He-the Monster-is now dating someone whose name begins with "L". I think her name is Lola or maybe, possibly Lolita. (Tiptoeing off the tongue. How lovely. Lovely Lola Lolita.) The Monster, everyone says, is much better now. He doesn't drink (I'm not around) and he doesn't smoke (I'm not around) and he doesn't stay out all night and ring "L's" doorbell at four thirty in the morning (drunk and smoky). He's older, wiser, and unwilling to go backward into that great abyss that reads me.
This is the first paragraph of Cranberry Queen by Kathleen DeMarco. 'Tis the season for cranberry harvest, so I thought it was an appropriate read for October's Turn the Page Tuesday. As you see, the book opens with Diana Moore thinking about her ex-boyfriend, dubbed the Monster. Diana is in her mid-thirties, works for an internet company, lives in New York City and seems to be on top of the world, except for her broken heart. In the opening chapter, Diana is reflecting on the next day. She will be headed to a friends wedding, where she is very likely to run into the Monster and "L".
"According to my Aunt Margaret, I'm set to have the best three years of my life. This is especially fortuitous, because I have the biggest day of my life tomorrow. Tomorrow, I go to a wedding where the Monster will be. With L. And I have summoned up all of my astrological and emotional and physical strength to attend this wedding of my incourteous friends, Maria and Michael, who have invited the Monster, feeling it better to propel me head-first into Engaging in Live, Part Two, by Getting Rid of the Past."
Like life tends to do, just when Diana thinks her Biggest Day is tomorrow, fate shows her what Biggest Day really means. The following day, instead of facing her ex, Diana faces something so much bigger; the death of her parents and brother in a car accident. In the weeks that follow, Diana trys to deal with this terrible loss. One day, trying to get away from the cloying sympathy of her friends, she heads out of New York City and into rural New Jersey. Here, where no one knows her story, maybe Diana can start the healing process.
I really enjoyed this book. It is the first novel from the author, but she is an accomplished screenwriter and since the release of Cranberry Queen, has written several other novels. She writes about this heavy topic with lightness and humour. I laughed out loud as well as wiped away a tear or two and thoroughly enjoyed it.
One of my favorite witty passages in the book is when Diana and her new friend, Louisa, are sitting under the stars sharing a bottle or two of wine. Louisa is about to tell Diana something personal and Diana, afraid to swap secrets, tries to distract her.
"Hey," I say. "Look up." She does. "Now make a wish."
Louisa glares at me. "I'm saying something important."
"I know", I insist. "So make a wish." Sober or not, I'm a very superstitious person. I should know better; I must have wished seven trillion times that the Monster would stay with me, that he was being honest when he said he cared about me. Wrong, wrong, wrong and yet here I am, promoting my fair-weather friends from up above. I should have wished for a meat cleaver. That I could have used.
Cracked me up. Several times since I read this book I've thought to myself, "Dang, I should have wished for a meat cleaver."
Pop over to Adrienne's Some of a Kind for more Turn the Page Tuesday reviews.