Friday, January 18, 2019

A Girl Like That, Review by Danelle T. '20

A Girl Like That
by Tanaz Bhathena

Heart wrenching and suspenseful, A Girl Like That offers many different sides to the same story, one of a desperate girl, tired of trying to fit in, and hopelessly searching for a way to express herself in a society riddled with sexist double standards and people waiting for her to fail. Zarin is an adventurous rule breaker who lives with her abusive aunt and uncle. She is constantly judged for her carefree attitude, especially as she grows older and develops a reputation for spending time with boys. The story begins with Zarin and her friend Porus in a fatal car accident, and then traces back to everything in Zarin’s life that led up to that moment: every choice she made, every boy she flirted with, every cigarette she lit, even though they always resulted in a beating from her aunt. As the story unfolds it becomes evident that the sexist double standards Zarin struggled with are what drove her to the demolished passenger seat of a ruined car, surrounded by the shouts of religious police and the desperate cries of her family. Through the literary journey of A Girl Like That, the reader’s eyes are opened to Middle Eastern culture and the struggles of girls constrained to the boxes that they are placed in by it.

Review by Danelle T. '20

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Color of Water, Review by Zoe M. '20

The Color of Water
By James McBride
A memoir by James McBride, The Color of Water alternates between telling the story of McBride’s own upbringing, and the one of his mother, Ruth. Ruth grew up as an Orthodox Jew who immigrated to the American South, living with an oppressive father and surrounded by racism. Her hellish childhood caused her to flee from her childhood home and shed her Jewish identity. The book rotates between scenes of Ruth’s childhood and that of her son, James McBride, and his experience growing up in poverty with a strong mother guiding him. I very much enjoyed the compelling scenes which McBride depicts about both his and his mother’s childhood, but I felt like there was a lack of cohesion between the two stories. In the beginning of the book, Ruth seems to be the only thread between the two, and it was confusing to have to read two chopped up stories. However, once the author’s scenes depicted his adulthood years, the connection was made more clear. His memoir explains the phenomenon about how a son can have such a drastically different upbringing from his mother’s. 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Washington Black, Review by Didi M. '20

Washington Black
by Esi Edugyan

Fulfilling all emotional wants and needs, Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black is a novel of adventure, racism, romance, and innovation. Watch as young Washington Black, a slave on Faith plantation in Barbados, suffers at the hand of social injustice and scarring accidents, all while on the run from a terrible past and a frighteningly tenacious bounty-hunter. Without any true guidance in life, Washington is forced to decipher and overcome his past tragedies in his own mental prison as he plans for his complex future in a prejudiced and racist world. Living vicariously through the one person who’d ever been fair to him, the apparent disappearance of his mentor brings Washington to near-psychosis which in time would lead him on a journey around the globe. Heart-wrenching and captivating, Washington Black easily enchants an audience fascinated by historical fiction, leaving its reader with a sense of social guilt, creative impulse, and an unexpected and frustrating conclusion.

Review by Didi M. '20

Keeper of the Lost Cities, Review by Nicole T. '22

Keeper of the Lost Cities
by Shannon Messenger

Her whole world has been a lie. And it is much more complicated than Sophie Foster thinks. She has a big secret that she does not yet understand. Sophie is a telepath, which means she can read minds. It is a talent she couldn't understand or explain. Everything changes when she meets Fitz Vacker, out of nowhere, who shows her a whole new place where she belongs. It is a place that's very different in every way possible. It's a world full of power with light, kingdoms, and so much more. At the end of the day, Sophie Foster faces a life changing experience where she starts her new adventure into the unknown, where she learns new rules, and meets new people. This book has it all - Adventure, love, mystery, and so much more

Review by Nicole T. '22

Little Fires Everywhere, Review by Malka H. '22

Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng, is about Elena Richardson, a woman who lives and breathes “orderly," and Mia Warren, a free spirit at heart, and the way their lives change upon meeting each other. I had read another of Celeste Ng’s books for school, and was astounded by her writing style, so I decided to read another of her books. Little Fires Everywhere, was an easy, but good, read. Celeste Ng has the rare ability to touch your heart with her writing. The characters seem to speak to you as they tell you the tale of their past, present, and inadvertently, a glimpse into their future. The writing is exquisite, and multiple times while reading I had to stop in order to appreciate a particularly meaningful phrase. It will make you question life, the meaning of it, and what we should do with it. Truly a book everyone should read.
Review by Malka H. '22

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow Review by Benjamin C. '22

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
by Yuval Noah Harari

I really enjoyed this book, although it is not for everyone. I found it very dense and at times a struggle to get through all the information. Homo Deus is a sequel to the book Sapiens. Sapiens tells the story of the agricultural, Industrial and scientific revolutions. Homo Deus is about what humanity has in store in the next 1,000 years. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys non-fiction books.

Reviewed by Benjamin C. '22

Thursday, December 20, 2018

A Body, Undone Review by Michelle M.

A Body, Undone

A Body, Undone, by Christina Crosby, is an account of Christina's life after she became paralyzed when she caught a branch in the spokes of her bicycle and was pitched forward, landing on her chin and becoming instantly paralyzed. I was interested in reading this book because I knew Crosby years ago when I was a student at Wesleyan University, where Crosby is still a professor of English, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

A Body, Undone was a difficult book to read. Christina was a woman who took great pride in her body – her athleticism, her strength, her independence, her physical and sexual relationship with her partner. She was, as she said, in the prime of her life when her life was completely and irrevocably altered. She is now totally dependent on others to keep her alive.

While I didn’t think the writing was all that compelling – I never stopped to reread a particularly beautiful line – I was taken in by how open and honest Christina is about her new body. She shares intimate details (her bowel movement regiment, eg) that force the reader to confront some distrubing realities about life in a paralyzed body. She details some horrifying scenes. This book is not for the squeamish.