April Reads

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Book 11:
"The Best Kind of People" by Zoe Whittall
Plot: Ten years ago, George Woodbury stopped a school shooting and became teacher of the year. He's respected and trusted by everyone in his community, in the wealthy town of Avalon Hills. That all changes the night he's arrested. Students at his school, classmates and friends of his daughter, are accusing him of sexual misconduct during a weekend field trip. His family struggles with the news, torn between defending a man they love and being honest about the possibility of his guilt.

Thoughts: This is a very bold book to have on the shelves right now. Men guilty of assault don't deserve our sympathies, but their families do. Those men are fathers, husbands, brothers, who've likely blindsided the people who love them. This book explores how one person's actions impact everyone around them. Despite there being a few subplots that I wish were fleshed out more, this is the type of book I love to read. Timely, relevant, important. One that makes you think and sticks with you.
We all have the capacity to behave in moral ways and to make mistakes, right? But still, these allegations went beyond that, would cancel out the good things."
Rating: 3.5/5

Book 12:
"A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini
Plot: Set in Afghanistan over four decades, "A Thousand Splendid Suns" tells the story of Mariam and Laila, women from two different generations whose paths converge under unfortunate circumstances. Together, they endure hardships both in and out of the home, from war to oppression to abuse. They learn to love each other as sisters would, each bringing out the strength and courage in the other. Perhaps fate brought them together for a reason. Perhaps their keys to salvation lie in each other.

Thoughts: I think this book has been recommended to me more than any other, and I can see why. It's such a powerful book, about characters with more strength than we'll ever know. It's difficult to read because you want to help these fictional characters so badly, and the truth is that these characters exist in the real world too. These horrible things happen. It opens your eyes to the world in a way that is devastating but impossible to stop.
But after four years of marriage, Mariam saw clearly how much a woman could tolerate when she was afraid."
Rating: 4/5

Book 13:
"Stray City" by Chelsey Johnson
Plot: Originally from Nebraska, Andrea now lives in Portland and has found her place in her tight-knit circle of gay friends. After a bad breakup, she ends up sleeping with a man and becomes more involved with him than she expected. She ends up pregnant and, to her own surprise, decides to keep the baby. Years later, her almost-ten-year-old daughter starts asking questions about the father she's never known, and Andrea must confront her past without threatening her future.

Thoughts: I didn't read the entire summary before I grabbed the book off the shelf but I wish I did because it wasn't what I thought it'd be. The idea of a lesbian getting pregnant by a man intrigued me. I thought a lot of it would be about Andrea's internal grapplings with her feelings and sexuality, but most of it feels like a story about a single mother who's daughter wants to know her father. I didn't know it would flash-forward, and while plot-wise it wasn't my favorite, it was almost more tolerable because it was written in third-person instead of from Andrea's POV like the first half was, which I didn't enjoy. There were parts that threw me, like the use of "butch" and "faggy," and the distaste to the term "bisexual." The overall storyline isn't bad, it's just not what it's advertised to be.

Rating: 2/5

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