The bruschetta looked like toasted Wonderbread, the minestrone could've come out of a can, the veal had the taste and consistency of a wet sponge, and the red sauce would've been BETTER had it been from a jar. Suffice to say that we were not impressed. How do they get away with this shit where there are so many GOOD, comparatively priced Italian restaurants nearby? How do they turn a profit? Are there people out there who can't handle quality???
Anyway, here's today's book. Another recommendation from Breakfast in Bed:Malloy, Brian. The Year of Ice. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002.Summary
: In the wake of Kevin Doyle's mother's (accidental?) death, Kevin learns that his father has been cheating on his mother and that his mother knew about it. Angry about that, and, coupled with feelings of isolation stemming from his homosexual feelings, he uses a fantasy of romance with a (very heterosexual) classmate to escape. His father has an affair with two women, manages to get the one he marries pregnant, and then disappears when he learns that the baby is to be born with severe birth defects.Comments
: This is dick lit exemplar, and Kevin's voice, though at times quite repetitive, is 100% believable. As per usual chest-thumping male, the depiction of women is deeply ambivalent, and the protagonist (and perhaps the author as well) seems to be fighting the temptation toward derision, even though he is obviously most aware of the various civil rights movements and histories of the world. He might also be anti-abortion--it's hard to tell. The whole Catholic/Irish-American/immigrant thing was interesting at times, but bellyaching about your differences from the "average" American when you're white too strikes me as a bit presumptuous. In any case, I feel rather bad for Kevin; he lies in bed dreaming of fairytale romance and even marriage and eternity with one person, and by the end the message seems to be that nothing lasts forever...when, meanwhile, he hasn't even had ONE boyfriend yet! Way to deflate the poor kid's expectations, doncha think? *sighs* The language of the novel itself is quite accessible, but though it is structured to cover Kevin's 18th year and his move from high school into college, I noticed that things accelerate considerably toward the end, as if the writer himself is eager to be done with it. (No surprise that this is Malloy's first--and only, as far as I know--novel.)Notes
: hardcover, 1st edition, out-of-print; trade paperback edition availableRating
- A strong beginning, but it peters out to near-mediocrity at the end.