Book Review: What Remains True

What Remains True is the story of Jonah and his family; his mother, father, sister Eden, aunt Ruth, and their dog. The story is told from the perspective of Jonah and his family including the dog and tells us what happened the day that Jonah died and whose fault his death was. 

His death has inexplicably changed his family forever.  His mother Rachel spends her days in bed depressed, unbathed, and relying on medication to keep her sedated. She is incapable of doing anything aside from screaming and crying so parenting her remaining child, Eden isnt something that she even knows how to do anymore. Even though we learn through her children that prior to Jonah’s death she was an amazing mother. 

 Eden blames herself  for Jonah’s death like the rest of her family but she’s also annoyed that her family isn’t making any progress towards moving on. She doesn’t want to return to school and be treated like the sister of a dead brother. She wants her life to resemble some sort of normalcy where her father isn’t sleeping on the couch, her mother isn’t drugged out of her mind, and her aunt is living at her own house minding her own business. 

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Samuel, Jonah’s father is trying to move on. Trying to work and to take care of his family but how can he take care of Rachel if she can’t stand the sight of him and blames him for his son’s death? So he allows his sister in law Ruth, to reign supreme over the house. Someone has to cook breakfast and take care of Eden. 

What Remains True is beautifuly sad and hopeful. It’s a tale of loss and what comes next when someone dies at a very young age. I enjoyed this book especially the format of the story being told from everyone’s perspective including the dog and a ghost which felt fresh and interesting. 4 stars. 

Dear Cancer, You Missed A Spot.

Man… FUCK CANCER. In all caps.

Cancer can take all of the people we know and love. Can snatch mothers away from their children, children away from their parents, and plenty of our beloved celebrities but apparently Cheeto McFartface and his goons are immune.

My grandmother used to say “Don’t wish death on nobody.” and I don’t. Not really. I mean.. death is a part of life and apparently cancer is death’s bottom bitch, the one he sends in to seal the deal but apparently she’s myopic. She keeps killing the wrong damn people and imma need him to bring her back in and do some retraining. Cause CHARLIE MURPHY? Like really?

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America has an entire administration of movie star villains and Cancer could’ve taken any one of those idiots, likely saving millions of people in the process but Nah. When the roulette board of who to take today popped up on the screen death’s bottom bitch was like yeahhhh, let’s take that boy Charlie Murphy. Heaven needs more comedians.

Le sigh. I know he’ll rest in peace but I can’t help feeling like the scales of life and death are totally off balance right now.

Looking For Alaska: Quick Book Review

I’ve been reading Looking For Alaska by John Green for a few weeks. It took me longer than usual because it wasn’t one of those books where you just can’t put it down. For most of the story the characters were likable enough but I just didn’t really care about them. Until tragedy struck. For that reason I gave it 3 Stars.
 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.
Looking for Alaska has great writing, a good story line, and funny dialogue between a group of teens trying to find themselves at a boarding school. 
 
I read YA novels frequently but for a moment while reading this book I was annoyed and began judging  these teenagers for being teenagers until I remembered that when I was a teenager I did most of the same things that they did in this book when I lived on Campus at my school. *shrugs* #NoJudging
 
#SpoilerAlert John Green is going to make you cry in this book. Not as bad as The Fault in Our Stars but you’ll definitely shed a few tears.
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A Return to Arms aka An Inside View of Intersections and How All Black Lives Matter

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!)

War is Hell.

It’s pretty interesting to me that I have grown big enough cojones to even write this post. Firstly, if you speak any negative feeling about war, people assume that you are putting down the military. Which in America these days seems to be punishable by death. Secondly, I’m not sure how I chose to read two different books in the same week which contained characters whose lives were destroyed by war.

Eye of Vengeance is the story of crime reporter Nick Mullins who is covering the story of a convicted murderer’s assassination. Over the next couple of days other criminals are gunned down in the same manner and Nick soon realizes that each of these people were the subjects of his old in-depth crime stories.

Michael Redman is an ex-cop and former military sniper who draws the distinction between being a swat team member on the police force and having to follow strict rules and regulations before killing someone. While also being a sniper in the military and being directed to kill people without knowing if they committed a crime, pissed off the wrong person, or are just someone’s mother/sister/child who lives on the wrong side of America’s enemy list and is in the right place at the wrong time.

During an interview Redman informs Nick that War is Hell. A quote that he attributes to William Tecumseh Sherman. I rated this book a five, which I very rarely give but this book more than deserved. It made you feel something. I never wanted the “villain” to get caught. I actually felt bad for him. Also anytime a book leads me to do further research it has served its purpose.

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“It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.” William T. Sherman
Deadline by Sandra Brown doesn’t contain this quote in so many words but when a character describes how the person who wrote letters to the families of the deceased members of his squadron, always cheered everyone else up, always stayed positive, and was just a funny well-loved guy; gets to the point where he asks the reporter to meet him on a ridge then proceeds to blow his own brains out, I’d say that the author has definitely just described that war is indeed hell. Of course this book is another five-star rated book.

Because I may get some slack for these reviews let me just say that:

I support our troops. The ones who do their jobs without raping and torturing people. The ones who joined the military out of love for our country, because they wanted to make something of themselves, because they needed the money for school, and for whatever reason they deemed important enough to join. However, I don’t support these wars we keep embarking on. Is there a ship sitting at the port waiting to pillage, plunder, and rape our women either physically or metaphysically? I would support a war on this but with the way the politics game is being played I can’t believe any reason we’re given for going in to someone else’s home and killing their citizens while concurrently screwing up the lives of our citizens.
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