Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Thirteen Reason Why by Jay Asher

  Thirteen Reasons Why

Rating (1-5) - 📘📘📘📘
Genre - Teen Fiction, Suicide, Family Issues
Format - Audio Book
Length - 6 hours 24 minutes

*Amazon Blurb*

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush, who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice explains that there are 13 reasons she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a first-hand witness to Hannah's pain, and learns the truth about himself - a truth he never wanted to face.

*My Review*
 This wasn't a book I'd normally read, but I was trying to find something to listen to while on the treadmill and got frustrated looking so I downloaded the first available one....this was it.

Poor Hannah has decided to end her life, but it wasn't just one incident that brought her to this decision - it was thirteen. She left things build up in sort of a snowball effect until she couldn't take it anymore. The fact that she made tapes to explain all the hurt she felt made me feel bad for her even though she wasn't nice in them. There were things that she shouldn't told someone about, but decided to not say anything. It just goes to show that one person really can make a big difference in someone's life and that big difference just could be a life or death one.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn


Rating (1-5) - 📘📘📘
Genre - Suspense, Crime Thriller
Format - Paperback
Length - 370 Pages

*Amazon Blurb*

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas". As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived, and famously testified that her 15-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who've long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details, proof they hope may free Ben, Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she'll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club...and maybe she'll admit her testimony wasn't so solid after all.

As Libby's search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby's doomed family members, including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town.

Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started...on the run from a killer.

*My Review*

There isn't anything more horrible than a child witnessing her family being killed, but how much did Libby actually see? Libby shuts herself off from the world and survives off money that people had donated to a fund for her. Unfortunately Libby couldn't hold a job and the funds grew dry. I kept wondering why she wasn't getting some kind of services to help her as she clearly has psychological issues. In any event, she gets approached by member from a "Kill Club" that tries to solve unsolved murders. Libby agrees to reconnect with people from her past simply because she needs the money to live off. Eventually the story of what really happened that night comes out. 

The story has some pretty gruesome scenes in it so if you are squirmy about those, you'll either want to skip them or the book altogether. At no point did I like Libby as a person. The only person that I sort cared for was Libby's mom. She was trying her best to provide a better life for her kids and even in the end she failed.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Rating (1-5) - 📘📘📘
Genre - Fiction, Family Life Fiction, Family Saga
Format - Paperback
Length - 400 Pages

*Amazon Blurb*

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, caught in the tragic sweep of history, The Kite Runner transports readers to Afghanistan at a tense and crucial moment of change and destruction. A powerful story of friendship, it is also about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies. Since its publication in 2003 Kite Runner has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic of contemporary literature, touching millions of readers, and launching the career of one of America's most treasured writers.

*My Review*

We read this book for my Book Club and though many of the members really liked it, I thought it was just so-so. I found myself not liking the main character because of the way he treated his "best friend". I understand that their friendship wasn't exactly something allowed since Hassan was just a servant to Amir, but still. If you are going to be friends with someone, don't make the friendship be about convenience. Amir's father was also very unlikable. Amir was doing just about everything he could so that his father would be proud of him, but it was almost like he was invisible.  


(I am working on getting caught up with reviews and it's been so long since I read this book so I apologize for the extremely short review. I remember bits and pieces, but not all of it.)

Friday, September 30, 2022

Before And After by Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie


Rating (1-5) - 📘📘📘📘📘
Genre - Adoption, Women in History
Format - Paperback
Length - 320 Pages

*Amazon Blurb*

From the 1920s to 1950, Georgia Tann ran a black-market baby business at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. She offered up more than 5,000 orphans tailored to the wish lists of eager parents—hiding the fact that many weren’t orphans at all, but stolen sons and daughters of poor families, desperate single mothers, and women told in maternity wards that their babies had died.

The publication of Lisa Wingate’s novel 
Before We Were Yours brought new awareness of Tann’s lucrative career in child trafficking. Adoptees who knew little about their pasts gained insight into the startling facts behind their family histories. Encouraged by their contact with Wingate and award-winning journalist Judy Christie, who documented the stories of fifteen adoptees in this book, many determined Tann survivors set out to trace their roots and find their birth families.

Before and After includes moving and sometimes shocking accounts of the ways in which adoptees were separated from their first families. Often raised as only children, many have joyfully reunited with siblings in the final decades of their lives. Christie and Wingate tell of first meetings that are all the sweeter and more intense for time missed and of families from very different social backgrounds reaching out to embrace better-late-than-never brothers, sisters, and cousins. In a poignant culmination of art meeting life, many of the long-silent victims of the tragically corrupt system return to Memphis with the authors to reclaim their stories at a Tennessee Children’s Home Society reunion . . . with extraordinary results.

*My Review*
The emotions that I felt reading this book was not all that surprising to me. It was raw and real. Why? Because the stories in this book are the true stories of what children endured at the hands of a Ms. Georgia Tann, a real life monster. When I first heard of this book I knew right away that I need to read it after having already read Before We Were Yours, a book that will turn your world upside down. You can read my review on that here.
I was so glad for this book because it provided some closure to what happened to so many of the children Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. Unfortunlatey, not all of them got a happy ending, but so many of them did.