Tickle Me by Monica Bouvier is billed as a romance novel, but the reader may find it to be more of a coming-of-age tale than anything else. The focus of the story is Alice and her transformation from an insecure, gawky loner to a confident, engaged woman. The catalysis behind this transformation is an online affair, but Alice ultimately decides to change her own attitude.
Ever since her childhood, Alice felt ugly and unimportant. Coming from a dysfunctional family, she spent her time buried in tomes of Greek Mythology rather than dating or making friends. As a young adult, she had to care for her ailing parents, taking a job she did not want. At work, she seems to be the brunt of the joke, never getting credit for anything. She has a single friend in Patty, who is an outgoing, party animal.
Then Alice meets Erik through an online dating site and goes through a slow transformation. She starts being noticed at work for her efforts and begins making more friends and feeling more self-assured. The remainder of the novel follows Alice and Erik’s courtship and eventual meeting, as well as Patty’s reaction to the whole thing.
Tickle Me has a fantastic concept; the reader will enjoy watching Alice change and grow. It has the feel-good quality of shy girl meets attractive guy, who whisks her off her feet and they live happily ever after. However, some readers may find the book to be redundant in places, as emails between Alice and Erick fill up pages upon pages, most saying the same thing over and over. In order to get the meat of the story, the reader may find herself skipping Erik’s “stories” all together.
Length and redundancy aside, the reader will be surprised with the outcome of the novel. Bouvier writes an in-depth character study of individuals as well as relationships. She asks questions about love, reality, and self-image. The reader will find an interesting story, meant to explore life, with an unexpected ending and some twists and turns along the way.
…And The Whippoorwill Sang by Micki Peluso is so many things: at times a personal memoir, at others a social and cultural commentary; it sometimes reads like a relationship advice column, and yet it is also a dramatic story with an extremely moving and emotional ending. In telling her family’s story of love and loss, Micki provides an in-depth look into her personal life that is framed by the cultural backdrop of the times, so that her story becomes as impressive and as important to the reader as events such as the assassination of Present Kennedy.
Micki begins her tale with a prologue that captures the reader’s attention and immediately causes her to start asking questions as to what has transpired. The first scene is of a mother dealing with the reality that her daughter has been in a serious, and probably fatal, accident—with her husband five hours away and the doctors urging her to accept defeat. The horror of the emergency room is juxtaposed in the next chapter with Micki’s wedding 22 years earlier to the love of her life. As her tale continues, the terror of the present is dispersed throughout a retelling of the past. Micki recounts her elopement to Butch and her mother’s subsequent move to Florida. She tells of her happiness in marrying Butch, but that his parents did not approve because she was not Catholic and, therefore, their baby was illegitimate. Because they had to stay with Butch’s parents, Micki tells of how she went through a four-week Catholic indoctrination in order to marry Butch in a “real ceremony.” The first touch of humor enters the story when Micki confesses to sending the priest to a rest home for frazzled priests after dealing with her religious debates.
The book continues in this fashion: Micki tells her family’s history, interspersed with humor, cultural commentary, and personal opinions while constantly reminding the reader that the focus of the tale is her daughter who is hovering between this life and the next and how the family deals with this situation and its aftermath. Micki tells the reader that as she sits in the ICU, she is “grabbing onto the past in an effort to block out the future.”
From the get-go, Micki’s honesty about herself and her family is refreshing and leads the reader to truly care for the people she writes about. Throughout the book, the reader will laugh, cry, yell in anger, and sometimes cry out a righteous “amen, sister!” Her story is so detailed and told with such emotion that by the end of the novel, the reader feels as if she is part of her family and dealing with the same emotions. She definitely keeps her promise…
And The Whippoorwill Sang
Light Sword Publishing
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a BA in English Literature has but a few practical uses. For those who do not wish to teach or write, a BA in English Literature is almost useless in the workforce. Do not misunderstand me, earning any college degree is favorable to earning none at all and I personally believe that a BA in English Literature is a noble choice for a college degree; however, when the world wants skilled employees, English majors are often overlooked. I believe this is because an English major knows a little about everything and not enough about something.
I graduated Susquehanna University with a BA in English Literature. At the present moment, I do not wish to teach and I am not creative or clever enough to write. My love of English lies in reading books, essays, and articles and discussing said works with co-workers/friends. As such, I have decided to begin this blog as a forum for appreciating literature and all that comes along with it. As the title states, I am happiest when I am learning and wish to be eternally learning.
In the posts that follow, I will share current works that I am reading and my thoughts about them. Every so often I may toss in a personal anecdote that relates. I hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as I am going to enjoy writing it!
Farewell for now!