Tuesday, June 19, 2018
I'll Be the Victim! (All Your Life...)
First: The Widows of Malabar Hill. This is a mystery set in Bombay in the late Raj period. There is a lot of literature about this era, but this book sets itself apart with its very narrow focus -- Indian women in the 1920s. The main character is Perveen Mistry, who is working as a solicitor in her father's firm, even though women cannot be members of the bar. Throughout most of the story, Perveen's experience is contrasted with that of her British friend, Alice, and the eponymous widows of Malabar Hill. Perveen and the widows are all victims to one degree or another, and it's nice to read about how women of different backgrounds and beliefs support each other. Some of the book is in flashback, and it doesn't flow quite as well as I would have liked, but it's a worthwhile read.
The Book of Essie at first seems to be yet another story about kids growing up in the generation of reality TV and constant self-publicity, but turns out to be more about using today's media to take back one's life. Essie presents as a victim who refuses to allow life to play out as her parents write the script, but is able to seem as though she's cooperating while she manipulates the outcome. This is a compelling story, although sad, and the ending is liberating for Essie. However, the reader can't help wondering how things play out long-term.
I didn't expect to like Not That I Could Tell, because it seemed a bit too much like A Simple Favor, but it was SO much better! First, no creepiness! Second, the ending is happy! For everyone! There is just enough suspense to keep the reader guessing, but not so much that the ending is anti-climactic. This book also does a good job in raising awareness about domestic violence in a way that's not pushy or preachy.