Friday, October 6, 2017

Mrs. Fletcher plus

I've read a number of decent books lately--one I'd describe as good, two very good of a certain ilk, and one is in the excellent category.

Sum it Up--By Pat Summitt is the autobiography of the outstanding women's basketball coach at the University of Tennessee. The story of her life is presented with the backdrop of her decline in health with Alzheimer's disease.  The book begins with her diagnosis which she categorically rejects and, like everything else she set out to do in life, believes she can and should be able to outwork.  Then we learn about her poor upbringing and playing/coaching successes with some marital ups and down sprinkled in.  Readers can not miss her devotion to her one child and Summitt's own hunger for paternal approval.

It is a good book if you are interested in women's basketball.  Readers will gain an appreciation for how hard she worked, and how hard she worked her players, to be successful.  What is also evident is that because of her father who could not express affection, there were some significant emotional gaps. She does not dwell on the demise of her marriage nor excessively criticize her husband, but you have to wonder if the marriage had any chance what with her need to compete and win as a coach.

 If you are interested in how Alzheimer's can abruptly change a life course, it is evident in the book. I came away thinking that Summitt was a much tougher person than I had thought she was.  I am not surprised that her son, whom she loved unconditionally, has had a bumpy go of it despite his mother's affection.

Here and Gone & The Couple Next Door--Let's say you have no desire to read War and Peace but you just want a page turner that is not ridickalus to hang out with for the weekend.  Either of these will do the trick. My favorite was the latter, but they are both very good and keep you turning pages.  Both, coincidentally, involve a mother who is looking for her kidnapped children. I did not seek out books about kidnapped children. My occasional source for book tips--the part time cashier at a local liquor store who is also a full-time librarian--recommended these.  Good tip. They are very well done, especially the second one.

Mrs. Fletcher--This book is outstanding.  I have liked Perrotta's others especially Little Children which was made into an entertaining movie and The Abstinence Teacher.  Also thought The Leftovers was good, though a little too Twilight Zone-ish for me.

Mrs. Fletcher is probably better than any of these others.  A forty something divorced woman takes her son to college and his absence at home highlights her loneliness. The book is told, mostly, from Mrs. Fletcher's perspective, but a large part is told in the first person from the son's vantage point.

The dialogue is both funny and, as they say or used to say, spot on. You can hear characters or have known characters who speak like this.  Mrs. Fletcher, aka Eve, (the name is maybe intended as an Adam and Eve reference) explores her own attitudes towards men and sex, and so do several other well drawn characters.  The book is not pornographic or erotic unless thinking about sexual issues is arousing just because it forces you to contemplate activity.  But the book doesn't excite you in the way erotica does.  What it does is make you think about what Mrs. Fletcher considers.  Other characters are also thinking about sexual conflicts as well. A former classmate of Eve's son and a co-worker at Eve's place of work.  There's a voluptuous female professor who has an atypical background. Eve's son is sort of a frat jerk and he gets a lesson in appropriate behavior from a woman who had been at one time sexually attracted to the kid.

The book is laugh out loud funny and is a catalyst for thinking about intimacy as well.  Highly recommended.

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