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Book Review: Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau is a coming of age novel taking place in Baltimore, Maryland. During the 1970's, fourteen year old Mary Jane is caught in the middle of her family's conservative ideals and the progressive ideals of the Cone family where she is a summer nanny. Mary Jane is a sheltered teen who enjoys cooking with her mother, listening to Broadway Show Tunes, and singing in the church choir. On the first day of work, she is shocked at the mess in the Cone's home and introduces them to home cooked meals and keeping the house clean. In return, Mary Jane gets a front row seat to sex, drugs, and rock & roll. This novel was the selected for the book club I belong to. Again, this is a novel that I likely wouldn't have chosen to read on my own, but I was glad I did. Mary Jane is the first novel I've read by Jessica Anya Blau, and I was impressed with her storytelling.  Touching on race, class, and stereotypes, along with drugs and infidelity, it reminded

Book Review: The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

When The Grownup by Gillian Flynn came out in print, I was super excited about the book. Little did I know that it was actually a short story. Then, life got in the way, and I forgot about the book. I finally ordered the book (short story) from ThriftBooks.com and finished reading it in the wee hours of today. I wasn't entirely sure what the synopsis was when I first began reading it, but it was super intriguing.

The Grownup is about a woman who works at a store with psychics. At least, that is what is promoted in the storefront. In the back of the store, there are sex workers who work their way to the front of the store to be an actual "psychic". When a customer named Susan Burke comes in for an aura reading because she thinks her renovated Victorian home is haunted and her stepson is becoming possessed by the house, the psychic comes up with a way to con the woman out of $2,000.

This story was not very satisfying when it was all done. None of the loose ends were tied up, and it left me wondering what the truth actually was and what would happen. I realize that this was a short story, but it could have been turned into at least a novella if not a full fledged novel. The Grownup was reminiscent of the movie The Omen. Whenever a story reminds me of another story or a movie, it always makes me wonder if the author was influenced by those other stories and movies.

All I can say is that The Grownup had the potential to be a great story, but it was very lackluster when I got into the actual meat of the tale. And, I am so glad that I didn't pay $9.99 plus tax for the book. I bought it used from Thriftbooks.com and saved myself some money. If you want to read the book, I highly recommend saving your money and borrow it from your local library. I gave The Grownup two out of five stars.


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