Up is down. Left is right. Richard Marx seemingly has a new album…(It’ll never be another “Should’ve Known Better”…the botox prevents him from moving his mouth properly.)
One thing that hasn’t changed is that I’m still reading an absurd amount of books. I have a crippling fear that I’ll one day have to spend a day without books. It’s irrational, I know. I think it’s ok as long as my books don’t start talking to me through book-mouths and not their words on pages. What would that look like in the DSM? Bibliophrenia? I already have enough DX from the DSM, and I do not need another notch on my crazy-belt. *the other belt with notches will accept one from Michael Fassbender, however.*
A book I read recently, I felt I needed to simmer with for a little while before I gave my full-review here at B2B. I did pen a quick review at Goodreads, which you can read here.
The book? Neanderthal Marries Human. Book 1.5 of the Knitting in the City series.
Last year, I read and loved this books’ predecessor, Neanderthal Seeks Human, and the other books in the series: Friends Without Benefits and Love Hacked. I have been anxiously awaiting this installment since it was announced. I was positively twitterpated with glee when I read that Penny Reid had released it early.
It’s like going to the gym only to realize that only four other people showed up for bodypump class, and you get your favorite spot and barbell.
Neanderthal Marries Human is everything I’ve come to expect from Penny Reid, and still very surprising. Her books (so far) have been witty and smart sugar-cookies of literature. Yes, they’re essentially contemporary romance novels with happy endings and googly-love eyes, but at the same time, they’re not dumbed down to a specific level of reader. (insert reference to a book with a multiple of five, and non-specific hues of a non-color.) Penny Reid puts out quality books that are enjoyable, accessible, entertaining, and intelligent.
This book was all of those things, but it was also decidedly more demanding of a reader’s introspection. Getting married is a pretty big deal. The protagonist, Janie approaches the situation with her typical level of pragmatism and skeptic world-view, and Quinn is ready to throw caution to the wind.
Throughout the book, both Quinn and Janie are forced to reckon their lives together in the present with what may happen in the future, and what, if any, their pasts say about what will or could happen. They’re backed into their own corners and made to face their own insecurities and decide to press on in spite of them. The thing is, they DO press-on, and it doesn’t feel contrived or forced, or as if they had some sort of “it only happens in books” epiphany. It’s organic and wonderful.
After you read the book, you feel refreshed and renewed. The subtlety of the “message” of the book, that family is everything–whether it’s the one you’re born with or the one you choose–it matters not which family. It’s about finding your place in that family, and finding that place in yourself, and being okay with that. Both Janie and Quinn grow a lot in this book, and it was great to be able to laugh and empathize with the characters on that level.
All-in-all, Neanderthal Marries Human is an excellent example of a sequel doing exactly what a great sequel should–it highlights growth and revelation while propelling the storyline forward, entertaining and engaging the reader, and setting up possible questions to be answered in any subsequent titles. It was a highly-engrossing and fulfilling read with surprising depth and wit.
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Ingredients (1 drink)
- 1 1/2 oz Curacao
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 tsp superfine sugar
- 1 1/2 oz seltzer
stir with ice
grapefruit or lemon wheel
colored sugar rim