The Family Fang: Review

Bought at a random trip To B&N to cure boredom, at the suggestion of Jenn aka thepickygirl.


Hell yes. This is good stuff. A book where parents eff their kids up without remorse, all in the name of capital A-R-T.  I can relate. Replace “A-R-T” with “R-E-L-I-G-I-O-N,” and you have The Family Ivy.

By Ch. 2, I was lolling all over the place. And…. I actually stayed interested as the story progressed, which is a great feat for me. At times, I swear I accidentally switch brains with my dog Annie and can only think of food and sleep, which interferes with actually FINISHING good books (I have had 100 pages left of The Historian for the past year). Sigh.

Back to the Fangs.

Kevin Wilson is really damn good at ending paragraphs. Every last line of the first few chapters made me stop, go back, and reread. Nice job, Kev.

To sum it up, I stayed interested until the very end. The end disappointed the heck out of me for reasons I can’t exactly place. The plot seemed to be working towards some cataclysmic event, and then all of the sudden, the balloon didn’t pop. It sputtered out.  It made one of those fart sounds. I can’t say I’d like it more if it had had some explosive ending, but I know I was mildly disappointed. I felt very “Hmmmfph” about the ending.

But, I’ll admit, I can’t think of a way he could have done it better or differently.

Aside from the ending, the middle was freaking delish. I loved the way he crafted his sentences. The way he weaved this twisted family of characters together really worked.

My favorite selection from the novel comes at a moment when Annie Fang thinks about a life without her parents (Damn this format for making block quotes look retarded):

And then, no one to prevent this unfounded optimism, she imagined a future where her parents had never existed in the first place. Once she allowed herself this miracle, as soon as it had taken shape, it immediately burned up in the atmosphere, turned to vapor, and Annie realized that, without her parents, there would be no way into the world for her. She could not, despite every attempt to do so, figure out a way that she could arrive ahead of her parent, to outspace them. It would have to be her parents, young and still tender, entirely unaware that their children, Annie and Buster, were moving, inexorably, toward them, waiting to be named (209).

In a sentence or two:

Annie and Buster Fang find themselves in an awkward state of adult rebellion as they come to the realization that their parents’ involvement in their live is in the name of art rather than love.  The Family Fang is witty, well written, and outlandish in an endearing way.

Rating: One T-REX*

*I don’t officially have a rating system since I’m new to blogging and reviewing, but when I do, it will be a system consisting of dinosaurs and aliens. T-REX = Powerful read. Worth it.

Note to my mother:

Mom, you should read this book and think of the times you made us visit nursing homes armed with bananas and peppermints in an attempt to socialize us, your two, homeschooled nerds. FAIL. (Didn’t you also make us attend FFA (Future Farmers of America) meetings, despite the fact that we didn’t own an animal or a farm?







My Melted Baby and Other Post-Readathon Commentary

Light Reading

I would deem last night’s readathon a complete success. Though I didn’t get much in-depth reading done (I won’t even admit the page count), I did eat a lot of snacks: guacamole and chips, pizza rolls, and even some corn chowder that Adrienne brought over. It was a strange combo, and since we were both already in a slightly somber, yet relaxed-and-groovy mood, we opted for apple juice instead of wine.

Now, as far as Mitford’s’ novel Don’t Tell Alfred goes, I still can’t really tell you much. I’ve tried to read it three times now. Pfff. Nancy and I usually get along swimmingly, but I just reach a block at page forty or so.

My favorite lines thus far, however, have been Fanny’s thoughts regarding motherhood. She has just found out that her son Alfred has been appointed Ambassador to Paris and is happy and distraught upon hearing the news, which makes her contemplate the nature of the relationship between a mother and her child:

(I have formatting issues so if this block quote doesn’t come out right…..Doh!)

In moments of introspection I often thought that a woman’s need for children is almost entirely physical. When they are babies one cuddles  and kisses and slaps them and has a highly satisfying animal  relationship with them. But when they grow up and leave the nest  they hardly seem to belong any more (19).

I like this idea that kids are just sort of physical necessities. You knock em’ around, smash their faces between your palms and smooch em’….all to satisfy an “animal” need of some sort. I guess it is best one of my children is plastic and the other one is furry.

My friend Justin Varner (who is also an amazing artist!) gave me a miniature, plastic baby boy he found at a toy stoy in Austin after hearing of my various, “When are you having a baby and getting married?” troubles. I keep it on the dashboard of my car, and it is now all melted and mutant looking, which shows I am a shitty mother, even to plastic babies. On that note, I will leave you with this picture:

My Melted Baby

Sunday’s Craft Attempt: crocheting. I had a book (see pic in slideshow below) and a friend show me the basics. All I’ve successfully created is something that looks like a tortured blue sperm. Sigh. Will keep you updated on my success. Maybe the blue sperm will turn into a cute baby…blanket.

Hope everyone enjoys cooking or reading or eating or just being plain lazy today.

I’d also like to send a big thanks and a hug to all who came out to the benefit to support Marlee yesterday. We sold so much jambalaya and we had a great time playing for such a great cause.  I promise I’ll start working on the new cd again soon. I just have to finish this blanket first.

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Eating. Reading. Taking My Pants Off.

Okay, today I’m participating in my first readathon, and I’m really excited. With what is left of the evening, I plan on taking my pants off  and reading. I guess I should wait until I get home to do that since I’m using the interwebs at my friend Brittany’s house and don’t want to freak her out by unzipping. Plus, she just offered me some CHEEZ-ITs.

My TBR list consists of a couple of Barbara Pym finds from the Galveston book store (above), and Nancy Mitford’s Don’t Tell Alfred, which I hope is as funny and charming as her Love in a Cold Climate.

I feel so behind in the snacking. I definitely need to catch up on the snacking. If anyone else wants to nerd out with me, stop by my house and bring some vino. I will have the fire going, and I may even drum up a batch of wassail.

If I don’t have time to drive to the law firm down the road and steal some wifi again, I’ll get out the ol’ crystal ball and tell you how things went down: I ate too much, read too little, and plan on doing this again soon.

Thanks to Amanda at deadwhiteguys for letting this newbie blogger join in!


What the F is Wassail?

I don’t mind telling you that I like to completely nerd out for the holidays. I like to go around calling myself grandma. I attempt to crochet (unsuccessfully), I bake pies (so far, only blueberry), and I decorate like a madwoman, or at least as much as my budget allows.

In the spirit of my yearly letsgetretardedforchristmas state of mind, this past weekend I made my annual batch of wassail. All two of my friends that came over after I made it had never heard of it, which made me question why I’ve made a tradition out of a tradition I know nothing about.

The truth is I can’t freaking remember the exact year I started making it. I got this simple recipe SOMEWHERE and have been serving it every year since, minus the one or two years when making it reminded me too much of the ex. ::insert your sad face or your snarky comment here::

According to the extensive research I’ve done (one-click-wikipedia-style), this hot mulled cider is part of an old English tradition performed with the intention of ensuring a good crop of cider apples for the next year’s harvest (according to wiki-peeps). As you can read here: It also refers to both the salute ‘Waes Hail’, the term itself is a contraction of the Middle English phrase wæs hæil, meaning literally ‘good health’ or ‘be you healthy’…

So, there you have it. Here’s the recipe that I have (I suggest you make it immediately and thank me later):

Half a jug of Cranberry Juice

Half a jug of Apple Juice

1 sliced lemon (add a bit of grating as well)

six cinnamon sticks

About twelve whole cloves

1/3 of a bottle of your favorite dry red wine (I found mine for six bucks at Kroger!)

1 1/3 cups of sugar

Combine juice and sugar and bring to a boil. Then bring it down to a simmer and add lemon and spices and cook for thirty minutes. When it is hot and ready, add your wine and serve it hot.

Some people place some of those little red hot candies in their cups before they serve it, but the drink is so overly powerful and intense, I don’t find it necessary. Also, it says you can wrap the spices in a cheesecloth as you are simmering. I do this ghetto-style by ripping open a tea bag, replacing the tea with the cloves. One word of advice. Don’t go overboard. This stuff is meant to be sipped. You’ll see why.

On another note, look at my Christmas tree and random decorations (the bf is my favorite piece of decor). He might be mad I posted that one of him sleeping.

The way I feel about my Christmas tree is much like the way most young mothers feel about their newborns. ISN’T SHE LOVELY? LOOK AT THE WAY THE LIGHT SPARKLES OFF OF HER BRANCHES!   Okay, I’m done.

For a poor girl with thirty thousand dollars worth a debt, i didn’t do so bad (referring to the decor, not the bf…though I’m quite pleased with him as well).

Notice: no presents yet.

Pinching pennies until the trip to Germany!

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