RED HOOK ROAD by Ayelet Waldman (is my FIRST EVER BOOK GIRLFRIEND)
Posted: June 28, 2011 Filed under: Uncategorized
Yes, you read the subject line correctly, we are now doing BOOK GIRLFRIENDS on BOOKS ARE MY BOYFRIENDS.
I’ve had a couple of questions lobbed my way re: whether or not I was ever going to date book girlfriends on the blog, to which I have patiently replied ” YOU GUYS, the blog is like three weeks old, YOU GUYS I have to actually have book boyfriends (see title of blog) before I can get my lesbian kisses on with book girlfriends. YOU GUYS, YOU GUYS, YOU GUYS.”
“You guys” is the best form of address in the history of human civilization, this is a linguistic and anthropological fact.
So, YOU GUYS, now this blog is three months old.
Which means…of course… as you’ve almost certainly guessed by now…
We are about to get VAGINASAURUS UP IN HERE.
Yeah, Ovaries Raptor, that’s good, let’s do whatever that means.
So I wanted to give you guys an A+ Book Girlfriend as my first pick, natch and natch, but also wanted to give you guys an A+ summer beach book. Or summer chilling by the pool book. . Or summer sitting in the park under a tree book. Or summer in your living room reading because you are half vampire-half ghost and prefer couches and indoors to beaches, pools, parks, and all other healthy human socializing locations put together… (deep breath)… book.
I typed the above specifications into my Book-o-matic Transquadrupulator Configurobot 2000, there was a loud whirring sound, the barometer cracked, a bunch of test tubes filled with green liquid started bubbling over, lightning struck, glass broke, the room was suddenly filled with blue smoke, my laboratory exploded and when I regained consciousness I was holding RED HOOK ROAD by Ayelet Waldman.
Everyone say “Thank you Book-o-matic!”
RED HOOK ROAD tells the story of two families that reside in a small Maine beach town, the year-round Tetherlys and the summer-visiting From-Aways, the Copakens. Maine is very big on Who Is From Maine and Who Is Not From Maine and Should Be Regarded With Silent Hostility and Displeased Facial Expressions At All Times. The families are united in the marriage of a Tetherly boy and a Copaken girl. Soon after, both clans are ripped to pieces by a tragedy that occurs on the same day as the wedding. This is because A Wedding Happening is not a novel. But A Wedding Happening AND Terrible, Awful, Horrible Shit ALSO HAPPENING at the Same Time? Ding, ding, ding, you’ve just achieved novel status!
I’m not going to tell you what the tragedy is, you guys, this is “Books are my Boyfriends,” not “Spoilers are my Sugar Daddies.” Stop using your whining voice with me, that just makes me NOT want to tell you what the tragedy is even more. Just buy the book and go to the beach or park or your living room and read it already! God. Guys. God.
Continuing on with the synopsizing, RED HOOK ROAD follows the Copakens and the Tetherlys through the four subsequent summers following the Tragedy I Am Not Going to Tell You About, You Can’t Trick Me, So Don’t Even Try, weaving together the murky stages of grief, music lessons, sailboat building, library-haunting, lobster shacks, boxing, beach sex, freak storms, the many diverse species of Broken and Irreparable Families, parents parenting children, children parenting parents, People From Maine Hating People Who Are Not From Maine and People Who Are Not From Maine Not Getting What the Big Deal About Maine is* AND SO MUCH MORE!
This book is just the most gorgeous thing ever printed on paper, bound up, and given a Library of Congress classification and ISBN number. It’s just a beautiful little motherfucker of a novel. Like, I know a book can’t capture the entirety of the human experience in three-hundred something pages, but seriously, check out the themes this tome rounds up in its pages -familial ties, romantic love, death, grief, aging, coming of age, new beginnings, beach sex- this book gets through a whoa-crazy-lot.
After this book I’m a two-thumbs-enthusiastically-up-fan of Waldman as an author, but I’m just fascinated by Ayelet Waldman the Human Being. She’s one of those Brave, New, 21st Century Women Who Goes on the Internet and Sass-banters About Something and Then Gets In All Kinds of Trouble With Everyone Else on the Planet Earth. Just go Google her for ten minutes.
Ayelet Waldman is basically the Lucille Ball of the Literary World.
(You can just picture every time Ayelet gets into mischief with the press, her hubs Michael Chabon shaking his head and going “AYYYYELLLLETTTTT!”)
(This is really easy to picture, right?)
So I’m here to say that Ayelet is BOTH our funny friend “Old Shenanigans Waldman” (Almost positive this was her nickname at Jewish Sleepaway Camp) AND an A+ novelist with an A+ book who deserves your Reader Heart wrapped up in an Easter Basket with pastel ribbons and chocolate eggs and everything.
*I practice what I preach, congregation. I live in Los Angeles and I’m not territorial in the least. Whoever wants to move to the City of Angels, it’s cool, move here, there are plenty of angels for everyone. Also, unlike Maine-people, who pretty much get left alone, people are really, really, really, really, really mean about the city I was born, raised, and currently reside in. NO other location in the United States of America gets as much sass-bitchery as we Los Angelesians do, and we’re still totally nice and cool. So Maine, I’m glad you have so much sea food and state pride, but stop being such a jerk to everyone that just wants to visit you and say hi.
What Kind of Girlfriend RED HOOK ROAD Is-
A Maine Girl who wears her hair in a ponytail (but the wisps always come out) and button-ups (but the top few buttons always come undone) and her jeans rolled up so she can play in the surf (but the rolls always come unrolled and she’s always trudging back from the surf with the jean water-line hitting her mid-thigh).
She loves libraries and building boats and making lobster rolls and crab dip and having beach sex.
VAGINASAURUS BOOBODACTYL OVARIES RAPTOR! Who knew being a Book Lesbian was going to be so awesome-sauce? Isle of Lesbos for everyone!
Well, actually, wait, hold up, there is a catch and it is this. RED HOOK ROAD just suffered through a horrific tragedy and so now instead of building boats and making seafood sandwiches and having beach sex with you, she just wants to sit on the sand and stare out at the horizon and not really talk to/have fun with you.
You make it work. You sit on the beach with her, not talking or having fun. This goes on for a while. Like a while while. Like, a while while while while. It’s a while.
You stumble through a very awkward break-up speech but she’s very busy staring out at the horizon and having meaningful thoughts and in retrospect you’re pretty sure she wasn’t listening to you break up with her/probably didn’t even know you were there/ may or may not have known you guys were in a relationship to begin with.
Oh well, onto the next Book Boyfriend!
Or maybe it’ll be a Book GIRLFRIEND next time!
Rules have changed around here, pals and friends it’s a whole new book blog…
My Date With RED HOOK ROAD:
I take her to the beach because I think it will be fun and that we will have fun. It’s not and we don’t.
She needs some alone time. And also some space.
Like, about this much space.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to be out of a Book Girlfriend soon. Hmms, I wonder what MIDDLEMARCH is doing tonight?