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The Best Stories

 

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for  Quick Lit.

I am definitely in a memoir phase. I recently read Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I Loved  by Kate Bowler. It has been receiving a lot of buzz, deservedly so.   “Everything happens for a reason,” is one of my favorite platitudes.  I truly believe that our future and past are all woven together with everyone else on the planet to create God’s great story but there is something about that saying that falls a little flat when staring at someone in a desperate straits. What is the reason? A greater good for someone else? Yikes.  No. It is more complicated and rich. I will definitely read that book again.

I read Kelly Corrigan’s The Middle Place several years ago and really enjoyed it. I think about it a lot because that is where I live. Between children and job and parents and grandparents and small and large traumas. She has a new book. I put myself on the wait list at the library and read Glitter and Glue in the interim.  Quite good. She is a terrific writer.

Flat Broke with 2 Goats by Jennifer McGaha was recommended on the library website. Not too bad. She made some really bonehead decisions and never really took full responsibility for them but the book was engaging. Also from the library was With or Without You: A Memoir by Domenica Ruta. To me, it read like a novel. It is hard to imagine someone having a life like hers and living to tell about it. She does take responsibility for her mistakes even though it would be super easy to blame her parents. Ironically, McGaha intimated that her stable middle class upbringing set her up for failure.  Basically parents can’t win although I think Ruta’s mother clearly could have tried harder.

So what is going on with my memoir streak? I did read the novel Modern Lovers by Emma Straub.  Very hip. Some of the characters were better developed than others but I have at least 3 more memoirs on my nightstand.  T.J. Stiles expands on memoir here. Like Stiles, I enjoy seeing people survive the ordinary.  Shit happens to Bowler and Ruta and they turn it into something beautiful.  Corrigan and McGaha take some pedestrian crap like bankruptcy and challenging parents and give it a more illuminated existence, an unmerited loveliness.

That is the key for me really. Grace and redemption. All great stories are that story.

Until next time.

XOXO Jen

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