Jamie A.

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds (2015)

boyblacksuitThey always say, "don't judge a book by its cover," but it's hard not to do so sometimes. My eyes were first drawn to The Boy in the Black Suit because of the crinkled look that reminded me of a photo that had been passed around often without protection. All I wanted to do was smooth it out. I was warned that it was kind of a sad book, but I loved it.

I think many of us can relate to Matt who quietly faces the struggle of losing a loved one—that feeling of loneliness when nobody can relate, and they're not sure how to act around you. He ends up working as a pallbearer at the local funeral home. Most people turn to work to keep their mind off the grief, but Matt slowly finds comfort from his job, which allows him to sneak into funerals and listen to people who he can relate to in loss.

The novel also explores his imperfect budding romantic relationship with Lovey, plus his interactions with his boss Mr. Ray and his best friend Chris.

Jason Reynolds did a great job of making Matt a relatable character—he didn't have special powers, he wasn't super attractive or talented, he was just a regular kid living in real life. That's what this book was about: real life with all the ups, downs, and those little moments that make it all worth it.
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Jamie A.

The Intouchables (2011) R

intouchablesMary P. recommended this very good movie to me. I was a little wary since The Intouchables is in French with English subtitles, but it was enjoyable and easy to relate to. Not extremely serious or comedic, this film is a great choice for many.
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Jamie A.

Rescue by Anita Shreve (2010)

Absorbing family drama about a man who falls in love, marries, has a child and then becomes a single father when his wife becomes an alcoholic. Very well written.

Check our catalog to if Rescue is available and for more books by Anita Shreve click here.
Jamie A.

Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (2005)
A chronicle of a year of grief as Didion’s husband, John dies at the same time their daughter undergoes a life-threatening illness. A story of grief intertwined with a tribute to marriage and motherhood.

Enjoy an NPR interview with the author and read The New York Times review.
Jamie A.

Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott

Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott (2010)
A 43-year-old, divorced woman’s life becomes entangled with a down-on-their luck family. When their two cars collide and the hospital discovers the mother has cancer, Clara moves the three children, their father and grandmother into her home putting her life into a tailspin. With humor, honesty and tenderness, Endicott tells the story of a woman who finally finds herself through others. The characters are wonderful and I was sad to leave them.

Read the New York Times review and learn more about the author.

Jamie A.

When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson

When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson (2008)
I really enjoyed this book, staying up until 1:00 am reading it. There is a mystery entwined in the story – what happened to Dr. Hunter? But it’s really about the characters and relationships. The four main characters are well defined and interesting. One of them, Reggie, is a 16-year-old orphan who has the determination to make it even though everything seems to be against her. This sentence sums up her current state of affairs, “Reggie got off the bus and turned the corner of the street to find that the all-too-familiar calling cards of catastrophe were waiting for her - three fire engines, an ambulance, two police cars, some kind of incident van, and a knot of bystanders – all muddled up in the street outside her flat. Reggie’s heart sank, it seemed inevitable that they would be there for her.” Flashes of wit and humor brighten the story and Atkinson’s descriptive writing will make her characters linger in your mind.

Check out the Random House website for information about the author and reviews of the book. Read another interesting review from The New York Times.
Jamie A.

The Hunting Party

The Hunting Party (2007) R
A fascinating story based on true incidents that follows a war correspondent, a cameraman and a young journalist as they search for the no. 1 war criminal in Bosnia.

Richard Gere plays Simon Hunt, a burnt-out, discredited war journalist who sees this mission as a way to redeem himself plus claim a multi-million dollar reward. In 2000, he convinces his ex-cameraman to join him, and the son of a network VP tags along as they go on a dangerous and crazy adventure. The cast of characters they meet are amazing. A dark comedy with episodes of violence but also witty dialogue and empathetic heroes.

Happy 20th Birthday, Indian Prairie! Join us as we celebrate all day long. The festivities conclude with a Neverly Brothers concert tonight at 7:00.
Jamie A.

Stranger than Fiction

Stranger than Fiction (2006) PG-13
Will Ferrell is an IRS auditor who basically has no life until he suddenly hears a voice narrating his life. The voice is that of a writer who has made Harold the main character in her novel. As Harold hears his life unfold, he realizes that the author’s intent is to kill off her main character – him! This compels him to change his limited, structured life and even find romance. This is a really funny, charming movie. Will Ferrell plays a character that seems completely alien to most of his other roles. But he is wonderful! As the movie goes on, you really do start to wonder, “What will happen to Harold?”

See what Roger Ebert says about this film.

Also starring Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, and Queen Latifah.
Jamie A.

Run by Ann Patchett

Run by Ann Patchett (2007)
A beautifully written story that proves several themes tied around relationships. A prominent man has raised his son and two adopted African-American sons since his wife’s death years ago. His relationship with his oldest son is lacking and his plans for his adopted sons are at odds with what they want for their lives. The tangle of feelings within the family, including the hole left in their lives when the mother died, are brought into focus when an accident brings new people into their world. In fact, their world is turned upside down. The characterizations are wonderful. I didn’t want the book to end.