Holy crap, batman, this may be the creepiest book I've ever read. That one sentence about the bees, in the midst of the bird die off, rocked my world.Holy crap, batman, this may be the creepiest book I've ever read. That one sentence about the bees, in the midst of the bird die off, rocked my world. So much that we take for granted, and so much that we take and use without regard for the effects on the rest of creation....
A very creepy doomsday scenario as told by an adult through the eyes of her 11 year old self....more
Let me start by saying this book should NEVER be classified as YA - the ONLY thing YA about it is the age of the protagonists.
Let me also say that, iLet me start by saying this book should NEVER be classified as YA - the ONLY thing YA about it is the age of the protagonists.
Let me also say that, if I ever do end up writing (ahem, finishing) a story or a book or a memoir, if I could be even one-tenth as talented and successful in my word-crafting as Danforth proves she is in this debut novel, I will feel as though I have accomplished something great and worthy and incredible.
This book transcends so much of my ability to describe it's awesomeness that I'm really at a loss for how to review it. I had a late night of not being able to sleep last night, so I basically powered through the last 200 pages in the last few hours of yesterday and the first few hours of today.
I think this book is kind, smart, and important, just like we were taught in "the help". Aside from the queer theme (read: queer being anything other than the very narrow definition of heterosexuality and gender roles that is considered the cultural 'norm' and reinforced through perpetual portrayal in most of the media...I'm liking this new word in my vocab, and the discussions we had around it during 'safe zone' training last week [the timing of which sort of blew the issues of this book into monstrous proportions, because, well...WE HAD JUST TALKED IN DEPTH ABOUT ALL OF THIS F*CKED UP STUFF!]), the crafting of the characters and their situations was so true and intense as to be painful. There were so many "ohmygodyesmetoo" or "otherpeoplethinkthattoo?" or "holyshitsheclimbedinmyheadrobbedmythoughtsandwrotethemdown" moments as to be eerie.
If you are like me (and I recognize that not everyone is...but if you're reading this, you may just be, at least a little..), this book will break your heart. At least 100 times. And you will shake your head, and form shocked, disdainful "o" shapes with your mouth as you read, and you will press your lips into a hard thin line as you read some more, and you will have to consciously unclench your jaw, and you will feel, and feel, and feel.
That's about all I can say about it. You just hafta read it. Be ready to question your assumptions, especially if you've not had a lot of experience with queer culture. Be ready to enjoy some seriously awesome early 90s music references. Be ready to start to question your own motivations, "sins", and "icebergs" (you'll get it when you read it).
Supa quick plot summary for the future me in the unlikely event that I forget why, in 10 years, this book was so powerful: Eastern Montana, regular girl, maybe a little tomboyish, gets caught doing something that makes her super Christian town incredibly uncomfortable, gets sent to be "reformed" (so. many. ways. reformed. re-formed). Personal discover, triumph, and strength.
I read this so fast that there are 3 more weeks left on my library loan, if anyone in the Triangle wants to borrow.
“I felt all the ways in which this world seemed so, so enormous--the height of the trees, the hush and tick of the forest, the shift of the sunlight and shadows--but also so, so removed.” ― Emily M. Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post
But if renting all those movies had taught me anything more than how to lose myself in them, it was that you only actually have perfectly profound little moments like that in real life if you recognize them yourself, do all the fancy shot work and editing in your head, usually in the very seconds that whatever is happening is happening. And even if you do manage to do so, just about never does anyone else you’re with at the time experience that exact same kind of moment, and it’s impossible to explain it as it’s happening, and then the moment is over.” ― Emily M. Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post
...and there I was sending all the wrong signals to the right people in the wrong ways. Again, again, again.” ― Emily M. Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post
“I told myself that I didn't need any of that shit, but there it was, repeated to me day after day after day. And when you're surrounded by a bunch of mostly strangers experiencing the same thing, unable to call home, tethered to routine on ranchland miles away from anybody who might have known you before, might have been able to recognize the real you if you told them you couldn't remember who she was, it's not really like being real at all. It's plastic living. It's living in a diorama. It's living the life of one of those prehistoric insects encased in amber: suspended, frozen, dead but not, you don't know for sure.” ― Emily M. Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post
“Everything was heightened the way it always is when summer is slipping away to fall, and you're younger than eighteen, and all you can do is suck your cherry Icee and let the chlorine sting your nose, all the way up into the pockets behind your eyes, and snap your towel at the pretty girl with the sunburn, and hope to do it all again come June.” ― Emily M. Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post
“On the screen it rained and rained confetti, for minutes, and that glitter-rain, plus the cameras flashing and the lights from the billboards and the awesome mass of the crowds in their shiny hats and toothy smiles, made the world pop and shine and blur in a way that makes you sad to be watching it all on your TV screen, in a way that makes you feel like, instead of bringing the action into your living room, the TV cameras are just reminding you of how much you're missing, confronting you with it, you in your pajamas, on your couch, a couple of pizza crusts resting in some orange grease on a paper plate in front of you, your glass of soda mostly flat and watery, the ice all melted, and the good stuff happening miles and miles away from where you're at.” ― Emily M. Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post...more
So many interesting quotes, so much gorgeous equestrian description, such coldness in the spare, multilayered dialogue and descriptions of and betweenSo many interesting quotes, so much gorgeous equestrian description, such coldness in the spare, multilayered dialogue and descriptions of and between the family members.
How sad that the relationship between the twins was irrevocably lost, and how strange how "apart" these 2 children were raised from the rest of the world.
Is it the best book I've ever read? No. Was it a book that kept me reading on to see what new and bigger destruction would befall the characters? Yup. An interesting and matter-of-fact account of a family during the beginning of the Great Depression. Add in a lot of horse sweat, some teenage angst, lots of Florida imagery and a bit of incest, and you have the general recipe for this book. Its saving graces include the horsey bits, the lovingly drawn descriptions of the NC mountains, and the true way in which the author is able to draw the reader RIGHT BACK INTO their 16 year old brains, bodies, thoughts, and feelings. And OMG am I glad I'm not who I was when I was 16 any longer!
I think it was overall a well crafted story of personal development and interpersonal relationships, but perhaps not the most original of plots. Despite all of the bad reviews on here, I still think it's a worthwhile read.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"We wanted a certain handsome boy to take a fancy to us, to become half of a pair for a night. And then, maybe most of all, we wanted them to leave, so that we could pine away."
"It has always been a great comfort to me that I could bring a book anywhere, to any place. To any part of my life."
"Not missing home had at first seemed inconceivable, but I understood how the human heart operated, that it was fickle."
"They'd send you away anyway, in a few years, with a husband."
"And I saw that Sissy was good, that she had learned to move through this world and love people, and let them love her back; that she did not love too intensely, as I did, or not at all, as I imagined Leona did."
"Leona and I tiptoed, did not let the hard soles of our boots meet the ground, though there was no one to hear except the horses - who all watched us curiously, eyes wide, ears tipped forward, their necks pressed against their stall doors. I slipped Naari's bit into her mouth and led her to the front of the barn; she whuffed into my shoulder, nervously, and I murmured soothingly. She was a ball of energy, and after I mounted she danced beneath me like some sort of overgrown sprite, clumsily, her hooves knocking against each other."
"'She's fast,' Leona said, which I knew was half a compliment, have a signal that I had nothing to do with Naari's speed. But horses weren't raced without jockeys."
"It is a simple thing, to love a horse. Mother said that I rode with my head, not with my heart. And that riding with my head would serve me well in many instances, but it would not ear Sasi's enduring loyalty. I always through that was a romantic view of it. I rolled over and faced the window. It was like looking into nothing, the night was so black. I had wanted her there, tonight. I had wanted her to see how I floated above the earth. Would she have loved me, then? Watched me and known in her heart that I was her daughter, her daughter who could ride so beautifully, sit atop and not interfere with a horse going as fast as time and space would allow. Mother it was as if we were floating. Mother, if you cannot love me with your heart, then at least with your head."
"...and I was such a foolish girl, seeing signs where none existed; believing, always, that I was an object of desire."
"...there was always a problem, a difficulty, when one rode: that was the whole point of the endeavor, the constant striving. And this reaching depended both on me and my mount, and, more generally, on our natures." "And then it was over, quickly, as my fights with him usually were: we fought deeply and briefly."
"I nudged Sasi forward. His head hung low. I had exhausted him. He would forget; he might have already forgotten. But he wouldn't forget the fear, and the memory of pain would be replaced by an instinct of mistrust. That was the problem with horses; they were too dumb to remember properly, but there was still a memory to contend with, a memory that could not be reasoned away."
"I put my arms around Sasi's damp neck and he hung his head low. He loved me. I could feel his enormous heart, pumping in his plump pony's chest. Drawings of his pretty face were in all of my notebooks."
"You were supposed to be pretty, you were supposed to be beautiful, but you were not supposed to care."
"I'd come out here for exactly that reason: I needed power, I needed him to clear the highest jump he ever had, not for me but because the jump was pointed into that great and mysterious beyond. I realized as soon as I turned that I'd given us too much space - too long a straight line, too much time and reason for him to run away, for me to lose control. But I felt him gather his legs beneath him, in clear anticipation of the jump. 'Yes, yes, yes,' I murmured, in rhythm to his canter. My braid thumped on my back, my vision narrowed, and I was only aware of the particular way Sasi's hooves hit the ground - the hard sound that made - and the closing distance between us and the jump. It was all instinct now, there was nothing anyone could teach you about this instant before leaving the ground. 'Now,' I said, and we flew."
"Decca stood; I interrupted the caressing of my hair. I was vain, I was sixteen years old and would never again feel so watched."
"When Mr. Albrecht's whistle blew, I was lined up with the first jump. Naari rolled her eye at one of the pots, but I pushed her through my legs and she cleared it. I jumped like I always did: everything, everyone else disappeared. All the people watching were a blur. I focused on the sharp smell of Naari's sweat, her trembling movement between my legs."
"I liked the fierce leverage wrapped reins brought; I bent my elbows and Naari slowed, quickly, and then I turned my toes out and dug my spurs into her sides, and I had her trapped, I had all her power harnessed between my legs and hands, beneath me. I'd never felt such energy, rolling beneath me like a violent wave."
"And all is fair in the jumping ring, where there cannot be favorites, where what matters is skill and speed, in that order. Girls, it is a lesson that is well suited to life: in all your endeavors strive hard, and honestly, and great rewards will be yours."
"At Yonahlossee I learned the lesson that I had started to teach myself at home: my life was mine. And I had to lay claim to it."
"'What is there for me here?' I asked. 'There is not even a horse, here.'"
"And horses were always a part of my life, a blessing; taking comfort in them had always been something I'd done by instinct, and it was an instinct I never outgrew. I took pleasure in how good I was in the saddle, how well I knew my way around a horse. I was good at something in a way most people are never good at anything in their lives. Horses were a gift; how many people have such a constant in their life, separate from the rough and often beautiful mess that is their family?"...more
Teenage young love novel, vaguely reminiscent of the courtship between Bella and Edward, but only in the most disturbing parts of the novel. Some goodTeenage young love novel, vaguely reminiscent of the courtship between Bella and Edward, but only in the most disturbing parts of the novel. Some good parts, but the character of the rabbi was not well developed, and I've yet to meet a teen who speaks like Will Cohen...who I was just sure was going to turn out to be a vampire (but he's not, don't fear).
Why does Hoffman write the same dark-grey flavored fiction with new character names? Gothic, dark, chilly, with excessive details about qualities of lWhy does Hoffman write the same dark-grey flavored fiction with new character names? Gothic, dark, chilly, with excessive details about qualities of light, depths of despair, and "demons", and the impossible pain of love - familial and intimate.
If we use drugs, esp IV drugs, how come we don't ever get an HIV test, especially before having a baby? And how come we can't be nice to our moms? And how come we can allow one shitty day in childhood to ruin not only OUR whole lives, but anyone who ever comes in contact with us from that day forward? Too many unforgivable actions on all the main characters' parts, too much self-loathing, too much convoluted super-symbolic imagery. Getting tiresome....more
This book was silly, overwrought, and completely improbable....but someone Letts MAKES her reader believe the absolutely ridiculous events.
The firstThis book was silly, overwrought, and completely improbable....but someone Letts MAKES her reader believe the absolutely ridiculous events.
The first half of the book was so incredibly full of cringe-worthy badness, such a horrible taste of the darker side of humanity and society, that I almost had to stop reading. The second half was CRAZY and unforgettable.
A real feel-good novel that has the happiest ending imaginable. If you're in the mood for a bit of a surreal glimpse at real life, then this is the tearjerker for you!...more
This novel was too focused on war and complicated battle scenes to be quite as intriguing as the first two. And the ending was bizarre..and a little uThis novel was too focused on war and complicated battle scenes to be quite as intriguing as the first two. And the ending was bizarre..and a little unsatisfactory.
I hate to say, but I think she could easily have ended this series with the second novel. A thoroughly original and absorbing world, though, and I will miss this futuristic setting, hover boards, recyclable clothing, and incredible surgeries....more
**spoiler alert** Strike #1 - This book is about an African American girl, her family, her struggles, her African American girlfriends. Who is depicte**spoiler alert** Strike #1 - This book is about an African American girl, her family, her struggles, her African American girlfriends. Who is depicted on the cover? A Caucasian girl in a white dress and flipflops.
Strike #2 - the first half of the book was really great, and I LOVED hearing from the pre-teen Blaze. The end of the book was pretty terrible though - depressing and saturated with overstated grief.
Strike #3 - MANY of the main characters of the African American persuasian were considered beautiful mainly because of their light cocoa-colored skin and green or blue eyes. Really??? It's not bad enough that a white girl is on the cover, but the black people in the novel are best looking when clearly of mixed racial descent?
Strike #4 - Nate was completely unbelievable as a male character in his mid-twenties.
Strike #5 - the scene in the restroom at the end of the novel made me want to puke. REALLY?!?! REAllY, that's all you can say after destroying someone's life? Messed. Up.
So, the racial stuff is heavyhanded (including all those mentioned above as well as the fact that the black family goes to work for and live in the maids' quarters of the rich white man's house), the relationship in the end was pathetic, but the growing up part (the first half of the book) is great!
I liked the descriptions of what it feels like to figure out that you're a lesbian. I liked that Blaze was comfortable with that, even in spite of her family's lack of acceptance. Felicity's inability to accept herself was sad but likely true to some extent for many lesbians. Shreveport's response to their discovery was WAY exaggerated!! I can't imagine that happening anywhere but the smallest towns in the South these days. The distancing of identical twins felt hollow and unreal to me....
Overall a surprising book from beginning to end...from the cover to the last page. Not at all what I expected, but an enjoyable beach read, despite it's many flaws.
The narrator is SO unenthusiastic and deadpan....and the stories and characters are all pretty unlikeable. Returned it to the library without finishinThe narrator is SO unenthusiastic and deadpan....and the stories and characters are all pretty unlikeable. Returned it to the library without finishing. A big disappointment after "A Girl's Guide.."...more