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review 2017-07-07 18:22
Party Memoir, Part Essays, Part Commentary on Life
Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writin - Jennifer Weiner

So this was a very weird book to read. I liked it, didn't love it, and don't really see myself re-reading this for years to come like I will other memoirs written by Roxanne Gay, Jenny Lawson and Mindy Kaling.

 

I think for me, this book jumped around way too much to get a good handle on things. Plus, Weiner mixed mediums in here. We get part memoir and then she throws in a short story I think that she wrote about her sister and her when they went to visit their grandmother, then it's part commentary to us the reader, her daughters, and then memoir format again.

 

The initial part of the book starts off in a linear timeline and then that gets shot all to hell in a bit and jumps back and forth until the very end. 

 

I have been reading Jennifer Weiner's books for a very long time. My first exposure to her was "Good in Bed" and I absolutely loved that. I couldn't really relate to "Little Earthquakes" but still enjoyed that book as well. I even liked her foray into short story horror fiction with stories like "Recalculating" and then a couple of her books didn't gel with me and I just pretty much took her from my auto-buy category to well see if you like the sample category. The last two books I read of hers I have really enjoyed though, so will think about putting her books back in the auto-buy category. 

 

I do think that though parts of this book were painfully honest, I didn't get a very good sense of Weiner's family outside of her sister, mother, and grandmother. Her brothers are ghost-like (referred to but rarely appear). We know that her father left her family and that caused a hole that her mother tried to fill. And due to her father not meeting his obligations, the family sounded like they definitely struggled. And reading between the lines and reading what is actually written it sounds like the man had serious mental health issues. I felt for her while reading anything to deal with that. When a parent is gone you can't fix what happened before. So even when there's a slight feeling of relief, you still feel sorrow over that.


I think that if Weiner had stuck with just her life and how that shaped her to be a writer it would have worked better for me. When she goes off and focuses on other things that I thought were interesting, but ultimately didn't fit the book (a male reviewer bashes her and others online via Twitter and there's a huge fallout with that) is when my interest started to wane. It's not that it means she wasn't making a good point. I just didn't get why it was even included.

 

Other things at times seem to not really be provided enough development for me to get a sense of things. For example, Weiner is a divorced mother of two girls and in a committed relationship with an old boyfriend. She used parts of her life to write "Who Do You Love". But the man in the book is brought up sparingly in the book, and it just felt like he along with all of the men in her memoir don't feel developed. I know that they are all real people, but I don't get a sense of them at all. And the way we readers are introduced to him was weird too. We read about them together first, then work backwards to she met him again, and then someone justifies ending her marriage. I don't know, the whole thing felt uncomfortable. It reminded me of a time I was at a bar waiting on a friend (reading a book of course!) and some man sat next to me asked me how I was doing, I muttered fine, and then before I know it starts telling me how his wife left him for someone else and he needed a drink.

 

Image result for danger gif

  

I tried to exit out of that conversation for 20 freaking minutes. I was giving the bartender for the love of all that is holy glances who purposely stayed the heck away from us. So I just had a sense of this is very weird while reading the book and deciding to back away from even trying to explore what point she was trying to get across there.

 

The writing was at times I felt open. The flow wasn't that great for reasons I said above. 


The ending to her daughters I thought was great, but it didn't end as solidly as I think it could have. 

 

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text 2017-07-07 14:00
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writin - Jennifer Weiner

I liked this. Not as much as other memoirs I have read this year, but well enough. I think the big issue though is that Weiner does not at times tell her story in a linear way. She jumps back and forth and a few times I got confused.

 

Also it felt like the man she says that she thought about everyday of her life (not her husband) came out of nowhere in the book. We are introduced to him in fits and starts and I was very confused about the whole thing. 

 

I definitely get that she and her siblings and mother are close. I also now get where the inspiration for many of her stories came from which was nice. I definitely have sympathy for her dealing with a father who walked away from her family and only came back when she find success to demand money. 

 

 

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text 2017-07-07 00:36
Reading progress update: I've read 25%.
Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writin - Jennifer Weiner

Apparently I'm on a memoir run. So far very engaging.

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text 2017-06-01 09:25
RT Booklover's Convention 2017 - Day Four
Tiny Pretty Things - Dhonielle Clayton,Sona Charaipotra
The Midnight Breed Series Companion - Lara Adrian
Bring Me Back - Karen Booth
Barefoot Bay: Shoulder to Lean On (Kindle Worlds Novella) - Morgan Malone
Killer Countdown (Man on a Mission) - Amelia Autin
Midnight in Legend, TN: Small Town Romance in the Great Smoky Mountains (The McClains of Legend, Tennessee Book 1) - Magdalena Scott
Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs - Molly Harper
Ready to Were: Shift Happens Series Book One - Robyn Peterman
Hungry Like the Wolf - Paige Tyler
Delicate Freakn' Flower - Eve Langlais

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

 

Woke up on Friday morning thinking this convention is too long. I think if I go in the future I will just do the weekend pass and not the full convention because boy howdy was I tired. Not jet-lagged, just tired from being around so many people. I did breakfast but skipped the early morning author signing. First panel I went to was completely chosen at random - Path of Responsible Representation hosted by YA authors Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra (they write as a team the YA series Tiny Pretty Things). I liked this panel because the writers gave concrete examples of what to look for and what to avoid in works with diverse characters.

 

The next panel was The Worlds of Regency and Georgian Romance with authors Valerie Bowman, Anna Bradley, Eileen Dryer, Elizabeth Hoyt, and Julia Quinn. I was not impressed this panel or the questions. The panel kept going off on different tangents that had nothing to do with the topic. I left a little early to get in line for the next author signing event, but I don't think I missed anything worthwhile. A quote from Julia Quinn sums this panel up - "Who wouldn't want to marry a duke?" Real deep there (sarcasm font).

 

I then went to the 1001 Dark Nights Sparkler. I had one goal going into this event - meet Lara Adrian and get her to sign my personal copy of The Midnight Breeds Series Companion. She did and was lovely - and surprised to see someone having a companion book. I got a pic with her too. Day made 10x over. The organizers wanted the attendees to talk with each author there and ask them an "either/or" question, then fill out a card for a chance to win something. I didn't care about winning whatever prize because, once again, the room was too small for the amount of people inside. I left soon after meeting Lara and went for lunch.

 

Next author panel I went to was Seasoned Romance, Vintage Love with Karen Booth and Morgan Malone. Another diversity panel, but this one was about older characters and ageism. This trend of having older characters is making a small, but noticeable comeback thanks to self-publishing. The idea of older characters also work with other diverse characterizations such as race, sexuality, and religion (for example, a m/m featuring 40 year old men). There is a FB group called Seasoned Romance that connects authors with readers. Also, the FB group made a GR List of romances with older characters (heads up: there is a lot of Kristen Ashley's books on this list). They were giving away free books from authors in the FB group; I picked out Killer Countdown (Man on a Mission #6) by Amelia Autin and Midnight in Legend, TN (The McClains of Legend, Tennessee #1/ Ladies of Legend #1.2) by Magdalena Scott. I really enjoyed the conversation.

 

Last author panel for me was Shifters Between the Sheets with authors Molly Harper, Paige Tyler, Robyn Peterman, and Eve Langlais. I wanted to go to at least one paranormal panel, and this one was fun and funny; the ladies are not only fans of the subgenre but of each other's works. The questions were basic, but the answers were varied and experiences were talked about; each author came to writing books and paranormal genre from very different backgrounds. It was a great way to end the last day of panels.

 

I started to go to the Avon signing event, took one look at a line that was snaked five times around the door to the event, and said to myself "hell no" and went up to my room to relax. Soon I went out for dinner and when I came back, Twitter and the RT app were lit up with many unhappy attendees. Turns out the Avon event started 35-40 minutes late and some people were in line for a hour or more before the scheduled time. Again, there were also complaints of overcrowding and someone almost fainted. I'm so glad I skipped the event.

 

I went to the late night party, Magnolias and Moonshine, but didn't stay long. There was just nothing there to hold my interest. I did a quick turn about the room and then left. If you ever go to RT, feel free to skip the evening parties - they are more work than reward.

 

 

 

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review 2017-05-23 20:46
The Better Story
Life of Pi - Yann Martel

Defiantly funny in the face of total devastation, but more than that, ever hopeful. I guess that last is the best part of strong faith. The important part. Inner piece and enduring hope.

 

Here's the deal: I'm an agnostic. We get roasted inside *grin*. I could go a long while about the difference between religion and spirituality, between faith in god and the faith in the future that makes you stubbornly plod forward. I wont. My mom says "there are no atheist in the trenches". I have no idea what an ordeal like this would do to me.

 

But here is the other side, the thing about being an agnostic: I can accept both stories. I can love and believe in the tiger, and I can forgive the killer boy. The tiger is the better story, but to me, disregarding the second feels like hiding from a horrible truth too hard to accept. Just as disregarding the tiger feels like the cruelty of denying absolution, or the company of hope.

 

Good book. The movie did it amazing justice, tight and beautiful and with lovely, memorable music, so I highly recommend it.

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