Welcome to my blog where I share my book reviews
and life along the winding road

Friday, August 14, 2020

The Pact by Jodi Picoult


Jodi Picoult writes about controversial subjects and The Pact, like any other book with teenage emotions, is a difficult read.

Childhood neighbors Chris and Emily were born a few months apart and had spent their days together as best friends, but when their childhood turned into the teenage years Emily began questioning how their relationship had quickly turned into more than a friendship. She wasn't ready for the physical demands that Chris thought so natural with someone he loved. The result was a tragedy and unlike Romeo and Juliet, Chris was arrested and held in prison until his trial.

Not only did the event wreck the lives of the two lovers, but also their parents who were as close as the children themselves. 

Along with  the story, the testimony of several witnesses and professional experts brought home the struggles and emotions that teenagers deal with, often without their parents understanding what is going on. It's so easy to just assume they are simply going through a fluctuation of hormones and not something that will have an everlasting effect on them and those around them.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

In the Beauty of the Lilies by John Updike

I have been going through my pile of unread books (I don't feel comfortable venturing into the library with Covid 19 still swirling around)  and came across In The Beauty of the Lilies by John Updike. It is a family saga of the Wilmot family beginning in 1910 New Jersey and ending in 1990. In addition to the loves and lives of the family, John Updike gives us a backdrop of American history through WWI, the Spanish Flu and the Great Depression. His detailed descriptions place the reader in the midst of the family. This was one of my favorite reads this year where I enjoyed being immersed in a novel and small town America, unlike many of the newer works which seem to rush you through without taking the time to explain or describe the surroundings.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

Paula McLain is drawn to strong female characters and Martha Gellhorn's affair with Ernest Hemingway with a backdrop of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War lends itself to a fascinating story. Love and Ruin begins when Martha Gellhorn was 28 years old in 1937. She met Ernest Hemingway and he encouraged her to become a war correspondent. The Spanish Civil War hasn't been a historical time that I was familiar with, although I knew Ernest Hemingway was in Spain and somewhat involved. Love and Ruin gives a good birds eye view of the war between the Republicans and Nationalists seen through the eyes of Martha Gellhorn, a journalist who went on to become one of the greatest war correspondents.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones and the Six, although fictional, could have been written about many of the California bands/groups in the seventies and eighties whose lives revolved around drugs and promiscuity.
Daisy Jones came from a wealthy Hollywood Hills family who had little time for their only daughter and as a young teenager Daisy Jones frequently walked to Hollywood Boulevard where she was soon included in the wild scene playing out at the clubs. She evolved into a singer and became part of the group - The Six. The book is written as an oral history or could be construed as an interview of each of the people in the group and  Daisy.

The Taylor Jenkins Reid novel is scheduled to become a tv series.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Mrs. Jesse James by Pat Wahler

Pat Wahler is a gifted writer and in Mrs. Jesse James, she takes us back in history to travel the path of Zerelda Mimms (Zee) Jesse James wife and first cousin. Zee waits years for Jesse to keep his promise to marry her and despite his goal to eventually settle down they constantly move - one step from the law and The Pinkertons. The James/Younger Outlaw Gang justified their crime spree as revenge for the mistreatment of their family during the Civil War by Union Soldiers. But banks were held up, innocent people killed and the local economy suffered. Zee was unaware of many of Jesse's escapades until she saw something relating to a bank train robbery in the newspaper. Most of her life appeared to be lonely (her mother disowned her when she married Jesse) and her husband preferred that she not make friends in case his true identity became known.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad

We often think of White Supremacy as people with Nazi symbols or the KKK dressed in white robes, but Layla Saad points out that many of us promote white supremacy in different ways. She started off with an Instagram challenge before putting her thoughts about white privilege and how we can look inside ourselves for our attitude toward race in her book Me and White Supremacy.

Some points she makes:

People of privilege from western countries travel to do charity work in countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. The belief is that our way/religion is best.

White Centering
Centering of whiteness. White values, white norms, white feelings over everything and everyone else with the belief that white is normal.

White Saviorism Colonialist idea that assumes people of color need white people to save them (i.e. the book/movieThe Help) and without white intervention they will be left helpless.

White Superiority
White people domination

Friday, June 19, 2020

Interview with Frank Abagnale (Catch Me if You Can)

The movie Catch Me if You Can was made around Frank Abagnale's life. He is a powerful speaker and in the video below explains how his life changed when his parents were in the process of a divorce and he ran away.