I’m so thrilled that I read enough books this month to put multiple reviews in one post! I’m trying to keep my momentum going so hopefully it will continue. Here are the books I read in August and some thoughts on each.
Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan – This book came highly recommended by Shea of Shea Lennon. It’s a memoir that the author has written about her time working as a nanny for a family in New Zealand and what it taught her about herself and her relationship with her parents, especially her mother. She writes in a beautiful, approachable way. I actually felt at times I was reading a novel and not a story that actually happened. Overall I really enjoyed it and would be interested in some of her other memoirs so I will be looking for some of them to add to my list.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett – I couldn’t put this book down. A fantastic piece of fiction about three teenagers whose lives intersect and connect throughout their young adulthood. The “Mothers” are the matriarchs of a church in California and the story is told from their observations and each chapter starts with their musings on what they were witnessing as these characters grew up and transitions beautifully into the actual story. The preacher’s son Luke and the main protagonist, Nadia, engage in a secret sexual relationship. Nadia turns up pregnant and ends up having an abortion. Taking pity on her, the preacher’s wife gives Nadia a job for the summer at the church and she befriends another girl, Aubrey. Nadia keeps her abortion secret from Aubrey and leaves for college. Soon, Aubrey grows close Luke, not knowing that he and Nadia had a past. Aubrey and Luke eventually marry and Nadia returns home to care for her ailing father and all the secrets of the past come back to haunt all of them. I really enjoyed the overall story and how it was told, parts of it even reminded me a little bit of my beloved Summer Sisters, especially about the secrets that are kept and the impact it has on the various characters. Definitely recommend.
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin – This is actually a Juvenile book, but when I saw a review of it on another blog I just had to read it. The main character, a 12 year old named Suzy, is grieving the death of her former best friend, who drown in a trip to the ocean. Suzy is determined to prove that there was some other explanation for her friend’s death, because she had been an excellent swimmer, so there was no way she could have drown. A trip to the aquarium with her class leads her to research a type of jellyfish she believes had to be responsible for her friend’s death. The story is told with flashbacks to how her and her friend met years ago and ultimately what led to the end of their friendship and why Suzy feels guilty and even a little responsible for her friend’s death. It’s a fascinating look at grief and I think it also does a great job of talking about popularity, coming of age and the difficulties of growing up. And of course being that it was a juvie read, it was a also a pretty fast read. I enjoyed it though.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green – I listened to this one on CD in the car. I had enjoyed The Fault in our Stars enough, so I decided to give Turtles a try. I will say this, Turtles is a little more difficult to read (or well listen to) at times, it can be kind of stressful, but I think it’s an extremely important read because it really illustrates the difficulties of living with mental health issues. Aza, our main character, suffers from anxiety and OCD. Her best friend Daisy convinces her to help her look into the mysterious disappearance of a well known millionaire, Russell Pickett, because there is reward money to be found and Aza once went to camp with Russell’s son Davis, so she figures their connection might lead them to finding him and getting the reward. The story unfolds with them connecting with Davis and Davis and Aza sort of having a relationship, but Aza’s anxiety and OCD kind of gets in the way. The climax point of the book is intense, but also has this sort of release that was needed as you will feel it building to that point. We need to talk more about mental health issues, so I really do applaud John Green for writing this book.
There we go! Four pretty different stories, but all rather enjoyable. I am on to another book already and have a few more waiting in the wings. So hopefully we’ll come back in September to four more good reads at the end of the month! That’s my challenge to myself anyway!