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I entered the giveaway for this book because I remember reading the Boy in the Striped Pajamas when I was in the 9th grade and crying like a little bitch so I was like I trust John Boyne to deliver another good book.
BOI DID HE.
I honestly didn't know what to expect from this book because the summary doesn't give anything away and I was like mehhhhh there is a small chance I might not like it. I'm glad I read it, maybe I wouldn't read this as often as I read some of my other books but there'll be one of those days where you're in one of those moods and I'll pick this up and read it again.
I think it's an important book, you don't see a lot of novels out there with gay characters, or one that go this in-depth into that character's life. And it talks a lot about the atrocities and struggles that gay people suffered in Ireland and perhaps still endure to this day (I can't say for sure as I'm not an expert on Ireland or even really keep up to date with Irish news). And the amount of detail that was gone into had me shook but I think that was mostly due to the fact that I've never read a book like this before.
I really liked Cyril as a character, he did some shady things throughout his time but considering the fact that the story is told from his point of view, it was pretty understandable. He's really funny, and sometimes makes really morbid jokes and then you find yourself laughing at what he says and thinking dear God does this make me a bad person for laughing. I liked the ways that he so openly made fun of certain people to their face and the clueless response from those people who hadn't picked up on the fact that he was mocking them.
Some of the shit happened to him was honestly so wild (view spoiler)
And you feel for Cyril, and it's kind of hard not to considering he's a gay man living in 60's Ireland. He struggles with his sexuality and his feelings, and he has a lot of realizations about himself when he meets Bastiaan. The relationship that he had with Maude and Avery was a very strange one but it appealed to me, they got along well, and to be honest his interactions with them were hilarious.
Maude was probably one of my favourite characters just because she was so out there and had the most inappropriate of reactions at the most inappropriate times.
And it brought me great happiness to see that in the end, Cyril had a large family that cared about him and that he was happy because damn it he deserved it for all of the shit that happened to him throughout his life.
TL;DR: Give this a book a shot, maybe you won't like it, but you probably will.
Yes, these books are all on Kindle. Yes, these books were all found and purchased for free. Yes, the ones that list as grade levels have some really nice photography. Yes, they have some really good, but sparse information. They just did very simple information and again I feel that the books are too simple and too easy for the grades listed.
If you have younger kids, these might be good starters.
This is the last Anna Hibiscus book which makes me very sad. I wish this series would go on forever.
I was nervous when the first story was a light one about Double and Trouble. It felt a little out of place with the series, like maybe it was meant for an earlier book or should have been a picture book instead of a chapter in Anna Hibiscus. But the rest of the book is so good it made up for the first chapter. Seriously, so so good. And I cried so so much. In a good way.
We cry for so many reasons…sadness, grief, heartache, loss, pain, suffering…so many heartbreaking reasons but there are other times that we cry as well…the good times the happy times and these are the best kinds of tears.
I cried when I got married tears of absolute joy and again when my son was born. These were wonderful events in my life but I have to admit it’s not often that I can say I cried because something was so beautiful so breathtaking that the beauty of it brought me to tears…this book is one of those times for me.
I’m not going to talk about the story and what happened in it because honestly my goal here is to share with you my fellow reader how beautiful I thought this story was so that hopefully when you get done reading what I sincerely hope won’t be a pitifully inadequate review the first thing you’ll want to do is get your hands on a copy of this book so you can read it as well.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever read a story that wrapped itself around my heart so tightly in so few pages. ‘Dear Mona Lisa’ is about love. It’s about Tom’s love for Loz, for his beautiful daughter Lou and for the other wonderful and not so wonderful people in his life and it’s about their love for him. Yes, there is sadness in Tom’s life and it’s shared with us through his memories and truthfully if not for the pain and heartache how would we truly know to appreciate and treasure the good. It’s all part of life. Thankfully Tom’s heartache is in his past and while it’s shard with us it’s not the focus of this story…it’s his life in the here and now that’s important.
Have you ever felt like your life is leading up to one moment, that one pivotal event that will make everything else fall into place…this is the moment that we are being led to in Tom’s life and we view it through his eyes. Much of what happens may at times seem inconsequential but for Tom it’s not and it’s all leading him to that one moment that everything else hinges on.
I could easily go on and on about this book, I loved it that much and when it came time to do my review I was torn because I wanted to find the words all the words that said this is one of the most beautiful stories I have read in a long time and I know I’ll read it again…probably more than once or I could share with you the review that I told my husband I wanted to write…it went something like this…
READ THIS BOOK, IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO READ THIS F*ING BOOK. IT’S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL STORY I’VE READ IN I DON’T KNOW HOW LONG!!!
An ARC of ‘Dear Mona Lisa’ was graciously provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.