The Pessimists; Bethany Ball
Grove Press/Dreamscape Media - 2021
(8 hrs. 13 min.) (Carlotta Brentan - narrator / good)
I don't think I've read a novel set in Connecticut in quite a while so the setting definitely pulled me in. The story features (3) upper middle class suburban families. We meet soccer moms who want everything in their lives to be perfect but deep down are failing miserably and dissatisfied with life. The couples have some serious issues and secrets: fertility and other health issues, infidelities, even preparing a basement cache for the end of the world, Who cares though as long as appearances have these individuals coming across as having it all together. Besides the couples we have Agnes, the Nazi-like headmistress of The Petra School, an elementary school whose tuition is more than many colleges but where learning early on (even reading and math) and competition seem discouraged and no Jews please.
I know this book was supposed to be satirical but, for me I just never connected with the characters and the absurdity of their situations. On audio all of the characters, their issues and unhappiness just seemed to blur together without a real plot line to the story.
Rating - Disappointed
Nothing But Blackened Teeth; Kassandra Khaw
Macmillan Audio - 10/2021
(2 hours - 32 min) (Suehyla El-Attar - narrator/good)
This sounded like a decent novella for a spooky October read. The story features a group of five college-age friends who rent an ancient Heian mansion believe to be haunted as a wedding gift venue. The Japanese folklore history here is that a bride-to-be was buried alive just before her wedding. As the story unfolds we learn that one of the friends struggles with mental illness, there is too much alcohol consumed and soon the current day bride-to-be is believed to be taken by a spirit. Now it's up to the remaining friends to see that she is released.
I was never a fan of slasher movies but this short book had that same type of eerie vibe. Some parts seemed downright silly too but, isn't that cover art terrific? Fortunately, the entire audio was just 2.5 hours so it wasn't a struggle to finish this one.
Rating - Disappointed