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review 2018-04-23 05:22
Psychological thriller which puts sexual assault and harassment at the center, and keeps you gripped all the way through; an unassuming title but a great twist
The Girl I Used to Be - Mary Torjussen

This is a psychological thriller that is hard to put to down, and despite the unassuming title, this novel goes from being a story about a seemingly innocuous meeting with a prospective client for estate agent Gemma to a full-blown harassment and sexual assault case. Gemma is the breadwinner of her family, with her husband being at home with their three-year old son, and while she is trying hard to deal with the mounting stress of running a company, she’s constantly dealing with the anxiety of an incident in her past. Suddenly she is very much alone in a world where she is being harassed by private messages and letters, and she is finding herself lying and wondering who she is becoming.
It’s so hard to review this without revealing a major amount about the plot but this had me quickly turning the pages because author Mary Torjussen has crafted the perfect thriller whereby she has weaved a story from the character’s past into one in the present day, and while I was reading I felt Gemma’s anxiety - and fear - all the way through. It really was compulsive reading.
I will also personally disclose that the initiating incident that Gemma experiences, the one that she feels she must run from, and the one that is the cause of so much tragedy (revealed in part 2), is something that I personally went through myself. I only wish this sort of thing didn’t actually have to be something that becomes the basis of both adult and YA fiction, but (yes, this is my trigger warning), sexual assault happens, and will continue to be a part of fictional and non-fictional works. As women start to fight back by talking about it, as now it is very much a topic of our time (there’s a line in the book acknowledging that once upon a time, it wasn’t talked about so easily), it has become different when we read about it too.
This is actually the second book released this year that I have read with this similar sexual assault issue.
The book is thoroughly engaging to read and I liked the ‘two parts’ that it was separated into, with the massive twist. I don’t know what I’d change it to, but for some reason I have an issue with the title, although I understand the concept of how we look back at what we ‘used to be’, feeling like we have changed so much, or looking at what we were back then, but I want something else to grab people by. This book is so good and too clever for people to miss.

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text SPOILER ALERT! 2018-04-22 22:38
Reading progress update: I've read 318 out of 518 pages.
Sophie's World - Paulette Møller,Jostein Gaarder

 

I'm over 50% done with this book and I'm surprised with the twist. Sophie and the others are characters in a story read by Hilde. It reminds of the twist with The Lego Movie.

(spoiler show)
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text 2018-04-22 22:02
Reading progress update: I've read 90%. - loved the guidance on inter-species sexual etiquette.
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

One of the alien gurus makes some amusing assertions about sex and then gives some good advice that made me smile.

 

I liked:

"Where there’s a wang there’s a way."

And the tongue-in-cheek paraphrasing of William Gibson's

"The future is alreay here - it's just not evenly distributed" 

Into


"Sex is universal, it’s just not evenly distributed."

 

But what I liked most was this advice on how to treat a sexual partner from another species:

 

"...don’t giggle when the other entity takes their clothes off, secure enthusiastic consent, don’t mix silicon and carbon without extensive decontamination protocols, tidy up your house if you expect to bring someone home, don’t expect anything you wouldn’t offer, remember that every person is an end in themselves and not a means to an end, don’t worry too much about what goes where and how many of them there are, don’t mistake fun for love, try your best, be kind, always make them breakfast, and use protection."

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review 2018-04-22 20:33
Artemis by Andy Weir
Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir

This started out strong, then the main character, Jazz, started showing the reader why she was known for making poor life decisions and so it got kind of annoying for a while. At least Jazz was annoying. It did redeem itself a little in the end with the way she made up with her father but overall I'd describe the book as just okay. Not great, not terrible, but with a main character who makes bad decisions and shouldn't be trusted to pull off sabotage on the moon.

 

Actually, describing Jazz as a lifer in a small touristy town is probably fairly accurate. Artemis only has a couple thousand permanent residents, after all, and although it doesn't seem quite fair to describe a population of technicians and so on living on the moon to be stuck there, they kind of are. Although unlike some characters who might be desperate to leave a small town, Jazz is desperate to stay.

 

I did quite like Jazz's father.

 

Side note: I'm glad I got through this one so quickly because there are apparently 172 people waiting for it at the library (with 33 copies in circulation although ten of those are express copies).

 

Previous updates:

222 of 305 pages

184 of 305 pages

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text 2018-04-22 19:41
Reading progress update: I've read 84%.- What is it about Alien bar scenes? Clippy is a... Boredom. What a semi-final
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

What is it about Alien Bar Scenes?

So, just like the Alien bar scene in Star Wars, this one went on for too long and tried too hard. Lots of originality. Not so much fun. I did like the replica Hilton thing though. A great metaphor for Purgatory.

 

Clippy is a...

The 321 AI race as Clippy was a hoot. God, how I hated Clippy. And do you think that AIs are named after an old spreadsheet program from Lotus but spelt backwards?

 

Boredom

The human race lacks the attention span to face the possibility of total annihilation for sixteen days without getting bored and turning to gambling and mindless entertainment. That insight right there explains the whole Cambridge Analytica-enabled, Russian-funded rise of the Far Right in Europe and the otherwise inexplicable Trump.

 

What a semi-final

That was a great twist. Got my attention all the way back and blew away the cobwebs from the Alien Bar Scene.

 

 

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