If asked about my musical tastes I gravitate mostly toward darker, goth female artists but have a soft spot for the flannel boys of Americana –bands like The Avett Brothers and Band of Horses. Sometimes I dig those rootsier beats. The Lone Bellow album Walk Into a Storm has me swaying and swooning in my Doc Martens. Note to self: find some flannel shirts at Goodwill. Maybe bring back my 90s wardrobe of flannel and jean shorts with tights. There are plenty of heartfelt and poignant songs on this album enveloping you in a big auditory hug. Things are tough. Despite challenges and adversities we’ll be okay if we stick together. And the power of music can lift our spirits and open our hearts. The opening track swiftly draws you in and digs deep. It’s moving, particularly with Kanene Pipkin joining Zachary Williams on the chorus. I particularly like these lyrics: “I’ve got no sickness/ Got no disease/ Except for the heart inside of me.” The song “Is It Ever Gonna Be Easy” reminds me a bit of Chris Robinson Brotherhood both in twangy guitar and earthy vibes. “May You May Well” is a hopeful meditative song. There’s an aching beauty to “Come Break My Heart Again” with Williams singing: “Come break my heart again/ So I can feel it /I think you need it/ I know you mean it…” A swaying and feverish beat anchors “Time’s Always Leaving.”
The Lone Bellow’s third studio album, Walk Into A Storm [Descendant Records/Sony Music Masterworks] was produced by Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell) and recorded in Nashville, Tenn. It will be released September 15, 2017.
WALK INTO A STORM TRACK LISTING:
- Deeper In The Water
- Is It Ever Gonna Be Easy
- May You Be Well
- Come Break My Heart Again
- Walk Into A Storm
- Time’s Always Leaving
- Can’t Be Happy For Long
- Between The Lines
- Long Way To Go
The Lone Bellow will kick off a tour in support of their new album on September 21 in New York.
Sept 21 – Central Park Summerstage – New York, NY#
Sept 23 – Farm to Fork Festival- Sacramento, CA
Sept 29 – The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC ^
Sept 30 – Riverfront Park Concert Series – Lynchburg, VA
Oct 01 – Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH^
Oct 02 – Opera House – Toronto, ONT^
Oct 03 – El Club – Detroit, MI^
Oct 05 – Lincoln Theatre – Columbus, OH ^
Oct 06 – Dave Finkelman Auditorium – Middletown, OH ^
Oct 07 – Headliners Music Hall – Louisville, KY^
Oct 08 – Deluxe at Old National Center – Indianapolis, IN
Oct 10 – Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL^
Oct 11- Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL^
Oct 13 – Majestic Theatre – Madison, WI ^
Oct 14 – The Englert Theatre – Iowa City, IA ^
Oct 15 – Fine Line Music Cafe – Minneapolis, MN ^
Nov 01 – Bijou Theater – Knoxville, TN*
Nov 02 – Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA*
Nov 05 – Iron City Birmingham – Birmingham, AL*
Nov 06 – Charleston Music Hall – Charleston, SC*
Nov 07 – Neighborhood Theatre – Charlotte, NC*
Nov 09 – Haw River Ballroom – Saxapahaw, NC*
Nov 10 – 9:30 Club – Washington D.C.*
Nov 12 – Infinity Hall Hartford – Hartford, CT*
Nov 14 – State Theatre – Portland, ME*
Nov 15 – House of Blues – Boston, MA*
Nov 16 – Higher Ground – South Burlington, VT*
Nov 17 – Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA*
#Supporting The Head And The Heart
*w/ The Wild Reeds
^w/ Mt. Joy
Project Runway. Season 16 Episode 5 on LIFETIME. judges: Heidi Klum, N’ina Garcia, Zac Posen. Guest judge: Demi Lovato. Host: Heidi Klum. Mentor: Tim Gunn.
An easily forgettable overall snooze of an episode. It starts with Tim Gunn taking this designers to the Lynhurst Castle where they meet the stars of Disney Channel’s Descendants 2—Dove Cameron and China Anne McClain—this week’s guest judges. Not even Disney but Disney Channel. Come on Lifetime and Project Runway! These children’s film tie-ins are tiresome. How about a tie-in with Mother! or Battle of the Sexes? Have I aged out of Project Runway? Who are these stars?
This week’s challenge: create an evening wear look inspired by the movie Descendants 2.
Some will be designing a good look and some an evil look. As last week’s challenge winner, Michael assigns good and evil. Good looks: Amy; Brendan; Kentaro; Aaron; Ayana; Claire. Evil looks: Kenya; Samantha; Shawn; Margarita; Batani; Michael.
“I love stories and I Love making garments inspired by them.” –Samantha
Being a model-focused season, the designers discuss which models they’ll be designing for and if there are challenges, concerns or particular inspirations. In the workroom, Margarita struggles and videochats with her parents. She’s crying that she’s not a crazy designers and that making women beautiful is her thing. She says: “I would hate to go home trying to be something I’m not.” Okaaaay Margarita. It’s season 16. You know there’s going to be avant garde, evening wear and unconventional challenges. The twins persist in annoying some of the designers. The Brandon/Kentaro bromance continues.
Tim comes in to critique. He tells Brandon that he’s full of the unexpected as Brandon designs another menswear-inspired shirt dress. He tells Claire to “beat back the costume” and questions whether or not lace on Michael’s look is matronly. Shawn feels that her design is really her. Aaron’s look. Oof. He’s not lasting all that much longer. He says he’s trying to “be more innovative and fun” but Tim says “it’s a gimmick.” He tells Margarita that she’s moving in a “beautiful direction.” So she needn’t worry. Tim tells Samantha her look is “like a big craft project.”
The Brandon love fest continues as his model Christina says: “I love Brandon. All these girls have a crush on him. But he does have a girlfriend FYI.”
Runway notes: Shawn’s look is cool. Kentaro’s is flowy. Brandon’s look is interesting. Samantha’s is basic. Aaron’s look is a big no. It looks like post-school dance. Michael chose gorgeous fabric and it’s a pretty design. Claire’s is simply. Ayana’s look is lovely.
SAFE: Batani; Amy; Kentaro; Ayana; Shawn; Margarita
He says he thought about his girl as a superwoman for inspiration.
Heidi: “It’s a modern straight jacket. I love it. It feels very fashion forward.”
Dove: “You did a fantastic job of taking the challenge and making it your own.”
Zac: “We’ve seen a lot of these different length shirt dresses. You can’t be a one-trick pony.”
She says: “I’m evil and I thought about a dark tuxedo look.”
Heidi: “It all works. I’m just in love with this look.”
China: “It’s tailored perfectly.”
Nina: “I love the fact that you didn’t do a gown. The drama is in balance.”
He says he’s inspired by “darker elements.”
Heidi: “She was a queen walk down the runway.”
China: “I wrote fabric sleighs in all caps.”
Zac: “It fits spectacularly.”
She says the first thing she thought of was princess.
Zac: “It looks like Cinderella on her day off.”
Nina: “We have seen a version of this a billion times. This is a cliché.”
Heidi: “This to me is forgettable.”
She explains that she was inspired by poison fruit and poison flowers.
Zac: “I don’t like your fabric choice. It’s just ugly.”
Nina: “This feels very old.”
Heidi: “It’s kinda like an 80s prom dress.”
He says: “I was given good and I thought that resonated with a pink.”
Heidi: “It’s just so messy. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Nina: “It looks like a child put together this outfit.”
Brandon is the WINNER
Aaron is OUT
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Penguin Press| September 12, 2017| 384 pages| $27.00| ISBN: 978-0-7352-2429-2
“She had, in short, done everything right and she had built a good life, the kind of life she wanted, the kind of life everyone wanted. Now here was this Mia, a completely different kind of woman leading a completely different life, who seemed to make her own rules with no apologies.”
What can I say about a novel that’s already garnered immense praise? Reese Witherspoon chose Little Fires Everywhere for her book club and plans to turn it into a miniseries. I adored Celeste Ng’s exquisite debut novel Everything I Never Told You. An immensely talented writer, Celeste Ng addresses race, class, youth, perception, expectations and family dynamics through gorgeous, thoughtful and tender writing.
At the outset of the novel, there’s a colossal fire and the why, who and how slowly unwinds throughout the novel. We start with the preppy picture-perfect Richardson family. Mr. Richardson is an attorney, Mrs. Richardson is a freelance reporter for the local newspaper. She grew up in Shaker Heights and convinced her husband to move back to the community to raise a family. The couple has four teenage children: Izzy, Moody, Lexie and Trip. Izzy’s the unpredictable one, Moody [aptly named] is the sensitive and cerebral one, Lexie is pretty and smart and popular one and Trip is the athletic one. I’d not heard of the idyllic Shaker Heights community –sounds like a gated community with its rules and regulations and standards–and this novel definitely provided me with a detailed visual. Growing up, I didn’t live in a neighborhood and at high school reunions always feel a bit excluded [not the only way that happens] when people connect through whatever neighborhood they resided in.
A single artist mother, Mia, and her daughter, Pearl, become tenants in a two-family home owned by the Richardsons, the disparate siblings develop connections with either mother or daughter or both. An itinerant pair, seemingly due to Mia’s artistic temperament, Mia promises her daughter Pearl that they’ll stay in Shaker Heights for a while. How difficult for a girl to have to constantly move about. There’s a romanticism to an artistic life but it’s the mother’s choice and not the daughter’s and understandable that she’d be attracted to the Richardson family’s stability and prosperity. Ng writes: “They knew important people, the Richardsons: the mayor, the director of the Cleveland Clinic, the owner of the Indians. They had season tickets at Jacobs Field and the Gund.” In comparison: “Mia and Pearl got as much as they could used—or better yet, free. In just a few weeks, they’d learned the location of every Salvation Army store, St. Vincent de Paul’s, and Goodwill in the greater Cleveland area.” There’s a moment where Lexie lends Pearl one of her tops and Pearl seems to be stepping into Lexie’s body and into the family by wearing the garment.
To supplement her inconsistent income from art sales, Mia finds part-time work at a local Chinese restaurant and with Mrs. Richardson’s encouragement starts cleaning and preparing meals for the Richardson family. By then Pearl and Moody have become close and Pearl hangs out to watch television at their house after school. In the same classes, Moody and Pearl develop a close friendship while she develops a crush on Trip, a junior and a jock, and longs to be more like Lexie. A fascinated Izzy soon begins work as Mia’s art assistant. Lexie confides in Mia in a way she’d never confide in her own mother. Quite understandable as these are moody teenagers striving to both fit in, express themselves and figure out who they want to be. Most everyone sacrifices something in their path to adulthood or to career success or family desires
When one of Elena Richardson’s oldest friends attempts to adopt a Chinese-American baby, it drives a wedge between Elena and Mia and finds their children questioning what’s fair. At that point, Pearl and Trip and Lexie and her boyfriend Brian are all sexually active. There’s a pregnancy scare to align with the adoption efforts. This is a lovely description of Pearl from Trip’s perspective: “Pearl was smarter than any of them and yet she seemed comfortable with everything she didn’t know: she lingered comfortably in the gray spaces.” Pearl possesses the wisdom of a girl who’s had to adapt to varied settings and too often make her place as the new girl. She’s adept at adapting. She’s observant and feeling. And now she’s feeling safe and comfortable. Elena starts to delve into Mia’s past and doing so will dramatically change her children’s lives forever.
Throughout the novel, Ng deftly takes the reader inside these family’s homes and into the depths of her characters’ minds and hearts. How can you separate your goals from those of others around you? What do you need to do to find yourself and to be satisfied with that? If fitting in means you have to give up your dreams will you ever be truly content? Several times as a plot twist clicked, I had to stop a moment to admire Ng’s cleverness. This is a must-read– a wonderful, graceful and moving novel.
–review by Amy Steele
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Penguin Press.
Project Runway. Season 16. Episode 4 on LIFETIME. judges: Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Zac Posen. Guest judge: Demi Lovato. Host: Heidi Klum. Mentor: Tim Gunn.
Episode 4: “We’re Sleeping Wear?”
Heidi and Tim arrive onstage. Apparently designers were called back right after last week’s elimination. Heidi is wearing a backpack and Tim’s hauling backpack on wheels. They announce that designers will be spending the night atop the Empire State Building.
This week’s challenge: create a sleepwear look for Heidi Klum Intimates sleepwear inspired by Empire State Building and New York skyline. Designers will also create their own textile.
Aaron: “Sleepwear’s kinda cute and sexy so I think it could be fun.”
Samantha: “I love painting so this seems like it’s right in my wheelhouse.”
Heidi calls out Claire for looking scared. Claire says: “That building is very tall.” They all head over in pajamas. Claire holds Shawn all the way up on the elevator. Amy notes: “It feels like floating through some kind of vintage movie dream.” Once on the 86th floor and out on the observation deck, they sketch for 30 minutes. “It’s definitely a magical moment,” Brandon observes.
Kenya plans to design a romper. Michael is making a slip style garment with angles like the Chrysler building or a “Harlem renaissance” dress. Kentaro says he’s not going to construct an all-black garment but instead a colorful maxi dress. In the morning, a full suited Tim bearing breakfast sandwiches sneaks up to wake the designers. I hope they brushed their teeth at least!
Back in the workroom they have about 11 hours for this one-day challenge. Brandon’s wearing his hair in two braids. Aaron said he’s doing a two piece. Sounds like pajamas to me. Kenya says her style is classy, sexy, trendy and she doesn’t do sleepwear. Shawn’s designing a long jumpsuit while her twin Claire is making an art deco print. The twins seem calmer and quieter. As annoying as they can sometimes be they’re also enthusiastic and dedicated. It’ll be hard when one gets eliminated before the other. Deyonte isn’t yet sure of his direction.
Kenya’s struggling with her textile. As he holds up his textile, Kentaro says to Brandon: “Hey brother it looks like I killed someone with this fabric.” Brandon explains: “Kentaro’s my buddy. That’s my G. That’s my brother. I look to him for advice. Just to have the connection has got me in a good place.” We’re getting to that time in the season when bonds get formed.
Heidi and Tim arrive for critiques and Heidi says: “Did you have time for a shower or no? No. That’s okay.” As they approach Shawn, Tim tells Heidi: “This is remarkable. She has something on a form. She never has for me.” Tim may not be a fan. Heidi tells the twins to chat less, work more. Deyonte’s hot pink and gray confuses Heidi who refers to it as a clown costume. Ayana explains she won’t be designing modest this time around because under the modest clothing is something not so much modest. Margarita shows her kimono robe. “I see a menstrual cycle,” Tim says. When Michael shows his strappy design, Heidi’s concerned. She wonders how to get out to go to the bathroom. I think it’s not the bathroom that concerns her. Claire is using purple and bright pink. Amy talks about a sunset and cityscape and Heidi tells her she’s thinking too literally. Heidi doesn’t think Kenya’s romper jumpsuit is very sleepwear. “You wanta be in the bed. You’ve got a boo. It’s gotta be easy.” In other words for the Heidi Klum Intimates collection it should be easy access and easy in and easy out. [I took a look at Heidi Klum Intimates and wasn’t wowed by anything. nothing stands out as unique sleepwear.]
Later on as they continue to work it turns out the twins ARE irritating everyone again. This time their tag team approach bothers the other designers. “I think we all help each other out in the workroom but I think the twins take it to another level. It’s not fair,” Margarita says.
Kentaro’s model says she’s the “Naomi of plus size” and that she gave some advice to Kentaro because she’s known for her shape. Aaron’s having problems with his fabric as its texture changed and there’s not much flow. Amy had remarked that he’d have a tough time working with his fabric. Kentaro has learned a new American term and tells Samantha he wants to stop being anal so often. Samantha hugs him. “Kentaro is all sugar and happiness and butterflies and so sweet,” she explains. A model says she feels frumpy and matronly and too covered up in Deyonte’s design.
Runway notes: Amy’s design is in a pretty print and color. Margarita’s look is bleh. Claire’s doesn’t do it for me. Michael’s look is very pretty. Don’t like anything about Deyonte’s design. I want Ayana’s look. It’s super lovely. I want Shawn’s look in a different color. Kentaro created a nice print. I adore Samantha’s design and want those pants.
He tells judges his inspiration is art deco.
Demi: “I love the color combination. The blush is so pretty and flattering on many complexions. The neckline is unique. It’s practical and comfortable.”
Heidi: “It looks sophisticated, sexy, expensive.”
Zac: “I wrote down Deco Cleopatra.”
Nina: “I love the effect in the back. The multi straps. It feels very 1920s. Very New York.”
She says she noticed the plaque of origin that stated that the building is sleek and slender and she wanted to “evoke the same kind of feeling.”
Heidi: “You are giving us something sophisticated, sexy, elegant.”
Zac: “It looks very polished.”
Nina: “I love the detail of the print. It looks modern, sophisticated, sensuous.”
He says he saw a sunrise and the top part he modeled after the building. He also noted that it “flows like a butterfly.”
Heidi: “This I can see a woman wanted to go to bed in. We have design here. It feels easy. A little flouncy.”
Nina: “This is adorable, charming, fresh. There’s something very feminine about it in a very quiet and modern way.”
Zac: “Beautiful draping. Effortless. Easy. It has something playful. I thought it was a breeze and happy.”
He tells designers that he was inspired by a vent. Which is problematical in and of itself. A vent? Of all the aspects of that building?
Heidi: “I’m so surprise. You’re giving two pieces that are too tight.”
Nina: “The waistband looks like a bad sweatpant. It’s a problem.”
Zac: “I thought it was lackluster. This is Runway. The world is watching.” IS it Zac? I’m not sure ratings-wise.
He tells the judges that after Tim and Heidi’s critique he did some revamping and thinks the model looks beautiful and dreamy.
Nina: “First of all, this doesn’t even look like something to sleep or lounge in. It looks like a dress. Her armhole feels very high up so she’s looking tight on top. The shape is nothing.”
Zac: “It’s boring. This didn’t do it for me today.”
Heidi: “Where is the sexy? Show me the sexy.”
For her inspiration, she says she thought art. She starts crying during the critique and judges go easy.
Heidi: “I’m sad to see you at the bottom.”
Zac: “You have a beautiful color palette.”
Nina: “You didn’t take the easy way out and you get a lot of credit.”
Michael is the WINNER
shop Michael’s design here.
Deyonte is OUT
The National will release its seventh studio album, Sleep Well Beast [4AD], Friday, September 8, 2017. The beautiful, dark, melancholic, soothing, soaring album was produced by Aaron Dessner with co-production by Bryce Dessner and Matt Berninger and recorded at Aaron’s Hudson Valley, NY studio, Long Pond.
Sleep Well Beast TRACK LIST:
Nobody Else Will Be There
Day I Die
Walk It Back
The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness
Born to Beg
I’ll Still Destroy You
Carin at the Liquor Store
Dark Side of the Gym
Sleep Well Beast
The National is:
Matt Berninger [vocals]
Aaron Dessner [guitar, keyboards]
Bryce Dessner [guitar]
Scott Devendorf [bass]
Bryan Devendorf [drums]
North American Tour Dates:
10/05/17 – Wang Theatre – Boston, MA (SOLD OUT)
10/06/17 – Forest Hills Stadium – New York, NY
10/11/17 – Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles, CA
10/12/17 – CalCoast Credit Union Open Air Theatre – San Diego, CA
10/14/17 – Greek Theatre – Berkeley, CA
11/27/17 – Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall – Portland, OR (SOLD OUT)
11/28/17 – Paramount Theatre – Seattle, WA
11/29/17 – Paramount Theatre – Seattle, WA
12/01/17 – Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Vancouver BC, CANADA (SOLD OUT)
12/02/17 – Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Vancouver BC, CANADA (SOLD OUT)
12/04/17 – Verizon Hall – Philadelphia, PA (SOLD OUT)
12/07/17 – Metropolis – Montreal QC, CANADA (SOLD OUT)
12/08/17 – Metropolis – Montreal QC, CANADA (SOLD OUT)
12/09/17 – Sony Centre – Toronto ON, CANADA (SOLD OUT) (SOLD OUT)
12/10/17 – Hamilton Place Theatre – Hamilton ON, CANADA (SOLD OUT)
12/12/17 – Civic Opera House – Chicago, IL (SOLD OUT)
12/13/17 – Civic Opera House – Chicago, IL (SOLD OUT)
Sparks, Hippopatamus [BMG] out September 8, 2017
–art-pop, glam rock. Cinematic, international, avant-garde, cabaret style art pop/ glam rock from California brothers Ron Mael and Russell Mael. They’ve been around since the 70s. I’d not heard of them. The music reminds me of Wonderstuff and Dresden Dolls. Lots of piano. Varied instrumentation. It’s super creative, fun, daring, edgy.
01. Probably Nothing
02. Missionary Position
03. Edith Piaf (Said It Better Than Me)
04. Scandinavian Design
05. Giddy Giddy
06. What The Hell Is It This Time?
10. I Wish You Were Fun
11. So Tell Me Mrs. Lincoln Aside From That How Was The Play?
12. When You’re A French Director
13. Amazing Mr. Repeat
14. A Little Bit Like Fun
15. Life With The Bacbeths
The Burning Girl by Claire Messud. W.W. Norton| September 2017| 247 pages | $25.95| ISBN: 978-0-393-63502-7
“You get to middle school, and you think about these things. The world opens up: history stretches behind you, and the future stretches before you, and you’re suddenly aware of the wild, unknowable interior lives of everyone around you, the realization that each and every person lives in an unspoken world as full and strange as your own, and that you can’t ever hope entirely to know anything, not even yourself.”
Writer Claire Messud adroitly explores themes such as friendship, what it means to be a woman, opportunity, choices, class, perception and artistic personalities with thoughtfulness and precision. The Emperor’s Children stunned me with its near perfection and it remains one of my favorite novels. I tore through her brilliant novel The Woman Upstairs. I realize now I need to read Messud’s back catalog. Messud’s known for writing what many consider unlikable characters. She excels at it. It’s the strength of a talented writer to write unlikable characters in a readable, magnificent and emotive manner. We may all possess unlikable qualities. Sometimes likeable characters are just too perfect, just too likeable to make for a satisfying read.
In this compelling novel with a realistic portrayal of female friendship in all its infatuation, moodiness and competitiveness, childhood friends Julia and Cassie fall out in high school, not surprisingly as we often change and need different things at different stages of our lives. Something terrible happens to Cassie. How much can one remember about our childhood friendships and what drew us to that person and what pushed us apart? Julia, the narrator of this novel, acknowledges that her memories might be murky way back when she and Cassie first met and “became friends in the second week of nursery school when we were four years old.” Julia recalls what drew the girls together and ultimately pushed them apart.
It’s rare the childhood friendship that carries into adulthood. Most of us evolve so much that those relationships fall to the side. This novel will make you reminisce about your childhood friendships. I’ve seen some childhood friends at high school reunions, while others I’ve lost forever, some for no reason then that we grew apart, we went in different directions as we developed into adults. It’s comforting to have this intelligent, masterful author write about these things because those were challenging times for many of us. Messud divided the novel into three sections. In the first section, the girls are children. This section’s influenced by fairy tales, Messud explains. In the second section, time passes and events have wider consequences as Julie and Cassie move into adulthood. In the third section, Julia and Cassie are “nominally into adulthood” and are both making up stories.
It doesn’t bode well for Cassie that she lives with only her mom Bev, a hospice nurse struggling to make ends meet. Messud writes: “It wasn’t hard for Cassie, who never confided in her mother. Bev Burnes wasn’t reliable; she was moody and weird in spite of her perma-smiles, and even if she seemed cool about something, it didn’t mean she’d stay cool with it, and weeks or even months later she would throw it back in Cassie’s face, or blab like it was nothing. Cassie had learned the hard way not to trust her mother.” Julia lives comfortably with two parents who earn enough money to allow Julia the comfort to not worry about daily necessities. Both work from home which means Julia always has her parents around for guidance, security, etc. Julia’s father is a dentist with an office in the (no longer used) stables on their property [“When he goes to work, he walks a hundred feet out the back door.”] and her mother “is a freelance journalist, a vagueness that seems to mean she can be a journalist when it suits her. She writes restaurant and movie reviews for the Essex County Gazette, and for the past few years she’s written a literary blog that has a following, including an adult English class in Tokyo that writes very polite comments.” Julia recalls: “Even when I was alone, I liked to know that I wasn’t really entirely alone; but that wasn’t how it was for Cassie.”
It seems clear that something will happen even if we aren’t already expecting it from the book jacket because these two girls are from such different family situations. When you’re young you can ignore those differences and how they may shape your future and your development. There’s this astute observation: “With someone you’ve always known and have loved without thinking, there’s the strangeness of knowing everything and nothing about them at the same time.” Julia’s the “good girl” and Cassie’s the “bad girl.” At least as literary characters. Cassie lives on the edge. She’s delving into everything and anything she can without hesitation and without considering any consequences for her action and behavior. Developing brains and all. It’s hard to be a teenage girl. Some girls want to grow up quickly. Some girls want to be more adult than they are. Some girls are more adult than their age. It happens. I had lots of friends who got fake IDs so they could drink before they turned 21, both in high school and in college. My brother got my friends the fake IDs. I had no desire to do so.
Messud, at a recent book reading, explained that as teenagers we have “a choice to opt out of the sexual economy.” Such a brilliant way to describe that phase when we hit puberty or start liking boys (or girls). Julia isn’t hurrying into sexuality as much as Cassie and that definitely separates them in junior high and high school.In high school, I had a group of friends who didn’t date or hook up with boys. Of course, this was a while ago, in the 80s. There were others who always seems to have boyfriends. Teens become sexually active even earlier these days. Julia focuses on her future outside of the town while Cassie focuses on her future outside her house and apart from her mom. This friendship won’t last once these girls become independent young women.
–review by Amy Steele
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from W.W. Norton.