Year 8, Book 3

3. The Invisible Circus by Jennifer Egan

I was testing something out for friend trying to check a book out via Overdrive from our public library system and decided I should at least borrow a book I might be interested in reading. As anyone who tries to borrow ebooks from their public library knows the wait lists can be long, so it took a little bit before I found a book that was immediately available that I thought I might like. I loved Egan’s later book A Visit From the Goon Squad, so I decided it wouldn’t hurt to check out some of her earlier work. Unfortunately I didn’t like this book nearly as much. It’s been over a month since I actually read the book and I had to go read a synopsis of it to even remember what it was about. That’s never a good sign.It takes place in 1978 and revolves around a teenage girl whose older sister committed suicide in Italy in 1970. Now that she has graduated from high school, Phoebe decides to recreate the trip her older sister Faith took across Europe before she died based on the postcards that she sent. During her journey she comes to terms with her sister’s death and many other family issues that have haunted her childhood. It was an ok book, but nothing I would go out of my way to recommend to anyone. I give it a 5 out of 10.

Year 8, Book 2

2. Elsewhere by Richard Russo

I have long been a fan of Richard Russo’s fiction, so I was excited to see what he would do with a memoir. The book is about his relationship with his mother, which was close but often trying due to an undiagnosed anxiety disorder. I enjoyed the book and found it a kind of fascinating behind the scenes look at the many parts of his life that influenced the stories and characters he created in many of his novels. I’m not sure that someone who hasn’t read Russo’s novels would like it as much as I did. That is not to say they wouldn’t like it, but I certainly think that having read his novels gives the memoir an extra added layer that’s not there otherwise. I give this book an 8 out of 10.