Review of ‘All We Ever Wanted’, by Emily Giffin
I’m having a tough time writing this review because I’m feeling all the feels.
This story made me so angry–but for all the right reasons. Rich white male privilege made life a living hell for a bunch of characters–sound familiar?
But these are the reads that we need. It’s good to gain clarity into what privilege can do to a person. Because although I’m neither rich, nor white, nor male, I do have a certain amount of privilege because of where I live, my life experience, and my education. And let’s keep it real: even a little privilege, when it goes to a person’s head, can wreck major havoc on lives.
A teenage Latinx girl from a lower socio-economic background goes to a party. One thing leads to another, and a lewd picture of her is posted by a white teenage boy from a rich family. Giffin’s exploration of what happens after this event, from the POVs of the teenage girl, her father, and the white teenage boy’s mother, helps give much needed complexity to an issue that is too often diluted into a much too simple equation.
Not that this book doesn’t have some severe limitations, including some rather romantic ideas and idealised settings. But I still think that it offers the opportunity to gain insight into many important questions. For example, even those of us who weren’t teenagers that long ago would benefit from getting a refresher course about what life in high school can be like in the era of social media at the tip of our fingers–litterally.
This is one of the books that I would add to the pile of “read to gain insight into why sexual harassment happens and the attitudes that sustain it”. Now excuse me while I go rage some more at the conditions of society before putting my thinking cap back on and figuring out what else I can do to contribute to the betterment of humanity.
Review of ‘Sunset Beach’, by Mary Kay Andrews
An easy, relaxing read that sheds some light into the abuse that can occur in the hospitality industry.
I needed an easy read to decompress from a few heavy ones (and from homeschooling and working and COVID19-ing) so I picked this one up. It was what I needed, and I finished it in three days, despite the while homeschool and work and COVID19 thing.
Well-written and well-paced, I was a little disappointed the author didn’t dig a little more into the concept of family, the relationship between a daughter and her father who wasn’t present for most of her life, and the same-aged friend who becomes her stepmother.
Two mysteries were at the centre of the book, one in the present and the other, in the late 1970s. Both involve a surprising twist, one more than the other, twist that doesn’t come at the cost of credibility.
If you’re home going nuts and want a fun, engrossing read, this one worked for me.
Review of ‘Girls Like Us’, by Randi Pink
I have a few friends who went through the process of figuring out what to do with an unwanted pregnancy. Now I have to admit that I do hope we can build a works where abortion isn’t needed, be it because of affordable and easy to get family planning, women being safe from unwanted sex, and many other things I won’t get into now because this isn’t the point of this review.
Long opinion short, I believe thag creating an (almost) abortion free world means understanding what women go through when they have an unwanted pregnancy. And this book really helps understand some of the ways we can build this abortion free world, where parents don’t have to work insane jobs to make ends meet; when inequality doesn’t define the ability to build a good life for oneself; when children are brought up to be outstanding global citizens rather than selfish ones centered on their own well-being; and, again, the list goes on.
If you are struggling to understand why we need easy access to family planning, including but not limited to abortions, and policies that better protect the family unit and create a racism and sexism free world, this book will help you out.
Review of ‘Four Days of You and Me’, by Miranda Kenneally
Four Days of You and Me chronicled the evolution of a relationships over four years by focusing on four days–amusingly, always the school field trip of the year. The author does a great job of filling the reader in on what happened since last year’s field trip without making the writing clunky or awkward. There is a remarkable finesse in the entire approach to this book that I yearn to learn when it comes to my own writing. Despite the ups and downs of the relationship and the sometimes stereotypical high school moments, I didn’t find it over-the-top dramatic. In fact, by the last page, it made me miss my own high school friends, who made high school just dramatic enough to seem real, without any over-the-top, Gossip Girl, backstabbing, Riverdale (ok that’s an over-the-top example, but still) nonsense.
If you like YA romance book with some depth but mostly just sweet and fun, this book will hit the mark.