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Friday, May 12, 2023

Friday 5ive- May 12, 2023

Welcome to the Friday 5ive, a weekly post featuring five things that caught my attention this week. The last few days have felt like summer in NYC with temperatures in the 70s and high 80s today. At least the rain has stopped.

1)  While in Sarasota last weekend we stopped in to see the Corvette Show in St. Armand's Circle. There were Corvettes as far as the eye could see, from some very cool older models from the 1960s through the latest iteration the C8 model. 

2)  The Pulitzer Prizes were awarded this week and I was thrilled to hear that Barbara Kingsolver's novel Demon Copperhead won the Fiction prize, along with Hernan Diaz for his novel Trust. It was the first time that two novels were awarded the Pulitzer in the same year. I declared Demon Copperhead the best novel I read in 2022 back in October. It's a reimagining of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield set in Appalachia at the beginning of the opioid epidemic. I think everyone should read Demon Copperhead, it gives the reader an eye-opening look at poverty, the foster care system, and how we got where we are today. The characters are unforgettable and the writing is superb. Congratulations to Barbara Kingsolver, I have read every one of her books and this one is my favorite.

3)  I saw the powerful Tom Stoppard play Leopoldstadt on Broadway this week. Set in Vienna, it traces the life of a joyous extended Jewish family beginning in 1899 and ending in 1955. The family owns a textile factory, and as the plays opens we see them all celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah, even decorating a tree. The proud head of the family Hermann is played wonderfully by Joshua Malina (The West Wing, Scandal). We see them grow and prosper as the years go by, but we also see the undercurrent of anti-Semitism that grows stronger as we get closer to WWI. Austria fought with Germany in WWI and after they lost the war, economic times became tougher with more restrictions, and Jewish people were easy targets for people's anger. We move forward toward WWII, and the Nazi Party has made inroads into Austria, and we see the family living in poverty and fear of being forced from their home and into concentration camps. Leopoldstadt is an important play, and as the tension grew for the family, you could hear a pin drop in the theater as everyone was holding their breath when the Nazi officials came to the family home. It reminded me of seeing The Normal Heart about the AIDS crisis, the audience is just stunned into silence. The play is nominated for many Tony Awards, including Best Play and Best Featured Actor for Brandon Uranowitz, whose performance in the last scene is astonishing. (Joshua Malina is unfortunately ineligible for Tony consideration as he did not originate the role, but he is worthy of one.) If you are in NYC, go see this brilliant show before it closes in July. 

4) The HBO Max series Succession is wrapping up its last season, and wow, it is going out with a bang. The question of who will run the Wayco company is anyone's guess, with the three Roy siblings, played by Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin, all jockeying for the role. There was one scene this week that everyone is talking about- daughter Shiv (Sarah Snook) and her estranged husband Tom (portrayed by the fabulous Matthew MacFadyen) having the fight of all fights out on their apartment balcony while inside a pre-election night party is in full swing. That is a masterclass in acting. How will this all end??? I can't wait to see. 

5)  I read a few books this week. Kirsten Pursell's intriguing novel, Long Enough to Love You, is about Jenn, a woman facing an empty nest after her children are away in college and ready to start their lives. She gave up her career to raise them, and now that she is not needed as a sports team mom or PTA President she has to decide whether to stay with her reliable but emotionally unavailable husband or go out on her own. When she finds a diary from her younger days, she contemplates looking for a former love. This one will resonate with some women, and my full review will post on May 31st. 

I also read a book now in paperback- Amanda Eyre Ward's suspense novel The Lifeguards. Set in a wealthy Austin suburb, three teen boys who have been friends since childhood and now lifeguard together come running home after finding the body of a dead young woman. They swear they didn't kill her or even know her but as the book progresses we discover that not everyone is telling the truth, including the moms of the boys. Whitney is the leader of the pack, a wealthy mom of twins, who will do anything to protect her son. Annette is a Mexican woman (also married to a wealthy man) who is happiest working at a local daycare center and is attracted to her coworker. Liza is a single mom living on the economic edge who is hiding secrets about her identity from everyone, including her son whom she fiercely loves. Everyone here has secrets. I'm not sure if it was the right book to read on Mother's Day week, but it did keep me guessing. 

I'm wishing all the Moms out there a very Happy Mother's Day. I hope you get to stay in your pajamas all day and read a good book or two.

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