I was so proud of myself over the weekend: I read a whole novel!
Literally, I clapped for myself when I was done with it. I enjoyed it and all, but it's just so rare that I actually make it all the way through fiction (my usual m.o. is to read about five chapters, get bored, read the last chapter, call it close enough for guv'mint work) that I always get a little thrill of pride when I read the WHOLE thing.
The novel in question was titled Mail, by Mameve Medwed. So this morning I was thinking about what to write about it, and I started trying to construct a summary of the story, when I just got bored in the middle of it. And there's one of the rubs, for me, about reviewing fiction: I hate recapping stories. Nonfiction involves stories, of course, but for some reason they seem easier to relate. Take John Colapinto's As Nature Made Him: circumcision goes terribly wrong, couple raises one of their twin boys as a girl, boy/girl grows up feeling something is terribly wrong.
Now that summary writes itself, and therefore takes all the really hard work out of the process. But for a novel? Okay, let's try it. Katinka O'Toole, a thirty-something freelance writer, falls in love with her mailman, the appealingly blue-collar Louie Capetti, while also trying to get along with her ex-husband, the professor Seamus O'Toole, her widow mother (who moves in with one of Katinka's upstairs neighbors halfway through the book). Along the way she meets lawyer Jake Barnes, who is emphatically not her physical ideal but somehow gets under her skin anyway. Relationship semi-hilarity ensues.
See? That's just a lot of work. And I still haven't given you much of a review. It's okay. I liked the story and the characters were okay, but I can't say I fell in love with any of them. I'll probably read some more novels by this author, and I like the author's name. But that's about all I've got. This fiction reviewing is going to take some getting used to, evidently.