Friday, March 11, 2011

Not the Literary Type

My husband is not the literary type. He doesn't read me poetry or offer feedback on my manuscripts. No, he's a typical "guy's guy," who'd rather be fixing a tractor than discussing literature.

But he does like to read, although we have very different reading tastes. For me, it's often a book about animals. For him, it's either a tractor repair manual or a book about World War II.

But I recently read an amazing, gut-punching novel by Patricia McCormick called SOLD.

Here is a short blurb from Goodreads:

Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though she is desperately poor, her life is full of simple pleasures, like playing hopscotch with her best friend from school, and having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family’s crops, Lakshmi’s stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family.

He introduces her to a glamorous stranger who tells her she will find her a job as a maid in the city. Glad to be able to help, Lakshmi journeys to India and arrives at “Happiness House” full of hope. But she soon learns the unthinkable truth: she has been sold into prostitution.

Written in spare and evocative vignettes, this powerful novel renders a world that is as unimaginable as it is real, and a girl who not only survives but triumphs.

SOLD was a National Book Award Finalist in 2006, and when I noticed the author had a new book about the Iraq war, I ordered it from the library, thinking my husband might like to read it.

He did, and stayed up until midnight finishing PURPLE HEART.

When Private Matt Duffy wakes up in an army hospital in Iraq, he's honored with a Purple Heart. But he doesn't feel like a hero.

I was glad I found my husband something he enjoyed, but after I read the first few pages, I decided against it. Not for me, I thought. I don't like war books. "Keep reading," he told me, and I did. And 25 pages more into the book, I could not put it down. The soldier in this book is eighteen years old. A kid not far removed in age from the middle grade characters in the books that I write and normally read. But oh so far ahead in what he's living through.

Patricia McCormick is an amazing author - one that I admire immensely for her ability to pull you right into a story and make you care - even if it's about a subject you'd normally shy away from.

And this is the very first book that my husband and I have both read, talked about, and enjoyed. That right there, folks, is pretty amazing.

So tell me:

Have you read any of Patricia McCormick's books?

Do you have the same reading tastes as your friend/partner/significant other?


Alison said...

I have not read any of her books, but will definitely get Purple Heart. I am always looking for page-turners that will hook my pre-college readers (who don't read!)

Susan said...

I haven't read any of Patricia McCormick's books either (the subject matter of both books would normally turn me off), but I might have to check them out.

Tom and I have somewhat the same taste in books, but he likes action and I don't.

Your husband might like A Story of the West. I've heard from two men who normally don't read books who couldn't put it down.

Linda Benson said...

Alison - I'd recommend SOLD to your college age kids, also. Beautiful, lyrical writing - and both of these books were un-put-downable. McCormick is a writer to learn from, definitely.

Susan - I'll give my husband your book - A STORY OF THE WEST - and see what he thinks. Good suggestion.