Unabridged Chick

I'm Audra, a 30-something married lesbian. I love interesting heroines, gorgeous prose, place as character, and the occasional werewolf.
The Irresistible Henry House - Lisa Grunwald Confession: I was a bit resistant to this book when I started it. I have little patience for damaged men and I wasn't sure I'd be interested in or care about Henry's emotional wounds.  An orphan baby lent out to a college's home economics program, Henry was raised by a series of practice mothers before being adopted by the head of the program, but as a result, he's irrevocably scarred.  As he grows up, he struggles to form and understand healthy relationships, opting instead for the pleasure of quick flings -- and succumbing to lure of the sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll '60s.Once I started this book, though, I couldn't stop.  Even though Henry was damaged goods, and I found him and his behavior so maddening, the story wasn't really about his behaving badly.  It was about his searching for and fleeing from unconditional love, an exploration of the real world impact of a child denied emotional attachment as an infant.As a historical novel, this book was engrossing, especially the juxtaposition of the squeaky clean world of late '50s Disney with the gritty, grimy, hazy landscape of London in the '60s.  There were a few Forrest Gump-ish moments I could have lived without, but they were rare and I could speed past them easily.  Grunwald's writing is effortless and I adored her secondary and tertiary characters.  I found them as vibrant and real as Henry; in particular, his best friend Mary Jane might be one of my favorite of this year.  (I'd love a book all about her!) The last chapter of this book changed my review from 'okay' to 'like' -- it's bittersweet and hopeful and moving, and I raced to the end, satisfied with the conclusion.  I think this would be another great book club read, or an unusual historical novel for anyone wanting a change of pace, or fans of Mary Poppins or Yellow Submarine (two projects Henry works on, and Grunwald's obvious research is fascinating).