Reviews: 3/19-3/31

Let Me Lie
by Clare Mackintosh

I won’t lie, I had a hard time getting through this. Once the major twist was revealed, it was pretty easy to solve the overall mystery, so I ended up skimming the second half of the book. It’s a slow build, which isn’t bad, but just wasn’t what I was looking for at the time.

I Am, I Am, I Am
by Maggie O’Farrell

This was a really interesting collection of near death experiences as a memoir. Her experiences showed things I’ve encountered in my own life: doctors who don’t believe in women’s illnesses, the constant pain and changes that come from having a chronic illness. Her stories were heartbreaking and inspiring, because no matter what, she’s still here and so are we.

Bone
by Yrsa Daley-Ward

I finally read this collection after having it for months because I am lazy af lost it for a while and finally found it after my cat knocked over the book stack it was in. The poems are very powerful and I definitely recommend it.

Truly, Devious
by Maureen Johnson

I got this back in January and never finished it, so in a fit of pique late one night I dragged it back out and finished it. I enjoyed the flashback crime the most, I won’t lie. I’m not a huge fan of high school activities anyway (even when I was in high school, I didn’t give a damn about high school) so the story kind of dragged for me when it wasn’t about the original crime. But as soon as things started getting hairy for the modern story, I was back into it.

I recommend it, even though it ends on a cliffhanger with ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOTHING resolved. Here’s hoping the next book comes out soon and solves at least one of the crimes.

Was the Cat in the Hat Black?
by Philip Nel

This was an interesting read. On one hand, he does a good job of showing how societal racism has affected children’s books and their creation. On the other, one whole chapter seemed to be “how many times can I use the n-word and still be believed that it makes me uncomfortable, but it’s totally necessary for the book”. I wasn’t buying that, especially not from a white guy. It’s also so damn academic he says the same things about five times in each chapter, a thing I really can’t stand about academic writing.

Do I recommend this? I’m not sure. On one hand, it is very informative, but on the other, it’s everything above.

The Snowy Day
by Ezra Jack Keats

A frankly adorable children’s book about a young boy experiencing a snow day. The art is bright and colorful and the character of Peter is simply adorable (I know, I used adorable twice, but he pokes the snow on the branches with a stick and it falls on his head and if that’s not adorable, I don’t know what is). What made this book remarkable was that it was the first children’s book to feature a black child as the lead without making him a stereotype. Peter is simply the everychild experiencing his snowy day. The story still holds up and is sure to delight children today.

Shiver
by Junji Ito

This was a collection of horror shorts by one of the masters of the horror manga, Junji Ito. The art is terrifying and so are the stories. I think my favorite was one about a song that is only sung by the recently dead. It was also the least viscerally terrifying, so that may have something to do with it. One of the most memorable is about a man who lives with the minds of his ancestors attached to him, and another about a monster of a model and her bloody endings.

Trust No Aunty
by Maria Qamar

This was hilarious and insightful. I love learning about other cultures and this one was a great into to the world of the aunties, related or otherwise. (As someone who once had a Filipino aunty, I very much feel the “You’re so skinny, you need more food, MARRY MY SON, YES” of the various aunties.) She also has some great recipes in here you can make on the cheap, so definitely check those out. Her art pops and is full of color and very expressive. It’s no wonder she has such a following.

A Poem for Peter
by Andrea Davis Pinkney

This was written in response to The Snowy Day as a poem to little Peter. The poem tells about the creator, Ezra Jack Keats, and his life growing up a poor immigrant boy in the 20s-30s New York. The illustrations match his style very well, and show him growing as an artist through his life up until he created The Snowy Day.

About Fleet Sparrow

Writer, Reader, Critic, Bear.
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