Vacation Alert!

June 11, 2011 at 9:00 am (Uncategorized)

Just a friendly public service announcement: this will be the last post for a couple of weeks because I am doing the absolutely unthinkable- taking a vacation. That’s right, for the next two weeks I will actually be doing the relaxing thing. I’m out of state, seeing my sister, taking ghost tours and doing research and recharging and there will be a ton of reading so when I get back there’ll be new reviews of some of the amazing books that have hit the shelves recently.

When I come back, I will be all sorts of relaxed and recharged! So, enjoy your next couple of weeks, folks, and I’ll see you at the end of the month!

Until next time~
Cheers!

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Book Review: Blood Magic, by Tessa Gratton

June 9, 2011 at 9:00 am (Book Reviews) (, , , )

Silla Kennicott changed when her parents died, when she knelt bathed in their blood and the senseless violence. Now she’s received a book that speaks of magic and blood, that makes grand promises that should feel unnatural and superstitious and ridiculous. Instead, it feels right. The book isn’t the only thing that’s new and right- there’s also her neighbor Nick, a city boy transplanted to her small town, a boy with buried memories trying to claw their way to the surface. But magic always has a price, sometimes not easily paid by nicking a finger or slashing a palm. For some magics, everything is required.
And there are some people more than willing to make others pay that price for them.

Maybe it makes me morbid but I love this entire premise, the idea of magic based in blood. It forces a heavy scale of consequence for power, requires that there be severe limitations. I love it. With any magical system, it’s tempting to let it run free without any price being paid to harness that power. That’s not how it is here. The greater the magic, the higher the cost, not just in a literal quantity of blood but also in moral questions. If you need more blood than you can sensibly provide, what do you do? Not perform the spell? Pool your resources with other people? Find another source? For every piece of a thing, there’s a price, and for every price there’s a question.

It renders everything in shades of grey. There’s really nothing black and white here, not in the history that’s brought them all to this point, not in the decisions and actions currently unfolding, not in what lies ahead. What seems clear and unquestionable- such as how Silla’s parents died- isn’t. What seems like the right thing to do may not be, or it might be the wrong thing for the right reasons. It lets us question everything that’s going on right along with the characters. Those questions never pull us out of what’s going on, never make us close the book to think through all the ramifications, but they filter through the words and the actions until the question and the fact are inescapably intertwined. Occasionally horrific things sometimes have genuinely good motivations until it’s impossible to separate out the different threads and label them good and evil, right and wrong. It’s hard to praise something good without also realizing there’s a certain repugnance to the acts that brought it about.

Maybe it’s because I’m a theatre junkie, but I adore Silla’s way of looking at the world. The way she chooses a mask for each circumstance, building an expression and attitude off a physical basis, is gorgeous. I used to have porcelain masks hung over my room, painted and eyeless, beautiful works of art but ultimately smooth and expressionless and soulless. She has dozens of masks all over her walls and she can use the reminder of them to get through difficult things, to keep a bland face in the midst of turmoil, to find a smile to reassure concerned friends. The expressions aren’t real but they suit people who can’t look beneath the surface to see what’s really going on, the people who are willing to accept what seems a clear truth when the real truth is anything but. Silla’s broken before we even meet her and at first the masks are meant to hide that. Slowly, though, the masks become more. They’re a part of her, they’ll always be a part of her- that’s part of what being an actress is- but they gradually become genuine, a way to remind herself of the real emotions they represent when she’s cut herself off from everything. Her separation, the sudden changes she’s gone through before we join the story, weave through every other piece but it never falls flat, never feels forced. At the moments when we most need people, we have a way of drifting apart, and because they don’t understand, because they get weirded out in spite of best intentions, they let us move apart.

Nick is adorable. He’s a slick city boy stuck in a small town with a father who still spends most of the week in the city and a step-mother he calls Lilith. We don’t even find out her real name until well over halfway through. (I’ve had a step-mother I gave a significantly less flattering name to- I thoroughly sympathize). And, let’s face, Lilith is uber-creepy, and I sincerely hope we get to find out more about that in the future. She’s always this slightly menacing presence, always has a hidden motivation for what she says or does, and it is just so creepy. I love it. The way Nick gets drawn into the story is an interesting one, filtered through with half-forgotten memories that twine through things he’s wanted to forget but couldn’t. We never actually meet her- not really- but his mother is such a strong presence in what he does and how he views things. It tugs him back and forth, wanting to believe his mother was only crazy but then gradually, sometimes grudgingly, having to accept that there was truth mixed in through the instability. His support for Silla, especially early on, builds from everything he went through with his mother.

There’s an ambiguity to many of the characters. It’s not a sense that we don’t know them, because they all come off as distinct and real, but that there’s always a shred of uncertainty lurking through. Everyone has secrets, everything has things to hide, and no one’s motivations are quite as transparent as we’d maybe hope. Even the people we want to trust present us with the potential for danger and betrayal, especially as we learn more about the nature of the magic and what it can do.

On a slightly more technical aspect, I love how Josephine’s diary is woven through the alternating narratives of Silla and Nick. All three voices are separate and distinct, but it takes a long time to learn why Josephine’s voice is present. As the reader, we get to learn things about the magic that Silla and Nick don’t know yet, and we get to feel a more deep-seated dread as events in the past unfold and we just know that this is going to echo through into the future, but once it does, it’s still astonishing. We know they have to be connected but it’s still such a shocking twist when it actually happens that I actually started laughing simply because I was so delighted by it. I can usually guess what’s happening with books because there are patterns we naturally tend towards, but I was honestly surprised, and I loved it.

This isn’t an easy book, and certainly not one for the squeamish or faint of heart. The magic has a price, and the grander the act, the higher the price. It slices through the easy questions just as the magicians cut their skin, cleanly and with a sharp divide. People can look at the same spells, the same instructions and lists of ingredients, and do completely different things with them, do them for different reasons. We see what happens when someone uses the power for selfish reasons, but we also see what happens when someone uses the power to help others. We also see how astonishingly similar the consequences of both actions can be. It isn’t easy, it isn’t simple, but it’s gorgeous.

This was a book I savored; I’m beyond grateful that I picked it up on a day when I didn’t have to work or do anything else to a timetable, because once I started I didn’t want to close the cover for anything until it was done. I’m curious to see the direction the sequel takes- we know the physcial sense of direction, but there are so many possibile avenues. The ending wraps up this story, or rather this part of it, but it also leaves a lot of mystery wrapped through what’s already occurred. The fact that I’m going to have to wait a year to find out where it’s going is kind of maddening.

Until next time~
Cheers!

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Sometimes You Win

June 7, 2011 at 9:00 am (General) (, , )

One day at work last week, one of the managers popped her head into the break room while I was on (who would have guessed it?) break and asked if I could do my break later because there was a dad in the store who was more than a little frantic. His wife has the kids during the school year and he has them during the summer, and he found out that his daughter hadn’t read a single book during the year outside of what she’d been explicitly assigned by her teachers- and even those had gone mostly unread. He was appalled and determined to make up for that lack over the summer.

Daughter was less than thrilled.

It took a little while and more than a few questions to both Daughter and Father, but we finally determined that Daughter is ten years old (ten and a half!), does not like fantasy, doesn’t like anything girly, doesn’t like anything long. The list of what she doesn’t like could go on forever. When I asked her what she does like, she just stared at me blankly.

So, we went to the appropriate section, started at the A’s, and I told her about every book that I knew anything about. What the story was, what I’d heard about it, what my thoughts were on it if I’d read it. I skipped over any that I was pretty sure she’d dismiss out of hand- though it just about killed me not to talk about Dragon Slippers– and whenever she seemed even remotely interested, we pulled the book and set it in a stack on the floor. By the time we got through 47 shelves of books, she had about twenty in the stack.

It’s better than it sounds, actually- many of those were first in a series.

During this tour, Father was up at the front of the store with Little Brother, mostly because he was afraid to jinx her. Little Brother loves to read, to the exclusion of all else, in fact- Father’s mission for him this summer is to get him involved in some team type stuff. He’s hoping for sports; I think he’d settle for mathlete at this point.

Once we got from A to Z, Daughter and I sat on the floor back in the kids’ department and went through each of the books one by one. We talked about them more, I helped her read through the first few pages of each- going into sixth grade, she’s only reading around a second or third grade level- and I did my best to find what was going to be a good fit for her so far as I knew. When Father finally couldn’t take the tension anymore, he came back to check on us. We’d put five books aside to be reshelved, but that still left a stack of fifteen that she was actually interested in.

I thought Father was going to cry for joy.

I figured he’d want it whittled down a little further. Fifteen books aren’t exactly easy on the pocketbook. He surprised me, though; he scooped up every single one of those books and took them up to the register.

I thought if Daughter read even three of those books, Father would consider it a worthwhile investment. (And what Daughter didn’t read, Little Brother would devour)

Much to my surprise, I just saw Father again.

With another stack of books.

And a grin that looked about ready to split his face in two.

Turns out, Daughter was almost halfway through the stack of books and loving almost all of them. He wanted to reward her so she asked her what she wanted as a treat.

She said the next books in the series.

SCORE!!!!

I was SO tempted to run a victory lap around the store! Except we were, you know, still open and full of customers and I hate running.

But still! She was reading! And loving it!

There are days when I get so frustrated because things in other arenas aren’t going so well, because I don’t feel any closer to getting my own book on the shelf. There are days when I feel like I am waging war against the world and the world is kicking my ass.

And then there are the days when a little girl who hates reading comes back into the store because she loved a book and wants more.

Days like that?

Everbody wins.

Until next time~
Cheers!

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Book Review: The DUFF, by Kody Keplinger

June 5, 2011 at 9:00 am (Book Reviews) (, , , )

Bianca Piper knows that her main job in her group of friends is to go along and make sure they don’t do anything stupid at parties. When you’re not someone guys flock to, that’s pretty much what you expect, so she knows to be suspicious when hot man-whore Wesley Rush starts talking to her in an effort to get in her friends’ pants. So she throws her drink in his face. But for Bianca, her home life is on the verge of imploding and she’s desperate for anything that can serve as a distraction. Re-enter one Wesley Rush. The whole enemies-with-benefits thing seems to be working out pretty well, until she learns that Wesley may not be such a bad guy after all, and she’s not the only one keeping secrets about a rotten home life. So what’s the DUFF to do when she might be falling?

I don’t usually read contemporary. It’s nothing against the genre, it’s just not normally my cup of tea. I like to escape in books, to fall into a world that is so clearly not my own. Contemp books generally put me back in high school, and while I won’t try to say my high school experience was staggeringly traumatizing, it’s not really something I’m keen to throw myself back into. This book, however, seemed criminal to miss, simply because of its name: DUFF. Designated. Ugly. Fat. Friend.

And being a member of the DUFF community, I had to give it a read. I am so glad I did.

Reading this book, being inside Bianca’s head, is seriously like sitting inside my brain during high school. The way she looks at things- the cynical, world-weary, prickly I’m so over this attitude that only seventeen-year-olds can manage felt so familiar, like I was just hitting the rewind button. Everything she does, every impulse she has, has a very solid root in what’s going on, never feels less than believable even when the action itself goes to extremes. She knows she’s not the prettiest of her friends, but that’s never particularly bothered her until suddenly it has a name. DUFF. And then she can’t get it out of her head.

The title, along with Wesley’s new favorite nickname of Duffy, is a complicated one. It’s a whip and a constant wound, a salting with every repetition, but there’s also a kind of freedom to it, as well as a sense of defeat. There can also be a rather savage joy in proving it wrong, because the nature of a DUFF is entirely based on perception.

I think every girl feels that way at least sometimes, that in any given group of friends, she’s the one the hot girls bring along to make them look better, or that she’s the one who can prevent trouble simply because no one’s going to think she’s worth causing trouble over. It gets us down, makes us mope, and maybe we take it too seriously, start to let it define us, but we all feel that way sometimes. There are plenty of teen books that highlight this or make it a character feature that the main character always feels like the ugly one, but it’s so much sharper here because it has a name. What makes it so interesting here, so captivating, is that despite the title of the book, the nature of a DUFF is only a springboard. It’s what launches us, but it isn’t really what the book’s about.

There’s a lot going on in thie book and, because we’re in Bianca’s head, we don’t get to see all of it. There are certainly pieces I wish I knew more about, like why Casey feels the need to protect everyone, and why Jessica is so desperate to be protected. I wish I knew more about Amy at all. But what we do see unfolds steadily and believably. Bianca’s loathing for Wesley rings true, even when she siezes on him as a chance for distraction. That he lets her also feels true. Finding that relief, that outlet, doesn’t instantly change anything between them. The way that relationship slowly alters, however, the rather more precarious ground they creep towards, also feels very real. It shifts before they realize it and they both deal with that realization in different ways.

I loved Bianca’s interactions with her parents. Sometimes awkward, sometimes blurring the line between parent and child, we very clearly see how Bianca is more of a product of both her parents than she realizes. Her mother runs away in a literal ssense of distance but Bianca runs away too when things get overwhelming. She runs to Wesley. And, like her father, she has an addictive personality that can make her spiral into places best not to be. By the time things come to a true breaking point, we’re waiting for it, waiting for the fragile, tenuous balance to come apart simply because it has to, because things can’t stand on that edge forever. I’m dancing around things a little here, but her father’s journey in particular is both compelling and convincing, as are Bianca’s reactions to it.

There’s never a point where this tries to moralize, never a point where it feels like part of a greater goal rather than a piece of a story. It doesn’t tie everything up neatly- though we’re certainly left with hope for how things will continue to develop, we’re left with hope, not a guarantee. Our characters are very human and they have a lot of things going on- there’s still a lot of room for them to screw up again, and no one’s trying to pretend that high school is forever.

This book is painfully funny, not just in the sense of the cutting, cynical humor that Bianca shares with us, but genuinely painful at points where it rings a little too true. We’re seriously back in high school for this, with all the casual, unthinking insults that wound far more than anyone realizes. We say things, we make assumptions and judgments, we believe rumor more than we should, and it all adds up to a carelessness that leaves life-long scars. What’s refreshing is that Bianca is as guilty of it as anyone and comes to realize that.

There are so many other things I want to talk about, but I don’t want to rob you of watching them unfold. That progression is so much of what I love about this book. Being seventeen, being in senior year, it’s a bizarre time where everything’s changing, so much so that we don’t always realize it’s changed and we wonder why the things that have been comfortable and familiar for so long suddenly feel different. Our friendships change, our perceptions change, our families change, everything trembling on the verge of flying apart except that some things, when the fly apart, come together in a stronger way. A more frightening way, sometimes, but stronger and better. More true.

So I’m going to shut up now because I really don’t want to spoil this book for you, but if you have ever felt like the DUFF, read this book.

Until next time~
Cheers!

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Obstacles and ADD

June 3, 2011 at 9:00 am (Writing) (, , , , )

There are three cats in my apartment.

One of them is sitting behind me on the top of the couch, wrapped around the back of my neck, and purring up a storm. Don’t mistake this for affection- he’s hungry.

One of them is curled up so tightly against my leg, one of his arms actually wrapped around my thigh, I can’t move without his claws flexing into my skin. This is actually my cat. He feels I neglect him horribly during the day when I’m gone for hours and hours working to keep food in his bowl.

The third cat is sitting a few feet away on the coffee table, tail wrapped around her legs, staring at me. Whenever I show any signs of moving towards her or even acknowledging her presence, she hisses at me. I have a feeling this is because every other night this week, when she yowled and cried by the downstairs door to be put on her harness and taken out, I’ve ignored her. Because the last time I gave in and took her out, I ended up losing all the skin off one elbow and knee.

There’s a large tv that’s so nice most things look bizarre on it, lots of dvds stacked around it, and netflix instant play. There are eight bookcases, most of them double stacked with loooooots of interesting books just begging to be read. At least two of them have books filled with non-fiction waiting for me to take pages and pages of notes for research. There are books waiting to be reviewed, books that patiently wait for me to lose myself in them, books that are waiting less-than-patiently to blow my mind.

There’s a bathroom that should probably definitely be cleaned.

Ditto kitchen.

Double ditto bedroom. (Is there such a thing as a triple ditto? The bedroom’s really kind of bad)

I have an entire closet full of craft supplies. Jewelry projects I haven’t touched in a year, notebooks to decorate, canework to make, music to learn. My ear infection is finally gone so I should be able to get back to the gym without serious fear of passing out on the treadmill.

And there’s the internet.

Oh, dear God, the internet.

Instant messaging and memes and blogs and Twitter and facebook and games and research and staggering, eye-popping, brain-numbing amounts of internets.

So what’s the point of all this?

All of these are obstacles to being productive. They are things that keep us from sitting down and getting to it.

And they are so HARD to resist!

This is why I go somewhere else to write, but even on days where I’m not trying to write I notice myself falling prey to obstacles like these. It’s not even that glorious productivity is the goal on these days, but there’s something profoundly depressing about realizing it’s bedtime- and then realizing you have done nothing useful since getting home from work. You get hom from work, rather brain dead, change into pjs, manage to put something together for food (however questionable that something might be), sit down on the couch…and become useless for the rest of the night.

It’s evening as I’m writing this. About ten o’clock, in fact. I’ve been off work for five hours. I clocked out, walked next door to the grocery store, got food, drove home, and preheated the oven so I could pop the food in and forget about it for a while. Changed clothes- pajams for the win- and nearly tripped over the cat. One of the cats. I wrapped my dad’s father’s day present so I could send it out- still haven’t dug out the address to write it on there yet- and had to wrestle the butcher paper away from the hissy cat who would glady eat me in my sleep. I grabbed my food, sat down on the couch, turned on the tv…and writing this is the closest to productive I’ve been. I’ve watched three episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, two episodes of The Unusuals, and an episode of Archer; I have no idea what I’m going to watch next. I pulled out my clipboard at one point, tried to take notes for an upcoming rewrite, and realized my brain doesn’t function after work. All of my productivity is on days off or before work.

I am surrounded by obstacles.

And the obstacles are winning.

I seriously have things I need to be doing right now. I need to be brainstorming for this rewrite so I can figure out what the hell I’m doing. I’m not usually in this drifting state with projects and it is unbelievably frustrating, especially considering I have to sit on my queries for a month for I send them out (self imposed, no weird query regulations or anything). I’m drifting and I’m frustrated and it makes it hard to focus.

Harder.

So the obstacles are winning.

DON’T LET THE OBSTACLES WIN.

So tomorrow, I am waking up before I have to, and I am curling up in bed with a book (and possibly a cat, just not the one who wants to eat me alive) and I am reading for a few hours. Recharging. I work an uber-long shift all through the afternoon and evening, I will be a zombie when I get home, and that’s okay because I’ll have read and recharged in the morning. And then I have a day off. I am NOT going to sleep in like a slob (okay, I’m going to sleep in, just not to the point where anyone can call me a slob) and then I’m going to go to my writing cave. And I’m going to go again before work on Tuesday morning.

And I’m asking you to hold me accountable.

By the time one o’clock Tuesday afternoon rolls around, I need to come away from my writing cave with at least four book reviews (five would be better) and at least ten pages of notes for this upcoming rewrite. A title would be fantastic, but I don’t think I’ll push my luck.

And if I get there- if I actually manage to shove away all the obstacles and get done what I need to get done- you get a prize.

How frickin’ cool is that? Guilt trip me into doing actually work, get a chance of getting rewarded for it.

So, here’s the deal: GUILT TRIP ME. Everyone who encourages, bullies, guilt trips, cheers along, whatever it is we want to call it gets entered into a drawing. If I actually make it, I will be giving away a shiny new copy of Cassandra Clare’s City of Fallen Angels complete with Jace’s letter to Clary. You’ve heard me rave about how much I love this series, and this is the one with the ending that has everyone talking. You know you want it. So, if you live in the US (sorry, postage is expensive), and if you want an amazing book, help me kick off the ADD and the massive array of obstacles and get SOMETHING productive done in the next week.

Before I…go on vacation and become thoroughly, spendlidly, amazingly unproductive for…two and a half weeks.

Fear not, there were will still be reviews and rambles. Otherwise I might lose track of what day it is and that’s never pretty.

All comments before 1 pm EST on Tuesday June 7th will be considered by Sir Random Number Generator!

Aaaaaaaaaand…GO!

Cheers!

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Book Review: Break, by Hannah Moskowitz

June 1, 2011 at 9:00 am (Book Reviews) (, , , )

Break a bone and it knits back stronger. Get through the pain, get through the recovery, and there’s something stronger, something better. Snap. Splint. Strengthen.
Jonah is on a mission. There are 206 bones in the human body and he’s out to break them all, to knit them back into a better pattern, some kind of strength that can resonate through him into a family that needs it more than anything. To a brother and best friend with countless deadly allergies. To a baby brother who hasn’t stopped crying and screaming in eight months. To parents who rely on faith and arguments to contain problems they can’t possibly control.
Snap. Splint. Strengthen.
Break.

This is not a comfortable book.

There are so many books with which we curl up on the couch in our pajamas, ready to disappear into a world that gently cradles us within its story and environs, and when we close it afterwards it’s with a soft touch and a long stretch. This is not one of those books. This is a book that makes you actually cringe, that makes your skin crawl with the physical echo of pain. You don’t close the book and stretch; you hold it to your chest like an anchor and curl around it until you remember how to breathe. This is not a comfortable book.

And that just might be my favorite thing about it.

Will is consumed by his family, by the completely out-of-control nature of everything that’s going on, that’s been going. His entire life has revolved around trying to take care of Jesse, trying to make sure that he isn’t exposed to any number of things to which he is deathly allergic, trying to make sure he’s taken care of when it does happen. It doesn’t help that in the past eight months, their own house has become a landmine. It’s always been a hazard, given that the other family members need to eat and Jesse is allergic to almost everything, but since the birth of baby Will- and the fact that their mother is breastfeeding him- just touching the baby could be enough to set off a reaction. Jesse fights against his limitations by throwing himself into life, working out, playing sports, but despite the fact that Jonah has a not-girlfriend, an after school job, and hope to one day be an architect, his life is entirely wrapped around his brother.

This is something you see in families with long-term illnesses or health considerations. Long-term caretakers get so wrapped up in their loved ones that they actually define themselves by the need to take care of things, to take care of them. Jonah defines himself- not consciously, but he does- by needing to take care of Jesse. No one can do it as well as he can, including Jesse, no one else is as worried, no one else realizes the nature of the dangers. Everything circles around that need.

Which is where we get to the breaking.

The first one was an accident, a car wreck that left him with casts and the realization that some things can actually be made stronger by being broken. It isn’t hard to see the appeal in this line of thought. It’s not about the pain, it’s not about the destruction or the sympathy, and it’s certainly not Munchausens. It’s not actually about the breaking- it’s about the becoming stronger. And perhaps, though he denies it, there’s also something appealing to having one thing- just one thing- that he can consciously control. He can choose the timing, the way he arranges the incidents, even whether or not his friend Naomi films them.

In many ways, this book travels through perceptions. Jonah is our narrator so everything we see is colored by his perception, but as the readers, we form our our perceptions as well, which don’t always agree. It’s not that we get jarred out by these moments; we don’t. They actually add to it, because it draws us further into Jonah’s confusion, into what it means to be in his world and in his head. What we see of people is largely determined by Jonah’s opinion of them, except where we get to see the things that Jonah relates but overlooks, or where we get to determine our our interpretations of their actions.

Like Naomi. Jonah doesn’t think too deeply into his friend, other than occasionally wondering why she’s so gung ho for his breaking. To him, she’s simply always there, the tomboy who can always be relied upon. He never stops to think that there might be more to her or that other people might see her in another way. Or Jesse. Jonah deeply admires his brother, admires how incredibly kick-ass he is, how he works out and plays hard, but there’s also a very large part of Jonah that worries that Jesse doesn’t even want to take care of himself, a worry exacerbated by his brother’s actions. We see how their mother clings to faith, how their father clings to blaming their morther, but we don’t see deeper than that. He says they never take the precautions they should, that they just don’t care but- this is a big but- think about how many teenagers see their parents in the exact same way. The way we tell a story, the way we tell someone else about a conversation or an argument or a mistake, the way we tell anyone anything is colored by the way we see it. By our perceptions. I wish we could have seen more of the other characters- and by more I probably mean deeper- but I get why we didn’t. We’re limited to Jonah’s view of the world for the most part.

We touch on a lot of things in this book. We touch on destructivism, on legal responsibility, on mental health care, on moral strength and debts, on what it means to live versus what it means to simply be alive, on the strength we can find not just in that stretch of healing but in the simple state of being broken. Before it knits back, before it’s fixed, there’s something a strength in accepting that something is broken.

More than anything, that’s what stuck in my head, hours and hours after I finished the book. Jonah is not a role model. He’s not someone others should base their decisions on, this is not a book you give to someone to help them work through their own issues. And that’s fantastic. Books don’t have to be more than they are, they don’t have to try “fix’ anything. They don’t have to tie off neatly with all the problems resolved, don’t have to have a happy ending, and they don’t have to teach a lesson. We’re going to pull lessons from them no matter what simply because a book- a good book- is going to resonate with us in some way, is going to make us think about things and come to some realizations on our own. We’ll teach ourselves some lessons because of a book, but the book doesn’t have to teach us.

So, hours later, when we’re lying in bed staring up at the ceiling and waiting for thoughts to settle so we can sleep, we discover the things that affected us most about the book. For me, it was that state of being broken. There’s a moment- when everything falls apart, when everything’s shattered, before we can look forward to the healing- there’s a moment of absolute peace. There’s a serenity in that state of being broken. Healing has its own hazards- explanation, infections, unwanted sympathy- and obviously the physical act of breaking is massively painful, but in that moment of simply being broken there’s a peace. Impossible to describe or explain, impossible to fit into words even in your own mind, there’s a moment where everything else, all the things you can’t fix and can’t control, all the things that were never really yours to worry over, everything else just goes away into a single, simple point.

This is a book that makes no promises, no guarantees. This doesn’t give you easy answers on a silver platter. This isn’t a book that tries to do anything.

And it’s a book that changes your life.

For every person, it’ll leave a different mark, let you change and grow in a different way.

So read this book. It’s painful and graphic and in your face, and it is not at all a comfortable book.

And that’s what makes it quite so amazing.

Until next time~
Cheers!

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