Five-star #FridayReads this week: ALL FALL DOWN, by Jennifer Weiner.
I always buy super-bestseller Jennifer Weiner’s novels as soon as they come out because their heroines are smart, funny, warm and realistic–no surprise when you consider that two of Ms. Weiner’s literary idols are Nora Ephron and Susan Isaacs, queens of the narrators-who-sound-like-they’re-dishing-with-you-in-your-kitchen-over-coffee-&-danish realm.
But I especially loved and recommend ALL FALL DOWN because in her latest novel, Ms. Weiner marries her accesible kaffee-klatsch style with a serious topic: addiction. So for me, ALL FALL DOWN has unusual focus and gravitas, catapulting it onto my Most Meaningful Novels list. I know I’ll read this one again and again.
This week’s #FridayReads is yet another superb novel: THE BOOK OF UNKNOWN AMERICANS by Cristina HenríQuez.
Set in an apartment complex in Delaware, THE BOOK OF UNKNOWN AMERICANS reads like a novel-in-stories, introducing us to one emigrant after another from different countries in Latin America and subtly, smartly weaving their stories together. Henríquez’s writing is so clear and eloquent that she makes each first-person narrator feel both easy and real–a huge task to pull off–and I was so won over by the freshness of every new voice and his/ her experience in the U.S. that I felt ashamed for a little while I wasn’t myself an emigrant to this country. Then I remembered: my ancestors must have felt like this once, just speaking in different languages from HenríQuez’s characters. THE BOOK OF UNKNOWN AMERICANS is more than an excellent, engaging read (which in itself is rare)–it reminds us that we are or were all, once, unknown Americans, and it holds a mirror up to us to remind us of our responsibilities and privileges in this country.