An odd title for some book reviews, but it pertains to the content which gave me some new perspectives, so I went with it. I’m going to first start by stating that in the past I’ve been given flack over the book choices I make. I admit, I love Young Adult, which I’ve been teased about from folks viewing it as juvenile and silly. This statement from people who enjoy Jason Bourne novellas in which a regular guy is completely unstoppable in super hero strength and wit and they think this is perfectly admissible and plausible in real life? But I digress. If you are reading and you love it, then who the fuck cares what it is about?
I’ll also divulge that high school content is about as far from silly as you can get. I mean, when is your life more tumultuous, more terrifying, more confusing, insert every emotion here, then when you are a teenager? When you can’t even sit still from the discomfort of how you feel in your own skin for Christ’s sake. It’s a genre that can cover countless topics and when it is done well, it can bring you right back to those horrifying moments in gym, when you would rather cut your eye ball out then get naked in front of your classmates, or standing in front of the class, enduring the heart pounding pressure of public speaking. Those moments that you can recall with perfect clarity and wish you could somehow have told your young self – it is going to be so much more awesome in 10 years!
Ok, rant over, let’s jump into some great books I finished recently…
I’ll start with the Young Adult ones:
Eleanor & Park.
Ok, first off I LOVE Rainbow Rowell. I love her style of writing, her complex and quirky characters win me over everytime, and the graphic designer in me covets her cover art. I was expecting something cute and romantic in this one, which in some ways it was, but it was also the one, out of the lot, that made me the most uncomfortable. When I say that word, I don’t mean it in the way you are probably thinking. I mean to say, that it got under my skin. It made me think, it made me appreciate my youth, my life, even today. Greatly.
Eleanor is the new girl, constantly teased, self conscious about her goodwill clothes, her unruly hair, her everything. When you peek inside her life, inside the fact that she can’t even afford batteries, or that she must rush to bathe as soon as school is out due to her abusive step-father and lack of door on their washroom, I mean, it’s jarring. Your heart breaks for her life, that she can do nothing about. It’s just the hand she was dealt, and she carries on with her day as best as she can.
The timid and beautiful storyline between her and Park was realistic and interesting. He didn’t just swoop in and rescue her, he was confused and unsure of himself, and of her, of his family, of the person he thought he should be. I think I read this book in less then a day. It was great. It ended a little too quickly for me, only because I wanted an epilogue, I wanted to know what happened ‘after’. But when I thought about that, and why she left it as such, I realize that now I can come up with the ending myself and see it exactly how I wanted to. Love this book.
The Beginning of Everything.
I’ve not read a book from Robyn Schneider before, so I didn’t know what to expect. Again, I loved the cover art and it’s been a long time since I’ve read a book with a male protagonist so I was intrigued. The first few chapters were incredible, the whole Disneyland decapitation retelling was what drew me in…I can’t say anything more :) I also was so transfixed on the concept of tragic events that reshape your life, that I’m still obsessing about it.
The author likened the concept to Retrosynthesis, a technique found in organic chemistry, that I will totally mess up the explanation if I attempt it, but in a nutshell, ultimately each one of us will undergo a tragic occurrence or incident that will set you on a path to what really matters. There is a lot more to it, obviously, but this story follows Ezra after a car accident that ruins his leg, ends his tennis career, his sports ambitions, his relationships, his popularity, everything is altered. In an instant his life is irrevocably changed and its only later does he see how it truly changes him, into who he was meant to be. Whoa, that sounds very heavy. The lighter points to the book include the cool debate club, the thoughtful and witty dialogue, and Cooper the Gatsby-an wonder dog (I loved old sport).
In the New Adult club, which is the more college centered, and sometimes slutty :) reads, I finished two books.
The Year We Fell Down.
Ok, this one I chose for diversity. I’ve not dipped into a character who has a spinal injury and I was curious about their day to day life. It follows a girl in a wheel chair and a guy with a badly broken leg, and I’ll admit that I have a new respect for my working limbs. It’s incredible what we take for granted (like a flight of three steps), and what would it be like for a young college student, desperate to assimilate with out pitying looks, praying for accessible ramps and classrooms, or the frustration of not seeing the food in the lunch line because you are too low in your chair. I enjoy the books that make me think, and I liked this book for all these reasons. I also liked the love story, it was sweet and believable, and I so loved Hartley.
This is also the one that gave me the post title, the underlying current of this story, which is the varying degrees of shit we all have to shovel. We each have burdens, shit, to work through. I’d say my shit varies according to the day, I try to remain positive about life, but without a doubt there are weeks that I feel like I have a mountain to move. It’s important to realize we all have to shovel different levels of shit, even the ones who seem to have it all, the ones with no obvious worries, the golden lives (or so we assume). Oddly, I think those are the people who have the most shit loads.
The Hooker and the Hermit.
The title nearly threw me off. Then I looked more closely at the cover art and the comment about the white football, and I thought, why not? First off a hooker is a rugby position, I did not know this. I didn’t know anything about the sport, and now I know at least what a hooker is, or rather, that this book wasn’t about a paid escort :)
I also realize that I am very much like the main character…the hermit. She’s a blogger, she prefers to work at home away from people, she has an affinity for chocolate…pot…kettle…me. I related to her in a lot of ways, seeing my life choices slightly differently, and left me wondering how much of a home body I am. How I don’t know if I can ever deal with going into an office again, dealing with people every day, wearing fancy clothes, conversing??!! The horror!
So anyways, I thought the book was a funny and cute read. Enjoy :)