Thursday, February 25, 2010


I'm still on hiatus from this blog, but I wanted to let you know that I am still tracking the books I read at Goodreads and would be happy to hook up with other book bloggers there. You can find my profile here.

I figured this is a way that I can still keep track of what I'm reading and maybe post a sentence or two, without taking the time to write a full review (time and energy are still in short supply for me). I just posted a short review at Goodreads of Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, if you'd like to hear what I thought of it:

Her Fearful Symmetry Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my all-time favorite books, so I was very excited when I heard Audrey Niffenegger had written a second novel.I liked Her Fearful Symmetry and had no trouble finishing it, but I didn't love it the way I loved her first novel. I thought the characters in this book were all pretty strange - there was no one I could really relate to. It's saying something when the most normal character in a book is the one with a mental illness (Martin has severe OCD)! Many of the characters came across as apathetic and lacking in likable characteristics.The story was engaging and kept my interest, though it was different than what I expected. Her view of the afterlife was intriguing. Again, I can't help comparing this novel to The Time Traveler's Wife, which I found more believable and realistic somehow, even though it dealt with time traveling!I was fascinated, however, by the author's difference in approach and would like to hear what was behind it. Her first novel, set in Chicago (where the author currently lives), was 100% American. This novel, though it was published in the US, was written in British English, right down to the slang terms and spellings (I had to ask a UK friend what "digestives" are - they're cookies, oddly enough).So, overall I liked it but felt that it didn't come up to the standard set by The Time Traveler's Wife.

View all my reviews >>

Hope to see you there!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Fiction Review: Life on the Refrigerator Door

I know I just announced my leave of absence last week, but I had to write about the remarkable book I just finished. Thanks to Kim at Page After Page for her review and recommendation that led me to request this one from the library. When I decided to take a break from Book By Book, I told myself that I would still occasionally write a review if I came across something that really knocked my socks off…but I didn’t expect that to happen so soon!

Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers is a unique novel, to put it mildly. It’s told entirely in notes left between a mother and her 15-year old daughter. Mom is an obstetrician and a single mom, working odd hours and struggling to handle it all. Claire is busy with her own life, running to school, hanging out with friends, and feeling her way through a relationship with a new boyfriend.

Claire and her mom are often running in different directions, so they leave lots of notes for each other. Their notes run the gamut from the mundane details of everyday life – grocery lists, requests for money, scheduling difficulties – to expressing deep feelings to each other as they struggle with unforeseen challenges.


I had to go. One of my patients delivered two and a half months early. January is a horrible month to have a preemie…

When’s your presentation? Isn’t it coming up soon?

Let’s do something tonight. I feel like I haven’t seen you for days.

Love you –


-Could you get some more apples?

Hi, Mom!

I can’t do tonight. I have to go to Emma’s to study. James is coming too and we’re all working on the presentation for tomorrow.

I made some pasta with a cheese sauce so there’s no milk left. I didn’t get apples yet.

Hope work was fun. How’s last night’s baby?


A novel told through notes on the fridge sounds like it would be light and superficial, but this book has a surprising depth of emotions. At one point, I was crying so hard I could hardly see the words on the page, but I wiped my eyes and kept reading. I finished the book in one afternoon but felt as if I had lived through their experiences with them. Life on the Refrigerator Door provides an extraordinary and unique look into the complex relationship between a mother and daughter. Thanks for the great recommendation, Kim!

220 pages, Harper (an imprint of HarperCollins)