My mom and grandma were two of the biggest influences in my life when it came to reading when I was younger. My grandma was ALWAYS reading. She'd go into her bedroom shortly after dinner with a book and the tv and my grandpa would retire to the living room with his newspapers and his television. Speaking of, my dad and grandpa were two of the biggest influences on my life when it came to reading the newspaper, which we have delivered to our house Thursday-Sunday. My mom always had a pile of books and magazines by her various chairs throughout the house and by her bedside table.
It's not surprising that my first foray into 'adult' books would follow in my models footsteps. I was reading Nora Roberts in junior high. Which on another tangent reminds me of an article I read about Judy Blume the other day and she said that teens/children are their own best censors. If they don't understand something / are uncomfortable they skip over it. If they have questions, they ask. Did I ever ask my mom about a Nora Roberts sex scene? Nope. Just like I never asked my grandma about the sex scenes in her romance books when I checked those out. Did it help make me realize my mother and grandma were women too who just may have feelings? Yup. Helps make you realizes you're normal.
So where am I going? Basically, I read a lot of 'beach reads' 'chick lit' 'basic smut' for the first 20ish years of my life. Now it's hard to me to read many of those books but books SET on beaches, near beaches or with strong/hilarious female leads... they still get me.
Dorothea Benton Frank has become one of my favorite 'beach read/women character writers' around. She has depth, she has history, she's hysterical and there is a bit of sex/romance. But it's good. Sometimes a tad unbelievable but just one of those writers who I love reading and staying up late to finish because I need the story to close!
Description: Set in the steamy, stormy landscape of South Carolina, Sullivan's Island tells the unforgettable story of one woman's courageous journey toward truth.
Born and raised on idyllic Sullivan's Island, Susan Hayes navigated through her turbulent childhood with humor, spunk, and characteristic Southern sass. But years later, she is a conflicted woman with an unfaithful husband, a sometimes resentful teenage daughter, and a heart that aches with painful, poignant memories. And as Susan faces her uncertain future, she realizes that she must go back to her past. To the beachfront house where her sister welcomes her with open arms. To the only place she can truly call home.
The lead character Susan is hilarious. I love her. I also like that this book jumps back and forth from 1963 to the present (1999). Which, if you like Sarah Jio, you'd probably adore this book too. I liked that in the 1963 version we hear about the Civil Rights issues and how the beach was back then. I also enjoy how Susan deals with her husband cheating on her. She's a classy (minus a momentarily lapse with a toothbrush and pee) and strong and has a good sense of humor.
She does attempt to go on a date and OH MY LAWD, that 'sex' scene is HILARIOUS!!!! And I snorted because seriously that would happen to me on a date, I just know it!
This book is just soo much and I was really rooting for Susan to reconnect with her lost first love, Simon, and to figure out the mystery of her daddy dying in a marsh in 1963. I'm actually starting a follow up that is written about these characters but focuses more on Susan's daughter as soon as I'm done writing this.
Who influenced what you read as a young adult? What are your favorite 'types' of books? Have you been to Sullivan's Island? Charleston? (SO many local references in her books! and Pat Conroy's!)