Tag Archives: mothers and daughters

Social (Media) Climbing: Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford (Audio) @MacmillanAudio

Image of audiobook on CD Everybody RiseEverybody Rise, a first novel by Brooklyn journalist Stephanie Clifford, was the hot book this summer — seen on bestseller and Best Beach Reads lists – then quickly incurring the inevitable backlash to the hype — because no book is liked by everyone, no matter how popular it gets.

Set in New York City before the 2008 economic crash, 26-year-old Evelyn — desperately resisting her class-conscious, nouveau riche mother’s urging to marry up and do it quickly – leverages her prep school alumna status to dump her mediocre post-college textbook marketing job to shill for an exclusive social media start-up — People Like Us — aimed at the beautiful people who appear in the Times‘ society pages, e.g. debutantes, former debutantes, family scions, eligible bachelors, etc.

Narrated wonderfully by Katherine Kellgren, the audiobook hooked me immediately, and should probably have gone on my 2015 list of favorite literary fiction on audio. Katherine Kellgren does all of the characters’ voices so well, but especially:

  • Evelyn’s mother (social snob with an undercurrent of neediness);
  • Evelyn’s prep school friend, Preston (drawling son of old money, with a strong whiff of despair);
  • Evelyn’s best prep school friend, Charlotte (brisk and practical, but sympathetic to friends who aren’t as well-adjusted);
  • Evelyn herself (smart enough to recognize her envy of upper-class privilege but not strong enough to resist it).

Listen to a spoiler-free AudioFile review and a clip from the audiobook on SoundCloud.

Will you love or hate this tragicomic story ? Try this infographic to help you decide!

send email to lauriec@baystatera.com for complete text of infographic

Well? Should you skip it or try it? Everybody tell!

Everybody Rise
Clifford, Stephanie (auth.)
Kellgren, Katherine (narr.)
Macmillan Audio
August 2015
12.5 hrs/11 CDs

Disclosure: I received a free advance review copy of this audiobook at a library conference last May, or possibly won it as a prize through Armchair BEA last spring.

Other opinions on the audiobook:
AudioFile (“splendid”)
Literate Housewife (“pleasantly surprised”)
Publishers Weekly (“marvelous narration”)


Pleasure Reading for Bookish Foodies: That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay #weekendcooking

cover image with Eiffel Tower and tulipsThe two main characters in That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay are a reader and an author – both middle-aged, divorced, and love to cook. Both are slightly dissatisfied with how their lives have turned out in what is not quite the end, but is getting closer to being the final chapter. (Of their lives, that is…using a bookish metaphor here.)

With a picture of the Eiffel Tower on the front, you can guess how this story turns out, right?

Well, maybe and maybe not. Eve Petworth (the reader) lives in a suburb of London and Jackson Cooper (the author)  lives in the Hamptons. Eve sends Jack (think Lee Child, does he cook, I wonder?) a fan letter about his latest thriller and they begin a correspondence about cooking and eating that becomes an anchor for each of them in the swirl of their daily lives.

Dear Mr Cooper,

I could probably contact you more directly by e-mail, but the effort of handwriting will encourage me to choose my words carefully and I am conscious that I am writing to an author.

I wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your book ‘Dead Letters’ very much. The scene where Harry Gordon eats the peach (‘leaning over and holding back his green silk tie with one arm while the juice christened the shirt cuff of the other’) introduced a moment of summer into a watery English day. And it reminded me, as well, of the almost decadent pleasure that comes with eating fully matured fruit – sadly, a rarity.

With best wishes,
Eve Petworth

Eve’s and Jack’s correspondence continues through the novel, but it’s just the seasoning for the main storyline – Eve’s daughter’s engagement and marriage – with its underlying theme that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself or go to Paris.

Author Deborah McKinlay lives in the U.K. This Part Was True is her second novel. Instead of an author bio, here’s the recipe that she says defines her.

I’m sure I heard about This Part Was True from a past Weekend Cooking post, but I can’t find the post. I’m sure I’ve seen several mentions of it from book bloggers, possibly from one of these:

Book Journey

I enjoyed That Part Was True very much, especially because it was very much about reading and writing, and cooking and eating – some of my favorite things to read about! It’s also got that British depressive streak that keeps even their domestic fiction (which this is)and chick lit (which this isn’t) from being too cloying. On the book publicity, it’s compared to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society because of the letters and the cooking, but there’s no historic element here. I can’t think of another book to compare it to right now, but I’ll keep thinking!

That Part Was True
McKinlay, Deborah
Grand Central, 2/4/14
240 pp.

Weekend Cooking buttonThis post is part of Weekend Cooking, a weekly feature on Beth Fish Reads. Click on the image for more Weekend Cooking posts.

Words of Comfort about Uncomfortable Conversations: Mom, I’m Not a Kid Anymore by Sue Sanders@sueisme @TheExperiment

cover image of Mom, I'm Not a Kid AnymoreMom, I’m Not a Kid Anymore, a collection of essays by Sue Sanders of Portland, Oregon, is an exploration of the awkward conversations and touchy subjects that come up when adults and adolescents are part of the same family. It’s not a parenting guide, at all, but the way the author shares her own experiences and thoughts would be helpful to parents of kids 10 and up, even if only to help you feel less alone deciding what to say or do in different situations.

Essay titles range from “Mom, have you ever smoked marijuana?” to “Will the world be around when I have kids?” Topics the author tackles include body image, drinking, family dynamics, mean girls, and religion, among many other minefield subjects that come up in daily life. The essays span a time period from when the author’s daughter was first old enough to talk up through her pre-teen years. An only child, the author’s daughter, Elizabeth, was 14 at the time of the book’s publication last year. She comes across in the book as a bookish but also practical, kind-hearted, independent-minded young woman who will go far in life.

An excerpt from the author’s introduction:

I like to think that reading these tales is a bit like the advice you get from a friend over coffee: perhaps you agree on some aspects of parenting, maybe you disagree on others, but it’s still good to hear from someone who is going through something similar.

A transplant to Portland from New York City by way of the Hudson Valley, Sue Sanders is a decidedly liberal writer whose essays have appeared in The New York Times, the Oregonian, Parents, Family Circle, Brain, and Child, as well as on Salon, the Rumpus, and Babble, among other places. One of the essays appearing in the book is this Salon article: What If My Daughter Grows Up to Be Republican?, so check it out for a longer sample of the author’s style.

Whether you are a parent or not, if you enjoy essay collections from authors like Anna Quindlen, Ann Patchett, or Katha Pollitt, you would probably enjoy the thoughts of this talented writer.

Mom, I’m Not a Kid Anymore
Sanders, Sue
The Experiment, 2013
Distributed by Workman
256 pp.
$14.95 US

Disclosure: I received this book as a Mother’s Day gift, not for review, from a family member who works for The Experiment, but I enjoyed it so much I wanted to tell other readers about it.