Both these books arrived just in time for the opening of the neighborhood pool. I'm not going to pretend to review them objectively. I am too crazy about the writers to do that. It would be a review like their mom would write. I am friends with some of them, and friends aren't supposed to be objective. Friends cheer wildly when you get so much as a letter to the editor published, run straight out to buy a copy and slap it up on the refrigerator until it turns yellow. There are plenty of people willing to play the part of critic. I'll be over here with the pom-poms.
Having said all that, I have to pause part way through Things I Learned about My Dad (in Therapy) by Heather B. Armstrong et al, to tell you with complete objectivity, that the essay "Adam & Red" by Eden Marriott Kennedy blew me away today. Eden is, as you probably know, the Mrs. Kennedy, and the voice of Fussy, her often wry and funny blog. If Rizzo in Grease were a blog, I think it would be fussy.org: sexy, smart and tough, but with flashes of sweetness; pink lace under black sateen.
In "Adam & Red", she writes about a perfect patriarchal storm: the convergence of starting a relationship with her then undivorced husband just as his stepfather and father were exiting the scene, a few years before their own son was born. It's a complex, deep, mature piecebeautifully, unapologetically vulnerable. Bloggers are fluent in irony, and in print it sometimes comes across as a little adolescent. I confess there were places in the book I wanted to say, it's okay, we're all over 30 here, we're allowed our feelings. Eden writes in the voice of a full grown woman. The story is not at all heavy, but it has a feminine gravity that pulled me in completely. I felt lost and overwhelmed with her as she found herself swept up in the riptide of a family that had been coming together and coming apart forever.
It's literary craft of the highest order, in a class by itself. But it's not the only great read in this book, not by a long shot. If you don't already have it in your swim tote, what are you waiting for?
(rustle of pom-poms)
I'm looking forward to reading the few essays by writers who are new to meI've saved them for last. And I'm hoping my kids will be really good swimmers by next week, because once I open Becca's book, I know I'm not going to want to look up.