I'd live in my car before I'd live on Vinegar Hill

While I was waiting for Amazon to deliver my imaginary book club selections, I read Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay. And yes, for the record, I did buy it at Target. I’m almost ashamed to admit that it was probably the Oprah’s Book Club selection sticker on the front cover that made me pick it up and read the back cover. But such is my life. I buy books at Target and sometimes I read Oprah’s Book Club selections. I guess I just like the fact that it means someone read it and liked it a lot.

Vinegar Hill is about a family that moves in with the husband’s parents because of financial problems. The family is above average dysfunctional. Living there is unpleasant to say the least.

I realize the book is set in 1972 and I realize that I’m a modern girl. But I’m telling you now, if I lived with inlaws that treated me and my children like scum I’d rather live in my car. Not only would I not cook and clean and walk on egg shells around everyone, I wouldn’t even come home. I’d just curl up in the backseat of the car with my kids. We’d eat cheese and crackers for dinner. Because I know I couldn’t do it. Day in and day out I could not deal with such a lonely miserable existence. Especially my children having to live with people who can’t stand them. A child should have a home where they can be themselves and feel safe and secure. That within those 4 walls if nowhere else in the world, they are accepted and loved for exactly who they are.

I read this book very quickly and I attribute that largely to waiting for things to get better for the family. It’s well written and I really enjoyed the writing style. But I don’t know that I’d recommend it. I tend to really put myself into books. I tend to really feel like I’m there and part of things. As a result, reading about a woman with a lonely miserable existence was difficult for me at times. I felt like the tone of the house actually began to infiltrate my life. I actually felt sad and caught myself looking for resemblances between my beloved husband and the insensitive husband in the book.

My husband made a comment one night about dishes that needed to be done and I think I channeled the wife in the book and just immediately started washing them. When I was done I even asked if there was anything else I could do for him. Which is so very Stepford Wife and not me. I mean, is his arm broken? If he’s got time to bring dishes in the sink to my attention seems to me he’s got time to wash a few.

Like I said, difficult but well written.


Chaotic Joy said...

Oh don't feel bad about chosing something off the Oprah book club. It doesn't exactly mean you are a drone. Heh.

Actually, I have read some really good books with that little sticker on it, and some not so good ones. I don't seek them out, but if I notice one I do tend to pick it up and at least read the jacket. I figure someone's recommendation is better than no one.

And before you feel too frivolous with your book choices, I will make you feel infinately better by telling you I just finished "The Nanny Diaries" Yup, it's true.

I am looking forward to your next book club review by the way. I read The Kite Runner (which I loved) and The Memory Keepers Daughter (which I was so-so about) but I haven't read the next one. Too busy reading chick-lit. Heh.

a happier girl said...

Yeah, Oprah's had some lemons. I know I struggled through several of them. I think you hit the nail on the head with "someone's recommendation is better than no one." And I almost bought The Nanny Diaries! After all, they sell it at Target!

dianeinjapan said...

See, I might read this one *because* of the dysfunctionality--for the same reason I get a silly thrill from watching shows like Supernanny and Trading Spouses: I get to go, "Yay! I'm not her!" Sad, I know.

a happier girl said...

Yeah, I do that too. Every time I watch Super Nanny I feel like maybe my kids aren't completely out of control. Because at least they're not like the kids on there.

Anne said...

I've read some Oprah books that were good, so you shouldn't feel bad about choosing one or buying one at Target. Can you help me pick a book for my book club selection in December? The theme is dysfunctional families. This club may turn imaginary as well, so please join me and we can have an imaginary club together.

a happier girl said...

I'll try to think of a good dysfunctional family book. I do my best brainstorming work in the shower and brushing my teeth so I'll have to get back to you. I still have to order the snow flower book for November though. Although I have to finish Bel Canto for the imaginary book club first.

Anonymous said...

yes, make him wash the dishes.

when this is doen to me, i loudly say "thats okay, ill clean up your mess for you!" and do my evil glare. you should try it.

a happier girl said...

I'm going to start practicing my evil glare in the mirror tonight. My husband will be so excited.

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