Entering August, many of us feel relieved that the eclipses of June and July are behind us. We also should be feeling a burst of positive energy considering Leo season has arrived! In the zodiac, Leos are symbolically represented by the king of the jungle, the lion. And Leos, like the lion, are often so regal (both in appearance and attitude) that they demand all eyes on them when they enter a room. They’re warm, generous, and passionate, and their energy is boundless: a 15-minute nap can charge them up for days. If you’re lucky enough to have them as parents or other family members, you benefit from their undying dedication and loyalty. Ruled by the Sun, Leos have to learn how not to overwhelm others with all of their fiery energy. And while some view Leo self-assuredness as arrogant and boastful, you can never dismiss their vitality.
This month’s book, Parakeet by Marie-Helene Bertino, is what I call a handful. Just as Leo’s bold personality can be a lot to process, so is Parakeet, a fast-moving novel whose content and form demand an intellectual reader. At the core of Bertino’s book is a simple narrative about a bride—who remains nameless—spending the week before the wedding at a Long Island inn. But this story is definitely more complicated. On the first page, readers meet the bride’s late grandmother visiting in the form of a parakeet, a surreal move that sets the tone for the rest of the novel. The sassy grandmother/parakeet lays out the young woman’s central challenge: to find and reunite with the bride’s estranged brother. With her straightforward brashness (also very Leo-like), the grandmother does not mince words: “If you can’t respect a dead woman’s wishes you’re a disgrace. Mark my words. If you defy me, shit’s going to get fucked up.” You can’t get any more honest than this.