation is reading all the books. With my time off in June, I had already read a few books during the month—something I hadn’t done in months. All the reading made me feel very much me.
I like to read novels on vacation. Not necessarily pure fluff, but nothing hard-hitting either. I basically just like to used my normally unheard of free time to escape a little while the ocean breeze cools me off and the waves lick at my toes.
I mostly enjoyed the three books I read on my beach vacation this year. I thought I’d share them with you in case you’re looking for a summer book or one to read on the beach.
The Rosie Effect
I stood in front of the New Releases section at the library a week before we left for vacation and grabbed this book. A large number of my friends read the first book, The Rosie Project, but I didn’t. However, I knew many of them enjoyed the book and here was the sequel just sitting on the shelf which never happens in our library system. Critically acclaimed and sought-after releases are often requested before they’re officially released (often by me), so the waiting list is usually a billion people long. Maybe it’s because it’s a late-new-release for our library. Who knows. I grabbed it.
I enjoyed the book—for the most part. I felt some of the awkwardness came off as overplayed, like Sheldon on crack. I found the legal storyline a bit annoying. In fact, I feel that the legal story line speaks volumes as to why our CPS system is currently overloaded, leaving many children who would benefit from services in the lurch. Focusing on non-cases results in children who really need the help being left in abusive, neglectful situations.
But I did mostly enjoy the book beyond those two issues. Would I recommend The Rosie Effect? Yes, if you read the first book. Probably not if you did not read it.
In Every Way
Oh dear. Also standing in the library, I wanted to pick something “beachy” off the New Releases shelf. In Every Way featured sky and sand on its spine, so I grabbed it. The book was set in Beaufort, NC, not even a half hour from where we stay at the ocean and one of my favorite places to visit and explore while down there. So I slipped it into my library bag.
Yeah. It’s an adoption themed novel. Because of course.
A young (but not too young, like, you know, me) woman experiences an unplanned pregnancy. Her boyfriend is an imbicile, because God forbid we portray a biological (or any) father as anything but. Her mother is dying of cancer. She chooses a family on the adoption agency’s website because she has seen the father in Beaufort, NC where she sometimes stays with a family friend in the summer.
You can see where this is going, right? I mean, the book’s plot doesn’t go quite as obnoxious as the new Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig movie entitled A Deadly Adoption (which, who thought THAT was a good idea??), but it takes a Juno-esque plot twist and sends the book in a “unique” but insert-eye-roll-here direction. I spent a lot of time picking the book up, reading a paragraph, and putting it back down. In disgust.
The birth mother stereotypes are plenty. She casually drinks and uses drugs. She drops out of college when she gets pregnant. She presents a “threat” to the adoptive parents. But she’s also very intelligent (as we see at the end of the book) and caring. She initially wanted a closed adoption, but still chose to breastfeed in the hospital.
In the end, In Every Way lends nothing to the adoption conversation in entertainment. There’s nothing new in this book that we haven’t already been force-fed by previous authors and screenwriters, considering the Juno spin isn’t a hard leap. I’d venture to say that for the general non-adoption public, this book does a disservice by presenting the birth mother as a figure not to be trusted. I finished the book, and that’s enough for me. I would recommend it to other critical adoption thinkers and reformers as we need to keep abreast of how adoption continues to be poorly portrayed into today’s media. But otherwise, you can skip it.
The Time Between
Every year when we’re on Emerald Isle, we stop at Emerald Isle Books. It’s an independent book store in the little strip mall near the Food Lion. I love me an independent book store, so we purchase books every year as a simple “thank you for existing in this, my favorite place.”
Most often I find myself in the Southern Fiction section as I like to add another beachy type book to my library while on vacation. Having just finished In Every Way which gave me some great Beaufort action, I wanted something else southern and beach-ified. The Time Between is based in Charleston and Edisto Island, South Carolina. While I’ve never been to Edisto, I enjoyed the scenic tour the author gave of the island and the things she taught me about the Lowcountry I didn’t know.
The book was a very interesting read. I will say that the guilt and forgiveness story lines spoke volumes to me. There’s a little bit of everything in this book. There’s some childhood cancer, a handsome man, a broken relationship between sisters, some mystery, some history, and of course, some romance. Along with some solid writing (minus one double-n in Glen’s name which is the editor’s fault, not the writer), I could hardly put this book down—until right near the end. I wanted to know what was going to happen… and I didn’t. I didn’t want it to end… and I did.
While my reading slowed since we got home, I’ve been reading more and more. Maybe I’ll read enough to tell you about a few at the end of July. We’ll see!
Enjoy whatever you choose to read on the beach!