Finished August 9, 2010
I like remembering what I've read in a given summer. A few year's ago I read the entire Chronicles of Narnia. The summer after that I read nothing but mystery stories. Last year I read the Green Knowe series. Years ago was the summer of Ray Bradbury as I have very fond memories of reading The October Country - sitting at the breakfast room table on University Street, eating banana sandwiches and reading about "The Small Assassin," "The Emissary," and Dr. Muniant. Another summer I read To Kill a Mockingbird while visiting Aunt Mickey and Grandmother in Nashville. The painting of my cousin Mary looked, to me, like Scout. I can't remember which boy cousin in the painting I had pegged as Jem.
This summer has been the summer of Elinor Lipman. The Way Men Act is the last book for now. I have yet to read her collection of short stories, but my library doesn't own it, so that will be for another time.
The book should have been called The Way Women Act, for that's actually what it's about. Melinda LeBlanc is the first person narrator who tells us the story of her relationship with the other merchants on Main St. in a small college town. Melinda has moved back to her childhood home after living in California for years. She finds that the old high school roles have really stayed the same as she and her classmates have aged. They should matter less now, but Melinda doesn't seem to realize that.
We don't know the way men act because Melinda can't seem to get a handle on the way men act. The men in the book are characters only talked about and seen from a distance as Melinda tries to figure it all out.
I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. A pretty good Lipman book. I think, since I'm at the end of my Elinor Lipman Summer Marathon, I will rank her books from most enjoyed to least enjoyed.
The Inn at Lake Devine (although I have to read it again...it's been a long time)
Then She Found Me
The Family Man
My Latest Grievance
The Way Men Act
The Dearly Departed
Pursuit of Alice Thift
The Ladies' Man
The ones in the middle could be shifted up and down. But, The Inn at Lake Devine and Then She Found Me belong at the top. The Ladies' Man definitely belongs at the bottom.