We Have to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver:
While this probably ranks up there in the top five WORST book titles EVER, it’s otherwise superb. The prose is exemplary, the innovative fashion the story is told (first person letters to the protagonist’s ex-husband), and the subject matter itself is breath-taking. So much has been made of high school shooters but no one has bothered to examine the topic from the mother’s perspective, and with such a truthful and open-ended voice. This is no “Movie of The Week” but a complex picture of a woman, of a family, and of a child that commits a truly heinous act.
The Little Friend by Donna Tartt:
This is another example of magnificent prose in contemporary literature. Recommended to me by another bibliophile, I dove into this monstrous creature with relish. Whether my state of mind, or the author’s sometimes over-extended descriptions, I just lost interest halfway through. I was invested in the story, I am curious how it all tied up at the end, but I simply became entangled in all the descriptions of Southern flora and fauna. The book was incredibly rich but moved a bit too slow for me, for some reason.
Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Jane Gilman:
A collection of anecdotes from the author’s childhood, adolescence and adulthood, I picked up this book because of Susan’s sarcastic yet insightful voice. Her tales of childhood persecution will ring true for any woman, as will her tales of conflicted identity formation, and the struggles to find independence and companionship without compromising your values.