The Nerd Journals

Filling up journals as proof of my meager existence.

Tag: contemporary

Mrs. Fletcher

3/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Scribner for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

Despite not liking my first Perrotta book too particularly well (The Leftovers – 3/5 stars), I decided to give this one a try as well. I ended up liking Mrs. Fletcher as much as I liked The Leftovers, which is disappointing because I really like Tom Perrotta’s writing style. His stories, however, just aren’t doing it for me. If you have a suggestion for another Perrotta book for me to try out, please feel free to mention it to me.

This book is told from the point of view of Eve, a 40-something divorcee and a recent empty-nester rediscovering her sexuality. Eve wants a different life now that she’s alone, so we follow her as she tries to make a new life for herself by going for drinks and dinner alone, signing up for a college class (taught by an openly transgender woman named Margo Fairchild who was the only character I liked in this book) and meeting and hanging out with new people including a young man her son went to high school with named Julian Spitzer and a coworker of Eve’s named Amanda.

This book is also told from the point of Brendan, Eve’s son who is a freshman in college living in a dorm. When college doesn’t turn out to be the constant party with his roommate Zack that Brenden assumed it would be, he started doing worse in his classes. After a shitty experience with an autism advocate named Amber, Brenden decides to quit college and return home in the middle of the night with no notice to his mother.

The book follows Brenden and Eve for less than a year until their paths cross again in an overly lackluster way. I feel like the end of the book came a little too quickly and Eve changed so fast that it didn’t make sense to me. I was happy, however, that she and her son both found happiness even though I’m not sure exactly how it came to be.

This book feels a bit over-reaching to becoming all-inclusive with a transgender woman, people with different sexualities, people with severe depression, differently abled people (including Brenden’s young step-brother with autism and a young woman in a wheelchair), many races of college students and so on.

ALL THAT BEING SAID- I picked up this book because it looked like a light trashy read for summer and it was exactly what I wanted. I would have hoped that the characters were at least a little more likable and had redeemable storylines, but I digress. This book was a quick read and some points were incredibly amusing. I will try another Perrotta book in the future and maybe have better luck next time.

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

4/5 stars

Thank you to NETGALLEY and RANDOM HOUSE for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am always grateful for your kindness and generosity!

3.5 stars, somewhere between this book was okay and enjoying it. I rounded up instead of down, so I’m going to go with 4/5 stars for The Most Dangerous Place on Earth.

Pleasantly surprised by this book, which I found very fascinating in a horrible way. It’s like a train wreck that you drive by and rubberneck so you can admire the disaster, I found myself enjoying this book the very same way. I loved reading about these rich kids get their comeuppance for something terrible that they did; granted I don’t think any of the characters in this story wanted such a bad thing to happen to young Tristan.

I felt like the storyline with Abigail/Doug was a little out of place but not distracting from the rest of the story. I understand why it was there, it just didn’t go anywhere and it felt like there was supposed to be more story there that just didn’t get addressed properly. I also sort of feel like this about Holly Nicoll’s character but not as strongly.

I’m an older millennial so it was fascinating to me to read about social media in the lives of teenagers these days. When I graduated high school, MySpace was just getting ready to launch. I had a MySpace for a while, and subsequently move to Facebook (along with everyone else), but I didn’t Facebook (oh my, it’s a verb now!) for long before finding out that it simply isn’t for me and deleted my account. It’s so strange to read about how every day it is for children now, how quickly news travels and how connected everyone is! It’s not a part of my life and is a bit confusing to me. But it’s interesting!

Calista is my favorite character in this book and I believe I identified with her the most. I found her desire to change and following through very inspiring if one can momentarily forget why she had such a deep desire to change, to begin with.

Every Exquisite Thing

4/5 stars

When I indulge myself in Young Adult fiction, THIS is what I am looking for. Sweet, kind misfit children who struggle with growing up and becoming their own person (kind of like where I have been consistently stuck emotional-development wise since 1999 when I first read The Perks of Being a Wallflower ). I like to read about children who get bullied and children dealing with feelings they’ve never felt before. A first relationship; a first loss. I don’t really have enough good things to say about this book and I have a feeling I would really like The Bubblegum Reaper as well if ever given such a magnificent opportunity.

The Mirror World of Melody Black

5/5 stars

I’m so glad that I finally got the opportunity to read this book, as I have been so anxious to read it for more than a year now, and I’ve unfortunately had a bit of trouble trying to get my hands on it. Once I finally got it, I devoured the book in just about two days, which is one of my quicker reads ever.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from The Mirror World of Melody Black but what I got most certainly wasn’t it. What I got was more touching and thought-provoking and beautiful. It’s filled with lyrical looks at mental illness and the quirks of someone suffering.

I couldn’t stop! Once I started reading another book by Mr. Extence I just got so wrapped up in his characters that are so real, and so raw, and are written in a way that feels like they were meant for me alone to love and cherish. I felt the same way about Alex Woods. I felt like he was written just for me and I love him just as dearly as the day I first met him.

The Mirror World of Melody Black book affected me in a weird way. As the main character, Abby, became more and more manic I found myself reading more quickly, the pages were turning faster, and I kind of took on the same mood she was in. She was just so fascinating in her downward spiral.

The character I liked and identified most with however was Abby’s boyfriend, Beck. I have been married to a man for twelve years now who have suffered from mental illnesses just as long, or longer and I know how tough it can be to deal with. I can see the signals of when he is going to have an “episode” but like Beck, I am not sure how long to let it go before intervening. And sometimes the person you love with mental illness can’t see their own signs and become defensive, like Abby.

The Mirror World of Melody Black is such an honest look at mental illness that when I read the author’s note at the end, I wasn’t surprised to learn that Mr. Extence pulled from his own experiences with hypomania and depression.


2/5 stars

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for writing an honest review.

Stim was rather fast paced with not a whole lot going on. I was extremely interested to read a story from the point of view of a person with Autism, though. It helped me understand my brother-in-law a little better who, like Robert, has trouble deciphering emotions, body language, metaphors, and idioms. The story was short and wrapped up quickly and predictably. I think this book could have been better if it were longer with more things actually happening if the character development happened a bit more slowly I think it would have made a bit more sense. The few scenes where something exciting actually happened felt rather stunted. This book is okay but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Keep Me Posted

2/5 stars

I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for a review.

I don’t normally like women’s literature (a.k.a. chick lit) but I wanted to try this book out for a handful of reasons. I really like epistolary style books. I am in love with the cover of this book. I, myself, am an avid “penfriend” in this age of Internet addiction and last but not least, I also love me some blogs. With all those reasons in mind I thought there was a chance of me liking this book better than I did, but when I turned the last page, all I can say is that this book is okay.

The main characters of this book were not at all likable or I felt, relatable. Granted I’m not a mom but I am a wife who has been with the same man for more than a decade and I can’t imagine feeling how Cass felt throughout the better part of the book. And then there’s Cassie’s sister, Sidney, who is so perfect and graceful that it made me a little nauseous. The first part of the book was the letters that were written between the sisters- this part was warm and personal and even though I didn’t like the people writing them, it was like a fun peek into their lives when they were spiraling out of control.

At this point disaster struck when all the private letters were accidentally posted online for all to see on a blog called “Slow News Sisters”. Even though how the blog came about to be public was a little unbelievable, this is when the book got more exciting because finally, something was happening that I was interested in. But then it all wrapped up predictably with a neat little bow too easily and too perfectly which put me off a little bit again.

While I didn’t dislike this book I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it to anyone either.

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