Rosie Schapp: Drinking with Men a memoir


I was really, really excited to finally get my copy of this book from the library (I had been on the waiting list).  I anticipated a  literary version of Cheers told from a female perspective.  I thought of life long friendships with an interesting cast of characters set in the warm, dark smoky confines of pubs and bars, not exactly what I got.

The first quarter of the book is all about a seriously messed up childhood, think teen years, as a Dead Head high school dropout touring the country fueled by booze and drugs and probably lots of casual sex, although that isn’t discussed. A rape is discussed, but in an almost dismissive manner, which led me to assume sexual assaults were so prevalent that it was nothing remarkable.  I almost stopped reading but there were hints that the author turned her life around so I persevered.

The rest of the book highlights the authors quest for “regularity”, that is the state of being a “regular” at a bar.  The memoir does swerve into other areas of the author’s life such as college, marriage, religious training, and work.  I think my disappointment with the book is the lack of depth.  It is like a running narrative of: this happened, that happened, this happened, etc.  None of the characters are developed, other than some detail about Ed, we don’t really get to “know” any of the characters.   I guess I expected more of a focus on relationships and people, not this running cast of “strangers” just passing through the story.

Upon reflection, perhaps I expected too much.  Maybe Drinking with Men is an accurate reflection of  the nature of the “regular” bar relationships.  Having never been a “regular” perhaps I have an overly romanticized vision of the neighborhood bar environment?  Still I expected something more than a running account of a relatively young woman’s life to date.


Jacklyn Brady: A Sheetcake Named Desire


Cute cozy mystery.  Definitely a light, quick read.  It has everything you need for a series cozy mystery.  Colorful cast of characters, believable device to get protagonist involved, great setting (New Orleans post-Katrina), popular theme (baking) and red herrings and misdirection to keep the mystery going.  The gist of the story is that Rita has traveled to New Orleans to meet with her husband, who she is separated from, in order to get him to sign the divorce papers.  There is a murder and Rita becomes embroiled with it and the husband’s bakery business.

The only issue that I had was that the characters kept making a big deal that the victim had been acting in an erratic and unexpected manner and Rita even questions if perhaps he was not well.  That is not explored or explained with the resolution. I am not really sure what that was about or if a point was being made that we don’t really know other people.  Maybe it will be brought up later in the series?  Overall, an enjoyable cozy mystery and I will read more in the series.