Thursday, September 26, 2013

In a Word: Exceptional

Book Review: I Can't Complain by Elinor Lipman

When reading a book, I usually find myself coming back to what I call the "Three Cs" - Clarity (how well it is written), Consistency (do the characters behave in character), and Cohesiveness (does the whole thing stick together). I have found over a lifetime of reading (and I am past the half-century mark, thank you) that these measures pretty much apply to any book, in any genre.

Elinor Lipman's I Can't Complain hits all three and throws a few bonuses as well. Of course, since these are personal essays, the main character stays in character - it's Elinor after all. Her writing is concise [an undocumented C], clear, and simply a joy to read. And the whole thing sticks together like Silly Putty.

More than that, Elinor Lipman takes the everyday and makes it ... more than that. Events do not need to be extraordinary to make them meaningful. I think the present generation has lost sight of the simple fact that the simple things and the basic emotions that go with them are important in their own right. Everything does not have to be an adrenaline pumping heart-pounding YouTube event to be important in a person's life. To expect otherwise is, I believe, missing the point of life entirely.

Thank you, Ms. Lipman, for writing about what it is really like to live life, and to be aware you are living it.

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