I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all

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I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, sewer, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all, blogging, Costumed Beagle enthusiast. I am not always pleasant, although through intensive cupcake therapy I have learned not to throw knives at people anymore.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Book Review: Three Junes

Three Junes
Julia Glass

I don't know how I came to read this book.  Usually it is a recommendation from a friend and fellow reader, sometimes I will hear interviews with authors on NPR, but I'm not sure when or from whence this one came.  It is a National Book Award winner, but goes back to 2003, so I don't think it could be from a recent interview...who knows. Apparently, the book began as a short story and won an award and then was developed into a debut novel (but I just went looking for this information, and can't find it now...so who knows when I may have dreamed that up--or it could be true).

I'll be honest...this was a bit of a snoozer.  The pace is slow, and the three Junes are tied together loosely and in a somewhat predictable way.  Or maybe it isn't that predictable, but by the time you finally get there, you've been meandering in the area for so long it is far short of a surprise.

The Story revolves around a Scottish Family, the McLeods and begins with the death of the Mother after the boys are grown and gone, sometime around 1989.  The father takes a trip to Greece to begin his healing process.  This was the least appealing section of the book.  I considered moving onto another book in my pile that looked more promising after the first June...but I have a hard time doing this, thinking that it just might get better and if I knew this then I would regret it.

The second June centers more closely on the oldest of the three McLeod boys, Fenno, who had escaped to New York and owns a bookstore.  The book is flush with flashbacks and many of Fenno's occur in the late 70's and early 80's when he was just finding himself and his place in the world as a quiet Gay recluse.  In this setting, many of his memories involve friends who are dying of AIDS.
This section was more compelling.  Fenno is an interesting character, and although the book still moves methodically through his early adult years, the author gives us glimpses of colorful characters that throw Fenno's rather dull life into perspective for both us, the readers and for him.

The Third June offers the final loop around that ties all the stories together, but it really doesn't feel much like a part of the first two Junes so much as a device to close the story telling gap.  It centers on Fern, a young unwed woman who can't decide on what her life should look like...her past and her current attempts at escape loosely link the first two stories together.

In all, on Goodreads, I gave the book 3 stars.  It was good.  I was glad I had finished it.  But I was left looking for something next with a little more ooomph to it.

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