All posts filed under: Reviews

The Perfect Diary

I read Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian in three sittings and probably three hours. It is a FAST read. Fast enough that when I reached the end I thought I couldn’t possibly be finished. Not that the ending wasn’t satisfying, because it was. But there was something that felt incomplete to me. I liked how it ended, but I wanted more. In fact, I felt that way about the book overall. I wanted a little something more than what I got. I frequently felt like I was missing something. Sometimes it was details that seemed to be eluding me. Sometimes it felt like I was making huge leaps in time without anything in between. At the end of the book I was pleased, but also felt like so many areas were left open. All the plot points weren’t tied up in a neat little bow. And then…. And then I thought about the title again. The Absolutely True DIARY of a Part-Time Indian. And then I thought about who was writing this diary …

The Underdog

I really didn’t know what to expect with this book. As someone who judges books by their covers, I’ll say that the cover art set my expectations fairly low. But I was intrigued by the mixture of novel and illustrations. At exactly 230 pages I FLEW through this book. Between the pacing, illustrations, quick-read story, and short chapters, I think I read it in under 48 hours. I loved Junior, the main character. He was the epitome of underdog. And his outlook on things, beautiful. Despite all the shit, he ended up hopeful. The luxury that it might be, it was nice to read a book for a change that left you feeling hopeful. Sometimes I feel like a lot of the fiction out there is the dark and scary type. And with the state of the world as it is I don’t feel like I need to spend all of my reading time further depressed. I can’t say I’d recommend this book to my peers (30 somethings) as a must read…  it’s not tremendously …

Real and Raw

Brit Bennett can certainly craft a story. I was sucked in to Oceanside almost immediately and then spent the next few days reading while tears pricked the back of my eyes. It wasn’t that the book was sad, per se, though elements of it were heartbreaking for sure. It was more that each person’s story felt so real and so raw. I felt for Nadia, Aubrey, Robert, and Luke… even when they were making decisions that were frustrating or awful. I think the narrative voice Bennett used had a great deal to do with it. As a reader, I knew enough about the characters to understand their motivation, even when their literary counterparts couldn’t. {SPOILER ALERT} Even during Nadia and Luke’s affair, an act I generally have absolutely no sympathy for, I could see how it happened. While I wasn’t rooting for them, I wasn’t as angry with them either. I also thought that having an abortion be the driving force of the story was an interesting choice. Mostly because as much as the book …

Undecided Mothers

I read The Mothers on a beach vacation in Michigan. There was plenty of deck time overlooking the lake, very relaxing! And it was a good beach read… I think. I guess I’m still not sure of my final thoughts. I definitely looked forward to picking it back up each day, I was eager to see where the story went, and I was invested in the characters. Bennett wrote very full characters and immersed you in their lives (Nadia, Luke and Aubrey). Sure, at times it was a little predictable, but I guess going into it you expect there to be a love triangle with some predictable conflict. And although not too much happens to these characters, Bennett’s writing style turns what seem like simple events into significant and meaningful turning points. I enjoyed her writing style, but I guess I didn’t like the story? Maybe that’s where I struggle. The story circles around Nadia’s abortion at age 17 and the ripple effects. And I guess my question is; can you really write about the …

A Voice

I struggled with this book. Not because the content scared me or made me uncomfortable. Not because it drew into question something I do not see or fail to acknowledge. But because what Coates tries to scratch the surface of is an extraordinarily complex network of invasive roots that both has strangled our collective culture and has consistently unearthed itself in a knotted fashion in places seemingly distanced from our country’s base. In a less metaphorical way, race is nearly always at the forefront of or a driving force of our societal (insert any word) – history, music, fashion, culture, vernacular. What is even more confusing is that we have created a narrative about race that in reality has so many dimensions and layers and colors but we have distilled it down into a simple dichotomy. What is black and what is white.   Coates is an astounding writer. He brings an eloquence, a voice, a personal experience that combined creates a feat of literature.  To improve our future, we must understand our past. That …