Confessions of a Frustrated Millennial: Book Review

“Natasha, Danielle, and Jayla all have big career dreams, and they’ve done everything right to reach their goals. Natasha earned her MBA, Danielle landed an important reality show part, and Jayla passed the bar. They are so close to their dreams of working in business, entertainment, and law, but the dearth of good jobs in the current economy has made it impossible for a millennial to catch a break.”

The young ladies in this Eugenia R. Jefferson’s Confessions of a Frustrated Millennial are just like most educated, driven, young ladies in society. They’re making steps to try and secure the lives that they’ve envisioned for themselves. Natasha is stuck working at a nonprofit dealing with micro-aggressions and doing all of her bosses work while getting none of the credit. Danielle is moonlighting as a waitress in between her auditions for what she hopes is her big break and Jayla still hasn’t managed to secure a position at a law firm in Boston and is forced to move back into her parents home in Chicago.images-4.jpeg

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s a quick read which I mostly completed on my flight to Vegas last month. I’m super excited to see that more books telling the regular mundane aspects of black women’s lives are being published. For years now I’ve been asking for stories about regular black women doing regular schmegular degular (word to Cardi B.) black women things, which are essentially the same types of things as every other woman through the magical lens of a black woman’s experience.

As we follow Danielle, Tasha, and Jayla along their journey we’re educated about life in Chicago and entertained with each characters exploits from first dates, to weddings, to cussing their bosses clear the eff out. (WHICH HE SORELY NEEDED) By the end of the story each of the characters is happy in life even if their lives and careers have taken turns that they never in their wildest dreams expected.

I knew I was going to like this book as soon as I received it in the mail because the cover is adorable so I happily gave it 5 stars. Read it if you love books about Black Girl Magic that have happy endings. Lord knows in today’s day and age we could all use a few more happy endings.

Sidebar: I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the author.

Ain’t No More Shame Bih.

Yesterday my brother called. The one I’m closest with. Who is directly underneath me in birth order. The one I probably speak to the least. He makes mistakes frequently which end up with him paying prolonged visits behind bars.

We talk about a lot of things. Or he mostly talks and I mostly listen. To his excuses. To how proud he is of me. To how he’s especially proud since I dropped out of school and blah blah blah. He doesn’t mention that I dropped out of traditional high school because of bullies and because I was a teenager and everything that happens to teenagers is the end of the world. So I left traditional high school, went directly to Job Corps and before I would have completed traditional high school; graduated with my GED and CNA.

He doesn’t mention that after that I kept moving up. Went back to school. Got my nursing degree. That in between there I had a baby and got married. That I’ve never lived with my mother after the age of eighteen. That I’ve pulled myself along to who I am now without the help of social services.

He doesn’t know how difficult being a business owner is. That managing a home, and a family, and dogs, and a writing career are the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. I just don’t quit.

He doesn’t think about how we came from the same home, in the same city, with the same mom and dad. That the city and circumstances that he blames for his downfall are the same ones that I credit for my toughness. My tenacity. My ability to code shift. My ability to barter and negotiate. To think outside the box. To always try to be two steps ahead of danger. To be myself. To discern whether someone is genuine or not within the first few words. To do so many nuanced things that I use to run my business and my life daily.

After we hung up, I realized that his call, which was totally about him was actually ALL about me. Somewhere deep inside of me I’ve been carrying these things around in shame. The GED, the baby at 18, the divorce. Even the roughened edges which help me get through most days. My annoyance that he was throwing my life in my face as if it were such a bad thing, was actually annoyance at myself for whatever lingering shame I carry from my upbringing and subsequent bad decisions.

It made me realize how I’m often annoyed that people occasionally treat me as less than and how that annoyance has nothing to do with those people and everything to do with me. His call, – which lowkey annoyed me at first since it was late and I was busy working in bed- was just what I needed to grow pass some of my hidden shame. Like I told him on the phone, the Universe always gives you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.

 

Also, God is from Brick City and the best roses grow from concrete.

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Me Before You: A Lesson in Heartbreak

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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!

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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 Have Something To Say

I have something to say. This isn’t something new. If you’ve known me long enough you know that I rarely if ever am at a lack of words.

I haven’t really been talking though. Of course I’ve been commenting on certain subjects occasionally. I’ve been watching what’s happening in the world and talking to myself about how I feel about them. I’ve been talking AB’s ears off and venting to my friends. I’ve even been filling up journals…Yet, I have this amazing open platform, all of the technology one could ever need to access it and I haven’t really been saying anything on here.

I felt like I didn’t have anything to add to the conversations.

Like I wasn’t intelligent enough to string my sentences in a way that would make people feel things. In a way that would foster some sort of change. Even if the change were small.

Most embarrassingly; I have been holding my tongue so as to not offend my friends and family members with my view points on certain issues.

The greatest gift that I received from Roxane Gay’s talks during the Decatur Book Festival was the confirmation that “I have something to say.”  and that people need to hear it.

So on Authentically Adrien’s first birthday I’m revamping the blog. It’s going to be more organized, more direct, and I am going to be saying some things. If you’ve stuck with me this long I am so thankful for you.

I appreciate every single person who has ever even glanced at this blog. I hope that you stick around to listen to what I have to say.