Monday, July 2, 2012

Shout Her Lovely Name by Natalie Serber

About book:

Mothers and daughters ride the familial tide of joy, pride, regret, loathing, and love in these stories of resilient and flawed women.  In a battle between a teenage daughter and her mother, wheat bread and plain yogurt become weapons.  An aimless college student, married to her much older professor, sneaks cigarettes while caring for their newborn son.  On the eve of her husband's fiftieth birthday, a pilfered fifth of vodka, and unexpected tattoo, and rogue teenagers leave a woman questioning her place.  And in a suite of stories, we follow capricious, ambitious single mother Ruby and her cautious, steadfast daughter Nora through their tumultuous life - stray men, stray cats, and psychedelic drugs - in 1970s California.

Gimlet-eyed and emotionally generous, achingly real and beautifully written, these unforgettable stories lay bare the connection and conflict in families.  Shout Her Lovely Name heralds the arrival of a powerful new writer.

My thoughts: 

OMFG!  Shout Her Lovely Name is EXCELLENT!  I meant it.  It really is a superb read.  In fact, I don't think I've read a book of short stories as good as this one, since I read Jhumpa Lahiri's,  Interpreter of Maladies (my favorite book of short stories!!) and that was some time ago.  Also, Lahiri's book went on to win the Pulitzer, so what does that say about how great this book is?  Seriously, I was stunned after I read the first short story.  It packed such an emotional punch that I found myself literally putting the book down and saying, "Wow." (in an awed voice).   There was just something about the writing that had me riveted from the get-go.  I found myself easily connecting with the characters and consumed by the story - I never wanted it to end, but when it did, I found the ending to be spot on.  I was so amazed by the first story that I knew I was in for a real treat - and I was right, this book has turned out to be my favorite read of the year!!

And here are the reasons why I fell in love with this book: 
  • Writing: brilliant! Rich and vivid in detail, these stories felt so real, that I couldn't help but get emotionally invested in what I was reading.  I found the writing to be so powerful, emotional and compelling - that once I started reading the second story, I could not put the book down.  Plus, I really do enjoy short stories.
  • Characters: memorable and relatable. I loved and hated these characters I read about - they were flawed and authentic, which made them feel so real to me.  I wanted to shake sense into them, hug them when they hurt, and cry with them when it seemed as if their world was falling apart.  They felt like old friends.
  • Themes: mother-daughter relationships.  The stories in this book explored the complex relationships between mother and daughters.  This is one of my favorite topics to read about - seriously, I wrote three theses and they were all about the mother-daughter relationship.  How could I not find a book about the various types of mother-daughter relationships interesting and fascinating?  I was hooked when I read the summary on the back of the book and it started with "Mothers and daughters...". 
  • Overall:  a must read!!!  This is one book that I will be recommending to anyone and everyone I know - and to YOU!  Shout Her Lovely Name by Natalie Serber is a fantastic book of short stories that will leave you feeling utterly amazed by the awesomeness that is Serber's writing - seriously, the writing is that excellent.  You will not be disappointed!
And now I'm off to read something fun for the Paris in July reading challenge.  Or maybe I'll watch a movie.  Hmmm....after all that mother-daughter drama I need something a little light.  Happy reading!

Thank you to TLC Book tours and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!


Ti said...

You had me at "OMFG!" Wow!! Sounds like an excellent read!

Nadia said...

Ti, you would love it! Its such a good read!!

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Wow, this book certainly made an impact on you! I'm a huge fan of Lahiri and based on your comments it sound like I'll really enjoy this collection as well.

Thanks for being on the tour! I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

trish said...

I'm with Ti. You had me at "OMFG!" And then again at Jhumpa Lahiri.

Nadia said...

Heather, thanks! I truly did love this book and it was as powerful as Lahiri's works. Such a good book!

trish, thanks! Definitely read this one! You won't be disappointed!