Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Book Review Club (November 2016)



Guess what Emily Dickinson said about November? "November always seemed to me the Norway of the year." What's a really great way to cheer up a dreary month? AND to take your mind off the elections? BOOKS! How propitious (there's your $5 word for the month!) that you stumbled upon this blog. Presenting: the November 2016 edition of The Book Review Club with reviews of books we want you to read! Welcome!

13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A FAT GIRL 
by Mona Awad (debut, adult, literary)

I'm trying to write this review carefully because 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A FAT GIRL is a very, very good book. I want to do it justice. Actually, a lot of people think highly of this book. For example, it's: a finalist for the Giller Prize, winner of the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, one of the most anticipated books of 2016 according to Elle, Bustle, and The Globe and Mail. Whew.

The book consists of thirteen interconnected vignettes that follow Lizzie/Beth/Elizabeth/Liz from teenage hood through college, temp work, inappropriate relationships, marriage and more until her early thirties. Lizzie changes her name depending on her weight. (See how FAT is partially erased on the cover?!)

In the first story, "When We Went Against the Universe," Lizzie is an overweight high schooler, hanging out with her best friend, Mel, at a McDonald's in suburban Toronto ("...here in Misery Saga which is what you're allowed to call Mississauga if you live there.") By the last story, "Beyond the Sea," Lizzie is in her thirties, thin, unhappy, divorced and living in a gated community where she fights for time on the Lifecycle and questions the point of all her exercising and neurotic, cautious eating/starving.

13 WAYS is the story of Lizzie March, a multi-dimensional character we see interacting with several other characters, in a variety of settings, from a dressing room to a nail salon to her bedroom to a hospital waiting room to various restaurants and the list goes on. 13 WAYS is also the story of women in today's society. How we're pressured to look a certain way, dress a certain way, even to think in certain ways. And how we're so very often ill at ease in our very own skin.

13 WAYS is witty, caustic, insightful. I laughed. I cringed. I kept turning pages.

I think perhaps People magazine said it best: "A hilarious, heartbreaking book."

Highly recommended.

(Dear FCC: I bought this book.)

And now....onto the rest of our reviews. Please click through. You won't want to miss a single one!

YOUNG ADULT FICTION BOOK REVIEWS

Ellen Booraem:  DREAMHUNTER by Elizabeth Knott (YA Fantasy, bk #1)
                           DREAMQUAKE BY Elizabeth Knott (YA Fantasy, bk #2)

Jody Feldman: THE CANDYMAKERS by Wendy Mass (middle grade, bk #1)
                         THE GREAT CHOCOLATE CHASE by Wendy Mass (middle grade, bk #2)

Stacy Nyikos: THE ADVENTURERS GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL ESCAPES by Wade Albert White
                        (middle grade, fantasy, sci fi)

Beth Bonini of TRAC: ASKING FOR IT by Louise O'Neill (mature YA)

Stacy of the Cat's Meow: SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys  (YA historical)

ADULT FICTION BOOK REVIEWS

Alyssa Goodnight: A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN by Sherry Thomas (historical mystery)

Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: THE HUMMINGBIRD by Stephen P. Kieran (contemporary)

Linda McLaughlin: THE LAST WALTZ by G.G. Vandagriff (Historical/Saga)
                             
Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: THREE WISHES by Liane Moriarty (contemporary)

Ray Potthoff: PEOPLE OF THE BOOK by Geraldine Brooks (historical)



Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!



8 comments:

Stacy said...

I wondered about this book. Thanks for the review.

I don't disagree with Misery Saga. Several years ago, when I was driving home from Toronto back to Michigan, my GPS thought it would helpfully keep me off the traffic back up on the freeway and instead sent me through the city. I went through 14 miles of Toronto and Mississauga, stopping at a red light Every. Single. Block. During rush hour. I did not have a map. My 5 hour trip turned into 11 hours. I am sure Mississauga is much nicer than what I saw on that trip, but yikes.

Barrie said...

Oh my, Stacy. :( I had a similar incident with my GPS and LA. I think you'll enjoy the book better than that 11-hour drive!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I love that she changes her name based on what's going on in her life. I never considered that possibility. Perhaps next month I'll sign my emails Lys. :P

(And I think propitious is worth at least $7.50!)

Lucy said...

I hadn't heard of this book but it sounds interesting. Thanks for the review. :)

Bee said...

Barrie, this book sounds wonderful! Too bad that I just put a book buying ban on myself ... although these bans exist to be ignored. 😉 Love your intro about November ... so true!

Linda McLaughlin said...

Wow, this sounds like a really relevant, topical book, what with all the misogyny on display in this election season. I'm sure a lot of us could relate to it. I may see if the library has a copy.

Was I the only one who had trouble again with the code and the BRC graphic? I couldn't get it to work.

Barrie said...

Linda, I'm wondering if the problem is some sort of compatibility w/ Word Press? I'll email you.

Sarah Laurence said...

A belated hello from Japan! 13 Ways is quite different than your usual choices. The storytelling structure and motif sounds unique. Thanks for hosting and sorry to miss the book group this month.