Sunday, June 03, 2007

Silent in the Grave

Molly's eighth grade graduation was held on Friday. I was very proud of Molly and all of her accomplishments, but the ceremony seemed a bit overdone for just a junior high graduation. Lots of awards, and every kid got called up to the front at least once. In a class of over 100 students, it makes for a long program, especially with a four-year-old little girl in tow. Mia didn't understand the significance of the ceremony or why she needed to be quiet and sit still, for OVER AN HOUR! In the course of trying to keep her busy, I let her play with my good pen. You know, the one I write out all the checks with, with the cushy grip and sleek silver top, the one Jesse's always trying to steal from me. She dropped it under the bleachers, and now I'm writing out checks with a cheap Bic pen. In between trying to shush Mia, I watched with interest what the girls in Molly's class were wearing. The teachers have been scolding her for the necklines on her shirts, and I wanted to see if they were different from any of the other girls. (They weren't) I noticed that Molly and all of her girlfriends were dressed virtually the same. They all wore tight capris with the cuffs rolled up, flip-flops and layered shirts, often with hoods. Molly wasn't wearing the capris because hers were at my house instead of her dad's, but otherwise it looked as though they had coordinated for the day. Despite the numerous parties she was invited to, Molly still insists that she's not a popular girl. The self-assurance her group displayed was singular among the other girls. They walked closely along the edge between confidence and cockiness. She's a very different girl than I was at that age, and believe me, I'm thankful for the difference, but it also makes me a little uncomfortable. How does the class bookworm grow up to have a popular daughter? Although it makes me squirm on occasion, I'm proud of Molly and who she is. She dresses (fairly) modestly and takes care of her appearance. At the graduation I was sitting directly behind one of her classmates who happened to be wearing a thong. I wouldn't have noticed except she kept leaning forward to talk to other kids, and each time she did so I could see the thong as well as a LOT more no one should ever see. I kept thinking Oh, if I were her mother and then I realized I was sitting next to the mother, who never said a word. Eighth-graders in thongs. There is so much wrong with that, I don't even know where to begin.

Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn follows the story of Julia March Grey as she tracks down the murderer of her husband in Victorian England. The first line of the novel is a cracker: To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor. Those lines set the tone for much of the novel following Julia as she breaks with convention and sets out to live up to the eccentricities her March family is known for. Brisbane, originally hired by Edward Grey to investigate some threatening notes Edward had been receiving, is employed by Julia to find the murderer. She is quickly intriqued by the enigmatic Brisbane, and anyone who enjoys these type of mysteries can figure out where the book is headed. Raybourn does a good job of taking the reader on an enjoyable ride. Perhaps I've read too many Victorian mysteries back to back, but the murderer was fairly obvious early in the book, but Julia didn't figure it out until almost too late (of course). Julia and Brisbane make for a romantic couple, but about the one intimate exchange between the two, Raybourn only parses information. Julia's eccentric family makes for humorous reading, and as the front flap makes clear, this book is just the first in a series about Julia, Brisbane and her remarkable relatives. Her parting gift from Brisbane is deeply moving, and if you look closely at the author's photo on the back flap, you can find Raybourn's inspiration there. My one complaint was the size of the book at over 500 pages. That seems a bit bloated. I believe it was Benjamin Disraeli who said, "When I want to read a book, I write one." That seems to be what Raybourn did with this book. She wrote a fun mystery with more than a hint of romance and lots of great characters.

We picked up some new furniture for outside: a garden bench and a portable firepit. As soon as the roofers are done, we can start having people over and truly enjoying our yard. Jess planted a small flowerbed near the driveway and flowers in all the pots around the yard. It's really starting to look like home!

The pics are of Molly's choir concert, and Doogie's last (hopefully not) choir concert with his solo. He looks great in a tux!