Death After Life

 

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The day started well. He had felt a curious sense of calm as he rocked out of the Tempur-pedic, flossed his teeth twice, and made eggs, two of which he fed to the turtle. Six capsules went down with eight ounces of fruit punch, and in a bathrobe, he sat down at his 1963 Remington, and began to type.

By eleven, he had checked email at that infernal laptop. His agent had signed him up for a gig: some ridiculous Christmas farce they were filming next spring. Did he truly look old enough to be that heifer’s grandfather? Sure, she was a Disney starlet, but she was twenty-seven. He Googled her. This depressed him.

Afternoon brought those Asian cleaning ladies around. In accordance, he locked his underwear drawer, where he kept his most precious treasures. Those cleaning people stole everything. Just last week, he noticed two small ornamental statues missing in the foyer, and two months prior, he saw them leave with the vacuum!

Four tablets were swallowed with eight ounces of fruit punch.

At three, he took a shower in the guest bath, and under the water, realized that he’d forgotten a towel. He exited nude and dripping, but for a hand towel lain across his hairy shoulder, and startled a woman with a feather duster on his way to the bedroom. He dressed quickly in a Chinese print button down and slacks, and promptly left.

His driver had the day off, so he drove himself to the hospital. That evening, he would be hosting the black tie opening of its new psychiatric wing.

Seventy doctors, a gaggle of nurses, and the press cheered as he cut the ribbon and led the group inside. Pictures were taken, champagne was passed around, his decade old Oscars were celebrated. The place was beautiful, with walls of glass, botanical gardens, and non-offensive artwork. It put him in a festive mood. He even posted a selfie with the top doc.

On the drive home, lights raced past him smearing like a color palate, and he thought of his wife, who was a painter. She’d be home by now. He looked at his wrist, to check the time, and nearly ran off the road. His watch was gone. Those cleaners! They must have gotten into his underwear drawer after all. Or, perhaps someone at the event had stolen it. There had been quite a lot of drink going around…

As soon as he screeched into the driveway, he ran to his bureau and removed his treasure: seven precious watches, in twenty-four karat gold, in platinum, in diamond. Now, he had a duty to fulfill. He wrapped them delicately in various undergarments, tucked them in a hat, and drove off once more.

His friend took them in like orphans, as he knew she would. He didn’t stay longer than a quick exchange on her door mat. And then he left for home.

Who could you trust in this world? The vast darkness was deep enough to ingest anyone whole. His life was an abyss that swallowed up his blockbuster hits, his fortune, his happiness. Where were the award shows now? Where was the gratitude?

He dressed for bed, pondering this, and kissed his wife on the cheek. She was reading, and smiled at him as he explained that he didn’t want to miss the Tonight show.

Then he went to the bathroom. He did not take his pills.

His hands yearned for a razor blade. What they found was a small pair of scissors.

The next morning, every news headline read: BROCK BOWER, 61, FOUND DEAD IN HIS LOS ANGELES HOME.

 

©MTL

http://www.mavisknightley.weebly.com

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

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In an old brownstone in New York, there’s an abstract painting of an egg. It was painted by Jack Tenpenny a few years ago. Or maybe neither of those things are true.

When Theodora Tenpenny spills rubbing alcohol on this painting, it melts away to reveal something completely different – an ancient-looking Madonna and Child painting. Theo doesn’t know for sure where it came from, but she has an idea…

Because before he died a month ago, Jack Tenpenny was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Because if it wasn’t stolen, where did her grandfather get it?

In addition to this new mystery, she needs to keep the house going on $462  (no income) and make sure her mother remembers to eat (not just drink tea and try to solve Fermat’s Last Theorem).

And sort out her new-and-slightly-confusing friendship with the enthusiastic / pushy daughter of two superstar actors, who actually wants to help her solve the origins of The Painting.

Will they sell it? Return it to its rightful owner (who may or may not be alive)? Can they even find the owner? And what will happen if the police take The Painting?

Well, they aren’t getting it if Theo has anything to say about it.

With *purposefully* dislocated shoulders, annoying French people, a Mets fan, a flock of chickens, a really smart Toasty Nuts seller, and quite a bit of World War Two history…

I give you Under the Egg.

Nest

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Nest by Esther Ehrlich is a 326 page realistic fiction novel. This book is about Naomi Orenstein, “Chirp”, who loves to bird watch and lives with her sister, dad, and mom. Chirp loves her life until her mom develops a serious disease which changes their family forever. Her family tries to deal with new issues that form around school, the neighborhood, and everyday life. Chirp’s mom loved to dance, but once she found out she had a serious illness, she became very depressed because she realized she could never dance again. Eventually, Chirp’s mom had to be moved to a mental health facility, leaving the rest of the family behind. Chirp begins to wonder if her family will ever be the same cozy “nest” that it used to be. I thought this book was a good read except that the end was very sad. I would definitely recommend!

NEED

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NEED by Joelle Charbonneau is a 335 page realistic fiction book. The book is about a high school that is introduced to the newest networking site called NEED. If you need anything, all you have to do is send in a NEED request and perform a small task to get what you asked for. Kaylee Dunham is a student who goes to Nottawa High School. When she gets an invitation to join NEED, she knows that she needs a kidney for her brother, who is very sick. Kaylee decides to send in a request for the kidney because she knows that she needs to find a donor match before it’s too late. Throughout the story Kaylee realizes that most of the requests on the NEED message board are not actually needs, but wants. As the number of members in the website go up, the tasks get more out of hand. Kaylee is determined to find out who started NEED and how to put a stop to it. This book was really interesting but a little bit creepy when you get to the end of the book, but I still would recommend it!

My Sister’s Keeper

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My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult is a 423 page realistic fiction novel told from multiple perspectives. The story is about a family who has a daughter, Kate, with leukemia. The parents, Sarah and Brian, have two children, Kate and Jesse, when they find out Kate has leukemia. They then decide to have another child, Anna, to be a perfect donor for Kate and to keep her alive as long as possible. All her life Anna was a donor to Kate without her even having a say. Anna’s parents then decide that Kate needs a kidney transplant and only Anna can give one to her. Anna then gets a lawyer and files a lawsuit against her parents to have the right of her own body. Throughout the story you learn more about the family’s problems and how the parents seem to only look after one kid. In the end, you also find out the true meaning behind the lawsuit that Anna filed. I thought that this novel was a good book, but it can make you angry because of the way Sarah and Brian seem to only care about keeping Kate alive. It is also sad that Anna’s parents only had her to help her sister, and her name is even short for the constellation Andromeda, who was a sacrifice. This book also has a very sad ending. Overall, I would give this book a five star rating.

When You Were Here

When Danny’s mother loses her five-year fight against cancer, a mere three weeks shy of his high school graduation, Danny goes on a bender. Left alone with only his dog and painfully-present ex-girlfriend, he crashes his car, smashes guitars and gives an explicit, if not entertaining, valedictorian speech.

The upcoming summer forecasts the same pattern of behavior when a letter from his mother’s property manager in Japan arrives. It is left to him to decide the fate of the family’s apartment in Tokyo and Danny decides to spend the summer there- with an ulterior motive. His mother adored Tokyo and, by visiting the place that reminds him most of her, he hopes to regain some of the person he’s lost.

This book tells the story of someone who’s dealt with more pain by eighteen than most people will deal with in a lifetime. Danny is left alone with no parents, and a repeatedly broken heart. As he retraces his mother’s steps through the last months of her life, he learns family secrets and risks being consumed by loss. But, with the help of Kana, the daughter of the apartment manager, and a surprising, old ally, Danny learns healing is possible.

Star Rating: 4/5

Other Author Picks:
The Mockingbirds
The Rivals (The Mockingbirds #2)