Some things you glance at, do a double-take, and then…
I Live Inside: Memoirs of a Babe in Toyland
In this slim volume, Michelle Leon former bass player for Babes in Toyland, recounts her childhood, her time traveling with Babes, a little bit of her life post-Babes. Leon was only in Babes for a handful of years, yet she has plenty of material to write about. The book flies by in short, choppy chapters with wonderful prose. Leon avoids the pitfalls of many rock and roll memoirs by not belaboring the monotony of touring, while still giving you the essence of the monotony. This is a memoir that reads like someone is pulling you close and whispering all the dirt in your ear — dirt about Lori Barbero, Kat Bjelland, and various scenesters, while also sharing her own dirty laundry. In the midst of this rise to stardom, Leon suffers a huge tragedy, which was news to me so I’ll keep it mum, because the shock of it made for some good reading. This tragedy led her to ditch the Babes and head to New Orleans to recover. This is a good one.
In Nicola Yoon’s Everything Everything Madeline Whittier is allergic to everything. So allergic that she lives inside a house where everything is white on white, the air is like triple filtered, and she has a nurse who comes stay with her during the day while her doctor mom is at work. Maddie goes to school online, reads a lot, longs for friends and the outside, and spends all her time with her mom and Nurse Carla. That is until the a dysfunctional family from New York moves in next door with a hubba hubba teen son named Olly who is really into parkour.
Through IMS, emails, and notes written on windows, Olly and Maddie fall in love. So much love that she begins to risk her life to be with Olly. Maddie is an adorable, witty character and spending time with her is a lot of fun, but then SHITTY PLOT TWIST comes along and ruins everything in the final third of the book. Like this plot twist is not only shitty, it’s one you start to suspect early on is coming and you really hope it doesn’t because you’re enjoying this odd love story of two people who can’t really be together. Too bad a good character is wasted on this cruddy story.
When I cracked open Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance I wasn’t expecting a sociological look at at how we couple up and how that’s changed over the past few generations. Nope. I was expecting a witty essay collection/memoir ala Mindy Kaling or Tina Fey. However, I really dug this book he wrote with sociologist Eric Klinenberg. I liked that they took a look at dating in places outside the US (Paris, Tokyo, and Buenos Aires) and even in the US they spoke to people outside of Manhattan and LA. While it’s probably not the most intellectual take on love in the time of Tinder, it is insightful and interesting. Plus, Ansari is a pretty witty and charming narrator who takes you through all the ins and out of finding love when you have the virtual world in your pocket.