Friday, May 25, 2012

Book Review: The Full Moon Bride

Thirty year old Soorya Giri seems to have everything: good friends, money, a family that loves her, and a successful career as a lawyer in New York. The one thing she doesn't have (of course) is true love. She hasn't had any luck finding a man on her own so she enlists her parents to arrange to find her a mate. But even after dozens of bridal viewings, Soorya is still alone, having been rejected because she's so fat and plain. (Her words, not mine.)

But then she meets Rajesh and even though he admits that he's looking for a rich wife to help fund his dreams of being the next M. Night Shyamalan (His words, not mine.) she is instantly attracted to his sexy bedroom eyes. (Yet again, her words, not mine.) They spend some time together and Soorya finds herself liking Rajesh, even though he's such a "bad boy."

It's around this time that Lou Draper is introduced. Soorya meets Lou through a client at work and they hit it off. But Lou is not someone her parents would approve of. He's older and a widower. Plus, he's African-American! (Seriously, on the page in the book where Lou first meets Soorya at her office it actually reads, "My first surprise came when Draper was ushered in by Sandy. He was African-American!")

What ever will Soorya do? Will she be with Raj or will she break tradition and be with Lou? And does anyone care?

Oh lordy. This was our book club pick last month and we all agreed it was a huge disappointment. Everyone had hoped for much more sophisticated insight into Indian culture and arranged marriages. But instead we got an unfulfilling romance novel that read almost like teen fiction.

That being said, here are a few random thoughts:

*Soorya is a fat girl. And we never, ever forget this because she mentions it all.the.time. If she's not talking about her chub rolls then she's talking about whatever diet she's on at the time. The one she's on through most of the book allows her to eat only foods that are red, green, or white. Her diet finds its way into almost every conversation and when people offer her foods that aren't red, green, or white, she actually tells them she can't eat it because of her diet. It's incredibly boring. But what I find so odd is that the author never fixes what I see as a serious flaw in Soorya's personality-her obsession with food and weight. Even when things end happily, Soorya is pleased because her diet is working and she knows she's "looking good."

*At thirty, Soorya in very naive and immature, and it's not just because she's a virgin and still living at home with her parents. I, of all people, know how a deeply ingrained belief system can effect your life and stunt your personal growth, but I find it hard to believe that a lawyer working in Manhattan has never even been kissed.

*Soorya is emotionally immature as well. When she's seen walking down the street with Raj, she's very worried about what the neighbors will think and what kind of gossip will be spread. I would think that a supposedly sophisticated adult woman would have long ago stopped caring about such things.

*The writing in this book is very flat and uninspired. It includes dialogue such as, "Sarcasm is your middle name" and cliches like he was growing on me like a fungus.  Really?

I wanted to find something to like about this book. But the main character was horrible, the writing was bad, and the story was juvenile and silly.  In the end, the only thing good about this book is that it's completely forgettable.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Growing up, I had a friend who totally 'got' me. Even though she was a few years younger than I was at a time when small age differences matter, we were inseparable. We, of course, were both being raised as Jehovah's Witnesses. We talked about the organization a lot but usually in a very cryptic way, neither of us ever being brave enough to say how we really felt.

Time passed, I got married, had a baby, and moved to the other end of Florida. This was before everyone had an e-mail address so we kept in touch through letters and the occasional phone call. But eventually we grew apart. It was no ones fault, or maybe it was my fault, who knows? It's hard when you're the first of your friends to have a baby and I imagine it's hard when your friend has a baby and leaves you behind, although I wouldn't know anything about that part.

A few years later I heard she no longer was one of Jehovah's Witnesses. I was scared for her because clearly this meant she was an awful person choosing to engage in unsavory activities that god didn't approve of. But I was also in awe of her bravery and maybe a teeny bit jealous of the fact that she was getting out and I was still floundering.

I called her and asked her what was up. Why didn't she want to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses anymore? I asked her numerous times and the only answer I ever got was that she simply "didn't want to." I didn't press the issue, assuming that either she really didn't want to talk about it, or more likely, seeing that I was still technically a Witness, she thought I would judge her. Maybe I would have.

Fast forward a couple of years. I'm feeling depressed, confused, and having serious doubts about the religion I was raised in. I again contact my friend, not only hoping that she can talk me through some of what I'm feeling, but also because I was certain that we could truly re-connect now that neither of us wanted a future as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. When we got around to the topic of Witnesses she blew me off saying, "Yeah, I really don't talk about that anymore." I was incredibly hurt because whether or not she had talked about it before with anyone else, she had chosen never to talk about it with me. And I needed to talk about it.

Fortunately, now the internet was readily available and I was able to find like-minded people through blogs and message boards. Slightly damaged people such as myself who had been where I was and were able to get through it and go on to lead happy, productive lives.

Soon after moving to Oregon I connected with my friend one last time, via Facebook. I had no expectations. I just wanted to say hello and let her  know that I was now across the country. She seemed happy for me but had no interest in discussing people we both knew or memories we shared. She didn't ask me any questions about my parents, my kids, or my husband and she didn't seem interested in sharing any of the details of her life with me. Whatever the reason, I didn't let it get to me. A few months later she deleted her Facebook.

Yesterday, out of the blue, I typed her name into Facebook and up popped her page, a new page that is only a few weeks old. All of her friends are people I don't recognize and she has a section devoted to Scientology. Most of her page is filled with quotes from L. Ron Hubbard and pictures of her at the church. Apparently, she's heavily into the religion. Admittedly, I don't know a lot about Scientology. I went to their website and tried to do a bit of research but honestly, it kind of creeps me out and is something I'd rather avoid.

Even though my friend and I aren't close and in all likelihood never will be again, I hope she's happy. But I can't shake the feeling that maybe now she's the one who is floundering, trying to glean happiness from unlikely sources but coming up short. I've heard that some people who leave the Jehovah's Witnesses repeatedly immerse themselves in other, seemingly odd, faiths in a never ending search for some type of spiritual comfort. I guess I did the opposite.

Of all the people who have come in and out of my life over the past 35 years, she is the one person who has confused me the most and left me with so many unanswered questions. Did our friendship just run its course, as friendships formed in the childhood years often do? (I could accept that if I sincerely thought it was the truth.) Or has she avoided having a friendly relationship with me because I'm a link to her past, someone who reminds her of the family and friends who will no longer speak to her because she doesn't wish to be a part of the faith they still cling to?

I'll probably never know.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Random Thoughts

*So, I come home from work and I'm dickin' around on the internet as I normally do and I come across this:
That would be my ex at Cannes with his stupidly-named fiancé. Even though I chose to end the (fake) relationship, I'm not going to lie to you folks, it hurts. As my (ever patient and always enabling) best friend said, "It's the end of an era."

*In other celebrity boyfriend news: I'm very excited for the new season of True Blood, mainly because of Christopher Meloni. I had given up on these books long ago and was really only watching the show because after two glasses of wine I was able to overlook the gaping holes in the plot and it was sorta entertaining, but then came Christopher Meloni. Hellloooo. I watched Oz. I know he's not a shy man when it comes to his body. (Hint: Full Frontal. Click here if young eyes are not in the room, you are not at work, and you are no prude.) I predict this will be a very good season. (By the way: Don't watch Oz. That show scarred me in so many ways and has left some really awful images permanently tattooed on my brain.)

*I'm in eighties mode lately and finding myself listening to a lot of The Smiths or Morrissey. Which inevitably always makes me think of a friend I had shortly after I graduated high school who told me that I "look like a girl that Morrissey would like." Considering most people think of Morrissey as either gay or asexual, I'm not sure where this puts me or why she thought this was something you tell your friend. Then I go onto her Facebook page and am reminded of all the many reasons why I hate this very toxic gal and why we aren't friends anymore.

*Jay and I spent Mother's Day together, away from the two people that call me "Mother." Just as I wanted it. That sounds terrible doesn't it? But it's the truth. I'm a better mother when I can get a break from them. We ended up at Cargo, which is a store I could easily spend hours getting lost in. The store is filled with imported tchotchkes and vintage looking items.

*My old lady cat is losing her vision. Actually, at this point she's pretty much lost it altogether. She wanders around meowing and walking into walls/furniture/people. Although she's otherwise healthy (as healthy as a 16 year old cat can be), I'm now reminded on a daily basis that she isn't going to be here forever. Jay and I got her before we were married and we joke that she's our 'first child'. It's hard to imagine her not in our lives.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Re-Fashioned Shirt

In my dresser drawer, I have this sweater:

Jay found it on the clearance rack last year at the J. Crew Outlet. (A side note about the J. Crew Outlet: The quality is not as good as regular J. Crew but yet the prices are just as exorbitant. Why is this?)

It's a great sweater that goes with a lot of my clothes and it adds some polish to a few of my more casual outfits. Plus, it's really lightweight, almost like a long sleeve tee shirt, so I can pretty much wear it year round.

Also in my dresser drawer are at least half a dozen tee shirts that all have something slightly weird about them. Nothing so weird as to make me get rid of them, but weird enough to keep me from wearing them on a regular basis. Today I took one such shirt, a long sleeve Gap tee, and refashioned it into a lovely sweater tee, much like my J. Crew one.
It was easy enough to do. I just sliced the shirt down the middle of the front, sewed some lace all the way around, and then finished it off with some black cotton fabric (which came from another tee shirt I took my scissors to.)
I completed the whole project in just one morning, and most of that time was spent rummaging around looking for the supplies I needed. (I had lace? Who knew?)

Now I'm wondering what other things I can do with little-worn tee shirts.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Teacher Appreciation and Some Questions

Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week. I was going to with the standard (yet, unimaginative) gift card but then I suggested to Lucy that we buy one of the Folkmanis rabbit puppets we got at work around Easter time.
I know it's a silly and impractical gift but Lucy's teacher loves rabbits. She has a pet rabbit that she brings to school when the class has been exceptional, and she's been known to dress her bunny in special outfits. (This makes me love her even more.)

I brought the rabbit home and we tried wrapping it, but no matter what box we chose, or how we laid the bunny, it always looked sad and dead, as if it had been hit by a car.

I think this is a perfect time for a gift bag.

So now my question: If you have older kids (middle school/high school age) do you still actively participate in teacher appreciation week? I admit to pretty much having sucked at it since the boy's been in middle school for a number of reasons:

1.  More classes means more teachers. If I do something for one, do I have to do something for all of them? Would they discuss it in the teacher's lounge, "Monty got me a gift card." "Really? Monty got me jack shit."

2.  Some of his teachers I just simply hadn't liked and I didn't want to do anything nice for them. Sorry, sounds awful, but it's the truth.

3.  Laziness on my part.

4.  Cost. If I were to get something for all of his teachers, even if I only spend $10 a teacher, that's $70. So I'd really have to work hard to make the gifts be meaningful and within budget. (See #3.)

I guess as I'm writing this, I'm seeing that my main issue is that I don't want to get something for everyone. The teacher that has had the most impact on my son this year has been his Algebra teacher. He's taught the subject in a way my kid has understood, plus, he's a bit of a hard ass and is constantly pushing Monty to do more. Is it inappropriate to just get something for that one teacher? Would it be lame to send notes to the other teachers thanking them for what they do? Any and all thoughts would be appreciated.