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review 2015-06-18 00:00
The Light of the World: A Memoir
The Light of the World: A Memoir - Elizabeth Alexander I read this book in a very strange and unprecedented manner -- in reverse order, from the end forwards. This is a memoir, in which the author writes about her husband's sudden passing, and the journey through that loss.

I started conventionally enough, and had only gotten a short way in, before I realized that I had forgotten to check the end of the book for acknowledgements, or questions for book clubs, or an author interview. I always do this, so I know when I near the end of the book, how much of the story is *really* left, and not be misled by the thickness of pages accruing.

Anyhow, I found the last chapter, and started reading that... and then the chapter before that..... and found that it actually worked this way -- sort of like an eulogy or a celebration of life, backtracking all the way to when the couple first met. It's written in short, almost episodic, chapters, so it made sense: back to front.
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review 2014-07-01 17:44
gritty, messy, & raw
The Light of the World - Randi Black

I received a review copy of this book for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl

The Light of the World takes place in 1995, which music wise was the height of the decade for me. In the fall of '95, I was a freshman in high school, so while the subject of this novel is intense, the cultural references of that time were a fond trip down memory lane for me. I feel so old saying that since it's been nearly twenty years. 

Kimmy is Chinese American, and I can't tell you how happy I was to read about a character from a different background than mine! There isn't enough diversity in books, so it was refreshing. Black wrote this story in a way that was believable and gave insight into the Chinese American culture in an organic way that added to the story rather than detracting from it. 

To say that Kimmy has been through a lot would be an understatement. At the age of sixteen on the same day Kurt Cobain was found dead, she was sexually assaulted. The Light of the World does not shy away from dealing with her trauma as it shouldn't - otherwise, it would be trivialized and this is most definitely not a trivial matter. 

Kimmy's fiance, Walter, treated her horribly and even made fun of the imaginary friend she used to cope with the sexual assault. He doesn't want her to go away to college, but I'm so glad she did anyway. She feels suffocated with him, and I can see why. I really didn't like him, and although she begins cheating on Walter with Franz, I had my suspicions Walter was also cheating on her. 

During Welcome Week at her college, she meets Franz, a handsome German man. He's a few years older than her, but they find they have music in common and are sexually compatible. Be prepared for explicit sex scenes! Just saying. Franz is gentle with Kimmy, and I fell in love with him, too. No matter how many times she tried to ignore him or push him away, he remained patient. She wanted to be with him, but she was afraid of how much she wanted him. 

The Light of the World is gritty, messy, and raw - Kimmy's life lays bare for all to see. I was swept up into her story and am definitely picking up the previous novel, Miss World, to read.

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video 2014-06-29 03:09

It took me four years, lots of false starts and heartache, almost being hospitalized and a pretty chunk of change, but I can proudly say that I wrote and published a book exactly the way I wanted, and I did it all for him on what would’ve been his 56th birthday. Rest in peace, Jeffrey Lee, and thank you.

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photo 2014-06-20 23:41
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photo 2014-06-19 05:59
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