Tag Archives: Elizabeth LaBan

NetGalley Review: The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth LaBan

Lake Union Publishing To Be Published Jan. 5, 2016
Lake Union Publishing
To Be Published Jan. 5, 2016

Lisa Soto has a master’s degree that she no longer uses. Married with a work obsessed husband, a little girl running around and a baby on the way, Lisa is contemplating how and why did her life end up this way.

Lisa’s husband Sam decides to move his family to Philadelphia, where he takes his job as a restaurant critic seriously. So seriously, he wants Lisa and their family to remain anonymous and have little or no interaction with their neighbors; leaving Lisa jumpy and alone. 

Needing some kind of adult interaction, Lisa wonders if she is losing her identity and begins questioning every decision she made including leaving her ex for Sam. 

I picked this book because I read LaBan’s YA book The Tragedy Paper (Click here for the review).  I enjoyed that book, so I decided I would give this a try.

This was a struggle read for me because Lisa is miserable for most of the book. I am aware that is the premise but it is really hard to read someone who is just plain unhappy all the time. Sam is inconsiderate and Lisa just allows him to be him. At one point you just wonder, when did she decide to just give up everything she even remotely wanted. She doesn’t even care about appearances. When Sam begins acting irrational in public she just sits there.

My issue with Lisa is she gives the impression that she just gave up on herself. I am sure plenty of women go through this but Lisa bugged me. Sam bugged.

In regards to writing style, I didn’t love the flashbacks. It was fitting for the novel, yes but I felt that it could have been cleaner and sharper. The transitions weren’t that great *shrugs*

I liked the book and I understand the lack of emotion within the characters but I cannot tell you how bad I wanted some kind of passion. Even when the flashbacks happen, there was no real emotion other than impulsiveness.

This book offered insight and it is extremely relate-able even if you aren’t married. But this was a hard read and I strongly believe more could have been done to this book.


2.8 Pickles

Book Review: The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

Tim Macbeth is a 17 year old new transfer to Irving boarding school. He is

    Knopf Books for Young Readers    Published Jan. 8, 2013         312 Pages
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published Jan. 8, 2013
312 Pages

an albino student who hopes to get by this semester unnoticed. However, he does the opposite and falls for the most popular girl in school Vanessa Sheller, who happens to be the girlfriend of the most popular boy in school.

If anyone finds out that Vanessa and Tim have a thing going on it could mean social disaster. But that is not the only worry of Vanessa and Tim. They have to complete a senior paper called “The Tragedy Paper” given by the hardest English teacher in the school.

YAY For my second realistic fiction book of the year! I enjoyed this book very much. The author did an amazing job capturing me as I read. You are told the story through Tim however, Tim has graduated school and you are hearing through a CD  as a student named Duncan is hearing it.  Tim left his story, recorded on CDs, in his old room left for Duncan to hear. This set up was really cool because while Tim is sharing his story, Duncan has an on going story of his own.

As for the characters, I thought they were extremely developed. I was surprised by Tim because although he was conflicted on the inside you did not see it as he spoke with others. He was an extremely likable character; even Vanessa was a likable character. No one was over board with emotions or pity.

What I didn’t like was the lack of focus on the tragedy paper. Tim and Vanessa was not stressing this paper. It was there but it wasn’t the main focus. It was a focus for Duncan because Tim left his words to show Duncan tragedy. Tim and Vanessa did have school concerns but it was overruled by their feelings for each other.

Another concept about this book that I like and didn’t like was the tragedy. The author makes you assume and she even feeds that assumption  by bluntly saying everything that you’re thinking and when the climax hits you’re like that is not what expected. I love to be surprised in books but I go back and forth in this case because she made me feel as if I knew the ending. Good writing trick.

Overall, I loved this book. Perfect score: 5 Pickles