In case you didn’t know.
My friend who goes by N (not really but y’know) bought me Ms. McElhatton’s book Milion Little Mistakes for Christmas this year. Admittedly, I don’t read much. That is, I don’t read books much. I read articles and blogs and e-mails like it’s going out of style. I profess to love books, I like to be in the company of books, but I don’t actually make good on all my professions of adoration to them enough.
But I love Million Little Mistakes. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure book for grown-ups, and it’s wonderfully written. It just so happens that Ms. McElhatton is also a producer for PRI, and lives in that mecca of all things public radio, Minnesota, so it makes sense that my often NPR-filtered world view and her writing style should get along very well.
I love how this book is at once a little trashy and at the same time, very very sweet. And erudite. Simultaneously, you’re reading chick lit, but in a kind of literati voice. I don’t know enough about being a writer to draw all kinds of comparisons, but it’s just good writing. You know it when you see it.
For awhile I took that book everywhere I went. Which ends up being a problem because my car interior develops a huge build-up of well-intentioned things, and I never clear them out. And books get easily tattered, papers go missing, cds have even ended up broken (although I think I more than got my money’s worth for my 10+ year old copy of the Smashing Pumpkins’ Pisces Iscariot disc before it snapped in half). So I’ve not been reading those millions of little adventures much recently.
Tonight, I found myself locked out of my building (again, and through utterly no fault of my own) and with a lot of time to kill. My last stop on the Wait Until Husband-to-Be Gets Out of Grad Class tour was to the nearby Barnes & Noble, where I tried not to act too much like a hobo who hasn’t paid her past due library fines.
On the store’s grandiose second story, I happened upon the lone copy of McElhatton’s first choose-your-own-adventure, Pretty Little Mistakes, which involves not a lottery winner, as Million does, but a fresh high school graduate. Kind of pertinent, as graduation looms big in my field. I figured I could get away with reading parts of it there, since I knew I’d make it through at least two adventures in short time.
And I am so glad I did. McElhatton is a wonderful writer, and has such a detached voice for the machinations she puts her second-person heroine through. Reading about getting shot in the face or doing special favors for automobile parts & labor makes your problems seem at least temporarily less dire.
Without giving it away, I read the ending where you marry Christian, and it’s the best one (I’m sure) out of either of the books. I was able to put it back on the shelf with a big smile and go back home, and probably didn’t rant nearly as badly about the landlord or the property manager as I would have had I not read the book.
Note to self: these books cure a number of ills. Alternately: READ MORE, DUMMY – IT’S GOOD FOR YOU. And visit her website. I totally stole the image from there because it didn’t have a copyright sign underneath it.