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WATER ON THE MOON: A Novel ~Jean P. Moore

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Imagine you are enjoying a morning of relaxing in bed for a bit longer, the twins even have the day off from high school and you all can just remain cozy between the covers.  You begin to hear the sound of an approaching airplane and then realize the plane is in trouble and heading toward your house.  Racing to gather everyone together you bundle all including the dog into a room protected by the stairs and then the plane crashes right into the house.  Now in shock you and the girls wait for the neighbors to find you and dig you out of the wreckage.  So begins a story of major life changes and path finding for 3 women and their family friend, who provides them shelter and encourages the future.

The author and TLC Book Tours sent me a paperback copy of this book for review.  WATER ON THE MOON is already receiving awards and it is a wonderful read.  The story line is believable and the trip through the past is revealing and connecting.  The secrets are all the way back to Lord Byron and his words and life.

Lidia has a great many things going on in her life right now.  She is three years divorced and her ex has married another man.  The twins have not forgiven their father and Lidia is still angry about the whole experience.  Then she lost her job at a time where there were no openings and she was living off her savings and now this!  An airplane has crashed into the home built by her Grandfather and destroyed all of their things.  They are down to the bare bones and living with an elderly friend and a newspaper reporter suggests that Lidia is related to the pilot who died in the crash.  It is taking all her energy to get off the couch and progress into her future and keep the girls on target for school and college.

The story has an interesting premise that creates a mystery to be figured out and explained.  The story unfolds gently and it is almost like Lidia, we have to get off the couch of confusion and suffering and one-step at a time find the answers and the future.  Lidia must first overcome her fear of diving deeply into this experience, feel the feelings and discover the relief of answers.

I enjoyed reading WATER ON THE MOON very much and although I would not want a plane to crash on me, I am aware that we all need to feel the feelings, figure out our mystery in life and step by step move forward with our lives.  It is a good curl up and enjoy a good afternoon read, maybe while still under the covers being cozy!

From the book cover about Jean Moore:

Jean P. Moore began her professional life as an English teacher, later becoming a telecommunications executive.  She and her husband, Steve, and Sly, their black Lab, divide their time between Greenwich, Connecticut and the Berkshires in Massachusetts, where Jean teaches yoga in the summers.  Jean’s work has appeared in literary journals newspapers, and magazines.  WATER ON THE MOON is her first novel.”

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THE SUPREME MACARONI COMPANY: A Novel about the Angelini Shoe Company ~Adriana Trigiani

Monday, June 9th, 2014

“’My one journey to enlightenment gave me a rash. Go figure…Anyhow, my point is that even when you don’t make a plan of it, you will change.  You will want different things at different points in your life, just as he will.  Circumstances will hit you with some whammies, and you’ll fight back, and sometimes you’ll just give in to it and choose to lie down in the river and glide.  Whatever you do, know that there’s a long line of us that came before you who walked in your shoes.’ Mom looked around the shop.’ It always comes back to shoes with us, doesn’t it?’” page 115-116 in New York City

THE SUPREME MACARONI COMPANY is the name of the Angelini Shoe Company’s new factory in Ohio and I found the title to be the attraction to this new book by Adriana Trigiani.   I also have two friends who read every book that Trigiani writes and they are consummate Italian-Americans romantics who want to find such perfect happiness in a marriage and family; both would love this boisterous, argumentative family story.

This book is part of a family saga, which I believe to be three volumes long at this point in time.  The Great Grandparents immigrated to the United State to design and make Italian shoes in Greenwich Village, NYC.   One of the Great Granddaughters has discovered an artistic ability to design shoes and is trained by her Grandmother to take over the family business; Valentine wants to have it all.  This is the story of her marriage to an “Old World” tanner and good business man from Italy, also of her efforts to rescue her family business in the USA.   Her brother and sisters are all married with big families and the book begins with this 35 year old announcing her engagement at a Christmas Eve dinner and extended family gathering. The family is rowdy, vocal, a bit drunk, and thrilled about Val’s exciting news and worried about Charlie having lost his job.  The reader can just feel the children running around and Aunt Feen, being caustic and negative.

Gianluca is an older man who has been married before and he is graciously meeting the whole family as he has recently arrived from Italy.  His father is married to Val’s Gram and she now lives in the Old Country.  He has a daughter from his first marriage and she is also recently married.  The rules of the Italian-American family are seen as new through his eyes. Gianluca is a very romantic fellow, calm and careful.   This is a story about the first 2 years of his new marriage and the lessons of a long and connected family tree.

I was constantly hungry while reading this book, no lie, there was so much discussion about food and restaurants and venues; I could have gained five pounds within the first 100 pages.  As a person who is intolerant of tomatoes, it was a bit too much about all the passion wrapped up in this red fruit.  Trigiani has a mastery of the dialogue for this big family and for recognizing the folks left out of the dynamics.  The family becomes increasingly dependent on Val’s skills and is forming  a dynasty; regrouping around the initial gifts of the family legacy.

The story became predictable as it was winding down – too predictable and the sentimentality was over the top maudlin.  My prim British mum would have thought that the emotionality was depressing and displaying ignorance about what we have learned about emotions – too old school for an astute business woman with too much on her plate.  This was a traditional story and maybe that is the best way to think about this book, an old school family saga before they catch up with the new century.

tlc logoMy friends will not care and will just be happy that TLC Online Book Tours  sent me a copy of Adriana Trigiani’s new book for review.  I am sure it will be a best seller and I raise a glass of champagne to THE SUPREME MACARONI COMPANY

Adriana Trigiani is honoring her aunt Violet Ruggiero with this story.

You might also enjoy her New York Times Bestseller – The Shoemaker’s Wife: A Novel

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He’s Gone
The Time Traveler’s Boyfriend
In The Garden of Stone

OUTSIDE IN: A Bildungsroman *(coming of age) Novel ~Doug Cooper

Monday, April 28th, 2014

“OUTSIDE IN is a deep entertaining read about all the truths that find us when we’re looking the other way.”    Jerry Stahl – from the book cover.

OutsideInOutside In just brought me right back to my days in graduate school.  I thought about my study group and all the fellows arriving full of inhaled weed, cocaine, and passing around the beer all the while thinking they were being so clever, creative and intelligent.  I was the only woman in the group and the only person paying my full fees and I needed the information that these 6 privileged, affluent, East Coast males could provide me. Their dilemma was the Viet Nam War, emotional immaturity, and the inability to problem –solve.  I resisted reading this book and pushed it to the eleventh hour just because I felt stuck into that old situation – the teacher getting no credit or acknowledgement for skills.  I should have been paid a great deal of money over my career by the “inherited wealthy sons”  instead I am watching them manipulate the economy now and many are still emotionally vacuous and even meaner than they were 40 years ago.  Why would I want to read this book?

I persevered!  I am very glad I did, because the book had teeth and psychological piercings; there was no fluff attached.  Doug Cooper distilled 4 primary characters which prove to be  composites of some of the major problems facing our culture today and being masked by recreational or entertainment excesses and even Daddy’s money. “Jell-O” people, who strive for instant gratification and feel entitled just bore me. To me it appears that they have bypassed the meat and potatoes of life, the joy of recognizing mistakes and amazingly  the very stuff of who they are and what gives them meaning and depth.  I could see that there was hope for some enlightenment in a few of these characters.

Brad the primary character in the story is 28 year old junior high school math teacher, and he is put on leave from his position because a student dies of drug use and the parents blame him.  He is persuaded to head to Put In Bay Island to be a bouncer or “camp counselor” in a resort play land.   The participants are confined by their location, their heavy drinking, their exploration of drugs, and their constant almost 24 hours of daily play.  Addiction takes over the recreation and there is a need to figure out what comes next – they draw crisis to themselves over and over again – as any good novel would.

The book is smart and quite the read and if I were still teaching Psychology in college, I would add this book to the list and would get to teach all the big concepts and words in a great lecture about coming of age in America,  why maturity is so delayed, and how when the Inherited Wealth rules our world  we will have a new cultural dilemma to contend with; this is an important read.

When reading OUTSIDE IN, try to challenge yourself to figure out the emotional goal each of the characters represents. Do we actually understand responsibility – able to respond?   I think the historic context also plays a significant role in this capable study.

“Doug Cooper has traveled to over twenty countries on five continents, exploring the contradictions between what we believe and how we act in the pursuit of truth, beauty, and love.  He now lives in Las Vegas.  Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or at ByCooper.com.

After I wrote this review I went to several sites and blogs including what the author shares on his blog and it was a delight to read what others said.   I am so very pleased that I persevered.  It gave me a good workout – contemplation is good!

tlclogo  TLC Online Book Tours sent me a Kindle Copy of this great read.  At first appearances I was concerned that this book was all about drinking, drugs and excessive sexual behavior, as I arrived on the Put In Bay Island with Brad Shepard, I began to see that these were the young adult children who have not learned emotions, or problem-solving and are easily persuaded to mask what they need to be tackling and growing forward; they do not know how.  The author has captured this dilemma occurring in our culture at this time and given it a definition.  Some will awaken from this dream state – OUTSIDE IN is about those who figure it out –there is an epiphany.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s  from this site, I will receive a few blossoms in my bouquet. Donations also welcomed. Thank you for your support.

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*The author introduced this word to me – It just rolled around nicely into my brain – Thank you. Bildungsroman