Wednesday, November 29, 2017

bitches gotta read: i am not your perfect mexican daughter.

happy belated thanksgiving, i guess. you know what i'm thankful for? the dubious, ever-shifting number of days during which we have to fumble around wishing people various forms of holiday cheer while squirming on the inside because whatever people's plans are they are definitely more exciting than yours and all you wanted to do was run into target for some sale-priced cake mix and whoops that dude you hate from high school just happens to be contemplating frosting choices and you didn't bother to put on a decent bra because who can even tell you have a body under the pile of gas station rags you fashioned into a winter coat this year but he is clearly staring at where your nipples are grazing the drawstring holding your gravy pants up while pretending he doesn't notice the pillowcase creases in your cheek.
him: "hey sam! you look great! got any big plans for christmas this year?!"
me, a collection of random dead body parts frankensteined together with ultra-absorbent maxi pads and old cheese: "i was just planning to build a shrine to my dead cat and mail something under $15 to a stranger from my internet gift exchange. and you, person who never had an ugly phase and hasn't aged a day (specifically to spite me)?"
him: "wow! that sounds interesting! i somehow can afford to fly twenty of my closest friends to aspen even though we're the exact same age and you have just enough cash to pay for that one box of brownie mix i can't believe you got a cart to push around!"
end scene.

so i have this new gig writing book recommendations for marie claire (GET A DAMN SUBSCRIPTION ALREADY) which is fun and weird because i am not very good at brevity and summing up a whole ass book in 75 words that both accurately detail the plot while also  explain why you should read it is really fucking hard. have you ever tried to convince someone to read your favorite book and ended up sounding like a total asshole? every month i'm like "i liked this book but how do i make other people like what i like without being irritating or boring them to death." i read little fires everywhere and i loved it so much and i wrote this passionate and funny recommendation that i thought perfectly encapsulated it and then i did a count and had to trim 212 words to 75 and all i ever wanted as a kid was super short assignments and now that i've got them i can't stop having diarrhea all over my keyboard. anyway all my beloved thrillers and YA novels are piling up because 1 i love tv and 2 no one is paying me to read them, but don't worry i'm getting my shit back together slowly but surely for this book club.

the rules
1 we are never going to meet in real life. that would require a bra and zippered pants and probably an expensive uber and no one is doing that. you don't have to worry about megan's dairy allergy or that vanessa doesn't like champagne. no cleaning the cat box or vacuuming the drapes or hiding the dirty laundry in the oven so your company doesn't realize what a huge slob you are. just you in your house glasses and gravy pants sobbing into your six pack of beer, the way rainbow rowell intended. getting together with people you don't live next door to is hella stressful. plus, a bunch of old bitches sitting around talking about fictional teenage romance is lame. OR IS IT THO.
2 we are never going to discuss this, ever. i mean seriously. i'm going to derive pleasure from knowing that people i might possibly enjoy spending time with if i ever could bring myself to meet new people and i are falling asleep and drooling on the same book we'll probably never finish. maybe we'll talk about it on twitter or something. but even thinking about organizing that is a daunting task and i'm already exhausted. mariyam suggested making a facebook group, but is that dumb? the internet is so hard sometimes. (ETA: there is a group! it's called bitches gotta read! and it is full of hilarious mostly-women people who aren't irritating! come find us!!) i also have a bunch of friends on goodreads but lesbihonest: i'm not, like, putting all these john grishams i read on there because i don't need you guys clowning me in public.
3 we are never going to shame each other about not reading the fucking book. this is the beauty of never having to meet or talk about it: i ain't gotta come up with "thoughtful questions" and you ain't gotta pretend to remember what happened at the end of chapter seven while a bunch of wine-drunk bitches you don't even like that much wait expectantly for your answer. i'll read the books for sure, but that's only in case i run into one of you at the co-op and you decide to ask how shocked i was by the twist no one saw coming at the end.


brief internet synopsis:
Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed. But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

i got an early copy of this book before it came out and i tore through it in a day. first of all, it's set in chicago but, more important than that, it features a character from evanston. i.e. the place where both lena waithe and i went to high school. the book is so funny and so great and i met erika a few weeks ago at the texas book festival and she is a total joy and let me awkwardly hug her even though it was 90 actual degrees outside and everyone was damp to the touch. since i'm playing catch up and haven't given you a list of shit to read in a minute, here are some books i've read in real life on my own dime from other people i got to press my sweaty flesh against in the oppressive austin heat:
made for love by alissa nutting, a genius.
the floating world by morgan bapst, a champion.
eat only when you're hungry by lindsay hunter, a sorceror. (and my homie from way back)
all grown up by jami attenberg, a virtuoso.
goodbye, vitamin by rachel khong, a wizard.
okay whew now my guilt is assuaged for dropping the ball, especially since i went to the trouble to hyperlink all of this shit which i never ever fucking do. these should keep you occupied, depending on your reading speed and/or your penchant for cheesy hallmark holiday movies, for at least a few weeks of hiding from all the people who bought you hanukkah socks or whatever other garbage you didn't ask for.


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