Book Review: The Scandal by Fredrik Backman

The Scandal - Fredrik Backman

Read it. Love it. Remember it. The Scandal.

Book Description:

‘Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead and pulled the trigger.

This is the story of how we got there.’ Beartown is a small town in a large Swedish forest. For most of the year it is under a thick blanket of snow, experiencing the kind of cold and dark that brings people closer together – or pulls them apart. Its isolation means that Beartown has been slowly shrinking with each passing year. But now the town is on the verge of an astonishing revival. Everyone can feel the excitement. Change is in the air and a bright new future is just around the corner. Until the day it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act. It divides the town into those who think it should be hushed up and forgotten, and those who’ll risk the future to see justice done. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear. With the town’s future at stake, no one can stand by or stay silent. Everyone is on one side or the other.

Which side would you be on? Continue reading “Book Review: The Scandal by Fredrik Backman”

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Book Review: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing - Yaa gyasi

I’d seen this book surfacing on social media quite a bit and was really interested to read it – three weeks after clicking reserve, the library ebook was mine to read.

Book Description:

Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Generation after generation, Yaa Gyasi’s magisterial first novel sets the fate of the individual against the obliterating movements of time, delivering unforgettable characters whose lives were shaped by historical forces beyond their control. Homegoing is a tremendous reading experience, not to be missed, by an astonishingly gifted young writer. Continue reading “Book Review: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi”

Book Review: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life - Hanya Yanagihara

When people saw I was reading A Little Life, the comments came thick and fast: “I absolutely adored this book, it was my favourite that I read last year…”, “I love this book so much”, “Loved it and it destroyed me”, “…absolutely wrecked me”, “incredible book”, and so on and so forth. So, you can image how much I expected this book to affect me emotionally, how deep and intense of a read I was anticipating…

From the inside cover:

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever. Continue reading “Book Review: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara”

Book Review: Dogwood by Lindsay Parnell // Being a Ninja Book Box Reader

Dogwood - Linsay Parnell.jpg

As well as a book review, I’ve got some exciting news to share with you today…. I’m an official Ninja Book Box reader… but more on that after my review of Dogwood.

From the back cover:

“You’d think she was an angel if she wasn’t always flying so close to hell.”

Released from prison on probation, 19-year-old Harper Haley returns to the brutal, sweaty, dogwood scented landscape of her youth. Chronicling her homecoming and struggle for rehabilitation, this is the story of one girl’s sin, guilt and resurrection.

At the heart of the novel is the dangerous, obsessive sisterhood between Harper and her childhood friends Collier, a seductively destructive debutante, and Caro, a jaded dreamer yearning for escape. As Harper backslides into a violent cycle of sex, drugs and abuse, the sisterhood at the core of her identity, and of the story, begins to unravel.

Climaxing in the confession of the act that irreversibly altered her life and those closest to her, Dogwood is Harper’s story, the one she can’t forget and the one she cannot speak. Continue reading “Book Review: Dogwood by Lindsay Parnell // Being a Ninja Book Box Reader”

Book Review: Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki

Woman no. 17 - Edan Lepucki

Has there ever been a book/author you hadn’t heard of before and then all of a sudden that book is everywhere you look? Woman No. 17 was that book for me, out of nowhere it flooded my social media feed, obviously, it immediately became a must read book!

From the inside cover:

High in the Hollywood Hills, writer Lady Daniels has decided to take a break from her husband. Left alone with her children, she’s going to need a hand taking care of her young son if she’s ever going to finish her memoir. In response to a Craigslist ad, S arrives, a magnetic young artist who will live in the secluded guest house out back, care for Lady’s toddler, Devin, and keep a watchful eye on her older, teenage son, Seth. S performs her day job beautifully, quickly drawing the entire family into her orbit, and becoming a confidante for Lady.

But in the heat of the summer, S’s connection to Lady’s older son takes a disturbing, and possibly destructive, turn. And as Lady and S move closer to one another, the glossy veneer of Lady’s privileged life begins to crack, threatening to expose old secrets that she has been keeping from her family. Meanwhile, S is protecting secrets of her own, about her real motivation for taking the job. S and Lady are both playing a careful game, and every move they make endangers the things they hold most dear.

Darkly comic, twisty and tense, this mesmerizing new novel defies expectation and proves Edan Lepucki to be one of the most talented and exciting voices of her generation. Continue reading “Book Review: Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki”