Apparently March was the month of memoirs for me - truth is definitely stranger, and often more entertaining, than fiction. And, I was on the waiting list at the library for several of these and as we all know, when it's your turn, you read the book, even if you aren't quite in the mood for it. I prefaced all of the audiobooks with an (A) since I think that medium really affects my reaction to a book. Since sitting in the car is a passive activity, I feel like I stick with them a bit longer than print books.
(A) Monday's Lie - The unfortunate thing about this book is that its biggest plot twist is revealed in the book's summary. I had forgotten the details of the summary, got a little bored with the book itself, read the summary again, and felt like it was spoiled for me the rest of the way through. The premise is interesting enough - a woman whose mother was some kind of spy relies on all the tricks her mother taught her to figure out what her husband is hiding - but when you know what the husband is hiding, the book seems unreasonably long. I also found the end pretty anticlimactic. This one gets 3.5 stars from me.
Beautiful Boy - This is a father's memoir about his son's meth addiction. It's an interesting perspective combined with the science behind what addiction, and specifically the chemicals in meth, do to the brain. It got a little bogged down in technical info for me at times, but I found the author's explanation of his denial of the severity of his son's addiction and the way he treated his son throughout the ordeal to be something I learned a lot from. The son wrote a book of his own, which I plan to read soon.
(A) My Story (by Elizabeth Smart) - I'm really torn on this one. While Smart undoubtedly went through a horrific ordeal, and no one could blame her for not wanting to dredge up the past, let alone publish a book about it and narrate the audiobook, one would hope that if she made those choices, the book would be riveting, deep, and interesting. Sadly, it was not. I'm not sure if it was Smart's understandable desire for privacy, her modesty, or a psychological disconnect from the events that made the book feel a little flat. I mean, I'm not sure what I wanted - I'm definitely happy that there were no detailed accounts of the abuse she endured - but several times throughout the book, she said "words couldn't describe" or "I can't begin to tell you" and while I'm sure those feelings were true, they weren't very satisfying for me as a reader. She's undoubtedly a strong woman, though, and the book makes you wonder how your 14-year-old self would have acted in the same situation.
(A) Stories I Only Tell My Friends (by Rob Lowe) - This too was an audiobook read by the author, which I think made it more enjoyable. I know Rob Lowe as Number Two, Chris Traeger, and the senator on Brothers and Sisters, so I forget that he had a long Hollywood history before that and arguably the first celebrity sex tape. He grew up with the Sheen and Penn (as in Sean) families and dated Cary Grant's daughter while still in high school, so he had lots of great stories to tell. Some of his anecdotes seem unbelievable, or at least embellished, but I choose to believe them all. It was light and entertaining and now I want to marathon all his 80s movies.
Not That Kind of Girl (by Lena Dunham) - I want to "you go, girl" Lena Dunham for being body confident and a female in charge, but can I do that while I admit that I didn't care for her memoir at all? I'm definitely on the modest end of the spectrum, but the section on sex was way TMI.
(A) Room - A story about a woman kidnapped and held hostage for seven years, as told from the POV of her five year old son, who was born in captivity and knows nothing of life outside the Room that makes up their world. It was read by someone who sounded like a five year old boy. That was a little annoying at times, but I think that reading the book and dealing with the capitalization of the things they personified would have been even more annoying. I found the story really interesting and I listened to it every chance I got, but I can definitely see how it might not be for everyone.
The Rosie Project - How can you not like this narrator? I especially liked the mention of As Good As It Gets because my husband and his family quotes that movie so much I didn't realize the things they were repeating were quotes. It was an easy read, very predictable, but also cute. A good beach/plane/before bed novel but not life changing. That said, you better believe I immediately put myself on the waiting list for the sequel.
Nothing is grabbing my attention right now, so I've been anxiously awaiting this link-up. I finally started Jim Gaffigan's Food: A Love Story which I got for Christmas and has just been sitting there. Part of it comes across as a stand-up punchline and at least one story so far was in his most recent comedy special, but other parts are funny and relatable as someone who loves food arguably a little too much. I tried to read my first Neil Gaiman book but I found it so boring (The Ocean at the End of the Lane) that I quit about 1/3 of the way through. It's finally my turn at the library for The Happiness Project, but now that I open it, I'm feeling blah. I need something to get excited about again!
Linking up with Steph and Jana...