A poignant look into the life of an alcoholic and addict who had the courage to share her story, from her descent into addiction, through her struggleA poignant look into the life of an alcoholic and addict who had the courage to share her story, from her descent into addiction, through her struggle during it, and finally her recovery. Her voice is clear, honest, and strong through-out the book.
Written in a tone of sharing, rather than lecturing, it does not feel like someone trying to teach you that "drugs are bad? mmmkay", rather it feels like a hidden glimpse at what is going on behind the addiction, and in that still manages the warning without the undertone of "learning a lesson".
Even during the darkest moments, there is a hint of light and hope that flows through each page.
The title of the book immediately peaked my interest, and the description on the back peaked it further. It made for a compelling story, though a littThe title of the book immediately peaked my interest, and the description on the back peaked it further. It made for a compelling story, though a little confusing at first until the pieces of it start to come together. I had expected a drastically different story to come out of it from the title of the book, but it was still quite an interesting one nonetheless....more
First of all I have to say how I love that in the area "groups with this book" area, it is in both "worst books of all time", and "best books ever" :)First of all I have to say how I love that in the area "groups with this book" area, it is in both "worst books of all time", and "best books ever" :)
This is one of those books that everyone rants and raves about how amazing and life changing it is ("Tuesdays With Morrie being at the top of that list). Inevitably, I become intrigued, and also inevitably, I am disappointed when I read it, and it doesn't have any type of life changing effect on me. Not only that, but it's not even really that amazing of a book otherwise.
It was a nice, short little tale. It has some nice "life lessons" in it. It's nothing to rant and rave about, I didn't learn anything all that new, important, or life changing. Basically, I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it to anyone, but I also wouldn't tell someone not to bother. *shrugs*...more
This book was recommended to me under the premise of it being "life changing" for the person recommending it. That's a pretty strong recommendation, aThis book was recommended to me under the premise of it being "life changing" for the person recommending it. That's a pretty strong recommendation, and because of that, I immediately tried NOT to get my hopes up, as so many books that others have hyped up have fallen short in my eyes, partially because I expected so much.
While it hasn't changed my life (yet at least), I can see the potential in the future, when a decision tosses and turns in my head, for my mind to flick back to 'The Post Birthday World', and for me to give more thought to the ramifications of each decision, even a seemingly small one, just a little more. So maybe, in due time, it will actually change my life in some small way.
The premise of it is what intrigued me when my friend described it. It was a kind of "why didn't I ever think of that!" thing. One moment in time, one decision, and two stories following what might have been either way. It was definitely an interesting path to take.
At first, I thought it weird that the story wasn't split into two parts, and instead unfolding coincidly. I started to appreciate it pretty quickly though, the ability to compare the two storylines side by side during the same time frame, instead of as two separate parts.
I will admit, I had trouble getting into it. I stuck it out, because, for one, I HATE starting a book and not finishing it. There are very few times I have put a book down and never picked it back up. I have therefore read some stinkers. I always think that I might be missing out on the good part if I give up too early though. Secondly, for someone whose opinion I hold in pretty great esteem, I figured there must be something to this book, and I wanted to feel what he had felt when reading this book. I usually regret sticking it out, but in the end at least I know the book sucked, and I gave it a chance.
This time, that was not the case. It didn't suck, and I am glad I stuck it out. As the stories went on, it got better. The end was therefore, really the best part of it, when you get to see the final culimination of both stories. It was not a captivating page turner, but it held its own, and though I could easily put it down at any time, I also could just as easily pick it back up. It is not a book I would likely ever read again, but I'm glad I read it the first time, and I do think it's worthwhile to get through it.
In the future, I am not sure it will be life changing in any large sense, but I do reckon that there will be some small moment in time, where I am faced with a decision, and I will look back fondly on 'The Post Birthday World' for opening my eyes to the idea of two different worlds being right in front of me....more
Though I don't believe I went in with grand expectations, I was actually a bit disappointed with this book. I have always had a fascination with mentaThough I don't believe I went in with grand expectations, I was actually a bit disappointed with this book. I have always had a fascination with mental illness, and its manifestations in a variety of ways, and I tend to be drawn towards memoirs in general. The potential seemed high of a book that claims to be about "the first former cutter to tell her own story about living with and overcoming the disorder".
I can't deny that the problem has nothing to do with the calibre of writing itself - it's not badly written by any means. Rather, the quality of the writing seems self-indulgent; the writer goes back and forth between telling specific stories or talking about specific instances in her childhood, to analyzing, debating, and driveling over why she did or didn't do something, why she made the choices she did, while she feels the need to constantly pose these self-directed questions and then reply that has no answers for any of them.
Example; "Was that apparent me less than a true self? I don't know. Did her disassociation from my inner life make her only a fabrication? I don't know."
Sometimes this drivel shows up only at the end of a chapter to try to draw some sort of conclusion to the preceding part of the storyline. Other times an entire chapter from start to finish will be filled with only this self-analyzation of what had gone on in her past without coming to any sort of real conclusion beyond the fact that even all these years later, and evidentally quite a lot of self-questioning of the matter she still doesn't understand it anymore than she did at the time.
The actual sections of the book that tell the story rather than questioning why are the saving grace of this book. If you can get past the rest of it, and the fact that the author tends to "word drop" to show off her intelligence, you might find a very slender, yet interesting look into the authors struggle with self-multilation....more
This book is not for the kind of person who is easily offended, or takes things too seriously. I realize that considering it's comedy that should be aThis book is not for the kind of person who is easily offended, or takes things too seriously. I realize that considering it's comedy that should be apparent, but from some of the reviews I've read, some people don't quite grasp satire. If you want PC comedy, go grab a book of knock-knock jokes, and steer clear of this.
It was a little slow to start, and I was geared up for disappointment, considering this was recommended to me as being a hilarious read & I wasn't enjoying it much at first, but it actually picked up fairly quickly. The M&M story was my personal favourite. ...more
Based on the title, and the reviews, I expected quite a different book. I was not disappointed, though it wasn't what I expected.
Shoko Tendo writes heBased on the title, and the reviews, I expected quite a different book. I was not disappointed, though it wasn't what I expected.
Shoko Tendo writes her life story in a short, and compelling novel. It gives a glimpse of her world; growing up the daughter of a Yakuza, becoming a Yanki gang member, and getting addicted to speed, sexual and physical abuse by her various Yakuza boyfriends, and then finally growing up and maturing. It was quite an interesting read....more
The Painter From Shanghai is a brilliantly written fictional biographical account of the life of Chinese artist Pan Yuliang.
Before picking this book uThe Painter From Shanghai is a brilliantly written fictional biographical account of the life of Chinese artist Pan Yuliang.
Before picking this book up, I had no clue whatsoever who Pan Yuliang was. By the end of the book, I not only felt as though I had gotten to know her somewhat intimately, but I also immediately went online to find and admire some of her work.
Woven throughout the book is an entirely believable 'personal' first person fictional account of Yuliang's life - the tragedy of her childhood, identifying herself as an artist, and struggling to learn the craft, despite maybe obstacles that come her way. I truly felt as though I was right there with her during her journey....more
I am a very sappy girl. I cry easily - a certain song comes on the radio, I tear up and can't sing along. I haThe best way to sum it up; it's not bad.
I am a very sappy girl. I cry easily - a certain song comes on the radio, I tear up and can't sing along. I have gotten emotional over a commercial before! I am very emotional, and it doesn't take much to tip me over the edge.
But, I didn't cry. I just wasn't feeling it. I don't know why. Maybe because you know from the beginning that she is going to die, there is no surprise about it. I just didn't feel much emotion over it. It wasn't that I wasn't feeling the story itself, and I have definitely cried over fictional characters before, but I just did not get sad while reading this book.
I don't mean to say that the book wasn't well written for a story of a dying girl, but I really expected to be in tears for most of the book. I found it to be an easy read, it kept my interest well enough, though I wasn't so enthralled that I felt like I couldn't put it down. It was just... a nice little story. I feel weird saying that a book about someone dying was nice, but that's kind of the feeling it left me with. I think it would have liked it a lot more when I was like, 10. Which is not a knock on the book, just a comment on my 10-year-old self.
The one moment where I started feeling a lump in my throat was when she was writing the letter, and mentioned what songs she wanted played at her funeral. "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw was on the list. That is one sad song, I'm not even a country fan, but that song always gives me the lump-in-my-throat feeling. I was actually at a funeral once where they played it, and I didn't even know the guy who had died (long story), but once they played it, I could not control the tears, that song has to be one of the saddest things you could play at a funeral....more
While I was interested in reading this book, I also had some healthy skepticism about what would be written on those pages. I was quite suprised.
I wilWhile I was interested in reading this book, I also had some healthy skepticism about what would be written on those pages. I was quite suprised.
I will admit, I had a bit of a stereotype in my head of the two types of women most often found in prison; the first being the angry, easily-enraged woman who is unremorseful of her actions, and in fact feels justified many times, and bitter about being locked up. Someone who is just passing time waiting to get out, rather than trying to improve their life, and stay away from crime.
Inmate stereotype - that of the "constant victim". They can manipulate with emotion. They will admit to their crimes, they will cry about them, they will apologize, but it always boils down to the fact that they are never responsible for their actions. They were always forced, or tricked, or manipulated into their crimes.
So, with those stereotypes in my head, I really was expecting this book to be full of stories about how these women were "innocent", or, if willing to admit to their crimes, that instead everything bad that ever happened to them is the reason they commited them.
Instead, I found that while, yes, these women related in most of their stories some of the struggles they went through as children and teenagers, including the stories you would expect of molestation, physical and emotional abuse, rape, teenage pregnancy, drugs, and mental illness, but they weren't being used as an excuse for committing their crimes - instead, the stories appear more self-examinatory than that, as though, rather than trying to justify and excuse their actions through telling the stories of their lives, they are in fact attempting to deal with it, and maybe, if only for themselves, to try to shed light on the turning point when it all seemed to go so wrong.
Unfortunately, these women will never really know for sure what that moment was. It would be a great fortune to the justice system, and society, if we could look back at the lives on criminals and narrow the timeline down to the one time or one thing that made them cross the line. Then, we could hope to intervene before they had a chance to 'break', and exhibit any criminal behaviour. It would also help if we all reacted and dealt with bad situations in exactly the same way - if only 2+2 ALWAYS equaled 4 in these types of situations. If only every person who was ever beaten by a parent reacted the exact same way to the trauma - then, once a situation was revealed, we as a society would know how this was going to affect the victim, and fix it. Instead, every second that goes by, another person turns victim, and it will be years down the line before we can ever hope to see the effect such a trauma has had on them.
That, more than anything, was what I took from this book. It's not an excuse, or a justification, unfortuntely, it's just a sad fact - most of the people in jail, were at some point, a victim themselves. They were a child hiding under their bed while their father hit their mother, they were the scared little girl wide awake all night long huddled under the covers waiting to hear the heavy footsteps in the hall, and praying that they continued past the door, they were the teenage boy who was teased in school day in and day out... no, it does not justify their crimes, or excuse them. Instead, it just gives us a little more understanding. If you've ever wondered how someone could commit a certain crime, it gives you just a glimpse of the picture of how they could get there.
Most of all, it makes you realize that these women are real human beings, despite their crimes. That, if not for a twist of fate, if not for a chance in circumstances, you could very well standing in their shoes too, trying to look back on your own life and figure out if there was one point where it all started to go wrong. Have you ever been so angry that you wanted to hit someone you loved? Have you ever been so desperate for something you wanted that for just a second the thought of slipping it into your pocket and walking out of the store crossed your mind? Have you ever gotten so caught up in a moment you felt as though you had no control? There is a tiny bit of a criminal in all of us, buried deep. Have you ever wondered just what might make your inner criminal come out?...more