Well, here I am in Sanibel, Florida where it looks like this:
Obviously I am past the point in my life where I go on “Spring Break” but going on an early spring vacation just about hits the spot at any age. Especially after the crap winter we’ve had (though I still maintain that it was not as bad as last year and that people have insanely short memories). Sick of snow, it’s amazing to see some green things again. And the blue sky and green Gulf of Mexico really don’t hurt either. Plus, there is shrimp. Oh so much shrimp.
Watching: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Produced by Tina Fey this show was passed over by NBC and found a two season order from Netflix. It stars Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt, a woman who was kidnapped at age thirteen by a Doomsday cult and forced to live in an underground bunker for fifteen years after she was told the apocalypse had taken place. After she is rescued Kimmy impulsively decides to move to New York City where she lands a job helping Jacqueline Vorhees around her townhouse and an apartment equipped with a fabulously gay roommate.
The fact that Tina Fey created this show pretty much guaranteed I was going to watch this. I was decidedly tepid about Ellie Kemper (Bridesmaids is probably the only thing I’ve actually seen her in) but this show likely relies on a lead that’s able to carry off Kimmy’s mix of stunted development and unrelenting optimism, and Kemper really pulls it off. The ancillary characters also charm. Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline essentially plays her 30 Rock character, if Jenna Maroney had married well and never worked instead of playing the diva television star. Tituss Burgess as Titus, Kimmy’s roommate, delivers some genuine laughs (my god, the werewolf episode…) and manages to make a cliche, that could come across as tired, endearing. Carol Kane entertains as Kimmy’s world weary landlord. Overall, Kimmy Schmidt is very cute and often laugh out loud funny. Not quite 30 Rock, but what is. And what’s more, why would I want it to be? Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt stands on it’s own and it’s own is hilarious.
Reading: Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel
I started out my vacation reading Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer and found it to be one of the most profoundly disappointing reads of my reading career. It was full on ridiculous from it’s overly unreliable narrator, to it’s poor use of magical realism, to it’s incredibly dumbed down language. It’s a horrible misconception that the only way to write a YA novel is to write a book about teenagers poorly. I was pretty annoyed. But then I found the antidote. Charlie, Presumed Dead was something I picked up on a whim. The plot seemed interesting; a college age boy is involved in a plane accident and presumed dead then at this funeral two girls discover they were both his girlfriend and together go across continents, searching for answers. And the high ratings on Goodreads boded well. This was a perfect vacation read. It was fast paced, intriguing, mysterious, and frothy in all the right ways. It’s not terribly deep and there are certain things (especially the epic ending) that could easily be picked apart from the crowd less inclined to go along for a ride, but there were enough exotic locales and twists and turns here to satisfy even the most jaded reader. Every time I thought I had a grip on what was going on the mystery went even further. I liked all the characters, even while they did terrible things, because they were well drawn and multifaceted. It’s YA, which I’m inexplicably addicted to, but it’s the best kind of YA; fun as hell and written maturely enough to prove the author doesn’t think all young people are incapable of reading a well constructed sentence. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who thinks all this sounds interesting. I can’t stop thinking about it.
Listening to: The sound of waves on the sand.