Kristin Chenoweth – A Little Bit Wicked
Adorable. It’s very sweet, funny, and personal without being too personal and tell-all-ish – more a collection of anecdotes than a memoir, and at times the narrative does leap around the place a little bit, which can be confusing. But it’s a cute read, very moving when it comes to her family, in particular, and there’s a lot of interesting bits ‘n’ pieces about showbiz and singing.

Tom Lennon – When Love Comes To Town
Oh, good grief. It might not be fair to judge a book about being gay in Ireland in the early 90s harshly (it was originally published in ’93, reissued a few years ago) because it is pre-’93, it’s pre-decriminalisation, but good grief. It is profoundly depressing.There’s a sad older man who tries to pursue Neil, the main character; there’s a super-camp AIDS sufferer; there are still-married drag queens…. and yeah, it’s pre-divorce, too. It is unfair to judge the book harshly for being depressing, because Ireland of the early 90s, pretty depressing, but then there’s also a lot of it that seems terribly contemporary (the stirrings of ‘Celtic cub’ culture), so it’s a tricky one to read. And even super-liberal, fag-haggy Becky is shockingly bi-phobic. There is, absolutely, a lack of LGBT Irish fiction out there (never mind about fiction that features or is aimed at teens), and I’m sure that when this was published it was groundbreaking, but it doesn’t question the stereotypes. It doesn’t interrogate them. It just uses them, straight-up, take ’em or leave ’em. There are some great moments – Neil thinking about being on The Late Late Show as the first Irish gay teen – of the kind that do ring very true, but not enough of them, and towards the end it does just get a bit ‘oh dear, just a world of oh dear’.

E Lockhart – Dramarama
This is actually a reread, which I don’t normally yap about here, although I do quite a bit of rereading (I don’t know how people can give books away once they’ve read them – don’t they get cravings a few years later?). But I loved rereading it – it’s summer drama camp, people! I love summer camp as a setting – the intensity, the newness of it, the tight but often transient bonds formed, the possibility or impossibility of reinvention – and this works so well. (I am also completely musically and dance-ily inept, so there’s a vicarious thrill in reading about people who have actual talent.)

Caragh M. O’Brien – Birthmarked
Gorgeous and heartbreaking YA dystopian novel. The central character, Gaia, is a midwife whose duty to the Enclave, the elite walled-in society, is to deliver outside-born babies to them. When her parents are taken away and a ribbon may hold the secrets of those ‘advanced’ babies, life gets a little more complicated. I am terribly fond of dystopias, and this one, which has codes and genetics and high stakes and a love interest, is an absolutely terrific read.

James Finn Garner – Politically Correct Bedtime Stories
First published in 1994, and now out-of-print, but utterly terrific collection of fairytale retellings. Some excerpts:

“One day her mother asked her to take a basket of fresh fruit and mineral water to her grandmother’s house – not because this was womyn’s work, mind you, but because the deed was generous and helped engender a feeling of community.” — Little Red Riding Hood

“Now, the miller was very ashamed of his poverty, rather than angry at the economic system that had marginalized him…” — Rumpelstiltskin

“Now, this witch was very kindness-impaired. (This is not meant to imply that all, or even some, witches are that way, not to deny this particular witch her right to express whatever disposition came naturally to her…)” — Rapunzel

At one point Snow White and the queen do some hatha yoga together. And the Emperor, he of the New Clothes, is merely endorsing a clothing-optional lifestyle. The jargon hasn’t dated too much, and it’s well worth the read.

About clairehennessy

Writer (mostly YA fiction), creative writing teacher, tea drinker, book junkie. View all posts by clairehennessy

6 responses to “Book-post!

  • Tweets that mention Book-post! « Claire Hennessy --

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Claire Hennessy and Janice Foy, Janice Foy. Janice Foy said: RT @clairehennessy: Book #review post! Inc A Little Bit Wicked, Birthmarked, & others. […]

  • Janice

    Oooooooh, Claire. Blog re-design. I like it!

    When Love Comes to Town – might make me angry and throw things, so I probably won’t read it.

    Kristin – Yes, please.

    Dramarama – Ah, summer camps the summer equivalent (obviously) of ski chalets – and I love me some ski chalet reads, so that’s on the list.

    Birthmarked – Book lust.

    Bed Time Stories – Might see if I can find this on Amazon.

    Lovely, to the point reviews ❤

    • clairehennessy

      Throwing things is indeed bad. It isn’t a book I’d recommend, even for the sake of having read it, if that makes sense.

      I love summer camp books. They’re so pretty! Bedtime Stories is delightful – if searching on Amazon there’s also a three-in-one edition which includes the author’s other similar books (another fairytale one and his Christmas stories) which might be worth getting – wishing I’d seen it before buying the first separately! 🙂

  • Margaret

    I really like the new background.

    And yikes, it’s kind of freaky to think it’s that recent that homosexuality was decriminalised.

    Love that Rumpelstiltskin quote.

    • clairehennessy

      Thanks! And yes, totally mad, and also why it was totally jarring to have that (implicitly – it’s never mentioned outright) going alongside what seemed like very modern, very recent greed and materialism.

      I love jargon-filled fairytales… so delightful!

  • Feettetow

    Good day
    Summer break is upon us, pretty boring. Wish to locate some extra time burning humor.
    Will be glad to see your gems

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