“It is embarrassing to admit that I didn’t begin [healing] until the age of thirty-four, when after a breakdown I began to get my life together through medication, therapy, and tattooing. Borderline means you’re one of those girls who walk around wearing long sleeves in the summer because you’ve carved up your forearms over your boyfriend. You make pathetic suicidal gestures and write bad poetry about them, listen to Ani DiFranco albums on endless repeat, end up in the emergency room for overdoses, scare off boyfriends by insisting they tell you they love you five hundred times a day and hacking into their email to make sure they’re not lying, have a police record for shoplifting, and your tooth enamel is eroded from purging. You’ve had five addresses and eight jobs in three years, your friends are avoiding your phone calls, you’re questioning your sexuality, and the credit card companies are after you. It took a lot of years to admit that I was exactly that girl, and that the diagnostic criteria for the disorder were essentially an outline of my life:
[Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by] a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affect, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in criterion 5.
2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in criterion 5.
5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
7. Chronic feelings of emptiness
8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.
The first time I read these criteria, I felt like someone had been following me around taking notes.”(Loud in the House of Myself, pg. 8-10)
Even reading it for the second time, this memoir still hits very close to home for me. Having also grown up dealing with borderline personality disorder and having battled through manic episodes and deep depressive states, as well as my own forms of self-destruction, reading Pershall’s story felt almost like connecting with a kindred spirit. After just the first twenty pages of her book, I was laughing and sobbing simultaneously— unsure of exactly how to feel aside from an overwhelming sense of rapport, and the relief that comes from knowing that someone, somewhere, has been where you are, felt how you feel— and has survived it. I found solace in her story; although it's different in many ways from my own, there were times while reading where I felt that if I were to walk up to her and tell her a story from my life, she would know exactly what I was talking about. Her memoir is deeply affecting; you don't need to have lived through something similar to recognize her courage and applaud the strength inherent in her words.(less)
I was excited to read it, since I love her Infernal Devices trilogy (though if I'm being honest, I suspected all alo...moreI'm so disappointed in this book.
I was excited to read it, since I love her Infernal Devices trilogy (though if I'm being honest, I suspected all along that these would not be of the same caliber)-- but when I began reading, my eyes started glazing over not even ten pages in. I had my doubts that it would be as enticing as Clockwork Angel, seeing as how it's set in modern day New York and the main characters are fifteen years old (both major turn-offs for me) but no, Cassandra Clare went the extra mile to ensure my vehement dislike for this book. My grievances, as follows:
The characters are annoying. And I don't mean regular old they-just-don't-do-it-for-me annoying, they were so one-dimensional that there were entire scenes of dialogue where I literally could not tell who was saying what because each character's style and mannerisms were exactly the same. And Jace, who I was expecting to be mega-sexy à la Will, from Infernal Devices, was so poorly contrived that my jaw wanted to drop. It's not even the clichéd sarcastic-sexy-bad-boy-with-heart-of-gold syndrome that bothered me, so much as the fact that everything he says that's intended to come across as "badass" and "snarky" and "oh so alluring" just ends up sounding stupid and childish and "girls are actually attracted to this tripe??" Also, by the third chapter of the book I was seriously rooting for Clary to get hit by a bus or thrown unceremoniously in front of an oncoming subway train. I find it borderline insulting that Clare intended her to be the easy-to-relate-to heroine of the novel.
The plot is laughable. I actually shook my head with pity when the "twists" were revealed. I don't need to say much else, since everyone else probably already recognizes the striking similarities between The Mortal Instruments and Harry Potter/Star Wars (with the exception that J.K. Rowling and George Lucas both have talent enough to craft compelling, well-written series, of course.)
The majority of the writing in this book makes me want to beat my head against a wall. Like, as I pointed out earlier: "But the shadowy figure of the Silent Brother was so-- well, silent. Silence itself seemed to flow from him like a dark tide..." So, you mean than he's silent, as in, he doesn't make any noise at all?? The majority of my time spent reading this book felt like a poorly fashioned foray into masochism, minus the pleasure. Where the hell was her editor while all of this was happening?
By the time I'd gotten a third of the way through this book I was so thoroughly put off that I only managed to skim-read the rest, which is something that I haven't been driven to do since college. In the end, I can only assume that her writing has improved with time, or else that the series is simply better off set in Victorian times with corsets and parasols and murderous automatons. Not to mention characters with actual, definitive personalities. And a plot that doesn't make me long desperately for a power drill.(less)
Kimberly Derting's style is reminiscent of Christopher Golden's 'Body of Evidence' series, which I love. As a protagonist, Violet is strong willed, ye...moreKimberly Derting's style is reminiscent of Christopher Golden's 'Body of Evidence' series, which I love. As a protagonist, Violet is strong willed, yet also vulnerable enough to be compelling. And the romantic aspect of the story is just as important as the murders without eclipsing any of the tension-- in fact I'd say it adds more. The twist ending was very well-executed; this book was delicious.(less)
I had numerous problems with this book. Firstly, the main character (Sarah) was dull, vapid, and just clueless enough to come off as really annoying....moreI had numerous problems with this book. Firstly, the main character (Sarah) was dull, vapid, and just clueless enough to come off as really annoying. She sleeps with three or four guys in the course of the book, makes herself "emotionally unavailable" supposedly because of her parents failed marriage-- but then falls in love overnight with a random stranger because he "seems sweet". Also, her sensibilities are childish, contradicting, occasionally downright ridiculous, much like the rest of the book. Overall, the entire plot just felt clunky and contrived, a little like Katherine Easer was trying to juggle with the various subplots yet wasn't particularly skilled at doing so. I had a really hard time connecting with any of the characters, and began to actually detest Sarah early on in the book after the scene involving her pregnancy scare (in which she says about taking a pregnancy test: "But what if this one turns out positive? I'm not mom material. It's not in my genes. If by some stroke of bad luck I'm pregnant, I'll just have to get rid of it. There's no other way. God, how did I get into this mess? I don't have money for an abortion. I don't even know how much an abortion costs. And it would be a hassle, not to mention traumatizing. I'm seventeen; I can't be dealing with shit like this!")-- I wanted to punch her in the face after reading that; she's so flippant and careless about a weighty decision like having an abortion. Having had my own been-there-done-that experience with the subject, her whining about it (Oh, it's such a hassle! Why me? I shouldn't have to deal with this!) absolutely infuriated me. That was pretty much the scene that sold me on the fact that I was not going to enjoy this book-- and I wasn't wrong. Final summation: irksome characters that are too shallow to connect with, a plot that felt like a poorly constructed sandcastle, and a "dramatic" climax that had me seriously rolling my eyes (here's an idea, how about a suicide pact? That seems just charming!) It was painfully obvious that this was Katherine Easer's first attempt at a novel (and unless the gods have a twisted sense of humor, hopefully it will be her last).(less)
This collection of letters from LGBT writers to their younger selves is, for the most part, a fascinating and marvelous compilation. Infused with hope...moreThis collection of letters from LGBT writers to their younger selves is, for the most part, a fascinating and marvelous compilation. Infused with hope, these letters are projected as the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, many of them containing universal truths that stretch far beyond simply the measure of gay or straight. Serving as a reminder that each of the trials of adolescence will carve a path towards a full and enriched life, the messages confront the deeply personal struggles of each respective writer. As singular pieces, I admired the strength and conviction of many of the letters, as well as the hope and reassurance they may provide for others in similar situations— however, I have to admit that I found myself growing bored midway through. This collection, although both genuine and profound, suffered from a lack of variety: you can only hear the same story retold in so many ways before it begins to seem stale; despite my appreciation for these writers and their courageous admissions, by the end of the book it felt as though the letters had begun to meld together, eventually tarnishing the crisp sheen of individuality within each tale.