I hesitate to call this a book report. The two books were more like TV shows on paper and also, I watched three seasons of "Parenthood" and one and a half seasons of "Scandal" in one month. (Curse you Netflix on my Kindle!) That's why there are only two books.
1. Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
Remember how I said I watched three seasons of "Parenthood" in less than a month? I was also listening to Lauren Graham read her book Someday, Someday, Maybe on my iPod. (She's in "Parenthood," in case you didn't see the connection.) You'd think I'd be all set with the Lauren Graham, but she is a delight! We would totally be friends!
Her book is a fictionalized story that could be from real life. A girl named Francis Banks is trying to make it in the New York acting world in 1995. She gave herself a time limit to "succeed" at her dream and she's got six months left on the clock. I've never been interested in acting, but I found the day-to-day action of trying to get work through auditions and having a manager and an agent and having to keep a flexible job on the side so you can pay for rent and food, all interesting. Francis attends an acting class and has a major crush on one of the actors in her class, a guy named James Franklin. Every single time she said his name (and it always included the last name) I thought of James Franco. The character of James Franklin has to be based on a real person. The pretensions were so life-like! This is why Lauren Graham and I would be friends, because she doesn't appear to have those pretensions that some actors obviously do. Like their work is the most important thing ever. Anyway, we would also be friends because she can imitate a New York accent perfectly and that's just fun for me to listen to.
I mentioned it was 1995 and the character was close to the age I was in 1995. I was on an LDS mission, though. Ha! Viva la difference. The styles Graham talks about are very familiar. I especially liked the references to Law & Order (she was in my favorite group of Law & Order episodes back when my boyfriend, Benjamin Bratt, was on it). This was fluffy and escapism. Perfect for August. I hear the CW is making it into a TV show. I'll probably have to watch that, too. I like to keep up with my one-sided friendships.
2. What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen
This was part of my month of indulgences and I paid the price. (Worst book ever.) One of my pet fears is being well over 40 years old and finally getting pregnant. I've heard stories about women who go into pre-menopause and all the hormones surging through their bodies making them fertile. (I should apply what I learned from Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and realize that the statistic for that situation occurring is minute, but I was busy indulging.)
This is the ultimate story of a woman, 44 years-old at the time, getting pregnant after being infertile (she even has a 9 year-old adopted daughter) her whole adult life. She doesn't realize she's pregnant until she's six months along and she goes in for a CAT scan to see what the tumor in her belly is. It's a baby. Ms. Cohen had all the symptoms of pregnancy, but her gynecologist performed an internal exam on her and didn't notice that she was pregnant (at five months along). She even took a pregnancy test that came out negative (those don't work after the first three months - noted). So, not knowing she was pregnant, Ms. Cohen spent the first six months of her pregnancy drinking wine and taking estrogen because her doctors thought she was starting menopause.
I was reveling in the juicy-ness of my worst fears being realized by this woman (except the part about the wine, since I don't drink), until she started her self-absorbed, painfully detailed reaction to finding out she was pregnant. I should thank her for taking the fear of this situation away from me, really. Ms. Cohen's reaction was to try to find a clinic that would perform a late-term abortion for her. She even made the appointment. She didn't keep the appointment, but I wonder if she had been able to find anyone to come with her if she would have gone through with it. When the abortion didn't work out, Ms. Cohen contemplated suicide. I haven't been there and I don't fault her for having these thoughts. However, she did have the baby and someday that baby will grow up and probably be able to read. I wonder how I would feel if I knew my mother wanted to get rid of me that badly (at one point she decided if the baby was born with medical problems that she would place it for adoption). Then there was the whole lawsuit thing. That's all going to be readable public record someday. One of the things Ms. Cohen was most upset about was having to put her career on hold. I get that - you're 44 years-old and you've built a career and taken a certain path you thought was leading to a certain place. But her career is solo theater. SOLO THEATER. Nope. She was watching her students re-enact their journey of sexual discovery on the stage. For no one to watch. Ridiculous! That's a career?!
I will skip all the ways I hated this book and go right to what I now know because of it. If I find out I'm pregnant when I'm 44 years-old, I will be happy in the knowledge that it is part of the plan of my life. I will know I can handle it because my Heavenly Father knows I can handle it. Statistically, though, it won't happen to me. I do like knowing ahead of time anyway, though, that it won't break me and that I would never write such an intimate account of my darkest thoughts for that precious gift to read someday. Maybe Alice's daughter will create a solo theater piece about it.