Friday, December 19, 2014

Book Review: The Way Life Should Be

Christina Baker Kline has a lot of great stories brewing around in her brain. She's published two other novels just this year  (Sweetwater, Desire Lines)  as well as the best-seller Orphan Train. And I've got to say: I'm impressed. These aren't literary masterpieces, but they are darned enjoyable reads.

The Way Life Should Be follows a well-used storyline: girl (Angela) and guy meet via internet. Girl loses job and on a whim, moves to guy's state. Guy ends up being a jerk. Girl ultimately lives happily ever after. It's been done before; it will be done again and again. But Kline isn't really about the plot—she's about insights, the I-know-that-feeling-exactly moments and the moments of pure poetry. Her characters are incredibly vibrant—they are people we know without being stereotypical. She is not only a close observer of how we humans behave, but she really captures those thoughts we thought no one else had. I love that.

A bonus in this novel: lots of recipes. I know: it sounds corny. But part of the story line is that Angela learned to cook from her Italian grandmother, and I am always happy to read about fabulous food being cooked and eaten among friends. I've bookmarked the "Pasta with White Bolognese" sauce to try on of these days.

Ultimately, this is a novel about finding one's place in adulthood—where do we fit in? Who is our family? When does my real life actually start? This is a quick, happy, familiar (in a good kind of way) read—perfect for those times you don't want to invest in something heavy. And—there's always pasta and pound cake.

No comments: