Hi guys! How are you? I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend! A couple of weeks ago I did a post of 5 star predictions and now that I’ve read them all, it’s time to take a look and see how accurate my guesses turned out to be:
The Word for Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews
This was the first 5 star prediction I picked up and I had a good feeling about it right from the start. It follows a young woman who’s fed up with the lack of female led wilderness narratives and travels to Alaska to make a documentary about about her own experience in te wild. It touches on so many topics I’m interested in such as: feminism, nature, wildlife, space-travel, cetaceans, first nations cultures, the myth of the mountain man… But despite my interest in all these themes, the protagonist’s philosophical musings eventually overshadowed the rest of the narrative to the point where I struggled to stay invested in Erin’s journey toward the end.
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Pride by Ibi Zoboi
The next book I picked up was Pride, a modern remix of Pride and Prejudice set in Bushwick, with a Haitian-Dominican protagonist. There was plenty of things I liked about this book, the family dynamics, the strong sense of place and community, the themes of gentrification, race, class and education. But while I felt Zuri’s love for her sisters, her neighborhood, her poetry, even for Howard University – I didn’t feel the love between her and Darius at all. Usually that wouldn’t bother me, I don’t think romance is the be-all and end-al of a book. But since Pride and Predjudice is one of literature’s greatest love stories, I do think a retelling should have a compelling romance at it’s core.
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland
I was so charmed by this book’s opening chapters, in which the protagonist finds a lost book of poems on the sidewalk and puts a found-poster up in the window of the bookstore she works in. A poet wearing mismatched doc’s comes in to claim it and she scolds him for being careless with his books. Basically it was the perfect set up for a slightly quirky rom-com set in a bookstore, but that’s not what this book is. It reads like a feel-good story, but deals with heavy topics which I felt could’ve been explored with more nuance. I enjoyed this, but I couldn’t get over the tone of the book not matching the subject matter.
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Milkman by Anna Burns
Milkman is a coming of age story set in Belfast during the troubles. It’s told in a stream of consciousnesses from the point of view of an 18 year old girl who’s being stalked by the milkman, a republic terrorist with high standing in her community and trying to navigate this while the whole community assumes they’re having an affair. That might sound straightforward enough, but it’s not. This book is strange, challenging, original, dark, frustrating, dense, brilliant, claustrophobic and very funny. There’s no names in it, people are referred to as their part in the story. There’s middle sister (the protagonist), her ma, wee sisters, maybe boyfriend, the milkman (of course), the real milkman, Somebody McSomebody, as so on. It’s not the easiest read, but it’s worth the effort.
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women by Kate Forsyth and Lorena Carrington
My final 5 star prediction was this book of fairytale retellings. Each story’s been chosen for it’s brave, clever heroine and I think that’s a fantastic premise. The stories themselves are beautifully written, but stick very close to the original stories (at least the ones I know do) Forsyth expands upon, rather then re-imagines, the source material and she does so beautifully. By giving depth and complexity to characters most often portrayed as fairytale archetypes and adding richness of detail to the backdrops, she bring these stories to radiant new life. This is a wonderful book of fairytales and Carrington’s photographic illustration are truly stunning, but personally I prefer less faithful retellings.
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Well, I think in conclusion we can all agree I suck at this. I have no idea what books I’ll love and I should probably make someone else pick my books for me cause I have no idea what I’m doing. To be fair I did really, really like 4/5 of these. But still, only one was a 5-star read.