Brilliant. Genius. Mom.

cover_passionI almost never blog about what I am reading. The reasons could form their own blog. Suffice to say, I am not a critic. I read too passionately, get too consumed by a book to want to pull myself out and be insightful, any more than I want to write about other private aspects of . . . my personal passions.

However, I just read a book that enthralled me in a “shout it from the rooftops” way. I’d been laboring through a “thriller”—to learn something more about plot!—and just couldn’t get invested. I didn’t care about the protagonist. I actually liked her fine—it wasn’t about likeability. The stakes, even though they seemed to be life or death, didn’t matter to me because they didn’t really matter to her. A game had been thrust upon her, more as a matter of plot, of author convenience, than anything else, as far as I could tell.

I accidentally left that book at home when I went away for the weekend! Hmm . . .

Instead, I read a book by Yale Goldstein Love, the daughter of one of my brilliant mentors, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein. Warning: I am going to gush here.

This debut novel (called Overture in hardback and The Passion of Tasha Darsky in paperback) is astonishingly mature, authoritative, evocative and gripping. The writing is gorgeous.

I loved the character—not because she was likeable or not likeable, but because she was fascinating and because there was a dissonance between how she saw herself and how the world saw her that was apparent to me through the first person narration. That dissonance caused all kinds of plot problems. It also provoked theme. What are the consequences of underestimating yourself? Of women, in particular, being undervalued? What do we lose, as consumers of culture, when people fail to “say yes to it”?

Even in the laudatory reviews of Yael Goldstein Love’s first book, I sensed that people were holding back. This is genius, folks, in the form of a young woman’s first book. Encore! Encore!

It seems no coincidence that this is a book about mothers and daughters as well as about creativity and genius: Yael’s mother, the award-winning, MacArthur genius Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, has a new, highly-praised novel out now, too, which is next on my list: 36 Arguments for the Existence of God. These two women count for two of those arguments!

Gushing over. What books and authors do you LOVE?

WEDNESDAY: Five Ways to Keep on Writing Your Book

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