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 by Jami Attenberg
Fiction (Released June 2, 2015)
Bottom Line: Read it.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
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 by Matthew Quick
Fiction (Released June 16, 2015)
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.