Read our latest staff reviews and recommendations featured in the The Southern Bookseller Review.
We Are Too Many is a memoir of the end (and beginning) of a marriage. Told hilariously over three parts, Hannah Pittard invites readers to follow her through ten years of time-jumped remembered conversations. Her story is written with a refreshing amount of honesty as she leads the reader through her discovery that her husband and best friend have had sex, along with what came before and after. Unfinchingly honest and hilarious, Pittard seamlessly blends fact with fiction to make an unforgettable memoir. I finished this in one afternoon. I could not put it down — nor did I want to. A gem for anyone who loves memoir, language play, a book that reads like a documentary, or a delightful and entertaining read.
We Are Too Many by Hannah Pittard, (List Price: 26.99, Henry Holt and Co., 9781250869043, May 2023)
Reviewed by Deva, The Snail On the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama
Jessica Tran returns home from LA after a bad breakup hoping to get back on her feet, but things are just as crazy at home: her parents’ nail salon is facing competition from an Instagram-worthy gentrified salon across the street. All five Tran family members — Jessica, her workaholic brother, her immigrant parents, and recently-arrived cousin — get POV chapters as they try to figure out what’s next and how to keep Sunshine Nails afloat. With a light tone, stylized characters, and page-turning short chapters that read faster than quick-dry polish can set, Sunshine Nails is a fun read, even if the ending feels a little rushed and smudged.
Sunshine Nails by Mai Nguyen, (List Price: 26.99, Atria Books, 9781668010495, July 2023)
Reviewed by Melanie, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama
The Double Life of Benson Yu is a clever novel about art, childhood trauma, and survival. Comic book artist Benson Yu found commercial success with his Iggy Samurai series, but a letter from someone from his past prompts him to start a new project. This project, an autobiographical graphic novel about growing up in 1980s Chinatown, forces him to revisit his pre-teen self (and vice versa). Different versions of characters from his past seem to coexist as Benson writes and rewrites his past to try to deal with traumatic experiences. For fans of complex stories (with a little time travel).
The Double Life of Benson Yu by Kevin Chong, (List Price: 27, Atria Books, 9781668005491, April 2023)
Reviewed by Elizabeth Hardin, The Snail On the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama
This is a sweet story about a modern neighborhood and how the reality of 2023 settles in across generations and races. While the writing is sometimes bland, the characters are interesting and accessible, and you’ll find yourself a little more invested in a mall closing than you thought possible.
You Are Here by Karin Lin-Greenberg, (List Price: , Counterpoint, 9781640095434, May 2023)
Reviewed by Sarah Catherine Richardson, Snail on the Wall in Huntington, Alabama
Born con-artist Ezra Green meets Orson Ortman as a teenager, which kicks off a string of schemes and phony businesses. They hit the big time when they dream up NuLife, a process to increase bliss, and target the rich, powerful, and gullible. Ezra’s a scam artist, and would do anything it takes to protect Orson and their business. And even though his morals are undoubtedly questionable, I found myself rooting for him as he slowly loses his vision and remains as desperately in love with Orson as he was when they first met.
Confidence by Rafael Frumkin, (List Price: , Simon & Schuster, 9781982189730, March 2023)
Reviewed by Elizabeth Hardin, Snail on the Wall in Huntington, Alabama
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