January 18, 2016
Finished: Graveminder by Melissa Marr
Graveminder is a book club choice that definitely fulfills the “something I would never pick up on my own” quality I love about book clubs. Well, win some, lose some with that; this one was not for me.
Considered Goth Mystery, Graveminder follows Rebekkah Barrow, a young woman who returns to her sleepy home town, Claysville, to attend the funeral of her grandmother, Maylene, and discovers she is the new Graveminder, one who performs a ritual at funerals to ensure the dead stay dead. Rebekkah’s old love interest, Byron, is the undertaker who helps her place the dead back in their grave if the ritual is not performed, or performed incorrectly.
I found this book slow, reeeeeally sloooooow, lots of pauses and meaningful looks, lots of alluding to things, but not many actual things. I didn’t feel any romantic tension between supposed destined lovers Rebekkah and Byron, and found them a bit morose (understandable given what they were facing, I suppose), even whiny. The only character I could initially garner any interest in was Byron’s father, William, and he ended up just sort of fading away. When something finally did happen—an undead taking a chomp on a living someone’s arm—I just found it, well, silly.
I think there are some interesting foundations of Graveminder that could be much more fully developed. For example, the funeral ritual itself (I liked the creepy, intriguing, “Sleep well, and stay where I put you,” incantation), and the land of the dead below Claysville, a murky underworld where the dead, and even some of the living, roam. In fact, Melissa Marr is the New York Times bestselling author of more than one Young Adult series, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Claysville is re-visited in a sequel or series. This one, though, could use an infusion.
Also Finished: The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Honestly, I’m so stunned by this book I can’t even write a review about it yet. Or maybe I don’t want to; I have this weird feeling of wanting to just keep it—or rather, since it was published in 2010 and already well known to tons of readers and awards—keep my feelings about it, to myself, to savor, to reflect on, to revere. For now, suffice it to say, this book is as real and beautiful a look at grief I’ve ever read. Read it, just read it.
I read Jandy Nelson’s other novel, I’ll Give You The Sun, last year and was blown away by it as well. I’m not even going to bother waiting for her next book to call her one of my very favorite authors.
Still Reading: In Due Time by Jen Noonan, or should I say, trying to read it. I bought the Kindle version but can’t find it on my (meaning my daughter’s; loaded with games and videos) Kindle. With some effort I can usually find it in my Amazon Cloud on my computer, but the effort part is the problem. I’d have long finished this book if my copy were just that—a book I could readily pick up in the five minute or so increments I usually have to read. Which is no fault of the book, and I am definitely going to finish it (and definitely, maybe, probably not, try to figure out how I snafued the download.)
The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey– I’m on page 100, but have to get it back from the library!
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert– I decidedly did not like Eat Pray Love, but I like Elizabeth Gilbert, or her online persona anyway, and really want to like this book.
In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume, by Judy Blume!!, by Judy Bluuuuume!!! ‘Nuf said.
Goddess of Suburbia by Stephanie Kepke
The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan by Whitney Dineen
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Bookclub pick)