Emma Chastain's A Year in the Life of Chloe Snow was the most enjoyable book I've read in years.
It's a year of Chloe Snow's daily journal entries as hEmma Chastain's A Year in the Life of Chloe Snow was the most enjoyable book I've read in years.
It's a year of Chloe Snow's daily journal entries as her mother moves to Mexico, she enters high school, and she deals with surprises in all of her relationships. This girl is the funniest girl I've ever read. She's almost like an more-adult Eloise. She's so honest and smart. I couldn't wait to see what she was going to say next.
All of the characters are well-drawn. I kept wanting to Google them, then I'd have to remind myself that they're not real and that's not possible. There are heroes and villains, but they aren't so black and white.
Can we talk about Chloe's mother? What a perfect character, so selfish and just the kind of person a teenage girl would idolize and then struggle to hate and love. And Mac, the kind of person I knew in high school a few times over. I was so glad the way Emma wrote about his girlfriend. It was so refreshing that she wasn't a tired trope of a popular senior girl.
The writing is delicious. On every page, there was something I wanted to underline and shout aloud.
I feel sad all the time. It's like wearing a big ugly hat. Sometimes I forget about it for a few minutes, but then I see it in my peripheral vision and think Oh yea, the hat of sadness.
And there are moments so true.
The worst is when I have a question, like I did tonight. Asking questions puts you in other people's power. You need a favor from them: the favor of telling you information you want to know.
I wish I had underlined more.
Imagine Mean Girls with some of the best writing you've read and more honesty.
I felt such sadness and love for the characters. I felt their confusion. I felt for them. I was reminded sharply of emotions I had as a teenager. And I connected with Chloe as an adult, big time.
And I have never read a book about tweeting and social media and teenage-driven speak and technology that didn't seem forced or out-of-touch. But Emma nailed it.
This book is a delight. It offered the kind of fun that I wish all books had. There is beauty and strength and power in Emma's writing that impressed the hell out of me. ...more
I started this book thinking I'd be bored with the whole "family deals with tragedy" trope, but that is not what this book is. This is a true-feelingI started this book thinking I'd be bored with the whole "family deals with tragedy" trope, but that is not what this book is. This is a true-feeling story that dives deep into the characters dealing with loss. When Landreaux accidentally shoots and kills his nephew Dusty, he offers his own son to his in-laws as replacement. But that's not all. As the families deal with their new complication, heartbreaking situation, there is an underlying mystery to solve—what really happened the day Dusty was shot? Who are we to blame? What kind of vengeance can be justified?
It's so hard to write engaging child characters (I think,) but Larose, Maggie, Hollis, Josette, Snow... they're lovely. I fell in love with them. They are normal kids painted beautifully. They drive the story. This book is steeped in indigenous culture and humanity and tragedy, but it doesn't feel like Erdrich is pandering to our desires to gawk at disaster. I wanted to read this book forever. I want to read it again. ...more
Hmmm. What to say about this book. First of all, it took me forever to realize I was reading a bunch of small vignettes and not a lateral story. That'Hmmm. What to say about this book. First of all, it took me forever to realize I was reading a bunch of small vignettes and not a lateral story. That's my bad, I'm stupid. I was really engrossed at the beginning, though, before I realized this. I don't know what it's like to be fat but I felt Liz's pain. So many tiny details in the beginning made it seem almost like a diary. It was believable. I was SOLD.
But then when Elizabeth gets skinny, it just seemed like a bunch of weak cliches about thin people. Oh, she easts quinoa and kumquats and everyone is like, whaaaat?!?!? She goes to a BBQ and brings a meatless patty. DISGUSTING! (This irked me because I am a vegetarian and I hate it when people give me shit about bringing Boca burgers to a BBQ. It's like, you invited ME! Don't invite me if my fleshless food grosses you out. I am not going to eat your food to make you comfortable! Clearly I have issues.) Then there is an aggressive asshole at the gym who hogs all the machines. Not interesting? Too black and white? Not deep enough for me to believe much thought was put into where the vignette was taking me?
Maybe this thing, going from being fat to skinny and miserable and divorced and everything, and having a dead mom, is too much for such a slim book. In the end, I felt like Liz was completely confusing and unexplored. I didn't get her, she doesn't live in my heart like some characters do. Not sure I could pick her out in a line up.
This was an interesting read, though. I do recommend it. ...more
I have this thing where I don't like to read about cancer, or say it, or type it, or watch commercials about it, etc. etc. So I was hesitant to read tI have this thing where I don't like to read about cancer, or say it, or type it, or watch commercials about it, etc. etc. So I was hesitant to read this book. Turns out the cancer stuff didn't bother me, I was just bored. But maybe lurking beneath my boredom was actual discomfort. I dunno. I didn't make it very far. ...more
Here is how to tell if you liked a book or not, if you're unsure. When you see there is an epilogue, ask yourself: what is my initial instinct? SometiHere is how to tell if you liked a book or not, if you're unsure. When you see there is an epilogue, ask yourself: what is my initial instinct? Sometimes you'll say, Wow, yes! I'm going to savior this. I hope it goes on forever and ever. And other times you'll say, Holy shit, do I really have to KEEP READING I thought I was done. The epilogue of Burning Down the House made me do the second one.
So I was un-looking forward to reading the epilogue, the author's last chance to tell you how cute and clever they are, but I did it, and it was just as bad as I thought it'd be. Thank goodness epilogues are short. (This time.) From the epilogue:
Felix found music and a sense of purpose. He learned how to make guitars. He painstakingly bent and molded the wood. He began composing electronic symphonies. He chose a new name for himself: Phoenix. He wrote a wildly ambitious orchestral piece and dedicated it to his (view spoiler)[late father (hide spoiler)].
And what is it about some bad books that give you hope that the book will get better? The ones that are able to trick you into continuing to read? Why did I finish this? I kept thinking that it was about to get good and it never did.
I didn't care about any of the characters. I felt nothing for them. I think I am tired of reading about rich people and their dumb problems.
I wasn't fond of the writing style, either. Lots and lots of going on and going on, in a bland, unclever way that left zero impact.
After what you've told me I need to take a very long, very hot shower, says Alix on page 244. My feelings exactly, after reading this ick. ...more
Wow, there is no way I'm finishing this fucking thing. I usually give a book a 70 page trial, but 16 pages in I can tell I cannot possibly care aboutWow, there is no way I'm finishing this fucking thing. I usually give a book a 70 page trial, but 16 pages in I can tell I cannot possibly care about this selfish, unlikeable character. ...more
I started reading this with reluctance since I always think of myself as someone who dislikes any sort of sci-fi/fantasy, but I was immediately drawnI started reading this with reluctance since I always think of myself as someone who dislikes any sort of sci-fi/fantasy, but I was immediately drawn in. It's engrossing (the other day, 3/4 of the way into it, I realized I had completely forgotten what time it was, where I was, what I should really be doing... I was lost inside the pages) and well done and FUNNY. I feel like the dialogue and character interactions ring so true. This is what it would be like if a group of 20-somethings actually stumbled into a magical world.
When the magicians enter Fillory, I thought, "oh boy, I bet I'll stop liking this now." But I started to enjoy the book even more. That drunk bear is really fucking hilarious.
"How can you not know where you live?" The bear was still shaking its heavy muzzle. "I think Fillory is somewhere else," it said. "But this definitely isn't Loria," Penny said. "Look, who's the talking bear here?" Quentin snapped. "Is it you? Are you the talking fucking bear? All right. So shut the fuck up."
I also really enjoyed the part where Alice calls Quentin a whore.
Really can't wait to see what happens next. ...more
KIND of like The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty in it's wacky premise, but not nearly as good and not nearly as funny. And actually, it's a bit outKIND of like The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty in it's wacky premise, but not nearly as good and not nearly as funny. And actually, it's a bit out of control. THE PROBLEM with Dietland is how black and white it presents fat-shaming and misogyny in society. Men are being murdered because of how they treat fat women, and the murderers are depicted as heroes. And of course, all men are bad, all skinny women are bad, all fat women are good. The fat main character is MEAN and hateful. She spends all of her energy spiting anyone she even imagines is judging her because of her weight. She doesn't even give people a chance.
I was intrigued enough to read on, but I didn't fall in love with anything about it. Still, I enjoyed reading it because I really had no idea where Sarai Walker was taking me. It was completely original and fresh, at least. ...more
Wow was this terrible! Why did I think Emma Straub was an amazing writer all this time? I think I was fooled by her classy author photo, she looks fanWow was this terrible! Why did I think Emma Straub was an amazing writer all this time? I think I was fooled by her classy author photo, she looks fantastic.
These people drove me fucking crazy. They are the most annoying caricatures of Oberlin students you could possibly imagine. And I don't care if that was Straub's intent, it literally pained me to think I was respecting them by giving them my attention. Their problems were so boring and were tied up so neatly. (I actually cannot decide who had the most boring problem, it's so hard to make that call.)
Jane closed her eyes. "With the patio. We could have outdoor seating on the side." "Exactly." 'Zoe reached over and slid her arms around Jane's waist, folding herself into Jane's lap. "A new project. A new baby." "A new baby made out of butter." "Best kind," Zoe said, nuzzling as in close as she could, and then even closer.
Ew. It's like the last scene in a Full House episode.
The worst part about this book was that stuff kept on happening that made me say "that would NEVER happen like that." The one example I can think of immediately is one that happened at the end of the book. (view spoiler)[As Andrew's yoga guru is being arrested he yells "hey wait, that's my partner!" Why would he volunteer that info? (hide spoiler)]The whole contract for the movie thing was whack. It all was.
There was once a Top Chef challenge where the chefs had to prepare one of the most simplest of dishes, scrambled eggs. It proved to be one of the mostThere was once a Top Chef challenge where the chefs had to prepare one of the most simplest of dishes, scrambled eggs. It proved to be one of the most difficult things they'd done, because doing something simple with perfection is hard. There is no where to hide. Elizabeth Strout, with this book, cooked the perfect scrambled eggs. She told a very simple story so beautifully and perfectly I'm not sure anyone else could have done it. It reminded me of one of my favorite movies, My Dinner With Andre because I feel like I could read it again in two weeks have have a totally different reaction. And I am still analyzing tiny moments in my mind. You could roll each sentence around in your brain forever and ever. I concretely understood these characters. The book unfolded like a reality. There was no hiding. The writing was perfect and the story was perfect, too....more