Overall, I liked it? Steve Brezenoff was a decent writer, and I think he created very real characters. I likI feel very conflicted about this book....
Overall, I liked it? Steve Brezenoff was a decent writer, and I think he created very real characters. I liked seeing Saint Paul--he took us into some individual neighborhoods (should we all move to Crocus Hill?). And I gobbled up the story. I also liked Lesh's love of metal ("Heavy metal is the most challenging, progressive, difficult, and exciting music currently being produced.").
Some problems--I'm not into the MMORPG stuff myself. I can see how cool it can be if you get sucked into it, so that isn't a problem. But sometimes Brezenoff riffs too long on it (like we're in the game), and I felt like skimming.
I don't like Lana. But I like that she's marching to her own beat and doesn't really care what others think. So I'm torn on this one.
There were a couple of derogatory moments where I felt like, When was this published??? In 2014. The same year as Everything Leads to You. So in one book we have openly gay teens in high school and that's great for everybody, in the next, the word "gay" is seen as an insult. Which it was when I was in high school (approximately ten thousand years ago). So I'm annoyed and even angry, but at the same time, again, I feel like Brezenoff has created real characters, and this is the way some people talk. When do we censor art because it's insulting? Do we pretend like people don't talk like this in order to stop people from talking like this? I don't have the answers, guys, I don't.
I also feel like we live in a time where it's nearly 100% okay for girls to like "boy" stuff--have "boy" names, play with "boy" toys, like "boy" colors. Let's no longer have things be relegated as "boy" stuff or "girl" stuff, but just...stuff. Hurray! But it's still not 100% okay, very far from 100% okay for a boy to like "girl" stuff. So I like that this book addresses that somewhat, but it's a bit clumsy still. Even at the end, it feels somehow shocking or wrong that Lesh created a female character in his video game (based on Svetlana). Like he needs a big explanation. And I feel like this: WHY? It's FINE.
Anastasia, I will never not get a kick out of you. In this installation, I particularly liked hearing Anastasia's conversation with her three friendsAnastasia, I will never not get a kick out of you. In this installation, I particularly liked hearing Anastasia's conversation with her three friends on how they've given up boys (or to be more accurate, "the pursuit of men").
"Like what?" Meredith Halberg asked. "What could be more worthwhile than chasing boys?" Sonya shrugged. "I could be working on a cure for cancer. Or knitting mittens for homeless people. Or -- I don't know. Anything. Just about anything would be more worthwhile than chasing Norman Berkowitz all the time."
I wish I had read this when I was younger, as I also spent too much time and energy chasing boys. Anyway, Anastasia is still secretly chasing a boy (really actually pursuing a man) that she found in a personal ad. The letters become increasingly hysterical until we reach our ridiculous and funny conclusion....more
Alana and Marko are no longer perfect, but that actually makes our story better! Because it's just more real and I love when things get real (even inAlana and Marko are no longer perfect, but that actually makes our story better! Because it's just more real and I love when things get real (even in a completely unreal universe).
Babies--even when they have television heads, they are adorable (and on the opposite end of the spectrum, I laughed hysterically seeing King Robot). Hazel. Skish. I cannot get over how cute she is.
Everything is escalating at a great pace--The Will, save the babies!!!--and I can't wait to read Volume Five!
Gwendolyn, I understand things were kind of crazy, but I don't think I can ever forgive you. :(
The Will! And the introduction of The Brand and Sweet BGwendolyn, I understand things were kind of crazy, but I don't think I can ever forgive you. :(
The Will! And the introduction of The Brand and Sweet Boy. Why is everybody so awesome looking?
Izabel, I love Lying Cat, but I also love how you completely terrified Lying Cat.
Alana and Marko, I didn't think I could love you guys separately and as a couple any more, but then the whole Gwendolyn fight/learning to fly thing happened. I am squealing still. I think maybe Marko is winning the fight of Who Do I Love More in his sincerity that his wife can do anything.
Hazel becomes a toddler! I am squealing more and squishing my babies to me. I wish I was a cool mom like Alana. Sigh. (I'm okay that I'm not. How could there be anyone cooler?)
Also, Husband and I had already Volume 4 from the library, but were on hold for this one. When I got an email saying it was in, I said, "So not that we have to go...but the library has Volume Three in..." To which Husband replied, "Let's go! I can go get it. Right. Now." Then I let him read it first. See how much our relationship has grown?!...more
Marko's mom--trust Marko when he tells you not to look. Jesus, apparently at least once in these books, I must be 100% horrified by what Vaughan/StaplMarko's mom--trust Marko when he tells you not to look. Jesus, apparently at least once in these books, I must be 100% horrified by what Vaughan/Staples has managed to create (The Stalk for the first volume).
The creatures of Quietus--gah. In general, how do these books manage to (seemingly) so effortlessly blend adorableness with completely terrifying images with super naked things with common things made uncommon. Geniuses.
When Gwendolyn showed up, I kind of cheered. I didn't want her to be some quiet, lame chick, and she certainly doesn't look it.
My (youngest) baby is 6 months old. This book makes me want to have a newborn again. Wee little Hazel!
I am attempting to read more books about Asian people with extra points if it's written by an Asian person (in general Asian people, but if I can findI am attempting to read more books about Asian people with extra points if it's written by an Asian person (in general Asian people, but if I can find it, Japanese people).
This book is tough to rate--sometimes I really enjoyed reading Eddie Huang's thoughts on growing up Asian in (what can be a very Caucasian-celebrated) America. I wanted to pump my fist and cheer him on. He also has the extra twist of his parents being "fresh off the boat" so he especially sees some cultural disparities. I loved reading about Eddie's family, especially during his childhood but less so adolescence, and I loved reading about food. For my husband, the pop culture and hip hop references were fun, though they went over my head a lot (Husband's significantly cooler than me). And we agree that we often like that Eddie Huang does things his way--he's not afraid to call out authority figures on things he views as wrong, he is very smart, and we like what his restaurant represents and how it operates. But we also agree that Huang could also be an immature knucklehead, and that was quite distracting, especially when he went overly detailed on some of his stories that highlighted this flaw. This was so distracting to me that I'm giving this book 2 stars instead of 3....more
Finally picking up Adrian Mole again. I got this copy as a present to myself, which includes the first book as well as the second. The second? It's prFinally picking up Adrian Mole again. I got this copy as a present to myself, which includes the first book as well as the second. The second? It's pretty much just like the first, so of course, I loved it. More ups and downs with Pandora, Adrian makes some new friends, Adrian has a new sister (Rosie, of questionable paternity), Stick Insect, etc. ...more
This is fine. I resisted reading it for a long time because nothing, absolutely nothing, drew me in about it. Overall, though, you like Sam and RiddleThis is fine. I resisted reading it for a long time because nothing, absolutely nothing, drew me in about it. Overall, though, you like Sam and Riddle and the Bells too. A ton of stuff happens that I wasn't expecting (and by that I mean being stuck in the national park for literally weeks), and I rolled my eyes quite a few times, but still, it's fine. We got pretty slapstick-y with Bobby Ellis, and I can definitely see the author's film background then, but again, fine. Everything was fine. 2.5 stars. ...more
Nearly everybody in here is adorable and wonderful: Emi (our main character), Frank and Edie (your standarWell this was 100% adorable and I loved it.
Nearly everybody in here is adorable and wonderful: Emi (our main character), Frank and Edie (your standard adorable older couple), Charlotte (our super awesome and supportive best friend), a great brother, great parents ("I love you," I tell her. "And I you, my strong and talented daughter."), etc. The only person I am not completely on board with is Ava, which is ridiculously stupid of me, I know. Honestly, I just expected for there to be something wrong with this girl. Given her upbringing and how much we need for her to be perfect for Emi, the fact that she is great and fine and perfect for Emi made me call, "Bullshit!" Sigh. Yes I realize I am reading a fictional YA love story, I need to just get on board. It's just a very annoying feeling to have during an entire book--just waiting for the other shoe to drop. And it never does and instead of feeling relief, I just narrow my eyes a bit and walk away slowly, still suspicious.
Other thoughts: I am older than dirt if 1995 is ancient history (*weeps*).
I am also probably not 100% into Ava because I am actually: 100% into Charlotte. But she isn't a lesbian so I guess that isn't going anywhere. We're supposed to feel okay about this, though, because she ends up with **OH, SPOILERS, I GUESS** the older brother Toby.
I want to have the following jobs (which appear in this book): set designer, professor of pop culture, location scout.
The author did a lovely job of making LA seem less ooh-la-la LA, and turned it into friendly neighborhoods.
I do love that Ava has red hair. I drool over red hair, and any time we talk about Ava's red hair, it is the only time I feel like, Okay, maybe I can love Ava too.
Oh, relationships. Any time we're talking about heartache over Morgan or excitement/fears/etc. over Ava, I thought the author nailed it. "Because in the conversation beneath this one, what we're really saying is I am an imperfect person. Here are my failures. Do you want me anyway?" You guys, that to me is what long-term relationships are all about.
Oh, I am also in love with Jamal. When he breaks it down to Ava ("I have to get this off my chest. Your mom is seriously fucked up." Etc.), I kind of fist bumped nobody.
When Emi and Ava finally kiss. Um, kind of magical. And tying it into the films..."We love films because they make us feel something. They speak to our desires, which are never small. They allow us to escape and to dream and to gaze into eyes that are impossibly beautiful and huge. They fill us with longing. But also. They tell us to remember; they remind us of life. Remember, they say, how much it hurts to have your heart broken. Remember about death and suffering and the complexities of living. Remember what it is to love someone. Remember how it is to be loved. Remember what you feel in this moment. Remember this. Remember this."
What a surprise--this year's theme is religion (I have more reviews upcoming, like Going Clear, etc.).
"It's amazing how gullible people are," DeLoy cWhat a surprise--this year's theme is religion (I have more reviews upcoming, like Going Clear, etc.).
"It's amazing how gullible people are," DeLoy continues. "But you have to remember what a huge comfort the religion is. It provides all the answers. It makes life simple. Nothing makes you feel better than doing what the prophet commands you to do...And that's a real big part of what holds this religion together: its not having to make those critical decisions that many of us have to make, and be responsible for your decisions."
I think I unfortunately read this too close to The 19th Wife (a book I never reviewed for some reason? Though I still have vague feelings about it so maybe I'll update that). I have apparently hit my quota on Mormon fundamentalists (though in The 19th Wife, it's mainly just: Mormons. In Brigham Young's day. So.) I got more Unfortunate Moments in the Mormons' History, but other parts felt repetitious and tedious to me.
The true crime element was secondary, and since I was thinking this was mainly a True Crime Book, that threw me off. Sigh. I really need to read book descriptions better.
I love the Author's Remarks at the end, as I always wonder where authors are coming from and their research involved in a nonfiction book. I'm looking forward to reading more from Jon Krakauer, as I think he's super, and I already know this won't be my favorite from him. ...more
I judged this book by its cover--the dead, soulless eyes of the child on here, the happy parent tied to the train tracks--and thought, I'd like to knoI judged this book by its cover--the dead, soulless eyes of the child on here, the happy parent tied to the train tracks--and thought, I'd like to know what's going on in that book because I think I'll like it.
Here we have some real stories, folks, about being a parent. From babies to teenagers, happy and sad and difficult. I enjoyed it. It's main message seems to be: Buckle up and have a sense of humor. Also, none of us 100% know what we're doing, but trying is most of the battle. From The Tennis Pro:
"Don't do it!" she said. "We're all bad parents! None of us know what we're doing!"
I love the thought of some stranger yelling that when she can see a dad is about to lose his shit. This is her supporting her fellow parent. Ha, that's amazing.
Anyway, so all of the stories are also short and snappy, which is helpful when you're a parent of two little ones and you sometimes have a brain that won't stop bouncing everywhere. (I am lately reading six books at once. I can't concentrate ever.)
Bonus: There's a story in here from Andrew McCarthy. As in: my husband. The thought of him wrestling with a Bugaboo warmed my heart and made me want to just hug him. We've all wrestled with some tangible, real baby thing (like the stroller. Or the Moby wrap. Or something.), and it's always actually about wrestling with a whole lot more. Oh, Andrew McCarthy, you'll be okay.
A couple of stories really bugged me and turned me into the Judge-y Parent of Other Parents. OMG, take your prenatal vitamins. It's not difficult and it's not some cute act of rebellion (Baby Powder). And, please, let's not pretend Ferber says in his book to leave your kid screaming in their room for two and a half hours (Sweet Dreams), and then congratulate yourself for working out some sleep routine without the help of Ferber. I am biased because my first baby was Ferberized, but I really hate when people judge the whole "cry it out" method when they've not actually read the book. Like very clearly not read it at all.
Family Vacation is hysterical. Hitler's Love Child keeps replaying in my head (you will have so many parenting moments like those shown in the story). I read Oliver's Pink Bicycle to Husband (actual one, not Andrew McCarthy). I wasn't in love with I Yelled but it still made me feel slightly better about, gasp, yelling at my kid (I know, I feel guilty still but it happens). I've already mentioned my love for The Tennis Pro. I am still concerned about Jason Nash (Ten Months In), but I appreciated so much his honesty. Those most have been tough words to write and share. Go Easy on the Old Man was pretty great ("Just drink water the way a person drinks water."). The Sacrifice was hysterical to me, mainly because I always worry about my kids' bathroom needs, but the image of the dad standing next to the police officer, nearly shouting, "That's right, officer! He can't [pee in public]. Tell him. Tell him what happens when you break the law!"...the kid confused, the office paralyzed in his own confusion, and the dad laughing it off at the end of it, congratulating himself on his stroke of genius. There is so much of parenting that is like this.
So read this if you need some parenting moral support! Remember that none of us know what we're doing!...more
Oh, why do I read and love books about ridiculous WASPs and their "problems"?
Because sometimes the writing is just good. Because it's a view into a woOh, why do I read and love books about ridiculous WASPs and their "problems"?
Because sometimes the writing is just good. Because it's a view into a world I will never be in, and it's fascinating. Because even though these people are ridiculous and privileged (ridiculously privileged, really), it doesn't mean that some of their interactions and feelings aren't spot-on. And it's often hysterical to me. Though the stories are completely different, I was reminded of Duplicate Keys from Jane Smiley in how I wasn't expecting much from this book (it fulfilled my slim paperback prerequisite), but it ended up being a quiet triumph....more
This book begins with Alana having a baby ("Am I shitting? It feels like I'm shitting!"), so you know that I was all in right away (I have two babies,This book begins with Alana having a baby ("Am I shitting? It feels like I'm shitting!"), so you know that I was all in right away (I have two babies, natural births, sorry for the TMI if you don't know what it feels like). And that baby...has two tiny horn nubbins and teeny tiny wings. Which is basically the cutest thing I've ever seen (you know, after my own babies. Who I maybe kind of wish had wings and/or horns).
The Stalk--literally the scariest thing I've seen in a book. I was scared and repelled and had to look at her at least twenty times to make sure she was real and to feel my heart jump into my throat.
Alana and Marko--I cannot decide who I love more. I have arguments in my head about who I love more. I'm serious.
The ending ("And then my grandparents came to live with us")--perfection and I need the second book right away.
I crowed at Husband when I was done, "You need to read this. Here, give me that baby so you can read this. Now." And when he declared it was "okay", I considered divorce. I am only half joking....more