July 17, 2004
I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson

I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson: a novel about the life of Kate Reddy, a British working mother.

When we first meet Kate Reddy, she’s in her kitchen at 1:37 a.m. distressing mince pies for her daughter’s Christmas party at school so that they will look homemade. Kate is a hedge-fund manager, one of the best in her office. She’s also the mother of two children, Emily and Ben, whom she hardly ever gets to see. She has a lovely husband, Richard, whom she also never sees.

Her days are measured by seconds and each one of them is used in the most efficient manner possible. She tries to be the best mother, wife, and employee, but things are starting to give.

I really enjoyed Allison Pearson’s novel for many reasons. First of all, I liked Kate. I wanted her to be happy and spend some time on herself and have a peaceful life. Secondly, Pearson’s writing style was just beautiful. It walked the line between funny and poignant while making us really care about Kate and her family. While I’m not a mother, I still sympathized with Kate and would highly recommend this one, especially to all the working mothers out there.

July 13, 2004
Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears by Ellen Datlow (Editor) and Terri Windling (Editor)

Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears by Ellen Datlow (Editor) and Terri Windling (Editor): a collection of fairy tales written especially for adults.

Datlow and Windling are some of the best editors, especially in the horror and fantasy fields, that almost any book they put together is wonderful and this one is no exception. As Ellen Datlow herself says, there’s nothing new in this collection in regards to the themes of the stories since in literary fairy tales, uniqueness and novelty are besides the point. However, even with nothing new, these stories are still amazing.

The stories themselves range from light fantasy to darkly horrific and are retellings of such well-known tales as “Beauty and the Beast,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Little Match Girl,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and more. Even though we may be familiar with these tales, the authors invariably give each one a bit of their own style or idea and it becomes something entirely different in most cases.

Personal favorites in this anthology included “The Beast,” “Masterpiece,” “Roach in Loafers,” “Brother Bear,” “The Real Princess,” “The Huntsman’s Story,” “Match Girl,” “Waking the Prince,” “The Fox Wife,” “The White Road,” and “The Printer’s Daughter.”