A Couple of New Challenges and After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman

I have not been a great communicator the last month or so. I make it my mission to blog 3-5 times a week, but I really don’t think I’ve ever hit that. Some weeks I think I can, but I usually don’t. I mean, there are factors, such as finding time, or finding something interesting to write about, or having a book I want to review.

In the New Year, this is one of my resolutions. To blog 3-5 times a week. I plan to have a calendar and sort of plot out my blogs — or, at least, to books that I want to read and review. Hopefully, this will become a normal part of my routine. I feel better when I write, and I hope two or three people out there get something from my ramblings.

Now, my immediate challenges. First, Facebook. More importantly, my husband and Facebook. He’s done. He’s off. He’s taking a break. Which is great for him. But there are a few problems with this. First, he has way too much free time. Way too much. He’s in my business (mostly my writing time) and he loves to talk. He’s worse than the most talkative woman I’ve ever met. He cannot think something without saying it (and, let’s face it, there are some things that don’t need to be said). I love that he can’t keep secrets, and that’s he has nothing to hide. But there are things that I don’t need to know. And Facebook was good for that.

There are also things I need him to know. Facebook has its faults and it is a time suck, but it has been good for scheduling. He knows what it going on and where we need to be. He sees invites to things. Really, not having him on Facebook just makes me the main life scheduler without a safety net for reminders.

I feel like our life has regressed about five years, but the girls have gotten older and their schedules are busier, so we need PROGRESSION not REGRESSION.

Plus, there was the whole ‘I can’t rant about my husband on Facebook because he’ll see it’ thing. I mean, he’s a great husband and I love him, but sometimes I need to rant about him, or the girls, or my brother, or whomever. And, because of our busy schedules, sometimes it’s hard to get together with the girls to rant without harming anyone (and without the hubs finding out). But now that he’s off of Facebook, I run the risk of ranting about him mercilessly. And I don’t want that. I have a select group of friends who know my husband, so when I rant about his shortcomings, they can balance them with the good things (longcomings?).

So,that’s an oddly big problem in my life. I should celebrate his giving up Facebook, but, selfishly, I wish he wouldn’t. But that’s just one of my challenges.

The other challenge is creative. Starting on Saturday I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, as it is called. I’ve wanted to do this for a couple of years, but I’ve never had an idea I could run with. This month I do. Now I just need to spend my mornings writing. If nothing else, it will get me in the habit of writing daily. Good for my creative juices, good for my blog. Good for me and good for my family.

So, my blog may suffer in November. Heads up and FYI.

Onto After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman

I read After I’m Gone, or actually listened to it, a few months ago. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I listened like crazy, though, and it has stuck with me.

So I’ve decided I did like it. It just took me awhile to warm up to it. The characters stayed on my mind, and that says something. Lippman created real, wonderfully dynamic characters, and that’s a huge thing in my book.

Felix Brewster is a charming man whose business is semi-legitimate, although his bookkeeping is not. Through his business, he is able to keep his wife,Bambi, and three daughters in the legitimate, upper-class world as well as keeping his stripper/employee/girlfriend happy. That is until he learns the Feds are onto him and that he is facing prison time. Then he disappears.

Flash forward. He promised his family and his girlfriend that they would be taken care of, but Bambi and his daughters got no money and had to scrape by on handouts, frugality, and hard work. When his girlfriend, Julie Saxony, disappears 10 years later, most everyone assumes Felix returned for her. But 26 years after his disappearance, Julie’s bones are discovered in the woods behind the house where Bambi and the girls have lived.

Enter semi-retired cop Sandy Sanchez, who takes on the Julie Saxony cold case. Through present day interviews, we are lead to flashbacks by all the characters. Though this presents as a thriller, it is just as much a family drama. Lippman does a wonderful job showing each person’s psyche in a wonderfully perceptive way.

I didn’t like Felix, but I did find some sympathy, if not outright affection, for the other characters. Their motives are explained, as well as their thinking and emotions.

Lippman is known for her twisty-turny thrillers, and that part of this one is really good. But I think my hesitation to like this one, as well as the reason it stuck with me, is her ability to dig into the thoughts and emotions of those Felix Brewster left behind. From his pre-teen daughters, his toddler, his wife, and his girlfriend, readers get an insider’s look as to how they carried on with theirs lives. Lippman also helps us understand how Felix’s disappearance changed these women, and how they succeeded, or failed, in their attempts at life.


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