It’s not unusual for patrons to ask us for advice on what to read next here at the Everett Public Library. The advice we give is called, in library jargon, ‘readers advisory.’ Sometimes, our dear library patrons will turn the tables on us and give us some readers advisory of their own, however.
A while back, as I was working at the checkout counter, an effusive patron handed me her library card and a book. Her friend had highly recommended the title and had said she’d laugh her a** off. “Oh, is that so,” I said in my best hair-in-a-bun-with-a-pencil-stuck-through-it voice. She was undaunted and said that there was another one on the shelf. With that, she dashed upstairs to the travel section.
Before I could protest, I was holding in my hand All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love and Petty Theft by Geraldine DeRuiter. I have to tell you, I never intended to read it. I was committed to a 600+ page tome that made my wrists hurt to hold at the time. But I started reading – just a little bit before it want back on the shelf – and I found I couldn’t stop. There is so much to love about this book. Deruiter’s easy-going style compliments the hilarious twists and turns of the plot to make it a goofy but heart wrenching page-turner.
The year is post 2008 and the company Deruiter works for in Seattle folds. She’s flailing about, at loose ends, staying in her pajamas all day and eating anything she can get her hands on before her husband makes a little suggestion that turns out to be big suggestion. Husband Rand travels all over the world to attend business conferences. In order to be together, he suggests she join him on his trips and begin a blog about it. It becomes a kind of anti-travel blog since she has no plans and no sense of direction and has to force herself out of the hotel wherever she lands.
This little blog turns into a big deal when Time Magazine names it one of the top 25 blogs of the year (2011 by this time). DeRuiter turns her family history inside out and amid all her misadventures, makes sense of her life. You can’t not love this story and all of her colorful relatives: all while getting glimpses of a Seattle that any native will appreciate.
This is the perfect book to read (or to give) this time of year when you may be spending time with your own relatives, some of which you may not understand very well. The chaos and anxiety, as well as the love and resolution in this book may even help you embrace those relatives that you’d normally cross the street to avoid.