Can you really go home again? This week Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City recommends three books about protagonists who discover something unexpected about themselves and what family means to them.
Full Circle was established in 1970 and is still going strong as the oldest and largest independent bookstore in Oklahoma. It also boasts the largest selection of books about Oklahoma in the state.
Manager Dana Meister and bookseller Mary Robideaux recommend three books where the biggest surprises come from people they thought they already knew:
The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo (Harper Paperbacks; September 8, 2015)
“This is about a girl [Mattie] returning home to her mother, who she thinks is just an alcoholic and a deadbeat. But when she gets to her mother’s hometown — which the girl has never visited — she finds that her mother’s past isn’t what she thought, that the people in the town actually loved her and thought she was a wonderful person. Later, she discovers that many of the things she thought she knew about her family were wrong. It’s just a great book; it’s really about the juxtaposition of who we think our parents are and who they really are.”
The Mare by Mary Gaitskill (Pantheon, November 3, 2015)
“I loved this book and I didn’t think I would; it’s just so good. It’s about a girl [Velveteen Vargas] from the Dominican Republic; her mother doesn’t speak English and seems to be very, very harsh with her daughter. It’s difficult for Velveteen but then she visits an Anglo woman on her farm, and that’s where she discovers her love and connection with horses. Velveteen also learns more about the family that owns the farm and how it has a dynamic that’s very different from her own family. It’s just a wonderful and heartfelt book, one that will keep you reading. I just couldn’t believe how good it is; the author is such a great writer.”
Purity by Jonathan Franzen (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015)
“This is a great book about revisiting a mysterious past. The main character is a girl [Purity] who is trying to find her father because she’s in debt and needs money. She really just wants someone to pay her bills. But when she finds out why her father wasn’t involved in her life, her outlook totally changes. This book is really huge, too, as there’s more adventure than just reconnecting with family, so it really gives you a lot to think about. The author, Jonathan Franzen, is a fantastic writer and I remember thinking to myself, ‘everything he writes in this book is just so fascinating and well thought out.’”