Dear Great Book Guru, After the last couple of fun-filled weekends here in Sea Cliff, it is sad to realize Summer is really over and Fall is about to begin, but I can seek comfort in a good book, right? Any suggestions? Adjusting to Autumn
Dear Adjusting to Autumn, I just finished a very interesting book- a book that reminded me in some ways of Sea Cliff: PERFECTLY MISERABLE: GUILT, GOD, AND REAL ESTATE IN A SMALL TOWN by Sarah Payne Stuart. Having left her childhood hometown of Concord, Massachusetts when she was eighteen, Payne returns fifteen years later, married and pregnant with her third child. Her goal is to gain her parents’ approval, show them have bad they were at parenting, and, yes, give her children the childhood she thought she’d had. Needless to say, a recipe for disaster. Real estate agents, home renovators, and PTA officials are all described in humorously biting detail as are the Alcotts, Thoreaus, and Emersons of 19th century Concord fame. But Payne’s most humorous and painful descriptions are saved for her mother. A descendent of a wealthy, literary family, now married to a mattress salesman, she never had the money or grace to live as she wanted. But the book is much more than a family memoir- it is also a story of zoning battles, architectural review boards, tear downs, landmarks, preservationists versus modernists… Sound familiar?