This book goes back to the 80s when fear and ignorance about AIDS brought out the worst in people. That is the backdrop to this story, but the heart of it is about love and acceptance.
June, the main character, is a fifteen year old girl coping with the loss of her uncle - the one person she felt truly understood her and accepted her for who she was. It is about the loss of her sister as the two girls, once extremely close, begin to make their separate ways in the world. And, it is about the loss of her image of her mother as she starts to see her as a person, complete with flaws. June has to let go of these things to be able to accept herself.
At the same time she is letting go, a new friend comes into her life. This person sees her clearly, in a way that unnerves her and puts the question of who she is and who she is capable of loving front and center.
The author handles the intensity of these relationships and the depth of emotions in a gentle and authentic way, allowing you to feel the pain of those adolescent years as you experience June's struggles. The voice of the character (and the narrator) rings true, and I found myself lost in the story and brought back to experiences in my life where acceptance by others was as crucial as acceptance of myself.
I highly recommend this book. I appreciated that it touched on heavy subjects without becoming maudlin. It is well-paced, well-read, and easy to become immersed in.
This book was an easy, breezy, summer read. A bit predictable, a few story lines that sounded a little familiar, and characters that you loved, but were not tremendously deep or distinctive. At the end of the day, I would say I truly enjoyed the book, but it is not one I'd run out and tell everyone I know to read/listen, nor do I think it will stick in my memory. I think it has a place in your library for when you're in the mood for something requiring a relatively low investment of effort - and we all need that every now and then!
I took a chance on this - a book on a subject matter I knew nothing about, by an author I'd never heard of, and read by the author (usually NOT a good thing in my experience). I am so glad I did. I have been telling everyone I know to listen (if possible) and read it (if not). This is the kind of book that stays with you long after the final chapter, and breaks into your thoughts at the oddest moments, making you want to say to whomever will listen, "Oh, and I was just listening to this book about "lost" children in Nepal. Have I mentioned it to you already?" I have been an avid audiobook fan now for about 9 years and this is the first time I have ever felt compelled, at the completion of a book, to re-start it right away and listen to it through a second time.
So, if you know nothing about: Nepal, its government, the civil war or child trafficking, Conor Grennan will "educate" you through his humorous, self-deprecating, and ultimately inspirational memoir about his time there and the children who literally changed the course of his life. Are there other good folks out there doing similar work (or even helping larger numbers of children and their families)? Certainly. Are there other "adventure" memoirs that put the authors in greater peril so your nails are bitten to the quick? I'm sure of it. But I loved the voice that Conor brought to his tale, which allowed you to hop aboard and take the journey with him. My only complaint is that it had to end. Obviously, I highly recommend it!
This is not a subject I would ordinarily choose to read about, but the author's storytelling capabilities and impeccable research made it a homerun. If you're skeptical because you're not a war buff, or a fan of biographies, drop your baggage on the ground and give it a try.
An unbelievably compelling story, characters that could walk off the page and set down next to you, and a narrator that did all of that justice with the most amazing voice. I would highly recommend this book, and in particular, the audio version.
I think these authors struggled to find the balance between an academic piece of work, a self-help guide, and a case study approach to a fascinating illness. The book had moments of highly engaging and insightful content, but this lack of clear identity made it a less than stellar read. The narrator was also mediocre at best, monotonous at points and struggled with an attempt at a feminine pitch at times.
This is not a book that will stick with you for the long-term, and the language is not for the faint of heart, but.... It is classic Anthony Bourdain. A little self-centered, a little indulgent, a little exaggerated for effect, but entertaining nevertheless. The chapter towards the end where he follows a day in the life of the seafood prep cook at Les Bernadin shows that Anthony, above all, respects the craft of cooking for others, and has a soft spot in his heart for those who respect it, too. I enjoyed the book for what it was, and think his fans will, too.
Visiting Edgecombe Saint Mary through the perspectives of the characters in Major Pettigrew's Last Stand was a lovely trip. The characters include the dignified and proper (but sufficiently human and flawed) Major Ernest Pettigrew, his late-in-life romantic interest, Pakistani shopkeeper Mrs. Ali, and his insufferable, self-centered son, Roger. They all shine in the backdrop of this quaint English village. Although this is a typical small town "escape" kind of book in many regards, I found the issues the characters faced substantive enough to warrant some deeper introspection without becoming maudlin or heavy. Very well read, well paced, and a good book to help pass a tiresome commute.
99% of the time, I am disappointed when an author reads their own book, and this time was no exception. I'm sure I would have loved this book if I'd read it (rather than listened to it), but the reader, who is the author, is the most monotone reader EVER. It is a humorous memoir, but she manages to suck the lifeblood from the story at every turn. I also think the jingles that are an integral part of the story are just better to look at on a page than to listen to, ironically, as many of them have word plays that you really ought to slow down to truly appreciate. Finally, it is totally my fault, but I didn't realize this was an abridged version, which just ain't the real thing. Save your $ and check this one out of your local library in print.
I cannot believe that this has been happening in my country! Jessup's tale is horrifying yet hopeful. I thought the pace was a bit uneven throughout, and started slow, but the injustices mount until you reach saturation levels and know the escape must be imminent. It was not the best read book I've downloaded, but not the worst either. Would recommend.
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