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Friday, August 19, 2016

August Book Reviews: Family Relationships in Literature

Dewey 800 appears to be a combination of literature and books about literature. Among them I found these two books which are oddities for the category. They were an interesting contrast.

Good Talk, Dad: The Birds and the Bees...and Other Conversations We Forgot to Have; Bill Geist, Willie Geist; Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (May 19, 2015)

This was a lighthearted memoir--a double memoir really--of a somewhat famous father and his somewhat famous son.  Okay, maybe both of them are famous, if you watch TV. I don't watch much TV, so I did not recognize their names. The title intrigued me. Bill has a star on the Hollywood walk of fame, so I guess that means he is famous.

It is basically a book of shared memories on specific topics, seen from the points of view of both father and son. It's a fun, sometimes serious, occasionally irreverent romp through their relationship as father and son. Although I disagree with a number of their opinions, the opinions themselves are well-expressed. The language is clean, the book well-written by both father and son.

I suspect they gloss over the rough parts of their relationship, but they seem to be loving and well-balanced, a family that on the surface would have been wonderful to grow up in.


Letters from My Sister: On Life, Love and Hair Removal; Eve Lederman, Faye Lederman; Skyhorse Publishing (September 30, 2014)

This book is equally lighthearted, as the sisters write back and forth on various topics.  Unfortunately it is neither as well-written or as clean as the book above.  Both sisters come across as promiscuous, though also appearing to be well on the way to misandry.  They want men; they want to date; yet they present men in an extremely negative light. The very first sentence describes a soccer group consisting of "the whiniest, wimpiest men" and sets the tone for their opinion of men in general.

I stuck with it until page 77, which was about 77 pages too many. I had enough of discussions on toilet paper theft, crotches and their issues, and what is wrong with their mother, of whom they speak quite disrespectfully. Not to mention, oh yes, the horrible wimpy men they meet, and the possibility that one of their friends, Jacob, is gay. They think their dad is homophobic, but their attitude seems to lean in that direction as well.

If a man wrote about women in the same disparaging way as these two write about men, I can only imagine the uproar it would cause.  I'm for feminism in the positive strides it has made to give women rights over many things. I probably hold my job, and definitely the right to vote, because of feminists who have gone before me.  However, I am for the promotion of women, not for the denigration of men. There is a distinct difference.

I said one of their friends might be gay. I do not remember which sister had that particular friend. To tell the truth, other than location, I had trouble distinguishing their writing from each other, so making the transitions back and forth between letters left me feeling disoriented.


Disclaimer:  I checked out both books from the library, and wrote this review with no financial incentive.

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