The story is good. Not extraordinary… Just good. Like a cup of cool water on a hot summer’s day. It’ll do. It just doesn’t knock your socks off.
I originally started writing a typical review of this book but last night I had a text conversation with my cousin and I realized how boring that review was so here goes:
I loved the book of Unknown Americans: I gave it 5 STARS.
Mayar and Maribel’s teenage love story is the love story of two teenage neighbors who fall in love in the most American way in spite of their Americaness constantly being denied. There’s seeing each other in a way that no one else does, stolen kisses, and stolen moments of teenage rebellion that lead to the most fucked up shit. Adding to their love story is the fact that it isn’t tied up neatly with a bright red bow.
In The Book of Unknown Americans we travel with a group of neighbors who live in a building full of other immigrants as they make their way from their respective lands and end up in Maryland in this apartment building. The journeys of each tenant gives the reader insights into the reasons why people leave their homes, their families, their lives, their beautiful native lands of Puerto Rico, Panama, Mexico, Columbia- to chase the American Dream.
In the story we are forced to bare witness to the ugliness that immigrants are forced to deal with; poor working conditions, racial profiling, harassment, robbery, bullying, the constant feeling of less than, while trying to survive and get a piece of the elusive American Pie.
And I loved the journeys. Up until this book I had a very minimal understanding of why people would leave home for America only to be frequently ridiculed and treated like a burden.
So that’s the love. Now for the hate. I’ll keep it brief. Check it under this Spoiler Alert:
THINGS I HATE:
- ALMA- Keeper of secrets that cause harm for the stupidest of reasons. ALMA, why the eff didn’t you at least try to get a job washing laundry, cooking, babysitting, something? Why is your family struggling whilst you try to find your damn self and threaten teenagers in a language that you can barely speak? ALMA, most of this is your fault.
- The shifting of characters is a bit to get used to as each character tells their story in the first person narrative style and some stories feel more authentic than others.
- The glossing over of Garret Miller’s life. There’s enough there to gather that this family has problems but if this character is going to be the antagonist that character’s life and encounters can’t be written as an after thought.
I recommend that most people read this book especially people who think that immigrants are stealing their jobs, want to Make America Great Again, tell other people to “Go back where you came from” and those who say “We speak English in America if you can’t speak the language then go back home.”
This week I completed Joe Hill’s The Fireman.
I hated it. I hated the characters and how weak they were. How stupid they were. How mean and evil they were. The writing is good because: Joe Hill aka Stephen King is his daddy. How could he write bad. But uh…
If I hadn’t read some of his other stuff like:
which was AMAZING, I would never read him again.
That’s how pissed off these characters made me.I read this book in full on yell at the book mode. Some of the things that happened in this book were Straight up lets have sex while Jason is at the window, stupid.
Like: No, don’t go that way. Don’t drink that!! Hurry up!!! Why are you staying there they’re going to kill your baby??!
If this book were a movie I would tell Lisa Puckett ( my peach biffle) that her people needed to sue because of they way that they were portrayed in it.
I gave it:
Very generous stars.
Read at your own risk because I definitely threw this book in the corner.
Oh yeah; I know he’s getting rave reviews and this book just made the New York Times Bestsellers List *shrugs*
As a constant reader your heart will be broken frequently. If you’ve been reading the way that I have been; constantly since I was four years old, then you are attuned to the impending heartbreak of a novel, usually from the moment that you open the book.
So when I opened Me Before You and met Lou I knew without a doubt that I was going to have my heart broken… splintered into a thousand teeny tiny pieces and I craved that heartbreak. Because the only way that my heart wouldn’t become broken would have been if the writer took the easy way out and made this story into one of those cliched, dreaded happy ending novels. You know the ones: girl meets assholish boy, girl changes/accepts boys assholish ways, and they live happily ever after.
Jojo Moyes does not disappoint. She has written a thoroughly researched novel about heartbreak, pain, love, and the transformation that all of these things will cause in a human’s life.
I know, I know, I’ve waxed on poetically and I haven’t even told you what the book is about. Probably because, I couldn’t describe it adequately in my current blubbery state but Goodreads does an amazing job:
“Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time. ”
And oh how they change. The journey that they take along their transformation is both annoying (because seriously Lou stop being so damned self involved. and Really Will you don’t have to be such an asshole all of the time) and amazing (when you realize that Will is the first person who’s ever really seen Lou your heart will stop) and I enjoyed every second of it.
You will see this book touted as a love story, it isn’t. It is in fact a social commentary on euthananasia, quality of life, and whether someone should be able to decide for themselves what they should or should not do about their life if they are unhappy with it. It is also an example of what happens when one becomes stuck in a certain lifestyle out of necessity and what can happen when one’s status quo abruptly changes.
As a nurse I struggled with the euthanasia subject because I have met people who have zero quality of life and are absolutely miserable, who are kept alive because someone loves them enough to think that they should be kept alive by any means necessary. And I’ve stated to myself and my co-workers how selfish those people are. BUT usually those people are older or not cognitively there. To be forced to face my prejudices on this subject with a young person who is fully there cognitively was such a great lesson for me.
There are a few areas where the author used her creative license ie: Louisa being hired to be someone’s companion even though she has no experience, the issues that Lou and her family have (two adult children arguing over clothes and who gets the bigger bed) but to me those things added to the story. Also my mother’s fully grown children still climb into her bed and are selfish as hell so *shrugs* I won’t ding her for those as I have seen others do. Besides if Louisa would have been the appropriate choice for the job Will would have never let her get so close to him and the story wouldn’t have progressed so I’m glad that he was the reason behind her growth.
For the first time in a long time I have used all of my stars and rated Me Before You 5 Stars!! ALL 5 of EM!
If you’ve read it let me know if you loved it as much as I did in the comments. Especially if you’re a caretaker, nurse, or a person with disabilities. (I think she did a pretty good job of describing all of the BS people with disabilities go through but even though I’m a nurse I’m an AB so I’m not an authority on this. )
Oh and Spoiler ALERT! There is a movie adaptation coming out on June 3rd and it looks sooooo good. Check out the trailer here: Me Before You and remember to #LiveBoldly
I rated this book: * * * * *
A Return to Arms is the story of Toya a black lesbian activist trying to navigate her way through both life and the passages of the Black Lives Matter movement. Her life is a daily struggle of a young person trying to convince the rest of America that Black Lives Matter while attempting to convince the Organization, Rise Up of which she is an active member, that ALL Black Lives Matter. That women, queer people, children, men, single, straight, asexual, all of the intersections of Black Lives must Matter.
As Toya navigates her way through the rising tension and societal that arises after the killing of an unarmed teen by a police officer and the subsequent unrest she deals with the uncertainty of her relationship with another activist who believes that the cause must come before anything else, even her love life.
I hate spoilers so I hope you can get the gyst of the story from what I’ve written above but in two sentences: A Return To Arms is a love story, Love of self, love of community. And a story about the measures so many under represented activists go through to demand equality both in their communities and in the world.
I’m a Sheree L Greer stan. I LOVE everything she writes. I’m sharing that with full disclosure mostly because during a conversation with Sheree about why I don’t really like to review books by people I love, I worry that that love will interfere with me giving an honest unbiased review and she advised me to do the review as authentically as I could, “You call yourself Authentically Adrien be authentic.” Or something like that. Anyways, This book is phenomenal. It is her best work. It is the work that I sit back and wait patiently to be dissected by major blogs. It is the book that should land her on the New York Times Bestsellers List. (If it doesn’t you hating)
From the opening paragraph through the last sentence THE LAST SENTENCE I was hooked. I followed Toya’s story like my life depended on it possibly because I am Toya, Black, Queer, Woman, Activist. But also because Toya is so well written. I read somewhere once that an author’s job is to make you feel something and OH did we Feel something. We felt ALL the things. Including the music. I couldn’t quite pinpoint the words to the soundtrack of this book but I could feel the rhythm in the center of my back. I could sense the tempo under my palms as I inhaled this novel from tense movement to sexual moment to heartbreaking earth shattering moment.
I lived through these characters. I understood every single one of them and I even empathized for the characters that I hated. Sheree’s writing makes sure that you understand and relate to both antagonists and protagonists alike. It took me to the different settings and left me with vivid guttural images of the protest scenes. If you have never been to a rally you can officially make that claim after you read this book and I hope that it will help you to understand the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement if you don’t already.
Be prepared to have some interesting dialogue after you read this book and if you know Sheree personally and you text her in the middle of the night to say things like “Seriously? I hate that dude.” or “OH MY GOD.” Let her know that you didn’t get the idea to do so from me.
Purchase A Return to Arms Here.
Read more by/about Sheree L Greer Here.
I received this book to review in exchange for an advanced copy of the book. (Ya’ll know I like books!)
Last year I challenged myself to read 150 books. I had no idea that I would decide to chase my dreams, change my major, start multiple new businesses, or just be all around ridiculously awesome. This year I’ve taken that fact into account and am challenging myself to read 100 books.
Book 1: The Doll Maker by Richard Montanari which I gave 3 ***
It’s a decent book with a good plot line. Sometimes authors go really far to prove to you that their characters are super smart. If you do that you have to make sure that they don’t make really stupid mistakes. If you don’t your audience spends too much time annoyed that someone so smart would do something so out of character.
I found out that this book is number 8 in a series. I wasn’t inspired to go and find the others.
#JustMyTwoCents #AmReading #GoodReads
Mrs. Hyde crafted a remarkably realistic novel.
The characters were well developed and relatable. I cared about every single character and all of their nuisances and I could barely stand to be away from their apartment building until the story was over.
The diversity of the cast was so realistic. I get really tired of reading books where the characters don’t reflect the community that they live in. This is not the case with this book. I can’t recall another book with such a diverse cast of characters who were so thoroughly researched and represented.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who feels alone. There is always a community waiting to accept you.
I’ve finally finished reading Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim and rated it:
The story was slow and didn’t possess anything that would make it special and because of that I’ll probably forget that I read it two months from now.
Yellow Crocus is your typical slave escape narrative with a happy ending and minimal focus on the brutality of slavery.
The only thing that separated this novel from others is that the slaves managed to escape slavery and save themselves without focusing on a single white savior.
As I think of it, the story was surface level and didn’t delve deep into how anyone was really affected by the actions of the slave owners.
For instance Lizbeth catches her fiancé raping a slave and though she mentions how she felt and the look in the slave girl’s eyes during the act her descriptions wouldn’t make me feel any sympathy for the girl if I wasn’t an empathetic black woman. Her pain didn’t move me.
A friend of mine describes things that are just OK as mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is ok but nothing special…that’s what I would call this story: Literary Mayonnaise.
One of my favorite things about reading is that authors have the ability to discuss world problems in a fictional way. If you’re a thinker and the author is a decent writer you begin to contemplate and compare real world events to the events of the book.
Marcus Sakey’s Brilliance pits Brilliants against Normals in a way that Gays vs Straights, Blacks vs Whites, or Christians vs Muslims happens everyday. It showcases examples of ways that governments capitalize on fear and people’s differences to create wars that benefit the governments. Mr. Sakey does a great job exhibiting in his writing how a few human lives are sacrificed “for the greater good” in order to further political plans.
As I read this book I kept thinking that if more people could realize that these examples are happening everyday then we would stop allowing our countries to instill fear in us in order to further separate us and make it easier on them to satisfy their own crude agendas.
This book is the epitome of “fiction is the truth in the lie” and I liked it so much that I just purchased book two.
Aside from the political undertone which was handled brilliantly, Brilliance is written really well, action packed, and exciting to read. I gave it four stars.