Spring Break in Mexico: I spend a lot of time planning what I am going to read on a trip, I like to have a couple of page turners, a classic, something thought provoking. But this trip I didn’t read every book I brought along, let’s just say I fell a little bit short of my goal, but it was a good trip nonetheless.
The first book I read was “The Other Wes Moore” by Wes Moore. This book always appears on my “Amazon reccomends” list and so I finally decided now was the time to read this story written by the very successful Wes Moore about him and a young man who shares his name. This “other Wes Moore” grew up a few blocks away and within a year of each other. The writer, the successful Wes, grow up to be a Rhodes scholar and a successful business man while the other ended up in jail as a convicted murderer. It was a good book, if a bit self serving. It posed some good questions about what it takes to grow up to be a successful person even when the odds are stacked against you. The beginning of each section opens with a conversation the two men had while visiting in jail and one of my favorites is a discssion they had about when they “became men.” They both agree it was when they felt accountable to others and they both realize they got second chances. The successful Wes got his second chance but he realizes it came with a different context. I think the lesson of this book is that most people DO get a second chance but it doesn’t mean too much if you haven’t changed when you get it.
Of course, this book threw me into a tizzy about my son. At one point the successful Wes attends a military school similiar to Jack’s. The whole week I was out of sorts because he wasn’t with us on this trip but I began to feel positive and more hopeful after I read this book because I believe he is changing and will be given a generous second chance.
I was left feeling a little emotional so I hopped right into a thriller: “Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn. You will recall she is the author of the wildly popular and much discussed book “Gone Girl.” This is her first book and like her others it is a dark tale with twisted characters. If you liked Gone Girl, this would be a fun book, although it’s not nearly as good.
My third book was “the Nazi Officer’s Wife” by Edith Hahn Beer. It was a book club selection and was written by a Jewish woman who survivied WWII by pretending be a German. It was well done, but frankly I just wasn’t in the mood for it and I feel like I have read too many books about WWII. I am tempted to count them but I think it would make me crazy. I have resolved not to read any more unless they come highly, highly recommended.
My fourth book was recommended to me by another of my besties, “Every Last One” by Anna Quindlen. Let’s just say any feelings of hope I had about my family I got after reading the “Wes Moore” book quickly went away as I read this doozie! This is the story of a mother raising three teenagers, one of them is having a hard time as he battles depression. There is a big scene in the middle that includes some violence that changes the entire family dynamic. WOW, it was unsettling! Yet, Quindlen is one of my favorite authors for her portrayal of middle class family life. For example, here is a scene when the husband and wife are coming home from a New Years Eve party. The wife takes a sleeping pill to help her sleep. “Glen frowns. He wants to tell me that I shouldn’t take a sleeping pill when I have had alcohol, but he knows that I know. And I know he knows to leave the lamps on. I say this every time we get home and one of the children is still out. This is what it is like to be married: conversations in which no one actually speaks.”
Misson accomplished on spring break: Been there, read that!