Besides my “go to” books about family drama that have a “beach” read feel, I’ve got four on my list this summer I hope to read while “hammocking in” or “escaping to” the cottage country. This summer, and I know I’m a bit late to the party, I would like to “read” some of the movie/series I’ve enjoyed on screen featuring older protagonists struggling with real life challenges.
French Exit by Patrick DeWitt
A cross between a Feydeau farce (fitting, given that the location of most of the novel is Paris) and a Buñuel film, as one after another in an eccentric cast of characters is introduced . . . DeWitt is in possession of a fresh, lively voice that surprises at every turn. — Kate Atkinson ― Vanity Fair
While the movie wasn’t exactly a hit with movie goers and critics, I did though enjoy the performances of Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges (can’t go wrong with him). Although a little silly at times, this black-comedy had a bit of a punch examining what it’s like to fear the end of something and to resist the act of moving on. It was a surreal comedy so would like to read it in book form.
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
“After I read Still Alice, I wanted to stand up and tell a train full of strangers, ‘You have to get this book.'” — Beverly Beckham, The Boston Globe
I don’t know where to begin with my review of this movie. It was so incredibly acted (Julianne Moore as Alice) and incredibly told – with grace and such compassion too. The emotional rollercoaster that Alice endures in this surreal wonderland while still being aware she’s “Alice” is heartbreaking. And I’ve got to believe, raw and true to life too. It’s hard to believe this book had a hard time getting published. Looking forward to the full experience reading Alice’s journey along with her family’s too.
The Land of Steady Habits by Ted Thompson
“Ted Thompson’s elegiac yet bighearted take on adult disillusionment earns its comparisons to suburbans bards such as Updike and Cheever.”―The Wall Street Journal Magazine
I enjoyed this slow-paced movie about a recently retired middle aged man who after years of doing everything right, finds himself still reaching for some happiness in his life. He leaves his wife, moves into a condo and then waits for it to come. But it doesn’t.
It was a funny, relatable, and bittersweet movie, full of complicated characters struggling between the choices of freedom and obligation. I look forward to this read and want to compare the movie to Ted Thompson’s debut “suburb” novel.
Olive Kittridge by Elizabeth Strout
“Fiction lovers, remember this name: Olive Kitteridge. . . . You’ll never forget her.”—USA Today
Oh, did I LOVE this limited series that followed the stern and undeniably depressed yet witty character, Olive Kittridge, a retired schoolteacher who loathes life it seems and the changes going on around her, including the people in her town.
This HBO miniseries starring Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins is a must see if you like family drama that focus on the human condition. Told beautifully, I can’t wait to read the book. And even more exciting is Elizabeth Strout’s follow up book, Again, Olive that came out in 2019.
See, I told you I’m behind!