Teenagers, Sylvie and Victoria are best friends until tragedy strikes and Victoria is murdered. No one is ever charged with the crime. Twenty years later Sylvie is back in her hometown to sort out her mother’s affairs after her death - it isn’t a happy homecoming. A very slow burner with characters it’s hard to find a connection with. Sylvie is wishy washy now as she was twenty years ago when she was 15, always a follower, never the leader. There are descriptions of mundane activities, one or two surprises, enough to keep on reading. A great sounding book which didn’t quite hit the spot for me this time.
My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf is a graphic novel which was used as the basis for the documentary film of the same name which came out in 2017. This is the account of Jeffrey "Jeff" Dahmer during his adolescence in Ohio from the point-of-view of his friend, Derf. [A/N: I would say "friend" is pushing it as it was frequently noted throughout the book that while a group of boys dubbed themselves The Dahmer Fan Club and imitated him/quoted him on multiple occasions Jeff was rarely (if ever) asked to hang out with them.] Derf talks about Jeff's home life which was as you'd expect: turbulent and troubling. His parents had an argumentative, unhealthy relationship and his mother in particular monopolized much of the attention in the home making it possible for Jeff's habits to remain under the radar. Jeff was an alcoholic from a very early age and somehow this went unnoticed by the adults in his life including his teachers. However, Derf says that it was common knowledge among the kids at school that he was often drunk in class and looking back it was most likely a coping mechanism against his darker impulses. Besides his unhappy home life, he was struggling with his sexuality as a gay man and his sexual fantasies which revolved around having total (i.e. sexual) control over male corpses. He managed to keep this urge in check by murdering animals, skinning them, and keeping their bones in a shed behind his house. And yet no one had any idea this was happening. Hindsight is 20/20 and Derf seems to employ this readily when explaining that he and the other boys in the Dahmer Fan Club "knew" something wasn't right with Jeff which is why they often didn't invite him to be a part of their group activities. His parents were too caught up in their imploding marriage and his teachers seemed to have turned a blind eye even when he imitated people having epileptic fits to comic effect in their classrooms. (This bothered me a lot by the way.)
I found the informative background knowledge on a serial killer that I knew little about quite interesting but the artwork (remember this is a graphic novel) was not my cup of tea. It was the faces which I really didn't like. Perhaps that was artistic license since Dahmer tended to dehumanize his victims. I just know that it brought me out of the narrative more often than not. I'll give it a 7/10 overall because it was almost too unbelievable to be true. If you enjoy true crime and find the evolution of serial killers to be fascinating then you'd be remiss not to check this one out.
|The fits. [Source: American Book Center]|
What's Up Next: Mine Own Executioner by Nigel Balchin
What I'm Currently Reading: From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty
by Nicole Blanchard
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Liam Walsh is just a roommate.
Maybe if Charlie St. James repeats it enough, she’ll stop lusting after him. Not that it matters how she feels anyway, because Liam will always see her as one of the boys. Hell, he’s the one who gave her the nickname Charlie as a joke. Well, the joke’s on her. Now that she is confined to less than 1,000 square feet with him, she can’t stop thinking about how it would feel to get just a little bit closer.
Charlie St. James is off limits.
She’s been Liam Walsh’s best friend since grade school. He thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to let her crash with him when she needed a place to stay, but he was dead wrong. Knowing only a thin wall separates them when they sleep, that she’s naked in the shower while he lays in bed fantasizing about her, is unbearable. When their cozy two bedroom goes from friend zone to war zone, they’ll either burn up the sheets or go down in flames.
Nicole Blanchard is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of gritty romantic suspense and heartwarming new adult romance. She and her family reside in the south along with their two spunky Boston Terriers and one chatty cat.
Franklin's New Friend by Paulette Bourgeois is one of my childhood favorites. It is a wonderful story about friendship and making new friends. It teaches a valuable lesson on not "judging a book by its cover" and instead getting to know someone for who they are. I believe this would be a great read for children of all ages. The storyline is easy to follow and the vocabulary is great for all ages.
I would use this lesson to emphasize the importance of accepting those who are different from us instead of discriminating against them. I would encourage people to embrace their differences and the difference of others. This is a great character building book. I would also use this book to inspire students writing. I would ask them to write a story about a time they misjudged something or someone and turned out to enjoy it or like it/them in the end.
Lexile Measure: 380L