RaveThe MillionsIt seemed to me at first more like the seed of one of those fantastical tales than a premise that could sustain a longer narrative. But actually, it does even more than that: Attached to a gorgeous, devastating coming-of-age story, Bender’s descriptions of how feelings and flavors mingle manages to be some of the most sumptuous, original—and really, personal—food writing I’ve ever read ... She’s also not really interested in the rather fascinating implications of what could be understood as an eating disorder, barely describing the state of Rose’s body, or the character’s own sense of it. Instead, Bender cares about how we live with food, and through it: the subtle dramas behind a toasted bagel overwhelmed by cream cheese, the mind-bending Neapolitan pizza from the swanky new restaurant, a stale bag of chips, a berry crisp warm from the oven.
PositiveGuernicaThe book is a full-throated argument for New York City as a particular kind of place, and for a certain kind of life lived within it ... The list of vanished places and things is long and ever growing, and in these pages Moss maps a litany of losses. Chapter by chapter, he inventories the history and heartbreaks of the main neighborhoods in Manhattan before turning his attention to parts of Brooklyn and Queens, with a foray into the South Bronx ... Moss’s indignation and moral clarity—his certainty about who belongs and who doesn’t, what values are worth upholding and who to blame for their downfall—is an audacious kind of idealism. As pissed off as Moss is, the power of this book and the blog that preceded it is that he doesn’t settle for outrage. He maintains that New York is worth standing up for and protecting.
PositiveGuernicaFor most of its first half, Priestdaddy is a hallucinatory account of this family funhouse with the prodigal daughter as winking narrator, casting a cutting but loving eye on those she’s closest to. It’s sharp and entertaining and a little exhausting. But as the narrative develops, it reveals more layers than the cheeky title and cover art would suggest. This is a story about all kinds of sacred things ... Lockwood’s estrangement is born of intimacy, and she chronicles it with clear eyes. When she writes about her experience of faith and her departure from it, her prose sheds much of the eccentricity that characterizes the family-focused sections, and takes on a striking, clarifying calm.