Beer and Book Pairing: The Resurrection of Joan Ashby
Our contributor, Nicole is back with a beer-book pairing. Check it out…
Published in: 2017
Reviewed by: Nicole
Find it here: The Resurrection of Joan Ashby
I got an email from Goodreads, but they said it was from A.M. Homes telling me I needed to read this book. I love her, so I listened. I knew it was a marketing ploy, but A.M. Homes!
She had this to say:
“stunning debut…reminds me of my most favorite authors: J.D. Salinger, Carson McCullers, Truman Capote, Joan Didion.” (You can see it right there on the cover!)
I NEEDED to spend Audible credits and it was 19 hours, a perfect storm for book selection. Only, it wasn’t. Salinger? AM (can I call you AM?) …
I got through this book in like 3 days, so I can’t say I wasn’t engaged. But holy moly it was flawed. And there was a lot going on. A writer has a couple of short story collections which just wow the world and she wins awards, and is this lauded famous author. Many of her short stories show up in the book, and I have to tell you. I didn’t get the attraction, I mean they weren’t bad, but not mind blowing.
She meets a guy (brilliant famous eye surgeon) and on like their first date she tells him, her writing comes first and she’s never having kids. Well, I don’t need to tell you what happens. They fall in love, get married, oops, she gets preggers. She rushes to finish her first novel, (to me the most interesting idea IN this book) and after she has the baby she decides the book isn’t good enough and destroys it (that’s the book I want to read), and puts a pin in her career and naturally has another baby because there was never going to be just one.
There are other stories she knocks about to get her writing again, which we hear all about and when the boys are in elementary school she finally writes a (boring sounding) novel that (again) we get to hear all about, and it’s good and she knows it, and then one of her sons, it turns out, is a 13-year old computer whiz, and needs to run a billion dollar company from her house, so she puts the book in a box in the garage because you can’t be an author and have a son running a billion dollar company out of your house.
Then something treacherous happens with the book, and she goes to India to have an Eat Pray Love moment, where she writes another novel we get to hear all about which again is not that interesting.
I didn’t hate it, but there were some things I just couldn’t get past … like how famous this short story writer was. How many famous short story writers do we know? George Saunders. Even authors, I mean, you don’t get to the level of celebrity this author portrayed — J.K. Rowling or George R.R. Martin, Stephen King — sure, but they all have TV or movies to back up their books. It just wasn’t real. And then there’s the stories and novels themselves. Like the author knew she was only ever going to publish one book so she put everything she ever wrote in it.
She’s a good storyteller, but the writing and the idea of the book itself were mostly average, with flickers of brilliance.
The beer I’d pick to go with this book is a 90-Minute IPA by Dogfish Head. Bitter (as Joan was at times) and overrated award winner.
Incidentally, BookRiot listed this in their 100-Must-Read Books on Pregnancy, Childbirth and Parenting Um, it would take more than a beer to convince you to have kids after reading this.