{What I Read: October 2020}

In between working, getting ready for Halloween, working on new sewing projects, and voraciously consuming Baby-Sitters Club books, I managed to squeeze in some non-children’s books, including a new book from a favorite author!

Invisible Girl, by Lisa Jewell. I love a good Lisa Jewell book and this one was no exception. In her latest novel, Jewell tells the story of a small group of people living in a London neighborhood. The action revolves around the Fours family, the patriarch of whom is a child psychologist, their neighbor Owen who is currently suspended from work on a sexual harassment charge and a former patient of Mr. Fours, Saffyre Maddox. It’s hard to really concisely sum up this plot but ultimately Owen gets blamed for Saffyre’s disappearance, and has to figure out how to clear his name.

The book is told from multiple perspectives, which can be hit or miss depending on the hand of the author. In this case, it worked. This was a story that needed to be looked at through multiple windows, and I don’t think it would have been as interesting if it had been told either omnisciently or through the viewpoint of just one character. Additionally, I liked all the characters who were narrating, including Owen who I will say does not present himself in a good light at the very beginning of the novel but really redeems himself by the end.

I always find it so difficult to discuss the thrillers I read without giving away plot details that might spoil the read for someone else. But I will say that this book has a somewhat ambiguous ending, even though the main plot line is summed up by the end, but it addresses something that I suspected from the beginning of the book and assumed would end up being the end of the mystery. I base my recommendations on how eager I am to read, and I think I did this one over the course of one weekend because I couldn’t put it down!

The Girl in the Mirror, by Rose Carlyle. I knew how this one was going to end almost before it even started. However, I still enjoyed the journey to get to the end as I was curious about how the author was going to get us there. Carlyle tells the story of nearly identical twins Summer and Iris who have, along with their other siblings, been given a ultimatum in their father’s will: his money goes to the first natural-born grandchild that bears the family name. This creates an inevitable animosity between the twins, though they both claim they are not vying for the fortune, as well as their half-siblings (their full brother has long since discounted himself from the competition).

Summer calls Iris to her to help her sail the family boat back to Australia, but the journey goes wrong and Summer disappears. When Iris finally gets to shore, her sister’s husband mistakes her for Summer and Iris finds herself taking on her sister’s life.

As I said, I figured this one out pretty early on and knew more or less where it was going to end up, but it was an interesting journey.

The next two books I read were, strictly speaking, actually audio books. I know some may consider this cheating, but with so much staring at the computer doing remote teaching, my sore eyes needed a break. I was almost done with two audiobooks that I had been occasionally listening to on long car rides, but never finished. I decided it was high time to finish them up as I was working on sewing projects over the last few weeks.

I enjoy memoirs written by actors and actresses that I like, especially when they are read by the actor or actress themselves. I tend to stick to comedians, and this was certainly true with the two audiobooks I completed this month.

The first was My Squirrel Days, by Ellie Kemper of The Office and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fame. I like Kemper as Erin and Kimmy, but I didn’t love this audiobook. If I’m being a hundred percent honest, listening to essentially Kimmy Schmidt for hours on end gets old after a while, which is perhaps why I started this audiobook so long ago and then never really finished it. I also found that I wasn’t particularly invested in the stories being told, other than the ones about The Office and Tina Fey! I enjoy when there’s a little insider information about the making of shows I like.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I really enjoyed Retta’s So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know. I obviously knew Retta from Parks and Recreation, on which she played Donna. I’ve also been following her on Instagram for some time, and she’s hilarious. I knew going into the book that it would likely just be an extended Instagram story and I was right – she was just as funny in the book as she is on social media, and I enjoyed her stories. As with the Kemper book, I particularly liked when she got to the Parks & Recreation section so I could hear some behind-the-scenes secrets of a show I love!

I spent most of October very behind in my reading schedule, but the audiobooks put me back on track to complete fifty non-BSC books for 2020!

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