Take a Look at the Five and Ten
by Connie Willis
Subterranean Press, November 2020
Everybody has a traumatic Christmas memory, and mine was always Christmas dinner, partly because in my family (a term used very loosely), it's actually a series of dinners — Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner, and a New Year's Eve buffet, and if my one-time stepfather Dave had his way, we'd also have St. Lucia's Day and Boxing Day and Twelfth Night dinners, and who knows what else.
Ori’s holidays are an endless series of elaborately awful meals cooked by her one-time stepfather Dave’s latest bride. Attended by a loose assemblage of family, Ori particularly dreads Grandma Elving—grandmother of Dave’s fourth wife—and her rhapsodizing about the Christmas she worked at Woolworth’s in the 1950s. And, of course, Ori hates being condescended to by beautiful, popular Sloane and her latest handsome pre-med or pre-law boyfriend.
But this Christmas is different. Sloane’s latest catch Lassiter is extremely interested in Grandma Elving’s boringly detailed memories of that seasonal job, seeing in them the hallmarks of a TFBM, or traumatic flashbulb memory. With Ori’s assistance, he begins to use the older woman in an experiment—one she eagerly agrees to. As Ori and Lassiter spend more time together, Ori’s feelings for him grow alongside the elusive mystery of Grandma’s past. (Publisher's description)
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Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc. It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.