Read One, Skip One: Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg and Love May Fail by Matthew Quick

June is a jam packed month for new releases…here are two I read recently, one of which I’ve added to my 2015 Summer Reading List!

Saint Mazie, Jami AttenbergSaint Mazie by Jami Attenberg
Fiction (Released June 2, 2015)
336 Pages
Bottom Line: Read it.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Purchased

Plot Summary: The story of good time girl Mazie Phillips, the proprietress of the Venice Theater on New York’s Lower East Side during the 1920’s and 30’s (Jazz Age, Prohibition, and the Depression).

My Thoughts: Based on a real person, Saint Mazie is the story of one of those quintessential New York characters who is famous just for being herself. She’s a troublemaker in her youth, constantly yearning for adventure and spurning the notion of settling down, but she has a good heart. She’s totally selfish in some ways and selfless in others. “Queen of the Bowery” would have been another good title for this one because that’s what Mazie was. I loved that the story is told from the perspective of a documentarian doing research using Mazie’s diary entries supplemented with present day interviews of people who knew her, their relatives, and historians familiar with that time period. The short snippets and frequent changes of perspective make this a quick read despite the fact that there isn’t a ton of action. Saint Mazie is a fun story about an exotic woman living in an interesting time and would make a great beach read (I’m adding it to my 2015 Summer Reading List).

Love May Fail, Matthew QuickLove May Fail by Matthew Quick
Fiction (Released June 16, 2015)
416 Pages
Bottom Line: Skip it.
Affiliate Link: Amazon
Source: eGalley provided by the publisher via Edelweiss

Plot Summary: After leaving her pompous, unfaithful pornographer ex-husband, Portia Kane returns home to South Jersey to regain her footing…and tries to find purpose in her life by attempting to “save” her high school English teacher.

My Thoughts: The overall premise of this story seems hokey, but I picked it up anyway after loving the writing in the first paragraph (shared by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea). The story is told in four parts, each one from a different character’s perspective. Each part reads very differently, and not surprisingly, I felt differently about each one. Part One reminded me a bit of The Wife by Meg Wolitzer with a higher dose of crazy…the writing is fantastic and I loved it. Things went downhill in Part Two…it was a bit too maudlin. I couldn’t stand Part Three, which was peppered with religious visions and “signs”. And, I really liked Part Four, though the hokeyness reared its head in the ending. Though this book ultimately didn’t work for me, I would still like to try Quick’s debut novel, The Silver Linings Playbook, at some point.

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  1. Saint Mazie does sound like a fun summer read. Too bad about Love May Fail though…

    Posted 6.18.15 Reply
  2. Saint Maizie looks like a fun read and love the cover.

    Posted 6.18.15 Reply
  3. I’m looking forward to Saint Maizie. I loved Silver Linings Playbook movie version and I’ve been anxious to read Quick so I’m disappointed to see Love May Fail didn’t work for you.

    Posted 6.18.15 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      I did love Part One 🙂

      Posted 6.18.15 Reply
  4. Okay, so I haven’t started reading Love May Fail and now I’m not feeling too optimistic; I’ll start it, at some point, and see what happens. It may be one that ends up as a DNF…ugh. That’s disappointing! On the other hand, Saint Maize sounds absolutely delightful; I’m so glad you enjoyed this one!

    Posted 6.18.15 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      Give it a shot, but just know it’s not all like Part One!

      Posted 6.18.15 Reply
  5. I’m so glad you enjoyed Saint Mazie! A great beach read, for sure. I was not a fan of Silver Linings Playbook (the book), so I’m happy for an excuse to not read Quick’s new book — thanks!

    Posted 6.18.15 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      Interesting that you didn’t like Silver Linings Playbook…maybe I won’t give it a shot then 🙂 I haven’t seen the movie, so really don’t know much about it other than it has to do with mental illness.

      Posted 6.18.15 Reply
  6. Anita wrote:

    I really want to read Saint Mazie, might need to look at the library or sneak in a purchase…ha ha. I was sent the Matthew Quick book, unsolicited and I’m not sure I’ll read it. Thanks for the heads up!

    Posted 6.18.15 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      No problem! I mean, I’d give it a shot since you have it…maybe just know that the whole book is not like Part One?

      Posted 6.18.15 Reply
  7. I wish Love May Fail had been better for you. It’s created an anticipated type of buzz in the book community, and I had thought about picking it up. I’m not sure when I would have the time to add it to my list anyway, so I guess I’ll pass for now.

    Posted 6.18.15 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      Interesting that it’s got buzz…I didn’t realize that! Maybe because I haven’t seen a ton of other bloggers reading or reviewing it.

      Posted 6.18.15 Reply
      • The buzz has pretty much been in the form of publishers, lit magazines, and ARC requests. I’ve only seen a few blogger reviews, and they loved it. Now, I think it’s about 50/50. Maybe like Blume’s novel? Highly anticipated but ratings fell quickly once it hit the shelves.

        Posted 6.18.15 Reply
        • admin wrote:

          I was wondering about Blume’s novel…I sampled it and was somewhat underwhelmed by the sample and didn’t buy it. Figured I would wait for some blogger reviews…and have yet to see many!

          Posted 6.18.15 Reply
  8. Thanks for the heads up on Love May Fail. I’ve been slightly curious about Matthew Quick, but haven’t picked anything of his yet. Maybe one day I will, but I’ll make sure it isn’t this one!

    Posted 6.20.15 Reply
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