Book Review: Sing, Unburied, Sing

Book Review: Sing, Unburied, SingSing, Unburied, Sing
by Jesmyn Ward
Pages: 285
Published by Scribner
Genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Multicultural
Goodreads

A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward.

Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she's high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie's children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.

Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward's distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature.

My Takeaway “Sorrow is food swallowed too quickly, caught in the throat, making it nearly impossible to breathe.” Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing Though I finished this book days ago, I have taken my time writing this review because I want to do it justice. Sing, Unburied, Sing is unlike…

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Book Review: Little Fires Everywhere

Book Review: Little Fires EverywhereLittle Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng
Pages: 336
Published by Penguin Press
Genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction
Goodreads

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned - from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother - who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

My Takeaway “Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground, and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.” Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere Ng is an amazing, brilliant and talented…

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Book Review: Lily and the Octopus

Book Review: Lily and the OctopusLily and the Octopus
by Steven Rowley
Pages: 307
Published by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction
Goodreads

When you sit down with Lily and the Octopus, you will be taken on an unforgettable ride.

The magic of this novel is in the read, and we don't want to spoil it by giving away too many details.

We can tell you that this is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can't live without.

For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog.

Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all.

Remember the last book you told someone they had to read?

Lily and the Octopus is the next one.

My Takeaway “Dogs are always good and full of selfless love. They are undiluted vessels of joy who never, ever deserve anything bad that happens to them.” Steven Rowley, Lily and the Octopus OMG! THIS! BOOK! WAS! AMAZING! First of all, I have never read a book like Lily and…

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Book Review: What We Lose

Book Review: What We LoseWhat We Lose
by Zinzi Clemmons
Pages: 224
Published by Viking
Genres: Literary Fiction, Multicultural
Goodreads

Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother’s childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor—someone, or something, to love.

In arresting and unsettling prose, we watch Thandi’s life unfold, from losing her mother and learning to live without the person who has most profoundly shaped her existence, to her own encounters with romance and unexpected motherhood. Through exquisite and emotional vignettes, Clemmons creates a stunning portrayal of what it means to choose to live, after loss. An elegiac distillation, at once intellectual and visceral, of a young woman’s understanding of absence and identity that spans continents and decades, What We Lose heralds the arrival of a virtuosic new voice in fiction.

My Takeaway  “I’ve amazed myself with how well I’ve learned to live around her absence. This void is my constant companion, no matter what I do. Nothing will fill it, and it will never go away.” Zinzi Clemmons, What We Lose Clemmons’s debut novel…

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Book Review: Commonwealth

Book Review: CommonwealthCommonwealth
by Ann Patchett
Pages: 322
Published by Harper
Genres: Literary Fiction
Goodreads

One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.

Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.

When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.

My Takeaway – Short & Sweet!  “He realized then what he had known from the first minute he saw her, from when she leaned out the kitchen door and called for her husband. This was the start of his life.” Ann Patchett, Commonwealth Although I’m aware of Ann…

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