The Lipman Cure

I can't remember this ever happening to me as a kid, but as an adult, there are times when I just don't want to read. Sometimes it's because I've fallen in love with a TV show. Recently, I started watching This is Us on Hulu. I don't know why I resisted it so long. People had told me that I would really love this story, and when I did start watching it, I found out they were right. So that is part of the reason why there are times when I don't pick up a book. I'm only halfway through Season 1!

But it's not just that. I have times now when I can't seem to read, when everything sounds blah, and there are lots of starts and no finishes. That's when I turn to Elinor Lipman. (It's at least an annual event. In my reading world, December is Elinor Lipman Month. It seems necessary to read Elinor Lipman during the holiday season.)

Elinor Lipman writes novels for adults, but I would still call them coming-of-age stories. The main character often has a lot of growing up to do. There's plenty of wit and some slapstick moments. The characters are quirky and genuinely lovable. By the end of the book, I always consider reading it all over again immediately. Sometimes I do.

Last week, I reread The Pursuit of Alice Thrift. I believe this is my favorite Elinor Lipman book. I've read it at least eight times. Why do I love it so much? Well, I think I relate a lot to Alice Thrift. There's a question in the book as to whether she has Asperger's. I wonder that about myself. Alice is smart. She's hardworking. She has a knack for saying the wrong things. She gets in trouble at work because she can become overly anxious, and she has difficulty standing up for herself. She is in residency to be a surgeon—a rigorous, abusive, sexist training program that would try the soul of anyone. Alice comes in with extra challenges.

The wonder of this book is how she navigates through her obstacle course. Her realizations and gradual changes ring true. It is glorious to watch Alice come out of her shell. If you haven't read this book yet and it calls to you, let me know what you think. I have favorite scenes that I won't spoil. I found a new one this time around. I'd love to know what spoke to you.