Really enjoyed this book. I loved how realistic Andi was as a troubled teen. Her life is a mess around her after the death of her little brother, andReally enjoyed this book. I loved how realistic Andi was as a troubled teen. Her life is a mess around her after the death of her little brother, and she gets dragged to Paris with her father. She stumbles on a diary written by another young woman, Alex, during the French Revolution and gets sucked in. As the story goes on, Andi gets more invested in the diary until her mental health is tied with Alex's story. Alex is in the cross hairs of history. She has been put in charge of the prince of France, son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. She adores this child and her primary job is to make him laugh. In Andi's time, her father and a family friend are investigating a preserved heart to see if it is that of the young prince. As the Revolution rages, the prince is placed in jail because he is a potential king and heir to the throne. Alex, still trying to make her young charge happy, begins a dangerous game of lighting fireworks for his amusement, even though she could be guillotined for it. Andi must know what happened to the young prince and to Alex, and all their lives may be entwined and potentially doomed to the same fate.
I feel like I learned some things about the French Revolution, though I'm curious to learn more. I wonder how much of the story of the young prince is true. Both the historical and modern day versions of this story were compelling and I really enjoyed reading it....more
I found part 1 to be the least helpful. I don't know if it's because I have some concepts of mindfulness, or maybe I just couldn't identify with the pI found part 1 to be the least helpful. I don't know if it's because I have some concepts of mindfulness, or maybe I just couldn't identify with the people she was portraying. However parts 2 and on were much more helpful. I really liked the tip of "if you know you want to emotionally eat, do something mindful for 5 minutes, even if it's suck on a hard candy." A lot of my emotional eating is sweets, so a hard candy can give me that little bit of sugar while I also have a chance to examine what emotions are making me want something else. Plus, I can do it anywhere, in the car, at work, at the grocery store, etc (some of the other tips, like imagine getting a full body massage, while I can, and sometimes do use to relax, are a little less practical while I'm also trying to live my life). I think I'm going to have a harder time being more mindful as I eat, even if I'm eating due to real hunger. Just these past few days, I've tried being mindful as I eat, but then I look down and realize, "where's my sandwich that I was mindfully observing?" Whoops.
If you're trying to incorporate mindfulness into your life as a way to reduce stress, depression, anxiety or just feel better in general, I think learning to eat mindfully is a great way to practice mindfulness. It's something you have to do multiple times a day, so there's lots to practice and food gives you lots of ways to be mindful: smell it, see it, touch with your hands, with your lips, with your tongue, how do you feel about this piece of food, what emotions or memories come to mind, how do you feel after you've eaten it etc, etc... ...more
Another well done book about true to life issues relevant to today's teens, and adults. I really enjoyed the characters, their growth and changes. I wAnother well done book about true to life issues relevant to today's teens, and adults. I really enjoyed the characters, their growth and changes. I wasn't expecting the ending, but it worked. I guess my biggest complaint would be that the poetry wasn't as good as usual. In previous books, while I get completely absorbed in the story, I don't lose sight of the fact that I'm reading verse; there's a rhythm and flow to the words and lines. That seemed to be missing this time. If I hadn't read her other books, I might not have noticed it, but it didn't feel poetic....more
I enjoyed the book for its own sake, but now that I'm finished and I think back on it as it compares to Mrs. Dalloway, it feels a little too matchy-maI enjoyed the book for its own sake, but now that I'm finished and I think back on it as it compares to Mrs. Dalloway, it feels a little too matchy-matchy for me. I'm all for reimagining a favorite classic, but give it some divergent points as well as common ones. My favorite parts of this book were the sections from Virginia Woolf's point of view. I really felt her desire to create as well as her desire to destroy (namely, herself). She felt the most real to me, perhaps because the author had authentic diaries and letters to go on. It makes me want to read some non-fiction on her life and see how close it came to the truth. My least favorite was the ending to Mrs. Brown's story. (view spoiler)[ Was her son able to remember her suicidal thoughts from when he was 3 and put them in his own books? Or was she suicidal throughout her life? There's so much alluded to that happens beyond the part of her life highlighted in the book that I think would have made for better reading. What did Richard write about her? It wasn't flattering. It made me want to go read Richard's books to get a better understanding of his mother. (hide spoiler)] Clarissa's sections felt a bit flat to me. Whereas Mrs. Brown is supposed to be the suppressed housewife of the 50s, Clarissa actually felt like the non-existent caricature of domesticity: buying flowers, throwing parties, worried about her daughter and her spouse and her friends. Worried what all of these people think of her. Did she have a self? Was she meant to?
OK, well, considering I thought I'd write a review that basically said, yeah, it was all right, as I was writing, more came to mind that I initially thought. So maybe for that merit, people should read this book. ["br"]>["br"]>...more
If you haven't been to the blog, go there. Then read the book. If you have, read the book. If you think yoRead ALL the things!! No, really, read them.
If you haven't been to the blog, go there. Then read the book. If you have, read the book. If you think you might have but aren't sure, read the book. If you need a delirious laugh fest that gets you kicked out of bed because your boyfriend is trying to sleep, read the book.
I'm a little disappointed that "Spiders are Scary" didn't make an appearance because the world needs to know that spiders are scary. I also am partial to "How Kenny Loggins Ruined Christmas". However, I know where to find them if I need a refresher. I now have access to (among several other new bits) the "Warning Signs" that have lead Allie to being the comic genius that she is. I have to applaud her, for as wet your pants funny as her stuff is, she also tackles trying to be mature and nice as well as being in the depths of depression in novel, realistic, understandable, humane ways.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go see if my boyfriend will let me come back to bed....more
Read this in 2 days! I can't remember the last time I did that!
The odd thing is that I would say I didn't really like the writing style, but the emotRead this in 2 days! I can't remember the last time I did that!
The odd thing is that I would say I didn't really like the writing style, but the emotions behind it got to me through the whole book. Given that I spent a great deal of time over the past 2 weeks dealing with addicts, you'd think I wouldn't want to come home and read about addicts. If it's done well enough, though, it feels recharging rather than depleting. This was recharging. It was emotional and true. Some people get better, some don't. Some people can come to terms with their pasts, some can't. My 2 big complaints were that the style didn't quite flow for me. I can't explain why, though some of the dialogue may have played a part. I also think Raphael and Zach were too much alike. I got that they were supposed to have similar trajectories, but I think it was overdone.
All in all, a great book, and another win for my recommendation shelves....more
I know the brain is complicated. I have no idea how my brain manages all the stuff it's up to, and that's just the brain activity I know about. The SeI know the brain is complicated. I have no idea how my brain manages all the stuff it's up to, and that's just the brain activity I know about. The Secret Life of my Brain is beyond incredible. Before I am even conscious that I have to scratch my head, my unconscious brain already knows it and has already decided that I will move my hand a *full second* before I've decided to do so. I can't get anything past my own brain!! ...more
This was an easily accessible, fun (given the topic), creative read. I really felt she was able to show a lot of insight and capture her mania and depThis was an easily accessible, fun (given the topic), creative read. I really felt she was able to show a lot of insight and capture her mania and depression. I also liked her more philosophical questions: do meds fundamentally change who I am? how many meds to take? are "crazy" people more creative? who gets to judge that people of the past (van Gogh, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, etc) were mentally ill? how much of your illness do you share with friends or family, etc?? I also really liked her concerns with changing her lifestyle. She didn't want to do yoga, read self help books, take meds or give up smoking pot. She ultimately decided that her mental health was worth those changes. Working in the field, I find those are the hardest concepts to encourage in clients. Ultimately, people have to decide what is worth keeping and what is worth giving up, at least temporarily, for the sake of stability. Well done....more