For The Someday Book

Posts Tagged ‘fun

Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah, Ballentine Books, 2005, 237 pp.

Comfort and JoyComfort and Joy is pure fun. I grabbed it from the pile to read on an airplane, and it was simply perfect. Nothing too deep, but a fabulous story told well, with likable characters that you want to find happiness and they do. There’s heartbreak and redemption and heartbreak again, and a bit of magic thrown in too.

The central character is narrator Joy Faith Candellaro, a simple school librarian from Bakersfield whose whole life falls apart when she discovers her husband and her sister are having an affair. The story begins as she anticipates her first Christmas alone. On a whim, unable to face the bleakness of a holiday with no family, she buys a ticket on a charter flight to the Pacific Northwest without telling anyone where she was going or even that she was leaving town.

Things don’t go as expected, and Joy finds herself the only guest at a closed inn. Her only companions are a boy, Bobby, and his father, Daniel. The boy’s mother has recently died, and his father has returned after their separation to close down the inn and move Bobby to Boston to live with him. Joy and Bobby become companions in their separate griefs, and they help one another heal through the holidays.

However, all is not as it seems, and just when Joy believes she has found a new and happy life, everything falls apart and she must return home to make peace with her life in Bakersfield. I can’t say more without giving away too much, but do not despair–the book lives up to its name. There is Comfort and Joy at the end of the story.

This book is a light and quick read, perfect for an airplane or a snowy afternoon. Get yourself some cocoa or hot tea and snuggle in for the smiles.

 

Bossypants, by Tina Fey, Little, Brown and Company, 2011, 277 pp.

After all that hard work, it was time for something totally fun—and this was awesome fun. Celebrity bestsellers are not usually my genre of choice, even for the lightest reading, but I love Tina Fey. Ever since I saw the excerpt “The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter” start to circulate around the internet, I knew this would be a good read. I was not disappointed. (And if you haven’t read the “Mother’s Prayer” piece, click on the link right now. Just do it.)

“The Mother’s Prayer” captures what I love about Tina Fey. It’s not just the beautiful, smart, witty, powerful woman that she portrays. It’s not just that she’s wicked funny. It’s that she says out loud the kinds of things that I think in my head, but would be mortified to admit. Only she says them funnier. She brings intelligence, humor, honesty together, but always with a sense of gentleness that makes me think she’s a really nice person, broken like the rest of us.

Bossypants captured that same spirit and voice, and I enjoyed it immensely. There were lots of entertaining stories about life backstage at Saturday Night Live, or how she got into comedy, or what it was like to start 30 Rock, but there were also more pieces like “The Mother’s Prayer,” which also made me pause and think “that’ll preach.”

One of those sections was the opening chapter called, “Origin Story,” which talked about how she got her scar and how the scar has impacted her life. (To be honest, we don’t have a very big TV, and I never realized she had a scar until I read the book.) She realizes that her scar always got her lots of attention, and she always thought of it as an asset rather than a liability.

What should have shut me down and made me feel “less than” ended up giving me an inflated sense of self. … I accepted all the attention at face value and proceeded through life as if I really were extraordinary. I guess what I’m saying is, this has all been a wonderful misunderstanding. And I shall keep these Golden Globes, every last one! (9)

Funny, yes—but also a truth that far too few people understand. Our scars are often what make us extraordinary.

One of my other favorite sections was her description of working at Summer Showtime, a theater program she worked for in high school and college. She describes it as a “haven for gay teens.” (27) That was not its purpose, of course, but she compares it to putting out a bird feeder for birds and attracting a lot of squirrels. She concludes her memories this way:

With his dream of a theater program for young people, Larry Wentzler had inadvertently done an amazing thing for all these squirrels. They had a place where they belonged, and, even if it was because he didn’t want to deal with their being different, he didn’t treat them any differently. Which I think is a pretty successful implementation of Christianity. (43)

Amen.

You rock, Tina Fey. Thanks for making me laugh, making me think, and making me feel good about being a working mother, a bossy woman and a geek.


About Me

I am a full-time pastor in the United Church of Christ, mother of a young child (B.), married to an aspiring academic and curmudgeon (J.). I live by faith, intuition and intellect. I follow politics, football and the Boston Red Sox. I like to talk about progressive issues, theological concerns, church life, the impact of technology and media, pop culture and books.

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