The first time I read FORTUNATELY, THE MILK, I was on a road trip with my sister's family. Her kids (9-year-old twin girls, 5-year-old boy) were antsy...moreThe first time I read FORTUNATELY, THE MILK, I was on a road trip with my sister's family. Her kids (9-year-old twin girls, 5-year-old boy) were antsy and bored, and begged to be read to. I had a new book on my Kindle that I thought they might enjoy, though I myself had not read it yet.
I read this book aloud to a carful of people who all ended up listening, whether they'd intended to or not. By the end, everyone was laughing--me, the kids, the kids' parents, and our cousin who had come along for the trip.
As soon as I finished the final words, the kids begged for it to be read again.
So that's how I wound up reading a book aloud, twice in a row, on a car trip, and having more fun than should probably be legal.
FORTUNATELY, THE MILK is fun, light-hearted, full of absurd British humor, and deeply sweet--all about a father's love for his children (and flair for creative storytelling). Read it. I don't care if you're grown. Read it anyway.(less)
I really liked this book. It was a well-paced, quick read. It definitely resonated with me, because I was a teenager who struggled with suicidal ideat...moreI really liked this book. It was a well-paced, quick read. It definitely resonated with me, because I was a teenager who struggled with suicidal ideation for years.
Reading through other reviews, I am stunned by the number of people commenting and saying Hannah's reasons for committing suicide were "trivial." You are all missing the point.
Hannah, as portrayed, is severely depressed.
She does not see the world the same way mentally healthy people do. Events do not look the same to her or feel the same to her as they do to you. I know, because I was a depressed teenager who almost committed suicide over nothing. Seriously. Nothing. I was homeschooled; I never got bullied. The world just looked huge and overwhelming and terrifying to me because I was not a mentally healthy person. It had very little to do with what was going on in the outside world, and almost everything to do with what was going on inside my head.
Even so, there were triggering events. I overheard my grandmother complaining that I was irresponsible because I'd forgotten to do a chore. To a mentally healthy person's ears, that's "Great, she's annoyed, I'd better remember next time." To my depressed ears, it meant that I was worthless and would never, ever be good enough, and that I had lost the love and respect of everyone that mattered to me. I barely managed to talk myself out of suicide that day.
Now I'm in my 20s. I'm not depressed anymore. I've finished college. I'm happy and well-adjusted. But it still chills me to the bone when I see people talking ignorantly and dismissively about a character with mental illness, and failing to see how mental illnesses change the way you perceive and react to the world.
The fact that people commit suicide for reasons that aren't "good enough" does not for a second make it okay to dismiss the reality of their pain. We should all be looking for warning signs, all the time. Even in people who haven't experienced severe trauma. Because that isn't how mental illness works; it doesn't require severe trauma. We should all remember that we can't really know the mental state of the people we're interacting with, and as much as is in our power, avoid cruel acts--even ones that seem small to us--which might serve as the last straw.
Sometimes, there aren't any reasons at all, just illness and a broken mind. That doesn't make any suicidal person's pain any less real, or their life any less valuable. Just because they don't have "valid reasons" doesn't make them not worth fighting for.(less)
This book made me sad, because I really liked Reena. She was well-developed and kind of awesome. Except when she was around Sawyer. As Reena's best fr...moreThis book made me sad, because I really liked Reena. She was well-developed and kind of awesome. Except when she was around Sawyer. As Reena's best friend Shelby said: Whenever Sawyer was around, Reena forgot how responsible and smart she was. I think the title of this book should be "How to Have a Destructive, Dysfunctional Relationship". Has a ring to it, right?
And Sawyer was a jerk. Just an epic a-hole. I wanted to kick him in the crotch. Hard.
Very disappointing story from a writer who obviously has a lot of skill.(less)
I devoured this book. I can't even place my finger on why it gripped me so much, but it did. I could barely drag myself away to fulfill responsibiliti...moreI devoured this book. I can't even place my finger on why it gripped me so much, but it did. I could barely drag myself away to fulfill responsibilities, like cooking and eating supper. The main character is so smart and broken and brave, and her prospects so bleak, that I couldn't imagine a happy ending for her, but desperately wanted it nonetheless. And then there's the mystery: what happened to Judith's friend Lottie? Why would someone kidnap Judith for two years, then cut out half her tongue?
All the way through, I felt vaguely uneasy, expecting to be let down by the ending. Without spoiling anything, I'll just say that I definitely wasn't. The story was rapidly-paced, the world was well-built, and the ending was a satisfying conclusion that drew all the pieces together.
The unusual writing style (the book is written in choppy pieces, to Judith's longtime love, referring to him in second person) might not work for everyone, but it did for me.