Book Review, Review

Book Review Round-Up: March 2020

5.00 avg. rating (99% score) - 1 vote

Review of ‘The Night Country’, by Melissa Albert

Melissa Albert’s The Night Country was, imo, even better than The Hazel Wood. It was plot driven, didn’t stop for a second, and extremely creative. Gritty, as well. Oppressive at times, uplifting in the end. A little different from the usual stuff that I read, and not quite the “take a deep lesson away from” type of book I prefer, but I enjoyed reading it and didn’t regret it for one second.

Review of ‘Such a Fun Age’, by Kiley Reid

Kiley Reid’s “Such a Fun Age” is the story of a young African American babysitter who, at the request of the kid’s parents, takes her white charge to a grocery store late in the evening. She’s reported as acting suspiciously by another patron and accosted by the store cop, who accuses her of kidnapping.

The book then takes a very interesting turn with regards to what Emira does with the video of the altercation. The focus isn’t on an overarching search for justice but rather, on how the best of intentions are not necessarily the best ones, and just how those who insist they are not racist are, in fact, racist, because they were too busy claiming they were not racist to do the work needed to be an anti-racist.

As a white-passing POC, I have had the unique privilege of seeing white people’s actions and words around me when they thought I was white, and the differences, sometimes subtle, sometimes not, when they found out I was a POC. The way Alix and Kelley treated Emira made me think of the way well-meaning individuals would say and do the most patronizing and ridiculous things to prove they weren’t racially profiling me… When it was clear they were.

The most amazing thing to me about this book is how easy it is to read, and how uplifting it is. A definite recommended book!

Review of ‘I am a Feminist’, by Monique Polak

I Am A Feminist by Monique Polak will definitely leave you gopeful, however blunt and honest the depiction of the history of the movement and it’s current status are. And that’s quite a feat, managing to remain true to the reality of the situation, which can be quite grim, while remaining uplifting and hopeful.

What I appreciated the most however are all the easily actionable tips peppered throughout the book. I find that so many books either have no actionable tips or that they are so vague or difficult that a newbie to the activism scene can easily get discouraged.

Definitely going to gift this book to the young women in my life, from a 11 year-old to a 22 year-old. It reads really well across generations and could be a great book for a Feminism Club to study together.

Review of ‘Saint X’, by Alexis Schaitki

This wasn’t as much of a whodunit as it was an exploration of grief and trauma.  And it wasn’t just the exploration of the grief and and trauma of a sister, as it was an exploration of the grief and trauma of the falsely accused.  It made me think of the hundreds if not thousands of falsely accused currently in prison or even “just” living with the label of “accused”. We need to do better when it comes to the justice system.  My question is, how can I, not a lawyer or a judge, contribute to creating a more just justice system?

It was also, albeit to a more superficial level, an exploration of the breadth of the trauma experienced around tragedy.  I know that some people don’t believe that we can be affected by a traumatic even that happened all the way on the other side of the world; but doesn’t it make sense that the natural empathy we are born with, the one that makes babies upset when someone is crying, would make us open to being affected by such trauma?

I loved this book.  The writing, the character development, its plunge into darkness and subsequent rise from it, and the surprise ending — I really didn’t see the truth coming.  If you are travelling to a beach this year, take this one with you; it will make you see the other vacationers in a very different light.

Review of ‘Little Universes’, by Heather Demetrios

Which made this book all the more interesting to read.  Two sisters lose their vacationing parents in a Tsunami; this book starts when the wave hits and ends a year later, and deals with how grief can look.  It also looks at the relationship between two sisters who are very different from each other.

So there is one thing in particular that I loved, and one thing that I didn’t.

I loved loved LOVED the description of depression.  It is so important that people understand that depression isn’t just something you can snap out of.  I felt the book really conveyed the oily texture of the emotional, slippery, and dark landscape of depression.  I snapped pictures of some of the sections and sent them to a friend of mine who has depression and she wrote back a string of swear words, then “this is it–this is what it is.” And then proceeded to add the book to her wishlist.

Now we have to remember that not all depressions look the same, but this book can still contribute to the very important conversation around it, and help readers understand why it’s so hard to deal with depression.  It really isn’t that people “are not trying hard enough” or other ridiculous things I’ve heard about depression.  It literally is the way your brain is wired to see things.  And it’s hella hard to change, and it often takes a long, long, long, LONG time.

The thing I didn’t like was that both girls end up in the arms of a guy.  No, not the same guy.  It made me uncomfortable that the path towards healing from such loss was tied so intimately with some “true love” appearing and “saving” each girl from their grief.  Granted, one of the sisters chooses to break up with said guy, but I just wish we could have had a story about women that didn’t involve any men.  It’s just a little too cliché, you know?

5.00 avg. rating (99% score) - 1 vote

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