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review 2017-09-12 16:44
#61 - The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon

Another book by Nicola Yoon that made me cry (well, I did not really cry unlike in Everything Everything where I was almost sobbing!). I listened to it as an audiobook on my way to work every day and it was a great experience. 

 

This book is about (impossible) love, but for me, it was more about immigration. It made me think about it in a way I had never before. I think it is really positive, I love books that made me think and I love even more books that I had not suspected would make me think.  

 

My great-grandfather arrived from Italy 60 years ago to work in the mines. This is why today, I live in Belgium and I am a Belgian citizen. I never really thought that deeply about it, I'm born in Belgium so I am a Belgian citizen, it's something I've always taken for granted. Until I read about Natasha, a teenager living in the USA since her childhood until she is being deported to Jamaica because her family is undocumented (what does it even mean?!) As if someone could come to my door one day and tell me I have to go live in Italy. That seems totally unrealistic and impossible. And yet, it happens in some other countries, something I had never suspected before (well, I have never thought about it thoroughly) 

 

Belgium is my home and it has always been. Just as the USA is Natasha's home. Why does she have to move in a country she does not know? 

 

This was for me the most important part of the book. I did not really care about the romance because it felt too unrealistic for me, I find it unbelievable to fall in love so fast. Then again, the story was beautiful so I did not particularly care about the unrealistic part of it. It was enjoyable and also really funny. 

 

I loved the fact that there was no "happy ending". It's sad, but it's also what life is made of. The very end was the part that made me almost cry.  

 

Another thing I really enjoyed was that you got the stories of other people, the "extras" who are just there to fit a purpose for the MC. It was so great and so unique, I had never seen that in another book. 

 

If you are searching for a book about love that is also full of diversity, this one is for you. I will read anything this great author will write in the future, she is totally amazing.

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review 2017-05-17 00:23
Incoming Rant
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway

You know, I'd read in some posh literary review that Jake and Brett were two of Hemingway's most lovable characters, but I really can't see how that could be. I get he was painting an era, but I had the same difficulties I had with Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby": I was bored by the characters misery (first world high class problems, people, that's what you have!); and I was enraged by the chaos and destruction they sowed all around themselves with their callow carelessness. Stupid egotistical brats.

And that's the other thing: they ARE reacting like brats. "Our parent's culture and ideology crumbled down and betrayed us! Let's rage and get drunk, and screw everyone around!" Except, you know, they are in their middle thirties. I don't say you have to have your shit together by that time or any other, God knows you never really do, and life has a marvelous way of sucker punch you when you think you have it balanced, but the over the top woe-is-me shit you are supposed to learn to manage after the hormones of puberty stabilize.

Every generation has challenges, and I reckon those that were born around the turn of the 20th century had a suck-fest of a raw deal, but what I saw inside this book was not just depression and insecurity over lost direction and of self, but a total lack of care for other people. I saw the phrase "moral bankruptcy" around, and I think that's and exact description, but it was treated as an excuse for how these particular characters act, because apparently it was a pervasive thing all around. News-flash: if everyone is a terrible person, and you act like everyone, you are still a terrible person.

 

So no, I have no love for these characters. Now, do I have any use for this book? *sigh* Thorny issue. If it was an accurate representation of the generation, I have to loose any surprise at seeing them fall right back into war; they all felt suicidal to me, and self-centered enough to blow up the world along with themselves.

 

So here's what I think: maybe it's useful, but I did not like it.

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text 2017-05-16 19:10
Reading progress update: I've read 135 out of 251 pages.
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway

Women made such swell friends. Awfully swell. In the first place, you had to be in love with a woman to have a basis of friendship. I had been having Brett for a friend. I had not been thinking about her side of it. I had been getting something for nothing. That only delayed the presentation of the bill. The bill always came. That was one of the swell things you could count on.
I thought I had paid for everything. Not like the woman pays and pays and pays. No idea of retribution or punishment. Just exchange of values. You gave up something and got something else. Or you worked for something. You paid some way for everything that was any good. I paid my way into enough things that I liked, so that I had a good time. Either you paid by learning about them, or by experience, or by taking chances, or by money. Enjoying living was learning to get your money's worth and knowing when you had it. You could get your money's worth. The world was a good place to buy in. It seemed like a fine philosophy. In five years, I thought, it will seem just as silly as all the other fine philosophies I've had.
Perhaps that wasn't true, though. Perhaps as you went along you did learn something. I did not care what it was all about. All I wanted to know was how to live in it. Maybe if you found out how to live in it you learned from that what it was all about.

 

That's a really good page (I'll ignore the women dig).

 

I'm determined to finish this afternoon. I heavily considered DNF, but this is my second try at it, and it sucks to be mowed down by such a short book.

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review 2017-05-15 21:42
Review: The Sun is Also a Star
The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I don’t really know what to say on this one. I was really looking forward to it as I absolutely loved the author’s debut, Everything Everything, which I just devoured. But I just couldn’t get into this one. It wasn’t a bad book really. The characters were delightfully diverse, the two leads, Daniel and Natasha had fantastic chemistry and a believable romance in a tough situation. I thought it was handled fairly realistically.

 

But…I just didn’t like it. It just didn’t work for me. The premise is an interesting one. Daniel comes from a Korean family who immigrated to America, his dad runs a pharmacy. His brother Charlie has always been the high achiever of the family, though has recently come home from college in disgrace. Daniel has always been in Charlie’s shadow. His parents have very high expectations of him. (Charlie is an absolute dick). Daniel is a more sensitive soul, he has a big university interview, he’s not sure what he wants to do with his life. He has a quirky, almost snarky tone of voice. He likes to write poetry.

 

Natasha’s family came over from Jamaica, her family all live in one small apartment, her dad had dreams of being an actor. He’s got great talent, but can’t seem to get a break, Natasha has a younger brother, and a hard working mom. Natasha herself is very smart and loves science. Her dad got drunk and wound up spilling their family history to a police officer, including telling the police they are illegal immigrants. And now Natasha and her family are twelve hours away from being deported.

 

Natasha is determined to make one last stab at saving her family from deportation by meeting with a lawyer who specialises in deportation cases. Stopping in a record store a chance meeting leads her to run into Daniel on the way to his interview.

 

They spark a great connection and start to get to know each other, despite the fact that both of them have places to be and a limited time, their connection is so…just there…they keep finding ways to keep the conversation going; Daniel is more optimistic and romantic. Natasha is a lot more practical and logical.

 

While they both have great voices, I think what really distracted from their story was random chapters from a whole other points of view. Various characters who have random interactions with both Natasha and Daniel, and whole chapters of random information about things that are relevant in the novel. Sometimes sciency things.

 

There was an almost quirky tone of voice to the while thing, but it felt to me like it was trying to be clever and funny, but it just came across as distracting from the main story. And by half way through these chapters were making my eyes roll more than anything. Even though they all had a part of play in the eventual story.

 

It did at least have a believable ending, which I did like, a realistic tone to it. I wouldn’t particularly read this book again, but I do love this this author.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Random House UK Children’s for approving my request to view the title.

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text 2017-05-07 09:32
Reading progress update: I've read 51 out of 251 pages.
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway

Dreary all around. And all this scene between Robert and Frances, with Jake as a barely interactive audience is true poison study.

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