Sunday, June 26, 2016

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

After losing the waitress job she loves, Louisa Clark takes the unlikely job as a companion for Will Traynor. Will is a handsome former corporate tycoon playboy who is now a quadriplegic, living at home with his posh family. Louisa's job as a companion soon becomes a mission for the impossible when she learns the true reason she was hired.

I knew nothing about this book or Jojo Moyes going in, so I got culture shock by how English this book was. Like real deal, average day-to-day English. I mean how crazy is it that you can live right around the corner from an ancient castle ? What is Tesco ? Lots of Googling ensued.

Anyway, the story follows Louisa and Will on a series of small adventures as they try to grow out of the boxes they've put themselves in. During the course of their outings the book did open my eyes to how our wold is built with able-bodies people in mind. It's the little things you don't think about unless you have to; like is there grass or are the aisles big enough.

With that said, since the film adaptation of this book came out the the premise of this books has garnered a lot of criticism for its portrayal of disability and one of the big plot points in the novel. I feel like another thing that brings on this criticism is that Will's disability is informed by his outstanding privilege. I mean he's a college educated-handsome-rich-heterosexual-white man living in a first world country.. I couldn't unsee how so much of this book happens because of privilege.

For me, the book fell into so a romance trope that don't work for me, The big one being where there is the sophisticated rich hero who uses his money and influence to give the naive heroine a chance to "expand her horizons". It's just not my thing.

I did enjoy how the book looked at adult family structures, both Lousia and Will are adult children who live at home with their parents and I like how Moyes showed the somewhat difficult way their parents try to protect their grown children, while also respecting their right to make their own choices.

Overall this book was just okay, I don't know if I'd recommend it but if you are looking for something along the lines of The Fault In Our Stars I'd suggest it. Maybe grab this one from the library.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.
I don't usually read buzzy commercially successfully  authors. . . but when I do I procrastinate and  read them at least 2-5 years after the buzz has died down and nobody cares. I'm looking at you Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Fifty Shades of Grey and Girl on The Train. I'll get to you. . . eventually.

Instead of picking up  Gone Girl (Which I have NOT read. No spoilers) I picked up Sharp Objects cause it was on a nifty library display.

Sharp Objects focuses on the gruesome murders of little girls in the small town of  Wind Gap, Missouri. Returning to Wind Gap to cover the story is Camille Preaker a self proclaimed second rate journalist. Coming home means Camille has to come face to face with a high-strung mother and a controlling little sister she hardly knows. Yet, the hardest thing for Camille to do is keep the words on the page and not carved into her body.

Sharp Objects is one of those "lady-writer" dark literary thrillers being called Grip-Lit. Camille fills the role of (as it was summed up on an episode of the Book Riot podcast) an unreliable narrator with a drinking problem. Grip-lit sort of exist to categorize books that tell dark female stories  in "non-traditional" ways. This book touches on and takes apart ideas of feminism and female relationships. It has a certain bleakness about it, the entire time I was reading I could feel the slick grime that covers Camille's world and kind of wanted to just dig deeper.

I think the mystery or reveal of this book is pretty easy to figure out, but I don't think it's so much about the whodunnit, but more about all the elements that have to come together to make someone commit these murders.

As someone who studied journalism I'm always interested in media about journalist, but I'm going to start calling out books that break The Audie Cornish Rule; named after NPR's All Things Considered host Audie Cornish, who was annoyed that all female journalists in movies sleep with their sources. I don't think it's a spoiler to say Sharp Objects breaks the  Audie Cornish Rule so hard.

I'll say what's already been said; it's a dark, gritty and quiet novel. It was a quick read and while the mystery didn't surprise me the last paragraph took a lean I didn't expect.

P.S I think this book has some of the best marketing copy I've read.


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