Recently I had the good fortune to meet a woman named Jessica Anya Blau. She is smart and sassy and deep and intelligent. She is a mother and a wife. I liked her immediately. Her father told me that she was an author, so I looked her up on Amazon and immediately ordered her second novel, entitled “Drinking Closer to Home”.
It was amazing!
It took me a while to finish, not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but because I have been crazy busy lately with a ton of stuff. My daughter made me look bad last weekend by reading Jessica’s first book in two short days, and loving every minute of it. She headed back to college with the second loaded up on her I-phone (I know, only the young can read novels on an I-phone, right?). Jessica had sent me her first published novel (also on Amazon), called “The Summer of Naked Swim Parties” (how sweet is that, especially after I paid only $1.99 for the second one on Amazon!). Way to go. Way to go.
Anyway, I digress. “Drinking Closer to Home” made me feel so much more comfortable about my own family of origin. I love the family that Blau writes about. They are so close, despite so much dysfunction (I know, I know, every family is dysfunctional, but they are not all so close and loving). I want this family. My family never talked about anything. There were problems to discuss, but I was the only one who wanted to talk. I wanted to be close to my brothers, but they had no interest in me. I’m not suggesting that the family in “Drinking Closer to Home” shares all of the same interests, but they do share a commonality, which is their family. Surely this should be enough for all of us.
Read this book. The characters are so well developed, and they all have a voice throughout. We are woven from present day back in time, in and out, in and out. I don’t want to spoil anything, but anyone who has been in a family will find something to like, and I think we’ve all been in some kind of family or other. I mean what is a family, really, other than a gathering of people who live together? Think foster homes, adoptions, communes.
Let’s talk about affairs, and nudity, and addiction, and homosexuality, marriages going through their ups and downs, and serious illness. Let’s talk about creating our own families, and maybe not doing all that much better than our parents did.
I loved “Drinking Closer to Home”. My daughter and I are jonesing for the next novel by Jessica Anya Blau, and guess what? It’s being published next summer by Harper & Collins! So get ready by ready the first two. I’m going to start on “The Summer of Naked Swim Parties” as soon as I do my required Book Club meeting. Jessica has even offered to join our group if we read one of her books. She skypes in!