Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Moon on a Stick by Valerie-Anne Baglietto

Being left this way was like being knocked off a known trajectory into an unknown one. But as Amy loaded a few bags and plastic storage crates into her car, recalling thankfully that the Espace, at least, was registered in her name, she realized that no path from cradle to grave could ever be truly prepared for. There was usually something just around the bend, on its way to hit you. As if you were a hedgehog and life was just one long road to cross.

Elspeth stared defiantly into the creamy liquid in her glass, where the ice was already starting to melt. In the depths of her mind, a memory stirred. Something about God not being everywhere at once, which was why he created mothers. Except she had always upheld that God was omnipotent, so this had never made sense. Strangely, however, she was now starting to see a grain of truth in it. Maybe loving, caring mothers were a good reflection of what God was really like.

Amy Croft thinks she's settled down for life. She and her partner, Nick, have three adorable boys under the age of four and have been together for 14 years. They still haven't gotten around to marrying, but Nick is slow to settle on a date and Amy has made plenty of excuses, if only to ease her own mind. She has the engagement ring, the partner and the kids, already. He works for his parents' company and she stays home. All seems in order.

But, then Nick's best friend Paul drops a bombshell. Nick has called from the airport to say he's married someone else and is leaving the country. With Paul as go-between, Amy is forced to leave their lovely apartment and move into her mother and teenage sister's small cottage. Suddenly, Amy realizes what she has been missing all along and must start all over to find the absent ingredients in her life.

This is my second read by Valerie-Anne Baglietto and I only vaguely remember the first enough to know I really enjoyed it. The pages flew; I liked Amy and most of the people in her life. The book probably fits better under the classification "women's fiction" (which I abhor) than "chick lit" or "romance", but it's partly a relationship story, primarily the tale of one woman's discovery that she can stand on her own two feet without a male to prop her up. The fact that Amy eventually finds love doesn't ruin the story; it just makes The Moon on a Stick more of a feel-good novel.

There were a few minor "reality check" moments that made this novel less than superb. The writing is fluid, so it was a quick read for 392 pages. But, now and then, some small incident would interrupt that comfy suspension of disbelief. One such occasion occurred when Amy was searching for a new home for her little family and two-year-old Mikey noted that, "There's no room for daddy to play on his 'puter when he comes back from holiday." Unless she has little baby geniuses--and there's no indication that Mikey is closer to three than two--I find it unlikely that he'd not only speak such a complete sentence but also manage to reason out that a room is small enough to be potentially unable to contain a specific item. Children are ego-centric and tend not to think of others, although some have a greater spacial understanding than others. Similar quotes by her three-year-old made me think that either the author was childless or forgetful.

Still, I enjoyed the book and tried to ignore the moments that my sense of reality was jarred. The Moon on a Stick was definitely a nice break from some heavier reads. I have no idea what the title relates to.

3.5/5

Also finished: In the Cut by Susannah Moore (I could find no image online). I picked up In the Cut and began to read it, yesterday, because I was in the mood for something short with atmosphere. The movie didn't appeal to me at all; it appeared too violent and frightening. While I had totally misjudged the story based on the movie clips viewed, I was definitely correct about the tension level. In the Cut is the story of a woman who teaches English. She has lived in 14 countries, as the daughter of a diplomat, and is quietly self-confident. When she walks in on a couple and later finds out that the woman was brutally murdered, she keeps the information to herself and gets involved in a dangerous relationship with a cop who might be a murderer. At the same time, she begins to question herself and those around her, finding herself frightened of a student who follows her home to ask for advice and a friend who sometimes watches her from his window.

In the Cut is a book that makes you think and is intelligently written but just flat sordid. The entire novel is heavily, rudely se*ual and offensive. Worst of all was the sense that cops, in general, are bad people. My overwhelming feeling, as I read the book, was: "What a waste of talent and skill." Susannah Moore can write; but, In the Cut would have been a good one to lock up in the file cabinet and label a practice manuscript. It's nasty, sinister, and in the end, horrifying. Not my thing. I can't recommend it at all and am somewhat stunned that I finished the book.

Just started: Of the Farm by John Updike.

Wouldn't be caught dead in:

These shoes. They are popular amongst the swim-club parenting crowd and I've heard they're extremely comfortable (as well as waterproof). I'd rather wear flip-flops and get blisters between my toes.

Just getting ready to: Take the sweet little fur beast for a recheck. She was due last week, but I didn't want to take the chance that she might end up stuck in a cage all weekend.

Off to search for the cat carrier. Happy Tuesday!

22 comments:

  1. I haven't hopped on the Crocs shoes train either. They're rubber shoes! What's the big deal?

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  2. My sister wears those rubber clog things everywhere (even the mall!). I told her that if she wants to go somewhere with me, she must wear proper shoes. Horrifying.

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  3. First of all, I couldn't agree more with you about IN THE CUT. Sordid is the perfect word. And the ending?!!!! Ugh! I think it's interesting that the movie had a different ending.

    Second of all, I have to admit that I love my Crocs. I got them a few years ago when I saw them in a little store in Denver. Then, they started cropping up everywhere. They are so comfy. Even if they are a bit ugly.

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  4. Thanks for taking time out to comment on my blog...I still get a thrill when I see someone new has commented...even more so when they are from across The Pond!

    By the way I got my money back, it was put down to an atm error he he

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  5. I don't like those Croc shoes, either! Yuck. I suspect some would say the same about my beloved Birkenstocks, though.

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  6. Andi,

    Comfort and the fact that they're waterproof are supposedly the reasons they're big at swim meets; but, I'd rather go with something that looks a little less . . . loud? :)

    Kookie,

    Your sister must love her Crocs. LOL I think I'd put my foot down, too!

    Malady,

    It's funny that I went ahead and read the book knowing I was totally disinterested in the movie - I'm still not going to watch it. Can I cheat and get you to tell me the movie ending?

    Yep, that's what I'd heard about Crocs. They're just too ugly for my taste; I know a lot of people love them. :)

    Hi Stephen,

    I think I found you through Kookiejar's comment section. I didn't catch your exact location, just that you're in the U.K. Yes, it's always a joy talking to folks across the pond! :)

    I'm so glad you got your money back!!

    Les,

    We all have our taste. LOL I just happened to be thinking about Crocs because I saw some women looking at them at the Bass Pro Shop and thought, "They can have 'em." ;)

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  7. The Crocs are really big with nurses and other healthcare workers also. I think they are supposed to be really good for your feet because they sell them with the other nurses' shoes. I don't mind them, but I just wear my running shoes with my scrubs and they suit me fine!

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  8. Kathleen,

    When it comes to an on-your-feet profession like nursing, heck, I'd wear whatever was the least painful. That's a whole different ballgame!!

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  9. Well, I saw the movie on HBO or something.. I do remember the male frontal nudity.. that was a bit shocking!
    And the movie itself was slow and depressing.

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  10. I love the cover of "The Moon On A Stick" it is eye-catching and vibrant! I'm glad you enjoyed it...I tend to like relationship stories too, so I am sure I will like this one,I'll try to save it for a read between heavies.

    Both my girls wore "Crocs" last spring/summer, but you'd have to pay me to wear them! lol All the nurses and doctors in the hospital where I work wear them and I can see why, but to wear them outdoors? No thank you!

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  11. I will not get crocs but they even have charms for them which I find stupid. But that is just me. Like it is going to help the appearene. ;) I like my sandals just fine. :)

    Maybe I'll skip reading that book not like I don't have enough to read and right now I am creeped out by The Heart shaped Box by Joe Hill

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  12. Angela,

    I read about the nudity when I was looking for an image and all I could find was the movie (so, naturally, I had to skim a few comments). The book is pretty graphic; it would be hard to do that story with any dignity, but still . . . just not necessary, in my mind.

    Lotus,

    I love that cover, too; "vibrant" is the perfect word and it represents Amy's new, self-confident and self-sufficient life well. The story was a nice upper for me; I hope you like it. :)

    Crocs must be awfully comfy if medical professionals are wearing them. Dr. Scholl's and Clarks are my favorite comfort shoes, when I'm not dressed down and wearing athletic shoes. They have some cute styles, these days. Still, I wouldn't look down on anyone who wore Crocs to a job that involved standing all day!

    Krista,

    Me, too. I have a pair of Clarks sandals that are cute and so comfy that I can walk around in them all day and not even notice my feet. :)

    Skip In the Cut. The writing is good, but the story is just to icky. I'm still reading Joe Hill's short stories. I've been wondering about his novel because he knows how to freak you out, but he can write some good sci-fi/paranormal, too. Not all the stories in 20th-Century Ghosts are terrifying. I'd rather he stuck with ghosts and unplugged phones that ring!!!

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  13. *Spoiler Alert*
    If you are planning on seeing "In the Cut", read no further...

    Okay, it has been a long time but basically she thinks her lover is the murderer and handcuffs him to a radiator in her apartment and runs out into the street and finds his partner. His partner takes her to a remote area to "get something" and while there, she realizes that the PARTNER is the murderer. She struggles with him and manages to kill him. Then, she returns to her apartment and curls up in the lover's arms for comfort. While he is still handcuffed to the radiator.

    Riiiiigggghhhhtttt.

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  14. Oh! I read IN THE CUT when it first came out years ago, and it was touted as an erotic mystery or something like that.

    I finished the thing but I thought it was terrible! Especially the ending--here's a spoiler, so don't read if you don't want to know what happened.



    spoiler
    ~~~~~~~
    In the book, the main character, who is TELLING THE STORY, is murdered at the end, while it's in her point of view.

    And she describes getting her nipples cut off and the blood pouring out of her and her own death. Good grief!
    ~~~~~~
    end of spoiler


    I must say, though, that I might want to see the movie JUST so I could see Mark Ruffalo...if indeed there is frontal nudity. :-D

    But stay farrrrr away from the book. I actually read it on vacation in the Cayman Islands and left the book there to torture someone else.

    UGH. I really can't remember reading a book I hated so much.

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  15. Malady,

    Thank you!!! That's so much better than the book ending - hard to buy, yes, but better!!! Thanks so much for sharing with me. :)

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  16. Colleen,

    That's exactly how I felt about the book. I've toyed with just throwing it away because I figure, "Why would I want to inflict this on anyone?" That ending . . . uck! I know, Mark Ruffalo is great and hmmm . . . but, no. I couldn't. Why anyone would want to turn such a disgusting novel into a movie is beyond me.

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  17. Yeah, at least she doesn't die a nipple-less death in the movie.

    (and Mark Ruffalo is pretty hot)

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  18. One should not go without one's nipples, if at all possible.

    I hate to miss Mark Ruffalo, but, you know . . .

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  19. I know...the Mark Ruffalo thing.

    I could rent the DVD and just fast forward through it to the "good" parts. :-)

    I think Mark Ruffalo is worthy of a blog post someday, isn't he? Maybe on Monday. ;-)

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  20. Colleen,

    Yes!!!! Go for it, babe! I'll have to check in on Monday, for sure. ;)

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  21. My little baby nephew has a pair of those shoes. They're blue in colour and very small and cute! I guess those kind of shoes only look good on kids. Haha!

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  22. Josette,

    Anything looks cute on tiny feet, doesn't it? Maybe they should be reserved for water wear and babies. LOL

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