First, let me get a few things straight. I don't know in what universe this book would have been acceptable to read at 12 years old, but I think partFirst, let me get a few things straight. I don't know in what universe this book would have been acceptable to read at 12 years old, but I think part of the horror of this book is the thought that 12 year old kids were reading it. I mean, if you were a pretty knowledgeable 12 year old who could handle graphic sexual abuse, incest, physical abuse, and mental abuse and be able to put the book down and go along your way unaffected, then... I guess more power to that 12 year old you. But let me tell you know, as a 38 year old woman, this book affected me and I only picked it up because I'd purchased it a while back for a read-along and thought.. what the heck, I'm in the mood for a story and this looks interesting.
I'm in two camps when it comes to Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl. First, I absolutely, "five-star" loved this book due to its setting and the description ofI'm in two camps when it comes to Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl. First, I absolutely, "five-star" loved this book due to its setting and the description of Lincoln/Omaha area - in fact, Rowell's heart is definitely in Nebraska and that's why I'm drawn to her storytelling as much as I am. On the other hand, there were several elements of Fangirl that I really struggled with. So I'm going to flesh out each of these camps and leave it to you to decide if you want to pick this one up.
I picked up a copy of Andy Weir's The Martian when it was released because, frankly, I absolutely adore survival stories. I blame my love of them totaI picked up a copy of Andy Weir's The Martian when it was released because, frankly, I absolutely adore survival stories. I blame my love of them totally on Swiss Family Robinson and The Myserious Island. I also have a major fascination with space (and the ocean) - basically anything that represents places that have been left completely unexplored and have the potential for so much.
Have you ever put off reading a book because you know that there is no way it can be as perfect as it is, unread, in your head? That's been the case fHave you ever put off reading a book because you know that there is no way it can be as perfect as it is, unread, in your head? That's been the case for me with Eleanor and Park. I've read Rowell before (Attachments) and I've purchased Fangirl, and I want to read it, but first I knew I needed to pick up E&P. So, as I sit here coming off of a brutal first semester of graduate school and many, many books read that have challenged me, I knew I needed to pick something up that would make me laugh, a bit. Make me cry, a bit. And, basically, remind me of what it's like to live life and be young, a bit.
Before I start my review out I have a disclaimer: I know Brian Davis. Not only do I know Brian Davis, but I would argue that, for his fiction, I am prBefore I start my review out I have a disclaimer: I know Brian Davis. Not only do I know Brian Davis, but I would argue that, for his fiction, I am probably his #3 or #4 fan (he does have family, after all). Brian has a way with words and that translates well also into his non-fiction, of which A Link to the Past is firmly a part of. Brian, in addition to being a gifted storyteller, also writes incredible poetry and song lyrics, so with all of that said and the shameless plugging complete, let's move into my review of his memoir.
A Link to the Past is a set of essays that deal with the secondary part of Brian's title, Stories of Growing Up Gamer. I know there are parts of my life that I can define by certain MMOs that I played and the friendships formed as a result of those games (in fact, as I sit here typing this, I'm enjoying the hospitality of an old guild leader/best friend of mine). I found myself reliving parts of my own life, as a result, as I wandered through the fragments of his life that Brian reveals in this memoir. I laughed quite a bit, as he is quite the witty writer, and I learned quite a bit about games that I absolutely did not want to know anything about before. But Brian makes those games relevant because he uses them as a framework for his growth as a brother, a son, a friend, a writer, and ultimately, the person he is today.
There are moments of brilliance - comparing his relationship with his older brother to the relationship of the Sega Genesis to the NES being one of them. There are moments where I, admittedly, found myself skimming a little more than I wanted to (anything to do with sports, other than college football, and I check out). There were a few revalations about my friend that I got to enjoy - but I will also say that, as much as I enjoyed the glimpses into Brian's life, there was a bit of something missing.
I crave Drama (with a capital D) in my memoirs. There was a passing remark about a girlfriend at one point, but other than that, there really wasn't that much drama happening. And that may have been because there wasn't much drama in Brian's life to talk about, but still, there has to be some. And without those moments of vulnerability revealed, the genre of memoir can come off a bit detached. So while I adore Brian and love having his friendship as a part of my life, I still put the book down feeling as if I knew the surface aspects of his life, but not that much about what's going on deep inside. I wanted to know that too. Maybe someday I will get to.
All of that said, I would recommend this book to anyone who has a gamer in their life. It'll be a great conversation starter, because I know it made me want to talk to my friends about how games have influenced the person I've become today. Brian goes pretty in depth in a review-style fashion about obscure titles and some not-so-obscure titles (Final Fantasy VII and VIII feature pretty prominently) but I didn't play those - I loved the online Final Fantasy XI which Brian wasn't so much a fan of. All that said, pick this one up. If you are in Peoria, IL - go to a book signing or catch Brian playing his music at Thirty-Thirty Coffee. You won't regret it....more