Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Brand New Human Being - Emily Jeanne Miller

Title: Brand New Human Being
Author: Emily Jeanne Miller
Hardcover: 272 pages
My version: NetGalley eBook
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Published date: June 12, 2012
FTC: Received eGalley to review for TLC Tours

I'll admit right here and now that when I decided to pick up my iPhone to start reading Brand New Human Being I was not happy that I had agreed to read this book for TLC Book Tours.  I mean, I can't stand novels about infidelity and all that stuff.  My other qualm was that I had accepted my first NetGalley book and I wasn't quite sure if that was the format for me.

BUT!!  I started reading the book and was completely sucked into the story.  The novel ended up being quite a bit different than what I had expected: the writing was beautiful and it completely absorbed me into the life of Logan Pyle.  Since the book came out just yesterday, I'd say this is the perfect intelligent beach read that you could probably share with your husband on vacation.

The synopsis from TLC:

Meet Logan Pyle, a lapsed grad student and stay-at-home dad who's holding it together by a thread. His father, Gus, has died; his wife, Julie, has grown distant; his four-year-old son has gone back to drinking from a bottle.  When he finds Julie kissing another man on a pile of coats at a party, the thread snaps.  Logan packs a bag, buckles his son into his car seat, and heads north with a 1930s Louisville Slugger in the back of his truck, a maxed-out credit card in his wallet, and revenge in his heart.

After some bad decisions and worse luck, he lands at his father's old A-frame cabin, where his father's young widow, Bennie, now lives. She has every reason to turn Logan away, but when she doesn't, she opens the door to unexpected redemption -- for both of them.

A deftly plotted exploration of marriage, family, and the road from child to parent, Brand New Human Being is a page-turning debut that overflows with heart and grace.

My thoughts:

You might be wondering why I agreed to read a book I was reluctant to pick up in the first place.  Well...all the reasons why I agreed to read Brand New Human Being were the reasons I ended up really enjoying it.

I was intrigued that Emily Jeanne Miller, obviously a woman, would write solely in the perspective of a father.  I am quite curious to read a review from a male reader, perhaps a father as well.  I think she did a fabulous job of getting into the head of Logan Pyle.  His obvious grief over his larger-than-life father, his concern over the well-being of his only child who is regressing, his denial that his small business is failing, his marital drift from his wife who seems to be more concerned with her legal case than her family -- it just seemed that I was smack, right there in his head.  It's beautifully well-written.

I was also interested in the idea of a man struggling with the stay-at-home job.  It was quite an interesting perspective since I too am a stay-at-home mom.  I've realized over the year that there are so many many ways of raising a child and most of us are just trying to do what we think is right.  That said, there were many times I wanted to slap Logan and tell him to stop pushing his kid.  I remember mentioning to my husband the other night to NEVER call our kid "champ" or force him into an activity or sport he hates.

And my concern about it being a book about infidelity was unfounded. I love that she was able to write the scene with Julie making a big mistake and how it broke Logan without the story having to go all the way to full out affair.  My only problem with the story is that being told only in Logan's perspective, I never really understood or even really liked Julie. I wanted to yell at her to stop working so much and actually spend some time with her son and husband...and to talk!  She just didn't seem very understanding.

Last but not least, the end of the story.  I felt a little like I was hanging -- it wasn't a "happily ever after" ending or anything -- but then again neither is life.  So it worked.  The story is about flawed imperfect people doing stupid things sometimes but at least they were trying to make it work.  That's what made it a perfectly great story.

Side note:

As I said, this is my first NetGalley book.  I found that reading the format on my iPhone was a LOT different than reading library eBooks.  Instead of the pages being formated for my iPhone screen, the eGalley is like a snapshot of the book page so the writing is really tiny and if I zoom in, then the page doesn't fit on my screen.  Does this mean I might actually have a reason to break down and buy a real eReader?  We shall see!!  (Please feel free to give my husband a lot of mental vibe hints to buy his wife an eReader -- preferably a Nook color.  Thank you.) :)

Emily Jeanne Miller’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, June 11th:  Between the Covers
Tuesday, June 12th:  It’s a Crazy, Beautiful Life
Wednesday, June 13th:  A Library of My Own
Monday, June 18th:  Sara’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, June 20th:  The Blog of Litwits
Thursday, June 21st:  Southern Girl Reads
Monday, June 25th:  Knowing the Difference
Wednesday, June 27th:  I Write in Books
Friday, June 29th:  Colloquium (guest post)
Saturday, June 30th:  Colloquium (review)
Monday, July 2nd:  Life in Review
Tuesday, July 3rd:  Simply Stacie
Thursday, July 5th:  Unabridged Chick
Monday, July 9th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, July 11th:  Bookfan
Thursday, July 12th:  Girls Just Reading
Friday, July 13th:  Book Club Classics!
Monday, July 16th:  A Novel Source
Wednesday, July 18th:  A Patchwork of Books

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