Thursday, May 19, 2016

The BBRBF Book Club: The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie

Welcome to the second installment of The BBRBF Book Club! Have you been reading along? This month, we sunk our teeth into "The Portable Veblen" by Elizaberth McKenzie. You can check out Kristina's post on her blog as well as Noelle's when their posts go live! Did you miss our first month's read from March? You can check it out here.

Before we dive into the book and my thoughts on it, let's talk a tiny bit on what I am wearing. The cover of this book was so fun to work with - with the pastel springy colors and the cure squirrel, there were many ways I considered styling my outfit for this. In the end, the sea foam green and pink were the colors that I worked with. I also received this vintage brooch from Jessica at Chronically Vintage on Etsy recently.

If the name Chronically Vintage sounds familiar, you may recognize it from Jessica's blog Chronically Vintage! She's one of my favorite bloggers so when I saw she had a shop on Etsy, I immediately checked her out and purchased a vintage brooch! Jessica even - so kindly - sent along a couple free items for me from her shop and this brooch was one of them! It's totally me and it was as if she knew I was dying for a perfect pink brooch to complete this outfit!

Unlike our first month's read, I really enjoyed "The Portable Veblen" and connected with both Veblen and Paul, our main characters. This one was more my speed - quirky, a little bit off-center, with many strong characters throughout.

Our protagonists, Veblen and Paul, are newly engaged and working on the challenges of planning their wedding while also working through the challenges in their separate work and personal lives. The book switches back and forth between them, making them feel a bit disconnected a lot of the time. The more I read, the more I think it was done intentionally. You're supposed to feel their disconnect. They definitely seem to put a rift between each other of some reason as their individual lives get weirder and a bit more out of control.

Paul and Veblen are actually perfect for each other and come from similar challenging backgrounds - Veblen's emotionally unstable mother and damaged father and Paul's mentally challenged brother. They just don't talk enough. It's weird - they never confide in each other or share just how stressed the people in their lives make them feel.

I noticed that Veblen and Paul both always seemed to be holding back - neither letting each other into each other's lives completely, which is odd when you consider they are engaged to be married. The interesting part is how neither of them seem to even realize they do this.

Veblen was never open about her need for mood stabilizers (not sure if they are anti-depressants or something more) or her struggles with herself and Paul always seemed to struggle with putting his feelings about growing up with a mentally challenged brother into words. Not only that, but as his work life starts to spiral into a pretty complex web, he never lets Veblen in on what's going on. Not a good way to start an engagement.

Then there's Veblen's mother - needy, neurotic, paranoid, and a hypochondriac. She is the perfect example of the most trying person to live with, always twisting Veblen's words or taking things the wrong way. She lives off being dramatic and needs to have constant reassurance from everyone around her that she is important and loved or she will throw a fit. I hated her but loved her so so much!

Finally, the damn squirrels element of the book. The connection and significance with the squirrels was my favorite part. It grew to be more significant as the story developed and was one of the strongest parts of the book. It followed Veblen and Paul throughout the story - starting with Paul setting traps for the squirrel in their attic and leading up to a very climactic accident near the end - and I loved how it impacted the entire story. It's more than just Veblen's habit of speaking to squirrels and I love how significant such a tiny animal became throughout the entire book.

Want to join The BBRBF Book Club? Let me know! We post our outfits and inspired outfits on the third Thursday of every month! June's book was just picked and it will be Life After Life by Kate Atkinson so stay tuned (or join us!)!