Sunday, February 6, 2011

Book 7: Welcome to My Planet, by Shannon Olson

Just finished Book 7: Welcome to My Planet (Where English is Sometimes Spoken), by Shannon Olson.

Though touted as fiction, this book clearly borrows heavily from Olson's life and upbringing in Minnesota.

We read the story of Shannon, a 20-something graduate student from St. Paul who struggles with the same things we all struggle with - relationships (with men and our mothers), our search for meaning, and generally confusion over our sense of selves. Her mother, whom she calls Flo, is a crack up, and the puns that Olson puts throughout the dialogue were hysterical.

Despite her failed relationships and her on-going relationship with a therapist (who we only know as "the counselor"), the book ends on a hopeful note, with the narrator having finished her thesis and looking forward to a new chapter in her life.

Unlike other novels, I feel no qualms about giving away "how the book ends," so to speak. This is not a plot driven novel so much as one driven by character exploration - likely both that of the narrator and that of the author. A quick read, as I only started it yesterday on the way to the zoo.

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