Thursday, December 4, 2008

Book: Falling into Manholes

Subtitle: The Memoir of a Bad/Good Girl

By: Wendy Merrill

I can't resist a memoir, especially one that reminds me of my own monk/party girl split. This book was easy to read in a day, in 15-minute intervals interspersed with doing chores. It was definitely on the depressing side, and the writing style was annoying because it felt like the author was just trying too hard to be cute and clever and show how many little plays on words she could invent for any given situation. It comes out very late in the book that her little word games are a coping mechanism, which almost makes the fact that she wrote practically an entire book of them even more depressing. I mean, I do long division in my head to cope with stress, but I wouldn't publish a book of it.

I wouldn't recommend this book unless you are a diehard memoir fan like me or have an interest in stories about recovery. One thing I would say is pick up the book if you are in the store, and look at the author's photo. She is a knockout, but as the book describes, she has major self-esteem issues. It just goes to show that it doesn't matter what you look like but how you feel about yourself. Yesterday at the dentist the assistant asked if I ever had braces or wanted them and I just said, "Who am I, Julia Roberts? I do not need perfectly straight teeth." I mean, ability to chew? Check. Let's move on to more important matters. But skip this book.

Book: How Starbucks Saved My Life

Subtitle: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else

by Michael Gates Gill

A decent book. I did at one point wonder whether it was his idea to write it or one of his Starbucks supervisor's, because it reads at times like a giant ad for the corporation, interspersed with backflashes of shameless namedropping. The overall story is a good one, though, and interesting to someone like me who is fascinated by people's journeys to earn the money to buy food. I would recommend this book mainly because it is such a quick read and because the basic story, summed up adequately in the subtitle, has a good message. Money isn't everything, and the trappings of success are sometimes more of a trap.