Drinking Diaries (an anthology)…………..

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The tag line under the title of Drinking Diaries reads “Women Serve Their Stories Straight Up”.  And they do with brutal honestly and reflection.

I bought this book because Jane Friedman has an essay in it. She’s very well known in the world o’ writing and her essays appear on quite a few websites I read regularly. In one essay titled Finding and Longing for Community, Jane comes across as quiet, academic, and maybe even reserved. Of course, I don’t know Jane, but she seems so down to earth and grounded. She is certainly successful in the writing world. So, the fact that she has a drinking story intrigued me. And her essay is intriguing – and quite revealing.

As are all the essays.

I am not really sure how to describe this book. It’s great that it’s an anthology because, not unlike drinking, it’s best served in small doses. The stories are heavy and heart-breaking and real. There is humor sprinkled here and there like an olive adorning a potent cocktail.

If drinking has been a part of your life in any way – even via its absence – I think you will be glad you read these stories. You might also start to see your own drinking in a different way.

A lot of the stories come from the perspective of daughters who were affected by drinking parents. If you are a parent, it’s interesting to see drinking through a child’s lens. If you had a parent who drank (or drinks), the stories might feel pretty raw.

In a very general way, this books feels like an AL-ANON meeting (the support group for those who love an addict). It’s just a simple sharing of stories and experiences without too much judgement. And it’s a great place to start a discussion about drinking in our lives and what affect it really has on those we love and those who love us.

Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty by Diane Williams……

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Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty

I might be admitting my significant literary limitations here, but I just did not get this book.

Reading it was akin to what it must have been like for the characters watching the king’s parade in the Emperor’s New Clothes. I tried really hard to see what was not right in front of me. It’s likely I should have been making real connections but they simply did not appear for me. I didn’t understand the symbolism that is probably very profound.

Diane Williams book is a collection of contemporary short stories – some of them very short (barely even one paragraph). So it is a book you can read in small doses or quick spurts.

If you like digesting a book and figuring it out, this might just be the book for you. The descriptions are vivid and the cover of the book is fabulous!

There is an interview with the author here if you want to hear her take on it all.