As a fan of "Jeffrey and Cole Casserole" and also what Jeffrey Self and Cole Escola are doing with their lifechoices in general, admittedly I went intAs a fan of "Jeffrey and Cole Casserole" and also what Jeffrey Self and Cole Escola are doing with their lifechoices in general, admittedly I went into this hoping to love it. Lucky for me, it makes loving it feel good. And just so right. Jeffrey Self's sketch background informs the episodic plot, a cross-breed of gritty Floridian coming-of-age with a fairy tale vibe as three friends roadtrip to wonderful/horrible NYC. In their quest they whir in and out of the lives of ridiculous characters that are much like the ridiculous people one comes across in this life, except more enjoyable to spend time with. The one-liners keep coming, and are delightful. And it's got a great genuine grounding to it, with some honest truths along the way. My favorite: "how can you convince your friends to love themselves if you can't love your own self?"...more
Sure he's riding off the rails a bit at times but I think that's what happens when you're a high-speed train of thought that's taking a wide span of pSure he's riding off the rails a bit at times but I think that's what happens when you're a high-speed train of thought that's taking a wide span of past and future into account with its premise about our very precarious present.
This book is a treasure for anyone interested in social movements, and accessible for anyone new to them or skeptical. I think it'll be changing and sparking many conversations in the near future. ...more
Out of the few books I've read on Parkinson's, this is the best. Kind of a "what to expect when you're expecting" on Parkinson's. I wish this was a biOut of the few books I've read on Parkinson's, this is the best. Kind of a "what to expect when you're expecting" on Parkinson's. I wish this was a bit better, but it's damn good and we certainly don't get a lot of good books on Parkinson's, so I'll take it, and recommend you do, too, if you're in need of practical information on the subject and some of the many blanks filled in. It's a very conversational and human book, with plenty of first-person accounts, which really helps get a broader picture of this disease that's different for every person it's in....more
The world he describes is so alive and fascinating and relevant, it's a story needed to be told. I hope this work finds many more readers.
The way he tThe world he describes is so alive and fascinating and relevant, it's a story needed to be told. I hope this work finds many more readers.
The way he tells it is largely very dry, though, and I fear this will keep it from some readers.
So I just want to put it clear: yes, the prose is very academic and laborious to get through at times, and I wish there were more case studies and interviews and less repetitive analysis, BUT IF YOU'RE CONSIDERING IT, READ THIS BOOK. It's definitely a valuable, incredibly researched (and lived), thought-out and considered study of a community that needs to be less invisible and more celebrated and learned from. ...more
Phenomenal book on every level. The prose is gorgeous yet tight, really setting the mood and vivid scenes. The plot is compelling and heightened, butPhenomenal book on every level. The prose is gorgeous yet tight, really setting the mood and vivid scenes. The plot is compelling and heightened, but not sensationalistic or minimizing of GLBTQ folks to just being GLBTQ folks (while this novel is still very specifically and integrally about being a LGBTQ person). It's the kind of book that knows it's characters' world (and being contemporary, it's our world) so well that while being engaged, you might learn a thing or two and not even realize it (I did). It strikes a perfect balance across the board. I hope we get more of Russo's work for years to come....more
I agree with the readers here who loved it--it's great. Delves into the messy, complicated nature of desire and how a person's trVery mixed feelings.
I agree with the readers here who loved it--it's great. Delves into the messy, complicated nature of desire and how a person's true wants can be overshadowed by others' wants for them and what they want others to think of them. This book isn't afraid to be messy in a true-to-life way.
Also, I understand why the people who hated it hated it.
It's tough, I imagine, to market a book like this, because the surprises and twists are artfully earned. It's best going in not knowing much.
But if you go in expecting an affirming, empowering LGBTQ narrative--that's not this.
Spoilers from here on.
It's not not a LGBTQ friendly book. But it also isn't.
It's about a confusing relationship, basically the straight-best-friend's side of the unrequited love story we've seen so many times from the LGBTQ person's viewpoint. And the crush here isn't completely unrequited, it's an emotional crush ultimately unrequited physically.
I think this is really real, and great subject matter I haven't really seen.
LGBTQ folks are so used to being disappointed if not outright hurt and shamed by the meager reflections we've gotten back. Especially if we're paying for it with money, time, and emotional investment. There was another "bi" book last year I won't name, and couldn't have been more disgusted by. It played with the horrible stigmas bi people deal with, without really exploring or knowing its subject enough to be even, and ultimately just reinforced the "can't decide/horny-horny" narrative we're exhausted of being insulted by.
This novel ultimately--when looked through the lens its cover and marketing invite--kind of backhands you. The "bi who wants it all" (which is, yes, a real character explored on a real level here, but--) is ultimately left licking her woulds while the formerly bi-curious girl gets her heteronormal happy ending that alludes to ambiguity, but after what we've been through, it's too much ambiguity, and doesn't feel genuine.
I think this is all an interesting lesson at this time that's so great for diverse YA books but also suffers from the icky side-effect of books hopping on the "diversity" trend to follow the buck (I feel icky putting the word diversity in quotes, but ickier by some books I see disingenuously hopping on the waves that have come so hard earned by so many brilliant people and has still left out so many others) (and I WANT TO CLARIFY, I DO NOT SEE THIS AS ONE OF THOSE ICKY BOOKS) and the lesson is this: if you play on certain expectations to lead us into thinking we're entering a LGBTQ safe-haven (THAT IS HARD EARNED BY AMAZING AUTHORS AND STILL PRETTY NEW), and then you offer something more ambiguous--no matter how good it is (and this book is very good) we're going to feel a little used. It's just kind of rude to appeal to a community that's had our hopes dashed as the norm and had our identities mostly used hollowly for profit when not downright being degraded.
None of this is the author's fault, which is why I'm writing the longest review I've ever done here. I loved this book, but hated it for a while, and can't just blankly sign off on it, but also don't want to discourage people from reading it. It's a complex narrative, artfully told, and it's daring, and I think it's a really great book. It made me re-adjust my expectations, and I like that.
But, when we get like a book or two a year promising fully realized bi characters, it sucks to not be holding one when we thought we were. And it's not that we don't want to see bi characters being fully human and messing up and hurting people and not always getting an easy happy ending. But when too many negative aspects that have been used again and again are used again, without giving us a little something to go on at the end, it just feels like, "oh, okay, same old, should've known, this book never really was for bi folks to feel empowered and acknolwedged."
Another reviewer here had the great point about how, ultimately, this is a girl "finding herself" narrative. And it is wonderfully open-minded, so she gets lost in ways that would have been negative before, but here they are normalized to a really radical effect. But at the end of the day, it's all in service of her finding herself. So okay, maybe don't put two girls in a love-story pose on the cover. Another reviewer suggested to have a girl on a stage looking out on an audience for a cover. That's a great idea, because that's so much what the book is about--being on the stage (in the "the whole world's a stage" way), performing a persona for acceptance before doing the hard work of coming to accept your own--that's the subject of the book, really, and it's a great book....more
A phenomenal book that's every bit as enjoyable for an adult as for a middle grader, and is every bit as adorable as it is unblinkingly heavy about thA phenomenal book that's every bit as enjoyable for an adult as for a middle grader, and is every bit as adorable as it is unblinkingly heavy about the realities of grief and feelings of exclusion. Really couldn't recommend this one more....more
There was a lot of great info in this book. Two things, though: 1.) It critiques our fear-based medical culture, while instilling in us a different kinThere was a lot of great info in this book. Two things, though: 1.) It critiques our fear-based medical culture, while instilling in us a different kind of fear, and I felt weird about that. 2.) It's more helpful for people, like me, who haven't been over-tested and over-medicated and gotten stuck in the web of the system, than it is for people with chronic illness who are already waist deep in being reliant on the system and feeling stuck in it, like my Ma, who is the reason I read this in the first place.
So that's the main thing. This has lots of valuable information, but will be frustrating for readers who are maybe hoping to find answers to actually help them get out of the mess they've gotten in in the medical world, and who have chronic illnesses they are reliant on treatment for....more