If you skim Elisa Albert’s website, you’ll see plenty of accolades for her novel The Book of Dahlia. Many of these come from such highly regarded media as The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and so forth. But which one jumped out at me? That would be Entertainment Weekly, which called The Book of Dahlia one of the Ten Best Fiction Books of 2008.
You see, my mom has rubbed off on me a bit. Growing up in my house, my mom used to joke that the TV Guide was the bible. While it always retained that level of importance, I feel like Entertainment Weekly might have been starting to edge it out. My mom was always caught up on her Entertainment Weeklys, both in magazine and website form. And it seems to have influenced her reading choices.
The list of the Ten Best Fiction Books of 2008 includes a great review of The Book of Dahlia, writing:
“The eponymous heroine of Albert’s mordant novel is a spoiled Los Angeles slacker with a doting father, a self-absorbed mother, no direction in life, and few commitments. She slumps on her shabby-chic couch smoking dope, eating Cheerios, and watching cheesy old movies again and again while she waits for her life to begin. But terminal cancer happens, even to pretty underachievers like Dahlia Finger who never have the chance to redeem themselves — and probably wouldn’t even if they did. What begins as a darkly funny novel develops quickly into a genuine tragedy, though it’s unlike any you’ve read before.”
On top of that, though, the article also features two other books from Robin’s Reading List. There’s Richard Price’s Lush Life, which I haven’t read yet, and The House on Fortune Street, which is one of my favorites from this project so far. Additionally, Entertainment Weekly includes American Wife, a book that my mom recommended to me earlier and I read for my book club. Everyone in the group really liked it.
With a track record like that, I believe Entertainment Weekly really knows how to pick ’em. Or, rather, that my mom really knew how to pick ’em from the ones that Entertainment Weekly picked. Or something like that…