Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Review - The American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Publication Date, February 2018

Book Summary

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward--with hope and pain--into the future.

My Review -  5 stars

I am glad I went into this story without any knowledge.  A friend tagged me on Oprah's post where she recommended friends to read together.  A day later another friend reaches out and starts a Whatsapp group to discuss the book.  I am in a book club but this was a new way to read a book and it added to the enjoyment of reading The American Marriage.  There are no spoilers.

The story is told in 3 Chapters through the main characters Roy, Celestial and Andre.  How you think about marriage will come into question, make you sit back and say what is right or wrong, traditional or not and if generations look at marriage differently. 

"Sometimes when you like where you end up, you don't care how you got there."  Kindle 11%

We get to see how young marriage unfolds, deciding on becoming parents, in-laws, career building and what no one should have to deal with, being locked up for a crime you didn't commit.  How the incarceration affects all involved is an intense, emotional, love affair you will not forget.

Tarai Jones has wrote a winner, I am positive this book will be in my Top Ten for the year.  The older men in the book are the true MVP's, old school wisdom.  I laughed and cried, the story is very touching.  As a black Bermudian it is hard for me to understand the African American life and Tarai Jones does an amazing job on showing us how unfair life can be for an African American man without the feel of racism being uncomfortable.

"I have one thing to say to you, as a black man:  Roy is a hostage of the state.  He is a victim of America.  The least you could do........  Kindle 40%

I did not enjoy the character of Celestial, I just couldn't relate to her thoughts, her decisions, she wasn't a strong or weak female, spoiled yes, but that is still no excuse, I really am stumped by how much I disliked her in the story.  She has strong opinions on not belonging to anyone, this is a continuous topic.  It came to a point every time we came to her chapters, I had to take a breath to tolerate her.

My favourite characters are the fathers in the story and Roy, a true romantic.  There is so much to love about this incredible story.  We get history and heartbreaking moment to moment.  A huge part of the story are told through letters which gave it a beautiful, genuine feel.  You can also feel the journey of love change over the years.

Is it love or is it convenience? Kindle 69% 

The situation was a lot of things - tragic, absurd, unlikely, and maybe even unethical - but it was not convenient.  Kindle 69%

I also enjoyed how as the reader you are unsure who to root for, how the story will end and who really is the underdog.  I loved the ending but I think it will be different for each reader. 

I am very intrigued by the author now and will read more by her. There is so much to this story, I have had to be as general as possible in order for you to enjoy the story as it unfolds.    I highly recommend.

Monday, February 12, 2018

What I read and what I am reading

Book Date hosts It's Monday What Are Your Reading?  The meme that we share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week.  It's a great way to see what others are reading and add to your own To Be Read List.

Currently reading

A friend reached out and invited me to participate in a Whatsapp group to discuss The American Marriage as we were reading.  It is dynamic conversation, very fun way to read this amazing book so far.

I read and reviewed - 3 star - if I enjoy being manipulated with thoughts while reading, I would recommend.

I need to review - 3 1/2 stars

I have no idea what is next, unsure what genre also, we will see.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Review - Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Publication Date - January 2017

Book Summary

Why is everyone talking about the ending of Sarah Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes?
Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.
When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake, but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend. But she also just happens to be married to David. And if you think you know where this story is going, think again, because Behind Her Eyes is like no other book you’ve read before.
David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife. But then why is David so controlling? And why is Adele so scared of him?
As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.
In Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough has written a novel that takes the modern day love triangle and not only turns it on its head, but completely reinvents it in a way that will leave readers reeling.

My Review 3  

This is definitely a psychological thriller, the beginning pulled you in and immediately I had moments of what the heck is really going on here.   We have the story line we have had many times, unsuspecting romantic meet up and then realize the next day the complete and utter betrayal and inappropriateness of the night before.   Louise and David have a fun night and realize the next morning that they are new colleagues.  David is her 'married' new boss, not only is she the Personal Assistant but a huge one night mistake.  This should end there, for most it will but no they start a full on affair. 

But when David touches me, I come alive.  I love the smell of him on me.  I love the feel of his skin.  I love his smile.  I'm like a teenager when he's there.   And then when I'm with Adele I feel like I matter.  I'm important to her.  Kindle 33%

Whether he hit her or not, something isn't normal in their marriage.  But then nothing about this is normal and I'm probably the worst of the three of us.  Kindle 47%

Then a coincidence meeting with David's wife Adele happens, which starts a close friendship.  Are you rolling your eyes?  It really is complete ridiculousness, a life game gone wrong.  I lost respect for all parties and so the characters didn't touch me but they were all memorable enough to continue reading.  The middle didn't hold my attention, I just wanted to know how it will end.  And the ending, I think was a risk for the author, either you will be shocked and love it or completely hate it.  I sat there and thought, this is the direction it took, really, this is slightly SciFi as it is not believable.  I was willing to believe to a certain extent but the complete story, nope.  This is why I can only give it 3 stars.  Any book that I don't skim through always gets a 3 as I completed it but it took to long to complete.  I'm not impressed. I didn't care enough to want to throw my Kindle down but this is definitely the reaction I think readers will have, 'throwing their book against the wall'.

David is a Dr who has a wife that obviously has a mental illness and is unstable.  He should be able to do more or get her the help needed so this part disturbed me, instead of helping her he became a drunk, a cheating drunk with patients.

One thing I have realized with reading, I do not like when authors manipulate the reader or have characters that are manipulative in behaviour, I just can't handle it and don't enjoy the read as much.  Behind Her Eyes is manipulation of the highest. 

"There's no right and wrong with feelings.  There is only what there is."  Kindle 77%

This is how I feel about Behind Her Eyes, it is what it is.  I was disappointed.