Saturday, December 18, 2010

Review: Daring to Eat a Peach by Joseph Zeppetello

Reviewed by Ingrid

Published: 2010

It's about: This book follows the personal lives of a group of middle-aged friends and their interactions. The story highlights the ideas of chance, hesitation, inertia, and luck, generously interspersed with subtle allusions to T.S. Eliot's poem with its similar themes.

I thought: When I recognized the allusion to "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock" in the title of this book, it immediately caught my attention. I ended up really enjoying this book. I appreciated Zeppetello's wit and subtle, sarcastic humor. It's kind of like when you first meet someone, they make a certain joke, and then you think, "OK, this guy is cool." That's how I felt about Zeppetello reading the first few pages of this book. I loved his subtlety. He makes lots of references to pop culture and current events, though he never names anyone or anything directly. For example, at one point he makes reference to "a famous actor, a Scientologist whose ego was legendary." This was quite amusing to me, and really worked well to add a sense of hesitancy and indirectness to this story that is really all about being hesitant and indirect. Very well done there.

The one criticism I would have of this book is that, while generally well constructed, I found that in attempting to insert allusions to Eliot's poem Zeppetello ended up with a few loose strings, a few moments in the novel that, besides the fact that they alluded to the poem, seemed a bit disconnected from the story itself.

But, overall, I was very impressed by this novel, impressed with Zeppetello and impressed with Atticus Books who kindly sent me an ARC of this book.

Verdict: Stick this one on the shelf. 

Reading Recommendations: This book is a nice treat if you want something a bit lighter, easy and fun to read, though still has a certain "literary" feel to it. I would especially recommend this to people who have worked in the publishing industry or are interested in the publishing industry, as it plays a fairly major part in this novel.

Warnings: Language, some sex (though not graphic.)

Favorite excerpts:
They watched a cop show. A murder happens before the first commercial because the police never ever arrest anyone who isn't guilty. Besides, they have DNA evidence and all the new scientific gadgets that show he did the deed. They bust him, but he lawyers up and the game is set. Other suspects throw a little fog in the way of the DA, a plucky, good-looking young woman who, in spite of the fact that she has to be fresh out of law school, comes up with strategy after strategy, each one more brillliant and unbelievable than the last. So in spite of the seasoned defense lawyer, who gets a guilty verdict. What ever happened to Perry Mason? Are any defendants ever innocent any more? Rita asks no one in particular.

What I'm reading next: Finishing One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez