Reading for Me

The Books I Have Read…..Just for Me

#13: 4th of July (James Patterson)

Continuing through the Women's Murder Club series has been another enjoyable read. After the unexpected turn of events in the last book, Patterson moves the bulk of the action out of San Francisco and focuses on Lindsey. Before leaving the city, our favorite Lieutenant finds herself involved in a fatal shooting with wealthy teenagers. Not only must she deal with the physical and emotional scars she suffers, Lindsey now finds herself being sued in a wrongful death lawsuit.

To escape the media circus, Lindsey gets out of town to enjoy her sister's peaceful home near the ocean. What should have been a relaxing getaway turns into a dangerous situation as Lindsey finds herself surrounded by murders that seem to be related to a cold case from the beginning of her career that continues to haunt her.

Peppered with intriguing and frightening characters, 4th of July not only keeps the reader engaged with exciting plot twists, but also continues to develop the relationship between Lindsey and Joe. I'm excited to get the next book in the series, but first I need to read the last of the paperbacks that was on my summer vacation bookshelf.

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#12: 3rd Degree (James Patterson)

While visiting the Geriatric Ward for the summer, I was thrilled to find that the local library had a complete set of Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series on the shelf, so I decided it was time to dive back into the fun. (Truthfully, I planned to grab the final volumes of the Harry Potter series when I went to the library. To my disappointment, they were not a part of the collection. I’ve been assured that the books will be ordered….so I’m hoping to be able to read at least one of them before returning to Plainview in August.)

3rd Degree is much like the previous novels in the series. This time, a group of individuals with a grudge against the wealthiest members of society are creating chaos throughout San Francisco as the G-8 summit prepares to come to town. Things begin when a townhouse explodes in front of Lindsay Boxer’s eyes, killing most of the family inside. A young boy is rescued from the rubble and another member of the family is missing — the family’s infant child.

Horror grips the city as the terrorist group announces their plans to kill another person every 3 days until their demands are met. Things are so serious that the Department of Homeland Security joins the SFPD in their search. The murders are especially gruesome and fans of the series will be saddened by the death of one of Patterson’s heroines. (On a side note, I’m interested to read the next book in the series to see how the author is going to handle her death. Will the Murder Club only be made up of the three remaining women or will a new character be introduced as a replacement?)

3rd Degree was a page turner and a very quick read. It’s definitely something I would consider taking to the beach for a relaxing read while enjoying a little down time.

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#11: God Help the Child (Toni Morrison)

I’ve been a fan of Toni Morrison since I first read Beloved in college (and wrote more papers about that novel than I care to remember). God Help the Child is her latest novel and quite different from her other works. The main difference is that the plot is the first to be set in modern times. That single difference makes it difficult to compare the work to her other books, but I can definitely say that I am a fan.

God Help the Child tells the story of Bride, a successful beauty magnate whose childhood memories continue to haunt her. As a child, Bride felt unloved by her mother simply because of her skin. You see, Bride was not blessed with a light pigment; instead, she is “blue-black” as described by the narrator. In an effort to gain her mother’s love and respect, the child testifies against an accused child molester.

When the pedophile is scheduled to be released from prison, Bride is drawn to meet her and offer money, travel vouchers, and skin care products. This one decision — as though she is attempting to make amends — creates problems for Bride in her professional and personal relationships that brings the novel to an unexpected conclusion.

God Help the Child reminds the reader that all people are shaped by their childhood. Statements made in jest or in an offhand manner can create unintentional wounds that the child will carry the rest of their life. Pain suffered in childhood can often remained unhealed, causing problems as we become adults. Sadly, the pain suffered by one generation is often passed on to the next until someone finally breaks the cycle of sadness and pain.

For anyone who has ever experienced one of Morrison’s novels, it is no surprise that a central theme of all of her novels is that of race. In light of issues currently facing Americans in our current political environment, I found the following passage from God Help the Child to be very interesting.

“It’s just a color,” Booker had said. “A genetic trait – not a flaw, not a curse, not a blessing nor a sin.”

“But,” she countered, “other people think racial –”

Booker cut her off. “Scientifically there’s no such thing as race, Bride, so racism without race is a choice. Taught, of course, by those who need it, but still a choice. Folks who practice it would be nothing without it.” (Morrison, God Help the Child, 143)

I find this view of racism very interesting coming from an African-American author. Honestly, I have found myself returning to this passage repeatedly since finishing the novel to fully delve the depths of the idea. When a passage or any piece of writing stays with me so long after reading it, I know that I have read something that can only be considered a modern masterpiece.

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