It gets darker and darker earlier and earlier. People leave work earlier too, but not me. I love when everyone goes home and I have the office to myself. It’s quiet and I can get long stretches of work done without the phone ringing, not needing to talk to anyone, or answer any emails.
I hear that’s why some people come in early, but that’s not likely to work for me. I barely drag myself out of bed as it is. Better to work with what I have.
Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
The question that kept coming into my head as I listened to the audiobook version of Pretty Baby was, how are Chris and Heidi even together? What would possess these two people to get married? It was never clear to me what they liked, or had once liked about each other. They had entirely different values and seemed contemptuous of one each other. A story about the unraveling of a home doesn’t work quite as well if you can’t imagine it ever being a whole, functional place.
The third narrator of the book, Willow, was far more interesting and her motivations made more sense to me. If the story had been more focused on her, rather than divided so evenly between the three, it might have been stronger.
I am also concerned when a book hinges on something related to mental health and I’m not sure it’s been handled with much sensitivity. I think it’s difficult to discuss my issues with it without huge spoilers, so won’t go into it, but I didn’t care for it as a plot device.
I don’t usually finish books I’m not enjoying, but the audiobook performances were solid and I was intrigued by the set up. Lots of promise, with not enough delivery for me.
Read this if: You have an audio version so you can enjoy the performances. Also, if some inconsistencies/weirdness in your mystery story don’t bother you.
Extracurricular reading and watching:
One of the main characters in Pretty Baby is living foster care. I grew up with my birth parents, but as a kid, I had friends who were in foster care. It’s hard to understand what other kids are going through—it’s difficult enough as an adult. My childhood friends were not in a situation like that described in this novel, but the foster system doesn’t do a great job of standing in for a parent—especially as someone “ages out” of the system. In November, Maclean’s published a story about life post-foster care that focuses on the lack of support once foster kids become adults, and highlights some organizations that are trying to meet that need. I recommend giving it a read.
If you’re looking for a feel-good, cozy drama about foster care, that I’m pretty sure doesn’t really delve into the realities of being a foster parent or child, check out The Fosters. It’s light, it’s silly, but it makes me feel warm all over.
Given that I think the central relationship in this book was a terrible one, I’d like to share the best relationship advice from the Internet I’ve read this year. This advice is good not only for romantic relationships, but friendships and maybe even with coworkers, though I haven’t tested that one out yet. Joanna Goddard, who writes Cup of Jo, talks about how one magic phrase changed how she approaches arguments or bad feelings in her relationship.