Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A Lively Read

If you are looking for a book that is well written but light, may I recommend Diana Lively is Falling Down by Sheila Curran? (a bit about the author here and here) The book is the story of Diana Lively, award winning architect who was widowed young and is now well into a second marriage. She had one child with her first husband and has two with her second. When the new kids came along Diana gave up her career and funneled her creative energy into raising the kids and making elaborate dollhouses. Diana's second husband is Ted, a don at Oxford and expert in Arthurian Studies. Ted enjoys all the perks he thinks professors should have including affairs with his students. Ted is a pompous ass, thinks the world revolves around him and is jealous of any kind of success his wife or children might gain on their own merits. He is also an alcoholic but no one will admit it least of all Ted. Enter Wally Gold, a very wealthy American businessman. His wife, who loved reading everything Arthurian, died a few years ago so in her memory Wally goes to Oxford with a plan. He wants to endow a chair of Arthurian Studies at Oxford. While he's there he also decides that he wants to build a King Arthur Theme Park in Arizona near the London Bridge. The administration forces Ted to take the consultant job Wally offers. Since Ted has no other choice, he and his family are off Phoenix. Ted is a vindictive SOB and decides that he is going to take revenge on Wally for making him move to the hinterlands. He begins researching laws and sending emails in an attempt to ruin Wally's theme park project. Ted is a character that will make you yell at your book. And as much I hated him, he was part of what made the book so fun to read. The plot is fast-paced and intricate with so many twists and turns it is hard to know where it's going to go next. My only complaints about the book are that sometimes things happen a little too conveniently and I don't like the cover. The cover screams "Chic-Lit!" even though it is far from Bridget Jones type angst. Granted, it is not a book that most men would probably be interested in, but the cover will turn off anyone who avoids chic-lit even on principle. Diana Lively is Falling Down certainly is not high literature, but sometimes we all need a break from the heady stuff.