March 2023 Book Marks
The luxury of choice is one of the most wonderful aspects of being a reader. It’s one place where more is more. Lucky for all of us that each week brings an abundance of choice when deciding what to read. This month of March offers a bonanza and here are a few of the pickings.
As I plant the seeds for flowers I hope will grow and bloom, just in time for my daughter’s summer wedding, I’m reminded of how soon the land will be waking up. The days, they are a-lengthening!
Commitment by Mona Simpson
An accomplished novelist, Simpson delivers a deep and sweeping novel centered around a family trying to navigate life’s crises, day-to-day moments and growing pains. Diane Aziz is a single mother of three, barely hanging onto a sense of security in LA. She’s figured out how to live in a zip code that ensures a good public school education and as the novel opens, she is driving her son Walter to his freshman year at Berkely, where he will come of age during the Vietnam War era. Lina and younger brother Donnie are left at home to witness their mother in the last gasps of her sanity. When she is admitted to a mental hospital, they are each left to determine their way forward. Lina heads to the east coast and her brother drifts toward a life of addiction. Who will look after each of them and how can they keep their mother’s dreams for them alive?
Go As a River by Shelley Read
This gorgeous novel sets the reader squarely in the wide-open wilderness of post WW2 southwestern Colorado. Victoria is the only daughter in a family of peach farmers who have been on the land for generations, their fruit known statewide for its quality. But when her mother, younger brother and aunt are killed suddenly in a car wreck, Victoria’s life takes a darker turn. She is left to be the woman of the house, caring for her unemotional father, injured veteran uncle and cruel brother, the kind of kid who was born pulling the wings off flies. A chance meeting with a young man, Wilson Moon, leads to forbidden love that will put both of their lives in danger and vastly change the course of hers. A reconciliation with her destiny brings this story around as it curves back to the land. The Gunnison River, which runs through the town, becomes a central theme of the story as it, too, is tamed by the creation of a dam that floods the town in the name of progress. This is a story of love, man’s cruelty to man and the redemptive power of family we can all find flowing through our veins.
I Will Find You by Harlan Coben
Coben does it again with a thriller that encircles your throat right from the opening pages. David Burroughs is serving the fifth year of a life sentence for killing his three-year-old son Matthew. Except that he didn’t do it. Numb and uncaring about his own destiny now that his beloved son is gone, he is shocked awake when his sister-in-law visits with a photograph of a boy who looks exactly like Matthew, right down to the port wine stain on his face. Buckle your seat belt, because from there Burroughs escapes prison and goes on a quest for the truth, which will whiplash you in all the wonderful adrenaline pumping ways you’ve come to expect from this accomplished writer.
Stash – My Life in Hiding by Laura Cathcart Robbins
So many memoirs in the past decade have dealt with the reality of addiction and the rise of substance abuse in this nation has been well documented. A less frequently told tale is an honest, searing look at what happens when people who have everything get too close to the fire and lose it. Robbins pulls no punches as she candidly details her journey from growing up with an abusive stepfather and boyfriend who dealt drugs, to becoming one half of a power couple in Hollywood, famously knows as the gorgeous black wife of a powerful producer. Facing divorce and a potential bitter custody battle, she reveals how she went from hiding her pills in her Louboutins and tampons and scheduling her withdrawals around meetings, to facing her addiction head on and achieve sobriety.
Women Are the Fiercest Creature by Andrea Dunlop
Set amidst Seattle’s tech elite, Jake Sarnoff is getting ready to take his successful social media company public. He’s got a gorgeous, young and pregnant second wife. His former wife, Anna, mother of his two children, is still grieving the loss of their marriage and trying to make sense of being forced out of the company she helped build with him. Across town, Sam is Jake’s college girlfriend who was fundamental in behind-the-scenes building of “Strangers,” Jake’s billion-dollar tech success. But Sam has a secret and as she broods on what it might mean to get justice, the lives of the three women begin to cinch together and tighten around Jake and his lies.
Return to the River – Reflections on Life Choices During a Pandemic by Dave Pelzer
At the heart of this story is the unimaginable abuse of a mother to her child and the complacency of the family. Pelzer previously wrote the number one best seller, “A Child Called It,” which described his horrific childhood of being starved, frozen, forced to sleep in a basement and have his hands plunged into ammonia and burned over a fire by his alcoholic mother. Finally rescued by the foster system, Pelzer overcomes his trauma and spends decades in the military, later becoming a fire captain in California. His own experience has forged his desire to help save other people. But with the pandemic, when life slows down, his speeds up as a first responder and things begin to unwind. His marriage falls apart and he understands it is time to save himself. This is a book that reminds us all that we have within us the ability to be resilient and that exercising the power of gratitude allows you to rewrite your own story.
*These are books I genuinely love and am thrilled to recommend to my friends. These are Bookshop.org affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I get a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Alternately, if you prefer to rent books at your local library or buy from your local bookstore, I very much support that!