PROS: - Easy read. - Poignant storytelling. - Engaging from the get-go. - Incredible prose. - Gives great insight into mental disabili*Goodreads Giveaway.
PROS: - Easy read. - Poignant storytelling. - Engaging from the get-go. - Incredible prose. - Gives great insight into mental disability. - Every single character in her life had personality and made a significant contribution to the book no matter how minor their role. - I loved how marginalized groups were not made ambiguous. For example, "the black woman in a pink coat" versus "the dark woman in a pink coat." Gave more clarity and identity to people which I now appreciate. - Audience was shown things, not merely told.
CONS: - None. This book is beautiful.
COMMENTS: I won this book as a Goodreads Giveaway and I'm so glad I did. I rarely ever read memoirs and when I do, they're usually about privileged white folk with nothing to do except a) wallow in their misery, b) talk shit about the world, c) pull purple prose out of their asses, d) sit around and do absolutely nothing to mend their "horrible" privileged situation, or e) a combination of all. They are a huge waste of time for the audience to read and for the author to write. However, I was very happy to find that The Memory Palace did not fit in any of these categories.
The beginning of each chapter usually tells a fun fact that's relative to the entire section. In the end of each chapter, it always circles back to it. The fact and the way she applied it to situations that occurred in her life isn't like anything else I've ever read. I'm glad for Bartok's powerful memory and incredible writing style because it taught me a lot about homelessness and mental disability. Bartok's memoir was incredibly engaging and evoked so many emotions people don't normally feel throughout a novel—joy, fear, warmth, sadness (made me cry several times), confusion, grief, empathy, etc. Usually novels only provoke one or two emotions out of me but this was just a plethora of powerful feelings, sometimes at once. Her life is very exciting, terrifying, depressing, and most of all, beautiful. I personally think this should be a literary classic and made into an official high school reading requirement. I believe it could teach impressionable young people a lot about compassion, possibly inspiring action.
Not only did the author honor the memory of her mother, but she did a great service for homeless people living with mental disabilities—something the American government always fails to do. As a society, we need to understand why people are forced into homelessness, especially when they are affected by mental disabilities as severe as Bartok's mother's (schizophrenia). Bartok's memoir illustrates why it's difficult for families who do not have the wealth, resources, and legal capacity to provide proper care for them. Like a broken limb, if left untended to, mental illness will develop to become severe enough to be fatal. It's not given the attention it needs because there's little to no visible physical ailments. This book depicts that it can not only threaten the person who lives with it, but it threatens the lives of the people in their lives as well. If the government and more people heard what schizophrenia is actually like, mental disability would have far more funding (VIDEO TRIGGER WARNING: noises compiled by scientists to accurately depict schizophrenia—very startling and may trigger anxiety for some people). This book could be a gateway to being more compassionate and understanding about people who live with mental illnesses and are pushed to homelessness.
This was the best and most brilliant way Bartok could have dedicated something to her mother. I thank her for this poignant gem and am definitely going to be recommending this book to others, especially those who need a better understanding into the mind of people affected by mental disabilities....more
PROS: Very fun read. Fast-paced. Light-hearted humor. Best fluff-mystery/paranormal read. Ever.
CONS: Not enough world building. Lack of descriptionsPROS: → Very fun read. → Fast-paced. → Light-hearted humor. → Best fluff-mystery/paranormal read. Ever.
CONS: → Not enough world building. → Lack of descriptions.
COMMENTS: This was the most action-packed book I've read in a long time. I loved taking breaks to read this between writing my 15-page essay + two 8-page essays. It was really light and eased the stress of staring down my computer for long periods of time. Jaz is a strong female lead who has layers peeled back to reveal vulnerabilities as the reader flies through the chapters. She also loves puns and has plenty of humor to go around. I also like that Rardin doesn't make Vayl's personality too modern-like. It's a common mistake a lot of urban-fantasy authors make. He still had his idiosyncrasies and speech pattern in tact from before he turned instead of immediately adapting every part of himself to modern society. Another thing that authors often do is make the first book in their series incredibly dull because they have to explain everything before the story speeds along. I was glad to find that that wasn't the case with this book. Like I said before, it's action-packed and very fast-paced so there's not a single dull moment in the book. I also loved the dialogue and friendly (and unfriendly) banter between all the characters as I read.
Unfortunately, I had to shave off a star for a few reasons. The lack of world building. It's in the urban-fantasy genre therefore, the author doesn't have to elaborate on much. The reader knows the story is held in modern-day Chicago but someone who has lived in Miami all their life wouldn't know what Chicago looks or feels like. I just finished the second book and I only have the faintest idea of what her workplace looks like. I also don't have a very clear image of Cole, Pete, David, Matt, and basically anyone who isn't Jaz or Vayl. I may have missed the descriptions but it was very easy to forget how everyone else looked. We'd get the "creamy-skinned, flat belly, muscles" description every now and then about Vayl but that's about it. I don't remember much else about the other characters. Though I find it fun to read the banter and dialogue, the reader doesn't get a great sense of what other characters' personalities were like unless the character was a villain. It was what made the supporting characters melt into the background. It was also interesting reading Jaz's thoughts and reading about her funky idiosyncrasies, but it would have been nice to focus less on that and have her observe the others more. Last but not least, I love that the protagonist is a strong female but, for once, I'd also love to see that the villains not be people of color, least of all with accents. It's bad enough that so many movies and television shows portray POC's as villains so having it in books just plays into that cliche. It'd be beneficial to people of color and Caucasian people to see everyone represented in a positive light. Plus, the team could definitely use some diversity.
Other than that, it's a pretty good read. I would recommend it if you want something that isn't too serious....more