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The Week in Review: 04.20.2018

April 20, 2018


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

I think I knew too much about SMALL GREAT THINGS by Jodi Picoult when I picked it up so I’m going to be rather vague about its content.  It’s the story of Ruth, an African American nurse who’s taken off the case of a white infant at the request of his white supremacist parents.  Ruth is the only one present when the baby goes into distress and she has to make a tough decision in a matter of seconds – does she follow orders and leave the baby alone or does she care for him?  I heard Picoult speak about this book and she did her homework before writing it – speaking to African Americans, white supremacists, and medical and legal professionals.  I admire her for taking on such a polarizing and timely subject but am sad to say I didn’t love the book as much as most people have.

In typical Picoult fashion, the point of view shifts between several different characters including Ruth, her lawyer, and the white supremacist dad.  I found the characters to be one-dimensional, though.  I also thought the book was too long – it became repetitive after a while.  Don’t get my wrong, I liked this book a great deal – it’s very readable and thought provoking – but wasn’t blown away by it.  I’m thinking it’s because I knew quite a bit about it before I started it.  I do think SMALL GREAT THINGS would make an excellent book club selection because there’s plenty to discuss within its pages.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


ANNA AND JOHANNA: A CHILDREN’S BOOK INSPIRED BY JAN VERMEER by Géraldine Elschner and Florence Kœnig is a wonderful way to introduce early readers to art.  The authors of this beautiful picture book have imagined the lives of the anonymous models of two of Dutch artist Jan Vermeer’s well known paintings – The Milkmaid and The Lacemaker.  They include images of the two paintings and information on Vermeer in the back of the book.  I thought the story was lovely and enjoyed the illustrations even if they don’t mimic Vermeer’s work.  I love books and art and thought the author and illustrator did a great job combining the two.  The book is nicely bound and printed on high quality paper so it will hold up to repeated readings.  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)


After reading a couple serious books I decided I needed something lighter so I picked up CLASS MOM by Laurie Gelman and it delivered.  It’s the story of Jen Dixon – a stay at home mom with two daughters in college and a son in kindergarten.  Her best friend is the PTA President and she talks Jen into being Class Mom for her son.  Jen decides to lighten things up and sends irreverent, sarcastic emails to the other classroom parents but some people don’t find them all that funny.  The year’s not a bad one, though – Jen learns about herself, brings the classroom parents closer together, and has a front row seat to school drama.  Funny emails are sprinkled throughout the narrative.  Having been a  Class Mom and a Team Mom several teams, I found this book to be laugh out loud funny.  I thought Gelman nailed the politics and personalities involved in organizing a classroom’s social calendar.  Pick this book up when you need to brighten your day.  (My friend Julie sent me this book.)


SPACE DUMPLINS by Craig Thompson is a graphic novel for the middle grade set.  It’s the story of a young girl named Violet whose world is turned upside down when whales develop diarrhea because their poop is what powers the planet.  When her dad goes missing and her mom is busy with work, Violet and a friend decide to go hunt for him.  I thought the illustrations in this book were fabulous but the story was just okay – there was just too much going on in it for me.  I’m not much for science fiction, though, so I think the target audience will enjoy it more than I did.   (Review copy provided by Scholastic.)


Currently reading:


On the Screen

Not much of anything.


Off the blog

  • I started another jigsaw puzzle – so far this one’s been much easier than the last one.
  • I went with a couple of friends to throw axes this week and, even though I was the worst at it, I had a blast!
  • Our weather still hasn’t settled into spring.  I washed my fleece and put it away but had to pull it back out this week.
  • Carl’s gone to see his dad so I’ll be working extra the next several days.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged just under 18,000 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

27 Comments leave one →
  1. Beth F permalink
    April 20, 2018 6:46 am

    I love Vermeer … and with the Lacemaker in the book, I NEED to read this ! So glad Class Mom was the break you needed. How fun that you tried ax throwing!

  2. April 20, 2018 7:09 am

    I love Vermeer too – I have to find it!

  3. April 20, 2018 7:12 am

    Class Mom sounds right up my alley so I’m adding it to my GR list. We had six inches of snow this week and today temps should be in the 50s. I’m getting dizzy, lol.

  4. Diane permalink
    April 20, 2018 7:31 am

    I read Small Great Things twice, once for bookgroup, and, that one led to a lively discussion. Join the ughhh weather club. It’s not felt like spring here either, but sun and 60 this weekend so there’s hope.

    Enjoy your weekend.

  5. April 20, 2018 8:05 am

    I also read Small Great Things for a book group this week. Decided not to write about it though. Like you, I was a bit underwhelmed for many of the same reasons. The discussion was brisk. I’ve read a number of Picoult books in the past and I told the group (where many had never read one of her books) that it was ‘par for the course’ in many ways for her. I do think that the makeup of our group fitted the audience she was writing to. And I also asked my daughter a number of questions regarding the L&D charge nurse removing Ruth from the case (my daughter is a L&D charge nurse).

    Spring is slow, but we’re getting there. I think the cooler weather has made the wildflowers better this year. Who knew that would happen? And ‘throwing axes’? Seriously? Ha!

  6. April 20, 2018 8:40 am

    I liked all your reviews in this post. Believe it or not, I have never read any of Picoult’s books. Throwing axes…you daring woman! Hope you have a great week ahead.

  7. April 20, 2018 10:15 am

    I might have liked Small Great Things a little more than you. I gave it a 3.5/4. But my favorite is still The Storyteller, followed closely by The Pact and My Sister’s Keeper.
    Axe-throwing? We native Northern Californians don’t know about this sport.

  8. April 20, 2018 10:43 am

    I enjoyed Small Great Things, but I had to check my review on Goodreads, as I had forgotten what I said about it back in October 2016 when I read it! Sorry you were underwhelmed, but that happens.

    I am reading The High Tide Club now…and so far, so good.

    Have a great weekend!

  9. April 20, 2018 12:11 pm

    There is always a lot to discuss after reading a Picoult book. I haven’t loved any of them but they are very discussable.

  10. April 20, 2018 12:17 pm

    I also really liked Small Great Things, although I too thought it too long. It was my first Jodi Picoult book so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Your new puzzle looks challenging with all that yellow. Have fun with it.

  11. April 20, 2018 1:58 pm

    Class Mom sounds good. I have Green on my list at the library.

  12. Patty permalink
    April 20, 2018 3:55 pm

    I really enjoyed Class Mom, too! Is this author related to the producer of Kelly Rippa’s morning show? Fleece is out again here, too, and mittens, too!

  13. April 20, 2018 9:11 pm

    I’ve read pretty much every Picoult book so I’m sure I will get to Small Great Things eventually. Her books can be very formulaic but the formula clearly works for her, so why not.

  14. April 20, 2018 9:48 pm

    I stopped reading Picoult several years ago… it seemed like her books were getting too formulaic.

  15. April 20, 2018 10:14 pm

    I cannot imagine throwing axes. I’m glad you had a great time.

  16. Literary Feline permalink
    April 20, 2018 10:31 pm

    Axe throwing! I didn’t know that was a thing, but how cool! I bet I would be worse than you. LOL Have a great weekend, Kathy!

  17. April 21, 2018 3:54 am

    We did have spring this week 😀 It was lovely! 😀

  18. anna@herding cats & burning soup permalink
    April 21, 2018 8:32 am

    Throwing axes?!! oh my gosh how fun!

  19. April 21, 2018 11:42 am

    I haven’t read Picoult but it sounds like she needed to edit this one shorter. What is axe throwing? I haven’t heard of that. Enjoy your week.

  20. April 21, 2018 4:22 pm

    I have never been a big fan of Picoult. I like the subjects she addresses- but the writing style just doesn’t work for me. And funny, when I first glanced at the cover of the last book here, I thought it said “Space Dolphins”. Which title might have fit too, it sounds like.

  21. April 22, 2018 7:57 am

    I’ve liked Picoult in the past, read all her books etc. Then it became very sad throughout and I really don’t want that anymore.

  22. April 22, 2018 7:14 pm

    I really enjoyed Small Great Things when I read it. The woman sitting next to me on my flight this weekend was reading it as well!

  23. April 22, 2018 7:58 pm

    Kathy, thanks for sharing your week. Class Mom sounds like fun!
    Have a good week ahead! 🙂

  24. bookingmama permalink
    April 24, 2018 6:27 am

    I don’t know how you manage to get so much into one week! I agree with you about CLASS MOM and SMALL GREAT THINGS.

  25. April 24, 2018 9:29 pm

    We read Great Small Things for our book club this month. Let’s just say I’ve read the first half and the last quarter 🙂 I had a hard time with this one and I wasn’t the only one in our group. I’m reading the rest before I review it, but it’s in the car for the school pick up line so who knows how long it will take. I have some to avoid Picoult because her books seem heavy handed – this one extremely so.
    Throwing axes is way cool 🙂

  26. April 25, 2018 9:55 am

    Anna and Johanna sounds good. I’m not a big Picoult fan, her books in general are just a little to tough to read.
    Pittsburgh has an axe throwing place. I may have to go give it a shot.

  27. April 26, 2018 10:11 am

    I have Small Great Things on my shelf, but haven’t felt inclined to give it a read. Someday. Throwing axes sounds crazy and fun! Is this a new thing? Maybe I’m living under a (mossy) rock out here in Oregon. 😉 I hope you’ve seen the last of winter. We’ve had some gorgeous weather (70s!), but rain is coming back for a few days.

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