La La's Reviews > What We Lose

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons
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Jul 09, 2017

it was amazing
bookshelves: on-my-bookshelf, review-arcs-author-pub-copy, adult-fic, diverse-or-issue-related, on-my-kindle
Read 2 times. Last read July 6, 2017 to July 8, 2017.

3 stars on the blog.

I know you are all saying, "Huh?" How can it be five stars here and three stars on the blog? Well, this book has gotten quite a few one star ratings based solely on the fact that it is about African American culture and race relations; one reviewer said she is sick of all the "trendy" POC titles. Yeah, can you believe that? So, therefore, despite all of the mechanical problems I had with this book, it is getting five Goodreads stars from me because of its message and the insight it provides.

Also, for all of those "readers" who gave it one star for being about minority cultural situations... approximately 50 percent of the story is about a college student dealing with a parent's illness and death, ten percent is about family issues not related to color, and another ten percent is about relationships. That adds up to around only 30 percent being specifically about black culture and race relations, so based on your assessment of your rating you should be giving the book three stars.

Now for my thoughts on this title...

The narration was dry. Most of the time it was like reading the diary of someone who was not much inspired to journal. The storyline was chaotic, it switched between characters and time periods erratically. The author would start out using "he" referring to her boyfriend and then all sudden she mentions something and you realize somewhere along the line she had switched "he" to mean her father, or a cousin, etc. It took me a good chunk of the book to realize her mother passed away when she was in college, not high school like it seemed in the beginning. I had to go back and re-read previous sections of the story to place what was going on, and everyone knows that is one of my biggest pet peeves.

There were also continuity problems. At one point she was talking about discussing something with a person and then two paragraphs later she was saying how she hadn't told them about the situation yet, then it went back to saying they had discussed it. The MC would be one place and then without any mention of how, or why, they would be somewhere else. The character would also jump time frames without warning.

There were weird unexplained scenes like: although she had a car she for some reason ended up taking a city bus somewhere and back again. Some events, like the bus trip scenerio, had no correlation to the story and I would be thinking these things were going to affect something later in the book, but they didn't. And then there was a rather large section of textbook type South African history unceremoniously plunked down in the middle of a scene, which would have been more effective parceled out through the story in smaller pieces.

Honestly, it was like reading a scattered second draft. Like the publisher was so fired up to get it published they didn't bother with final edits. This is Adult Fiction and the Young Adult title The Hate U Give puts this book to shame for solid storytelling; which is a shame because content wise this book has a lot of profound statements to make.

I was approved for an eARC, via Edelweiss, in return for an honest review. I was also sent a physical copy by the publisher.

This title will be included in a blog post I am doing about Goodreads members rating books before reading them. I will add the link when it is posted.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
March 29, 2017 – Shelved
March 29, 2017 – Shelved as: arc-and-review-tbr
March 29, 2017 – Shelved as: on-my-bookshelf
March 29, 2017 – Shelved as: review-arcs-author-pub-copy
July 6, 2017 – Started Reading
July 8, 2017 –
page 120
56.34% "The narrative is dry, but the insight and message are extremely valuable."
July 8, 2017 – Finished Reading
July 9, 2017 – Shelved as: adult-fic
July 9, 2017 – Shelved as: diverse-or-issue-related
July 9, 2017 – Shelved as: on-my-kindle

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Samantha (WLABB) It makes me sad that a book is being attack for being diverse.


La La @Sam: Me, too. :'(


message 3: by Alex (new) - added it

Alex Thanks for this balanced review. I saw (and commented on) one of the reviews that fits the criteria of why you had to rate higher than you would have under normal circumstances.

The flaws you've discussed are major, in my opinion, but they are far more warranted than not liking a book because it seems trendy. Anyway, I plan to read it soon and develop my own opinion on it, but I greatly appreciate your sensible take on What We Lose.


La La Alex wrote: "Thanks for this balanced review. I saw (and commented on) one of the reviews that fits the criteria of why you had to rate higher than you would have under normal circumstances.

The flaws you've ..."


Thanks, I have been getting fed up with the ratings from members who have not read a book; both pro and con. I hope you enjoy the book. :)


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