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!
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."
(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
THE GREAT CHOCOLATE CHASE by Wendy Mass (middle grade, bk #2)
(middle grade, fantasy, sci fi)
Beth Bonini of TRAC: ASKING FOR IT by Louise O'Neill (mature YA)
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!