Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Start Without Me by Joshua Max Feldman

No pressure - it's just Adam's first holiday with the whole big family since he got out of rehab. He probably won't disappoint them in any new and dramatic fashion, right?

Meanwhile, an exhausted flight attendant ponders her own impending Thanksgiving celebration with the insufferable in-laws. Marissa and her husband are already arguing and it's probably not going to get better over dinner. But spending the day with her own family would be even worse.

The intersection of these two characters makes for a funny, sad, and completely engrossing story. You'll relate if you've ever made a snowballing series of poor decisions. These are people trying to do right, failing, and then wondering if it might be easier to just quit.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Catalina by Liska Jacobs

Elsa's life is a slow-speed trainwreck. She got fired after an affair with her NYC boss, so she's returned to California to spend every severance penny while popping pills, swilling drinks, and dragging everyone along for the shitshow.

I enjoyed the tension created by the band of walking disasters that includes Elsa, her ex-husband and his girlfriend, best friend Charly and her husband, and a rich asshole friend Tom who owns a boat. The gang decides to sail to Catalina for the jazz fest.

You know Elsa's going down in flames ... or can she be saved? She'll probably take somebody down with her - but who? There are several likely candidates.

It was a quick read, and highly enjoyable: A flit from drunk to stoned, from smash to crash to bellyflop.