My Friend Dahmer – Derf Backderf

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Story: 3/5 

Writing: 3/5

Cover: 3/5

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve always been fascinated by serial killers. I want to know why they do it, how do they kill people in such violent ways and feel no remorse or guilt. It’s a large part of why I studied Psychology and Criminology, and to date I genuinely enjoy learning about these psychopaths (that sounds so creepy now that I think about it). So when I stumbled upon My Friend Dahmer at the local comic book store, I immediately had to buy it. Luckily for me my parents were in town for graduation and my dad, who never says no to books, bought it for me. It was a short read and to be honest, I was a just a little disappointed.

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf is a true story told by Backderf who attended high school with Dahmer. The title of the book is a little misleading considering Backderf and Dahmer were not necessarily friends but more like acquaintances. Backderf and a group of boys founded the Dahmer fan club where they would make fun of Dahmer’s mannerisms, eventually coining them Dahmerisms. Dahmer, a pretty strange boy with plenty of issues of his own had a rough family life. His parents were caught up in their own marital problems and for the most part did not seem to pay him any attention. His mother had mental health issues of her own and would often experience convulsive episodes. Dahmer took to copying these tics, and it was these imitations that played a part in the formation of the Dahmer Fan Club. While Backderf gives interesting insight into Dahmer’s life, he was not very close to Dahmer. In fact, Dahmer was a loner, who pretty much had no friends. By his senior year, the Dahmer fan club had disbanded and Dahmer had become an extremely heavy drinker. Witnessing Dahmer ravage a 6 pack of beer in under 10 minutes was one of the incidents that lead to the exclusion of Dahmer from his own fan club.

After reading this book, I find myself pitying Dahmer. He truly was completely isolated and had absolutely no one to talk to. His father had to move out when his mother filed a restraining order against him, and then his mother eventually moved back to Wisconsin with his brother leaving Dahmer completely alone in the house. Loneliness is dark and scary, and for a teenager who already had his own set of issues, I can’t imagine how consuming it must have become. Backderf mentions that Dahmer had perverse thoughts and desires long before he acted on them. This coupled with Dahmer’s obsession with roadkill, immediately made me think serial killer. (But then again, I also already know what he did). Backderf’s story is full of hints that Dahmer was not normal but it’s hard to say how much of this stems from reality and how much is tainted by his knowledge of Dahmer’s crimes.

The other things that bugged me through the novel was how Backderfs drawings made the characters hard to distinguish. It’s possible this was done on purpose to shine the spotlight on Dahmer. However, it’s a graphic novel and not being able to successfully tell the characters apart was frustrating.

The story itself isn’t all that exciting, however it does attempt to show the evolution of Jeff Dahmer the teenage boy to Jeffrey Dahmer cannibalistic psychopath. I’ve read about Dahmer before but he never stood far apart from other psychopaths, until I read this novel. Backderf gives you a personal look into what it must have been like being Dahmer. Backderf coupled his personal knowledge with information from various other sources, as well as FBI interviews with Dahmer. The most interesting fact I learned from Backderfs story is that Dahmer never lied. It’s interesting because it contradicts everything I have ever read or learned about psychopaths; because of the potential knowledge we could have gained had he lived; because no other serial killer I have learned of has been so forthcoming about their indiscretions. While Backderf doesn’t delve into the psychology or patterns behind Dahmer’s behaviors, he did ignite a new found interest in Dahmer. Now, I just need to get my hands on copies of those FBI interviews.

A Ranking of (Almost) Every Meg Cabot Series

I don’t have a new review for you guys this week, instead I have a guide to the best and worst Meg Cabot books. As some of you might know, I absolutely love Meg Cabot. I have an entire shelf dedicated to just her books. I am proud (and also sort of guilty) to say that I have read (almost) every book she has written. She is also the reason I am single because all her characters gave me unrealistic expectations from a guy.

Note: I have not read From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess or Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls so I will not be including them in the list. (They came out when I was already wayyy past my tween years).

From Worst to Best:

17. Ransom My Heart

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It’s basically erotica but bad and super cheesy

16. Tommy Sullivan is A Freak

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Like any other Cabot book I have re-read this one, but unlike the others I only re-read it once and honestly don’t really remember much other than a selfish girl and something about multiple boys and a pageant of some sort.

15. Airhead Series

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I think this was definitely one of her weaker works. The concept was cool but the storyline never really got too exciting.

14. How to be Popular

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I liked this one and it was sweet and had everything it needed but it doesn’t hold a candle against her other work.

13. Victoria and the Rogue/ Nicola and the Viscount

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These two are my guilty pleasures that I don’t like sharing. I love cliche romance and these two have basically a teen/modern Pride and Prejudice-ish vibe.

12. Queen of Babble Series

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One of the other series I never re-read more than twice

11. Teen Idol

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I loved this one because I wasn’t expecting the end and I love when books surprise me

10. Insatiable Series

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This one made it so far up the list because of how much I liked the first book. The second one was crap, don’t read it.

9. Abandon Series

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I love Cabot’s writing. I love fantasy. I love a good romance. Boom, all three.

8. The Heather Wells Mystery Series

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Great characters, crime, suspense and a subtle lesson on body image and self love

7. 1-800-where-R-You?

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A girl gets hit by lightning, becomes psychic and can now find missing children in her dreams! What more do you want?

Note: The following have been re-read so many times that I have lost count

6. All American Girl Series

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I dreamed of a boyfriend like David every day of 7th grade.

5. The “Boy” Series

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Not really connected story wise but they have some overlapping characters. I love how the book is written through diary entries, emails, texts, letters, etc.

4. Jinx

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Magic, hot boys, witchcraft and NYC. Why didn’t they make this into a movie?

3. The Princess Diaries

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The series that was the beginning of my love for Meg Cabot and very intense crushes on fictional characters. (I still hate the movies and how they changed every single detail, though the actor that played Michael was pretty hot and of course Anne Hathaway).

2. Avalon High

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I have no idea why I love this book so much. I am the only one I know who does. The only reason it isn’t number one is because it isn’t a series and I want to read more. My copy is tattered and in pieces and I still read it all the time. (Anyone wanna send me a new one?)

1 . The Mediator Series

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Suze is probably one of the most badass characters I know. All my life I have wished I was anywhere near as badass as she is. Though I do admit I was always #TeamPaul until the 7th book, though I do love Jesse too. (They should cast me in a TV series based on this show)

 

 

Still Alice – Lisa Genova

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Story: 4/5

Writing: 3/5

Cover: 3/5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One day I came back from work and had a package waiting for me outside my door. Not having ordered anything and being the only one in the apartment that summer, I was super confused. I checked the package, made sure it was mine, racked my brain for possible books I could have ordered and forgotten about, and then finally opened it. The minute I saw two beautiful brand new copies of Still Alice and Left Neglect by Lisa Genova, I knew who had sent it. My friend absolutely loves Genova and has been quite persistent in her attempts to get me to read her books. So this post is for Sneha, who I hope will be happy to know that I recently finished Still Alice and really enjoyed it.

Genova’s writing isn’t necessarily comparable to great literary works but her style is simple and interwoven with subtle references and a lot of foreshadowing . What I liked most about her writing was that she didn’t shy away from using science and scientific terms while telling her story. She knows that her audience may not be familiar with the jargon but accepts the challenge of educating her readers and making them understand the complexities of the brain. Genova has her Doctorate in Neurosciences and is clearly an authority on the subject of brain disorders, the central theme to all her stories.

Still Alice is the story of Alice Howland, a fifty year old Harvard professor who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. The book highlights the struggle of living with Alzheimer’s and the rapid progression of the disease. Genova excellently portrays the frustration, confusion, and isolation that often accompany the progression of alzheimer’s. Losing control of your cognitive functions sounds terrifying and Still Alice gives you a glimpse into exactly how scary it can be. This story made me realize how much I take my ability to function “normally” for granted. From being unable to find the bathroom in her own house, to not recognizing her youngest daughter, to not being able to go on a run by herself. You slowly see the ways in which the disease progresses and makes even the smallest task hard to accomplish.

There is one scene in the book that really stood out and still creeps into my thoughts every once in awhile. Alice and her family are all gathered together to watch Lydia perform in a play. They are sitting around together earlier in the day Alice asks Lydia multiple times what time her play was. Lydia patiently answers each time encouraging her to write it down on her blackberry. Meanwhile her son insists she doesn’t need to worry about it, that they won’t leave her behind. Her eldest daughter Anna instead berates her mother, insisting she fight for her memory and not be lazy. The entire time Alice’s confusion if only worsened by all the frustration.

I thought this particular scene revealed so many different emotions and character developments simultaneously. It shows how Alice wants to be independent as well as demonstrating how hard it is for someone who doesn’t have the disease to understand what is going on inside the brains of their loved ones. Another part that sticks out is the fact that Alice is cognitively aware of her disease more times than I expected her to be. She even tries to shield her family from the reality of how confused she would get. She doesn’t want to burden them with her problems, and she doesn’t want to lose her independence. This is also present in Alice’s struggle to preserve her immaculate reputation at Harvard.

Overall, Still Alice was a great read that I would highly recommend. Genova excellently emphasizes the boredom, the alienation, and feelings of being ignored that Alice is suffering. Genova has a talent and you can see it in the way she intertwines literature with science, simultaneously entertaining her readers but also providing them with an arsenal of knowledge.

Quotes:

“And I have no control over which yesterdays I keep and which ones get deleted. This disease will not be bargained with. I can’t offer it the names of the US presidents in exchange for the names of my children. I can’t give it the names of state capitals and keep the memories of my husband.”

“Even then, more than a year earlier, there were neurons in her head, not far from her ears, that were being strangled to death, too quietly for her to hear them. Some would argue that things were going so insidiously wrong that the neurons themselves initiated events that would lead to their own destruction. Whether it was molecular murder or cellular suicide, they were unable to warn her of what was happening before they died.”

“I used to know how the mind handled language, and I could communicate what I knew. I used to be someone who knew a lot. No one asks for my opinion or advice anymore. I miss that. I used to be curious and independent and confident. I miss being sure of things. There’s no peace in being unsure of everything all the time. I miss doing everything easily. I miss being a part of what’s happening. I miss feeling wanted. I miss my life and my family. I loved my life and family.”

 

Between The World and Me- Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Story: 5/5

Writing: 5/5

Cover: 3.5/5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since the day I learned to read, I rarely go anywhere without a book. Growing up I was a bookworm but even though I devoured books for breakfast, there was almost no diversity in the books I read. I strictly read YA novels as a teen and if you look at my bookshelf back in India it’s probably the first thing you’ll notice. Like any responsible parent, my father tried to steer me to a road littered with endless choices. Offering me a selection of books ranging from classic literature to graphic novels and everything you can imagine in between.

My father has a library that will make any book lover green with envy. My biggest regret is not taking advantage of the diverse selection his library has to offer much sooner.  I don’t know if it was my stubbornness or immaturity or maybe a combination of the two, but I was hell bent on not reading anything remotely informative or educational especially if my parents wanted me to. I’ve grown out of that phase and I’m more adventurous with my choices now. Don’t get me wrong, I still devour YA novels and all the chick lit I can get my hands on, I’m just learning to have more balanced reading habits.

Between The World and Me was exactly what I needed at this point in my life. In light of recent political events back home and more recently in the US, I have been trying to educate myself and become a more informed citizen. Coates was the gas that ignited the flame inside me. Coates’ writing is art. It’s beautiful but it reflects the anger that drives his passion. It is complex and thought provoking without being pretentious. It is unapologetic, raw and enlightening. The book is styled as a letter to his son and chronicles Coates’ thoughts, fears,anxieties, hopes, and dreams for his son and his future and how the world that Coates grew up in has shaped the lens through which he now sees the world. I think the fact that Coates didn’t write this with the intention of explaining the African-American struggle to non African-Americans. There is no sugar coating of facts or forgiving ancestors. He explains how America’s foundations were built on the backs of African oppression, that they system didn’t fail them, the system was designed with the intentions of helping one race succeed at the cost of others.

Between the World and Me is a classic. It inspired me in ways no other book has. Its enlightening and opens your eyes. I find myself recognizing my privilege in ways I had never considered; realizing how I was simply lucky to be born into a family where my struggle have been very minimal; realizing how grateful I should be for the opportunities I have had; realizing that my experiences, while opening my eyes and educating me are born from a certain privilege that others do not have. Coates has taught me to be more aware of my privilege but he also taught me that I can use this privilege to give my voice to those being ignored and going unheard. Without a doubt Between the World and Me has found itself a home at the number one spot in my heart.

Quotes to remember:

I grew up in a house drawn betwen love and fear. There was no room for softness. Bue this girl with the long dreads revealed something else- that love could be soft and understanding; that, soft or hard, love was an act of heroism.

But race is the child of racism, not the father. And the process of naming “the people” has never been a matter of genealogy and physiognomy so much as one of hierarchy. Difference in hue and hair is old. But the belief in the preeminence of hue and hair, the notion that these factors can correctly organize a society and that they signify deeper attributes, which are indelible—this is the new idea at the heart of these new people who have been brought up hopelessly, tragically, deceitfully, to believe that they are white.

But all our phrasing—race relations, racial chasm, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, even white supremacy—serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. You must never look away from this. You must always remember that the sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body.

I would not have you descend into your own dream. I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world.

I was made for the library, not the classroom. The classroom was a jail of other people’s interests. The library was open, unending, free.

The point of this language of “intention” and “personal responsibility” is broad exoneration. Mistakes were made. Bodies were broken. People were enslaved. We meant well. We tried our best. “Good intention” is a hall pass through history, a sleeping pill that ensures the Dream.

The question is not whether Lincoln truly meant “government of the people” but what our country has, throughout its history, taken the political term “people” to actually mean.

And still I urge you to struggle. Struggle for the memory of your ancestors. Struggle for wisdom. Struggle for the warmth of The Mecca. Struggle for your grandmother and grandfather, for your name. But do not struggle for the Dreamers. Hope for them. Pray for them, if you are so moved. But do not pin your struggle on their conversion. The Dreamers will have to learn to struggle themselves, to understand that the field for their Dream, the stage where they have painted themselves white, is the deathbed of us all.

Choosing just a few excerpts from this book is so hard. I really believe this should be required reading!

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child – J.K Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany

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Story: 2/5

Writing: 2/5

Cover: 3.5/5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets was the first novel I ever read. It sort of stumbled into my possession when I was 6 years old. I read it, and even though not all of it necessarily made sense, I remember being intrigued. Since then, I have read and re-read the series so many times, I have lost count. I am not sure when I actually began to understand the stories but I know that every time I re-read the books, I learn more and more about my favorite world. So needless to say when I heard about The Cursed Child I was ecstatic.

I wish that I could read Harry Potter endlessly, I wish I never had to say goodbye to my best friends. Yet, we all know that every good thing must come to an end. I have long thought that J.K Rowling may be holding on too tightly to the series that changed the world. I get it. I didn’t create Harry, Ron or Hermione but my feelings for them are real. They helped me get through the good and the bad, they taught me what I should look for in my friends, they taught me that it’s okay to not be perfect, they —- but there comes a time when holding on to something causes more damage than it does good.

The cursed child is the perfect example of just that. It’s supposed to be the eighth part of the series and yet it has little in common with the original seven books, other than the names and histories of the characters. Set nineteen years after the battle of Hogwarts, this story focuses on Harry’s son Albus and Malfoy’s son Scorpius. The friendship between the two is probably the best part of this story. Though, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to cringing many times at how awkward and painful their friendship is.

What bothered me the most about this story was the lack of any identifying characteristics amongst that characters that Rowling has taken years to establish. I refuse to believe that Hermione or Professor McGonagall would abandon their logical thinking and blindly give into everything Potter was demanding. Yes, they are loyal and will do anything to help their friends, but they are also intelligent, savvy ladies who hold important positions of power. The feminist in me was pretty upset that some of the most influential literary characters were written this way. It wasn’t just those two characters though, Ron was such a wimpy character I wanted to shake someone in frustration and Potter was just a illogical, impulsive brat. After years of reading Harry Potter and aspiring to be the people I read about, it was a tragic let down to read a story where the same characters are barely even a shadow of their former selves. If anything, it just shows me that Rowling really is holding on too hard.

The story itself was such a disappointment too. In fact so much so that one month later I have nearly forgotten the details. The story line contributes to the lackluster characters because their reactions to situations is what drives the story line. Yet, none of the reactions were what you would have expected.

It’s hard to criticize something that is such a big part of my childhood and has such a big influence on who I am today. Yet, the Cursed Child does not come anywhere near the legacy that Rowling created. I am still curious enough to see the play, if I ever get a chance. But for the most part I really just want Rowling to move on and stop destroying her legacy by holding onto it too tight. She isn’t the first author to have to do so, and nor will she be that last.

 

 

Isla and The Happily Ever After – Stephanie Perkins

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Story: 3.5/5

Writing: 3.5/5

Cover: 3/5

 

 

 

This book left me with mixed feelings. I loved the first third of the book and couldn’t put it down, but I hated the second third and really wanted to slap Isla and I still haven’t made up my mind about the final third of the book. This is the first book by Perkins that I have read. I wasn’t really sure if there was an order in which they were meant to be read but I chose this one simply because I saw a cheap copy in a bookstore.

I had seen the books all over bookstagram and goodreads, and so I was excited to finally delve into one of the stories. In the end I was slightly underwhelmed. I am a sap for romance – and even though I never show it – somewhere in the depths of my heart, I’m a hopeless romantic. Isla and The Happily Ever After started out great, I was eating up ever cheesy word, believing that one day I will find my Happily Ever After. Yet somewhere between the first third and the second third of the book, I began to realize that the characters stopped developing. I wanted to jump into the abyss of Isla’s mind, I wanted to watch her find herself, watch her find her passion. Instead, I found her ending her perfect relationship for asinine reasons. For a second I thought that this is where her character development truly starts. I was wrong. It was just chapter after chapter of her believing she couldn’t live without Josh, that she was nothing without him. Isla, had successfully turned me off.

I liked Josh, though admittedly I was biased from the start because Josh is my absolute favorite name for a guy. However, his character also lacked the development that Isla did. Though he was definitely the best part of this story. Another character I liked was the friend, Kurt. I think my favorite part of the book was when Kurt made new friends and Isla realized it wasn’t Kurt that was holding her back but actually she was holding him back. I think that was the only important character development you see in the entire story.

I did enjoy her writing style. It was simple, yet engaging. It was everything that high school me ever wanted in a book. That brought with it a weird happy nostalgia and sense of comfort. So even though Isla kind of sucks, I have to admit that I really did enjoy reading the book. I will definitely be reading the other two as well.

“I’m…getting there. I’m beginning to think that maybe it’s okay to be a blank canvas. Maybe it’s okay that my future is unknown. And maybe,” I say with another smile, “it’s okay to be inspired by the people who do know their future.” “It goes both ways, you know.” I link his icicle fingers through mine. “What does?” “Artists are inspired by blank canvases.” My smile grows wider.”

“A blank canvas…has unlimited possibilities.”

“Phones are distracting. The internet is distracting.The way he looked at you? He wasn’t distracted. He was consumed.”

Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Story: 4/5

Writing: 5/5

Cover: 4/5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been struggling to write this book review for a while. Not because I hated it but because I admire Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie so much, I feel pressured to write this review as beautifully as she tells stories. Sometime in the last week I came to terms with the fact that this blog post is not going to be my startling debut as a writer (and I also realized that Adichie is probably never going to see this).

Purple Hibiscus is the story of a family who lives in fear of their father, a devout catholic patriarch. He is a beloved member of the community, but a just short  of tyrant at home. The story written from the perspective of fifteen year old Kambili is an excellent portrayal of how religious intolerance can not only tear a family apart but also bring some closer together.

What I love  most about Adichie is her writing. It’s so simple yet her words flow together like art. She has the ability to transform thoughts and feelings onto a page and have me going ‘THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED TO SAY!’. Purple Hibiscus is a complex story because it deals with some delicate subjects. Yet, nothing about reading this book was complicated or confusing. Kambili doesn’t live a normal life for a 15 year old. Everything in her life is ruled by religion and fear of her father. She hasn’t realized that there is more to the world than religion until she goes to visit her aunt. From that moment, everything she knew begins to unravel. She is exposed to new ideas, new experiences, and the most confusing of them all, freedom. Adichie writes about Kambili’s experiences and her struggles to connect her two worlds, with such expertise, that you forget you’re reading a story. You get immersed into the story and experience all the emotions that Kambili does. Adichie successfully captures what it’s like to be fifteen with the added difficulty of living in a troubled Nigeria, and growing up with a religious fanatic as a father.

I wish I could describe exactly what makes me love Adichie’s writing as much as I do, but unlike her, I have not yet discovered how to turn my emotions into words. What I can guarantee is that if you read any of her books, you will understand my love for her. Her words will make you feel a whole multitude of emotions all at once, and leave you raw and unable to pick up another book for a few weeks. You will find yourself coming back to her words in your head, and seeking every opportunity to discuss how she changed your worldview with anyone who will listen.

Quotes to remember: 

The chickens rushed at the pieces of bread Sisi threw to them, disorderly and enthusiastic. My cousins rushed at Father Amadi’s words in the same way.

There are people, she once wrote, who think that we cannot rule ourselves because the few times we tried, we failed, as if all the others who rule themselves today got it right the first time. It is like telling a crawling baby who tries to walk, and then falls back on his buttocks, to stay there. As if the adults walking past him did not all crawl, once

The educated ones leave, the ones with the potential to right the wrongs. They leave the weak behind. The tyrants continue to reign because the weak cannot resist. Do you not see that it is a cycle? Who will break that cycle?

It was what Aunty Ifeoma did to my cousins, I realized then, setting higher and higher jumps for them in the way she talked to them, in what she expected of them. She did it all the time believing they would scale the rod. And they did. It was different for Jaja and me. We did not scale the rod because we believed we could, we scaled it because we were terrified that we couldn’t

He spoke so effortlessly, as if his mouth were a musical instrument that just let sound out when touched, when opened.

I laughed loudly, above Fela’s stringent singing. I laughed because Nsukka’s untarred roads coat cars with dust in the harmattan and with sticky mud in the rainy season. Because the tarred roads spring potholes like surprise presents and the air smells of hills and history and the sunlight scatters the sand and turns it into gold dust. Because Nsukka could free something deep inside your belly that would rise up to your throat and come out as a freedom song. As laughter.

The Wrath and The Dawn – Renee Ahdieh

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Story: 3.5/5 

Writing: 2/5 

Cover: 4/5 

 

 
I saw this book all over bookstagram, the reviews gush about how great the book is, amazon and goodreads rate it at an almost perfect five. So I caved and I bought the book. I was intrigued by the cover and also the description. Now I wish I had waited to find a cheaper copy instead of paying full price.

What really bothered me about this book is the writing. The story and the characters have so much potential, and are robbed by the lazy writing. I am surprised the reviews are as positive as they are. This book really frustrated me with the writing and that’s one of the reasons it’s taken me so long to actually post this. In fact the fact that Ahdieh is a person of colour and somehow manages to write about her culture so terribly, really disappointed me.

Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Eragon, Lord of The Rings, every great fantasy series borrows from one culture or another, sometimes combining cultures. This book is inspired by One Thousand and One Nights, so the cultural setting of the book has Middle Eastern/ South Asian roots. The difference between Ahdieh and other authors is that the former probably spent hours doing their research. I don’t know for a fact that Ahdieh didn’t do her research but it sure seems like she didn’t. Redundant repetitions of words (Talwar sword, sirwal trousers, etc) are littered throughout the book. She barely gives any cultural context to her story, and her character development needs a lot of work.

The stories that Shahrzad narrates to keep herself alive are frankly quite average. If I were the Caliph, I wouldn’t have spared her life. These stories are an integral part of how she survives and I really wish Ahdieh would have put in more effort to actually make these stories more interesting. In fact, I wish she put in more effort with her writing in general. Like I said before, this story had so much potential and is completely robbed by lackluster, uninspired, below average writing.

I will probably read the second part of the book The Rose and The Dagger, simply because I do want to know what she does with the story and also because I want to see if her writing improves at all.

 

 

 

In The Unlikely Event – Judy Blume

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Story: 2/5

Writing: 2/5 

Cover: 0/5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I grew up reading Judy Blume. I devoured her books, stayed up all night, chose Margret and Fudge over my real friends, shared my food and drinks with the book so that the pages are still shaded like a gross rainbow. So when I recently found out that she had written books for adults, I was over the moon. I went on amazon and immediately ordered both Summer Sisters and In The Unlikely Event.

I finished In The Unlikely Event the day before yesterday. It took me 3.5 months to actually finish this book. I started reading in March but kept giving it up to read other books. I also got a hardbound copy of the book which was quite big and bothersome to carry around.

However, the real reason it took me this long to finish the book is because it was incredibly slow. The last fiction book I read that was this slow was The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling. It did get interesting but not until I was 200 pages into the book. That is a long time to wait to catch the reader’s interest. Most people wouldn’t even give a book that much time (I hate leaving books unfinished though).

Overall, I was very disappointed. It didn’t have any of the Judy Blume style that I so fondly remember. I know writing for adults is a lot different from writing for a younger audience but this book did not make me feel anything. I didn’t laugh, I didn’t cry, I didn’t get attached to any character. Even when all the tragedies were occurring, I found it hard to actually feel bad for the people of Elizabeth, NJ.

I normally like multiple perspective writing but I lost track of how many characters I was following. Most of them didn’t have an introduction and you were thrust into their perspective with almost no context. It took a long time to get used to that. I think the number of characters also made it hard to actually connect with any of them.

Another thing that upset me was that the synopsis of the book makes the book sound very different from what it actually is. When I read the synopsis I was expecting half the book about to be about Miri’s past and the other half to be about her present. Instead there’s one chapter at the end that shows Miri’s present and kind of seems like it was written only because Blume had no clue how to end the book.

Basically, if you haven’t read this already, you’re not missing much.

 

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

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Story: 3/5

Writing:3/5

Cover: 3/5

 

 

 

 

I saw the trailer for the movie before I had ever heard about the book. Then one day I woke up and checked bookstagram and all anyone could talk or post about was this book. I’m not sure if the trailer played a role in the surge of popularity, or it was one of those Now-I’ve-heard-of-this-book-so-it’s-everywhere things.

Either way, I took the plunge and I bought the book. I started reading it this week while I was in Boston. I was on vacation and supposed to be doing touristy things, instead I read half of the book the day I started reading it. While it isn’t going to go down in time as a great piece of literature, it’s still a good and fast read. (Surprisingly light given the subject).

It is extremely predictable but there is something about the characters that made me want to continue reading. Louisa is frustrating at first because she appears small minded and closeted. She doesn’t believe she can do something with her life. She doesn’t believe she deserves to try harder for herself. She starts working for Will, and of course everything changes. She finds herself and discovers that there is a world outside of the small country town she lives in. Meanwhile, Will finds in Louisa a reason to enjoy the time he has left. Cliché? Absolutely. Didn’t stop me from eating it up. Then again, I am a sap and live for this stuff.

Even though I knew what was coming in the end, I sobbed like a little baby. It’s pretty easy to guess what happens just by the name of the sequel. I don’t know if this was intentional but it annoyed me a tiny bit. Also everyone I know who has read the book said they cried, so again wasn’t hard to put the pieces together.

Overall, I wouldn’t say it’s amongst my favorites but I definitely enjoyed reading it. It’s the first book by Jojo Moyes that I have read and I thought her writing style is pretty simple. However, that also means there isn’t anything about her style that jumped out at me (I only had one tab 2 tabs at the end of the book).

I would recommend reading it especially if you’re on vacation or taking a break.

Quotes:

“Everything takes time Will,” she said, placing her hand briefly on his arm. “And that’s something that your generation find it a lot harder to adjust to. You have all grown up expecting things to go your way almost instantaneously, You all expect to live the lives you chose. Especially a successful young man like yourself. But it takes time.”

How is it you have the right to destroy my life, I wanted to demand of him, but I’m not allowed a say in yours?