I’m going to blame Cloud Atlas, the novel of much buzz and fanfare by David Mitchell. Once I got over the hump of struggling to get into it – to read more than a page or two at a time, I found that it was a really good book. Really good. But the journey up and over that hump was a rough one. I almost didn’t make it. And I never give up on a book, no matter how bad, boring or bucolic. Whatever. Alliteration. It’s where it’s at.
After finishing Cloud Atlas, which was around November of last year, I took a book reading vacation. Which is weird. Because I would usually devour a novel a week. On this book reading vacation, I did read myself some YA, because let’s face it. I couldn’t truly go cold turkey. And reading material intended for someone half my age (or, erm…. crap. A third of my age) totally counts as reading.
I finished that Sweet Valley Confidential piece of garbage in about a day. It was bad. And not bad like “oh come on, you knew it was going to be bad,” but bad like Francine Pascal had a conversation with herself that went like this:
– Why will these vapid little tween girls not desist in sending me their pitiful fan letters?
– What has become of me? I know the word “tween.”
– After all these years, they still love Jessica and Elizabeth!
– The fools.
– Fools who have paid me millions for churning out saccharine trash.
– Perhaps if I were to wipe my ass and call it a novel, they would buy that.
– That is a brilliant idea!
But I read it. No book left behind.
And today, I finished my first adult novel (at least I’m pretty sure it’s for grown-ups… kinda. It is sort of Nancy Drew-esque. Please don’t burst my bubble.) in months and months.
Also, it was really good!
It was the first in a series of eight, which means that I can just go chomping through these for a while.
So, Maisie Dodds. She’s this World War I era British girl who goes to work as a maid. Her employers pick up on her extra cleverness and sponsor her education. Cambridge is interrupted by the war and Maisie goes off to France as a nurse. Afterward, she starts her own business as a private investigator, and this book is the story of her first mystery solved.
Sometimes she wears a cloche. And she has a pearl tipped hat pin. And a nurse’s watch. And from what I can tell, her nurse’s outfit was just like the one that one of my paper dolls had when I was five.
It is entirely possible that I fell enamored of the style and sentiment of the era more than the actual story telling, but I was engaged in the story and the character. Although she is a little stuffy and not so quirky, but she’s awfully smart and sensible and always knows just what to say.
Even though it wasn’t a challenging read, I’m still feeling pretty chuffed* to have finished a whole grown-up book that perhaps I will do it again**!
*See what I did there? I used a cute little British word, just like a Maisie Dobbs character would.
**For my next act, I will be reading the 2nd Maisie Dobbs book.