Saturday, March 2, 2019

Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen

I loved reading Anna when she had a regular column in the NY Times, and I still think she's a very good observer of this place, in this time.

Alternate Side was easily as good as her other work, and reading it was a pleasurable experience. But... This year, I decided that I was generally only going to read books by women, then I changed my rule to include men of color. That's going pretty well, but I'm coming to realize that I've read the story of a middle-aged, upper-class New Yorker more times than I can count. The books are good, but they're not telling me much I don't already know. So I'm going to narrow my list down a little more. My new goal is to find writers whose lives are different than mine in some significant way. Even though I have a decent amount of time to read, I don't have enough to tread the same ground over and over again.

So I give two thumbs up for Alternate Side if you aren't overly familiar with the indignities of owning a full-floor brownstone on the Upper West Side, while aging slightly, but not enough that rich and powerful men still chase you. I know that sounds snarky, but I don't intend for it to be. I think books like this are very popular with straight women who can empathize with the narrator's small trials and tribulations. I suppose they're like romance novels for lesbians, but with less sex and more ennui.

I'm not going to post an Amazon review for this because I'm not enthusiastic enough about it to praise it. I'm not averse to slamming a book that's sloppily edited or carelessly researched, but I never do that to a good book that wasn't quite for me.