As depicted by Nadia Hashimi in The Pearl that Broke Its Shell, there is only one correct way to be a woman. First, girls are obedient daughters, then they are obedient wives who have sons. There is only one tiny exception; everything else is deeply wrong or criminal. The exceptions are the bacha posh, girls who dress and act as sons for families that don’t already have a boy. The Pearl that Broke Its Shell tells the story of two girls who live as boys for a time before returning to lives as women. It is also a story of hardship, violence, and gendered oppression. Those looking for an easy read should steer clear...
Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.
Dylan faces life with a plan, which generally includes thinking everything through rationally and fixing everything that’s the least bit broken. Always living up to people’s expectations of her is her status quo, and landing herself in jail certainly doesn’t fit the plan. And neither does the bad boy she meets during her short stint behind bars.
Silas doesn’t have anything in common with the trust fun kids surrounding him at the elite, private Rusk University. He’s no academic genius or future great leader. But he knows football, and with his scholarship, it’s his ticket to a better life than he started out with. But he’s a little too quick with his fists, a little too loose with his temper, and it’s that behavior that threatens to send him back to the life he had before he decided to use his skills on the field to better his chances. But when that behavior lands him in jail one night, he meets the one girl who just might be worth changing for.
All Broke Down is a little darker than the first book in the series, but still light-hearted enough that it wasn’t all about the angst. Like any story based in college — especially one prominently featuring the campus bad boy jock — there’s plenty to be had in the way of parties, drinking, and other debauchery. But it also maintains a realistic feel, not necessarily glamorizing the party-atmosphere libertinage, but rather acknowledging it and then focusing on the very normal lives going on around it. That Silas, with his less than privileged background, would land himself in the middle of party and booze central is no surprise, nor should it be that he’s interested in more than just a good time.
The way Dylan and Silas meet could not be more perfect, and it allows him the chance to come to her rescue, so to speak, despite the fact that they probably never would have spoken had they met under different circumstances. Passionate about the causes in which she believes, Dylan is immediately intrigued by Silas and quickly sees something in him that’s worth a closer look. They’re attracted to each other, of course, but there also seems to be a mutual interest that goes deeper than the physical, a bit of respect for each other’s struggles that allows them to find common ground.
While these two, on the surface, couldn’t be more different, inside they are both a little lost. Dylan is trying to figure out who she is, as opposed to who everyone wants her to be. And Silas is trying to prove he’s worth more than his crappy upbringing. Their initial attraction and curiosity about each other soon leads to a deeper understanding and a more profound connection as they both try to figure out where exactly they belong. Silas finds that he’s comfortable around Dylan, able to confide in her instead of put on a front, and he’s quick to see through Dylan’s veneer and voice the struggle she’s feeling.
Through it all, romance blooms, and I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t one incredibly hot couple to read about. Something about their differences makes their scenes together just that much hotter, but the underlying emotions also come through clearly. All Broke Down is easily one of the most perfect NA romances I’ve read, complete with realistically awkward issues for the characters, strong emotions, and lots of adorably endearing moments of openness. More than just your typical falling-in-love-in-college story, All Broke Down focuses on honesty, family, and hope for the future.
|I think this is a 3 star for me simply because Daniel Handler writes beautifully, but the story just wasn't for me. Chalk it up to me being to old to enjoy being in the head of a person who is destined to grow up to be the most odious of hipsters. My advice would be if you want to read a Daniel Handler novel about teen angst try the basic eight, or maybe Lemoy Snickety(I only read the 1st 3) . Recommend for burgeoning odious hipsters.|
This book is exactly what it promised to be: a fictionalized memoir, based on the author's oral family history. It follows the author's grandmother's life story, which was a somewhat adventurous one. The story, like all good family histories, has the unmistakable elements of the tall tale (or as my own dad puts it, "telling lies") where the truth has been either stretched or embroidered to fill in the gaps or make boring stuff more interesting, or to interpret events as Fate/God's Will.
The problem for me was that, at the 50% mark (~4 hours of listening), this story wasn't all that interesting, even with all the stretching and embroidering. I could have finished, barely paying attention as I listened while doing housework, etc., but life is just too short and I've got 45 other audiobooks on my acquired-TBR shelf to listen to.
So, DNF at 50%. YMMV.
This audiobook was borrowed from my local public library. It was read by the author, whose obviously amateur performance was still pretty good, and gave the narrative the ring of authenticity.