How to make a Crappy American QuiltAmerican Music
is another one of those multi-generational epics that try to encompass a period of history (in this case, America in the 20th century)through the interconnected biographies of a select few who live through it. I really didn't like this book, and I like everything that I read. The title doesn't make sense - except that one character is a jazz musician . . . until he becomes a lawyer. I don't know how you cover the lives of a group of Americans livign from the 30s to the aughts and barely give mention to the second world war or Vietnam. These characters barely seem touched by their times; aside from a macramé dress and a rotary telephone, these women could have all walked out of 2010. Also - two or three teenage mothers (I lost count) and no mention of Roe v. Wade? And they all go on to college and live lives with no more than the normal amount of financial difficulty? Its though the author wants us to believe that women who lived through these eras weren't affected by anything more than fashion trends. One of the main characters is an Iraq war veteran, severely injured in combat. We hear next to nothing about the war or Milo's experience, and to include an Iraq war veteran in your story and make his horrific injuries the point on which the plot pivots but NEVER mention anything about his service or life outside of the military hospital to me just seems exploitative. The stories are supposed to fit together somehow, but are completely disjointed - you never figure out how Parvan and Hyacinth fit into the whole story, except that maybe they founded Ziljian cymbal makers and Joe, the sometime jazz musician maybe plays on them. The whole exercise just seems busted from the beginning. [Don't get me started on the massage therapy as window to the past - as I said in my updates, my suspension of disbelief was broken.] I'm still going to try reading Mendelsohn's I Was Amelia Earhart
, which also got good critical reviews, just in case the author had a bad year at the editor's with this attempt, but I'd recommend skipping this one - life is too short.