Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2012 |
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Our July selection is Have You Found Her by Janice Erlbaum. Here’s a summary of the book (courtesy of GoodReads):
Twenty years after she lived at a homeless shelter for teens, Janice Erlbaum went back to volunteer. Now thirty-four years old and a successful writer, she’d changed her life for the better; now she wanted to help someone else–someone like the girl she’d once been.
Then she met Sam. A brilliant nineteen-year-old junkie savant, the product of a horrifically abusive home, Sam had been surviving alone on the streets since she was twelve and was now struggling for sobriety against the adverse health effects of long-term drug abuse.
Soon Janice found herself caring deeply for Sam, following her through detoxes and psych wards, halfway houses and hospitals, becoming ever more manically driven to save her from the sickness and sadness leftover from Sam’s terrible past. But just as Janice was on the verge of becoming the girl’s legal guardian, she made a shocking discovery: Sam was sicker than anyone knew, in ways nobody could have imagined.
Written with startling candor and immediacy, Have You Found Her is the story of one woman’s quest to save a girl’s life–and the hard truths she learns about herself along the way.
We welcome anyone to attend our discussion on July 18th at 7:00 p.m. The library does have copies of the book, but if all of our copies are checked out, please ask library staff to see if we can interlibrary loan a copy for you.
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Last night, we met to discuss Life, on the Line by Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas. We had a really great discussion, and I’ll try to hit some of the highlights of what people had to say:
- Some people had mixed reactions to the book. A few felt the first half of the book was boring, while others felt that the long descriptions of financing and planning Grant’s new restaurant were more boring. Some readers thought the entire book was interesting, and not boring at all. Many people thought there would be more about Grant’s struggle with cancer, and were surprised that it didn’t happen in the book until about 3/4 of the way in.
- We all discussed how dedicated (some said obsessed) Grant Achatz is, and how driven he is. We also talked about how this affected his personal life. Some people felt it wasn’t the best decision for him to try to stay with his first girlfriend, and perhaps it would have been better to let her go back to California with his sons, especially since he didn’t seem able to give them much time and attention. Personality-wise, many readers felt Grant Achatz might not come across as having a big ego in this book, but thought that in person, he might seem to. One person pointed out that she felt he has a huge issue with confrontation; he doesn’t confront his first girlfriend, he doesn’t always confront Nick, and he doesn’t confront the chefs he works with (instead, he compartmentalizes, keeps his head down, and just clams up).
- Some readers were a little familiar with Grant Achatz, and some of the other chefs and restaurants named in the book. None of us have ever been to The French Laundry, or Alinea (although one person knew some people who had been to Alinea and said it was amazing). We thought it would definitely be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of dinner (mostly because of the price, but also because it would be a unique dining experience). People did have mixed reactions to the descriptions of the food at Alinea — some thought it sounded weird, some thought it sounded delicious. We did agree that, as one person said, his food is “like an interactive art exhibit.”
- Many of us had no idea what it took to start up a restaurant. Some of us found it really interesting to learn about what Nick had to do to find investors, and create the business end of it, and also, that every last detail was planned out by Grant and Nick.
- Readers did like Nick very much, and found his personality was an interesting counterbalance to Grant’s. We all agreed that it was impressive how supportive Nick was, and how much he put into his partnership with Grant.
- Deb left her thoughts on the book on the previous post for this book, which you can read by clicking the link. A few readers did agree with her comments about Grant’s relationship to Nick, and how he doesn’t always seem to appreciate Nick as much as he could.
If you have read the book, and would like to comment, please do, and join in the discussion!
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