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review 2017-07-19 18:20
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir - Sherman Alexie

This memoir surprised me. I was surprised how open, honest and free Sherman was in this novel. I am not one who follows celebrities, reads celebrity magazines to be in- the-know or digs into their past so I know all the juicy gossip so when Sherman starts to talk about his personal life in this memoir, I was amazed to know that his life was less than ideal. I appreciated his openness and his wiliness to share his life with his readers.

 

He talks a lot about his mother, hence the title and the picture on the cover, inside this novel as she was a unique individual. She was an alcoholic just like his father, only she quit drinking before her death. She knew the ways, the customs, and the stories from the old world, she was their connection to the past and now that she has passed away, their connection is lost. A connection, that they can never replace. At the funeral, Sherman comes to the realization that there were two sides to his mother and this awareness adds flames to the fire that is burning in Sherman over his mother. He has lost her, lost more than he originally thought. He has chosen to live off the rev all these years and that is something that he cannot take back. Again, it is the emotions, the anger, the love and the confusion that runs through these pages that allows me to see his family and how they dealt with life. Sherman’s phrasing repeated over and over again, his “sometimes you just don’t know” comments repeated throughout the novel because in reality, you just don’t know and it’s okay to admit it. I enjoyed how his family size grew as they helped out each other and how their relatives knew they could count on each other in times of need.

 

I found the following parts of the novel especially heartfelt: When Sherman talks about racism, I could feel his pain in his writing. As Sherman mentions the nurses when he was sick, I especially enjoyed this because sometimes we forget these important people in our lives. I cannot forget the waltz his mother did with his sister. Tears were forming in my eyes as I read this short chapter. After accidently spilling water on her as she was getting a drink, his sister stood their morphine-drugged mother up to change her clothing and sheets. As the sister instructed her where to step and how many steps, mother swayed. ““It’s okay,” our mother said. “I’m dancing on purpose. I want to dance. Dance with me.” It was three in the morning but our mother was awake and she shuffled left and right. “Oh,” our mother said. “We are dancing. It’s been so long since I danced. And I don’t know why nobody asked me. I was a good dancer.” My sister laughed. She was alone in the night with our mother. There was no music. But my sister held our mother closely and shuffled with her. They moved in the smallest of circles. “We only danced for a few seconds,” my sister later said. “But, all the next day, whenever she was awake and had visitors, Mom kept bragging that she’d danced until sunrise.”” I loved this.

 

The memoir consists of short chapters of poems and narratives. It is a big book, a book that I really enjoyed. Thanks again Sherman, thanks for being one of us.

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review 2017-06-27 08:40
Before I Say Good-Bye
Before I Say Good-Bye - Mary Higgins Clark

Okay, so this book was really confusing for me at first because there are about a billion different characters popping up all over the place (sorry, slight exaggeration there).  I had a really hard time keeping them straight.  It would start talking about someone (DAN? Dan who???) and I'd have to look back to remind myself who that was. Eventually, I got them all figured out and it got even easier once they started to connect with each other. 

 

I did like the story and it was better than I expected.  I'm glad I finally read this book.  It was in a box in my garage for a long, long time (in a galaxy far, far away.... and very dusty.)

 

I think the moral of this story is to always listen to your dad but that doesn't work for me. Okay, maybe a better one would be to make sure you REALLY know someone before you hook up with them. 

 

I can't really figure out what else to write about this book except that I liked it.  I thought it would be another "eh" book but it was a lot better than I expected.  I suspected some things but wasn't really sure until the end.  I'm glad I read this one. My brain is mush from the long road trip I just got back from.  I was reading two different books and listening to an audio book part of the time in between singing along to "We're not gonna take it!" ....so my gray noodle has the story lines and some lyrics all mixed up with some Alaskan scenery.  Dan may have been in a different book altogether or in Denali National Park!  Good grief Charlie Brown!

 

 

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text 2017-06-24 00:45
Reading progress: 191 out of 416 pages.
Before I Say Good-Bye - Mary Higgins Clark
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review 2017-06-16 19:47
This was book was fun. Just don't take it too seriously,
Just Say When - Kaylee Ryan

This was cute, it was a bit angsty, and a whole lot cheesy, but I enjoyed it.  I needed a bit of a break from real life and it was a perfect distraction. Nate and Eva May were cute together even if a bit over the top.  I also liked their crew.  I was put off by Eva's brother's reaction when he had been absent the entire book but oh well.

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review 2017-06-10 15:56
"Do not Say We have Nothing" by Madeleine Thien
Do Not Say We Have Nothing: A Novel - Madeleine Thien

“Do Not Say We Have Nothing” is a moving story of musicians who suffered during and after China’s Cultural Revolution. Jiang Li-Ling, the narrator speaks to us from the present day telling us about her father, a brilliant musician, who committed suicide in Hong Kong when she was a little girl.

In Ms. Thien’s novel there is so much going on it is easy to get lost trying to keep track of the people and movements in order to keep everything straight. The numerous details and complexity of the book’s structure gives us an idea what we are up against. Part one: contains eight sequential chapters, Part Zero: seven chapters in reversed order from seven to one, followed by a coda to conclude. A real mishmash…..

At its heart, the novel explores the history of two families while examining the love of musicians in 20th century China, the effect of political changes which had terrible effects on the people. But it doesn’t stay there and to complicate things added into the mix are coded stories from a novel called Book of Records. Time shifts back and forth within chapters weaving back to China’s civil war and up to the present day and shuffling between characters. The story spans some six decades, so don’t blink an eye this novel needs our entire attention, so much is said. To top it all, throughout the novel language is central: English, Mandarin, Chinese and music plays a good part. This is definitely an exhausting read.

No doubt Ms. Thien did extensive research to masterfully layer a story within a story and pen this kind of demanding novel that is full of scenes that linger in our imagination long after the closing page. Ex: the student-led demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989. The author vividly describes those scenes with passion.

Some will love this novel for its riveting and lyrical phrases and other will find the experience confusing, disjointed and very-long. Although I made it to the end I admit to have struggled all through….At this time, I sit on the fence ….looking more towards the ground….

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