Tag Archives: Fear

Lies We Tell Ourselves

Lies We Tell Ourselves Title: Lies We Tell Ourselves
Author: Robin Talley
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Historical Fiction
Length: 368 pages

Where do I even begin? I loved this. Pure and simple love. Which might seem like the wrong emotion when thinking of the subject matter and how  truly difficult it was to read, but I just wanted to gather everyone of those poor kids and hug them. I kept wanting to just shout “Ok, bring it in” and throw my arms around them and hug them. This book gave me the chills, made me want to cry, and yet I could I couldn’t stop reading!

I think overall I preferred the narrative from Sarah’s point of view, but it was nice to see the growth in Linda from her point of view. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that dealt with race issues the way this book does. Page one it begins, there is no tiptoeing around the issue of desegregating the schools we jump into the first day of school for these 10 kids that are thrust into an all-white school that is, shall we say, less than pleased to see them.

Lie #1
There’s no need to be afraid.

As they approach the school everyone is waiting from them outside and they are shouting at them. They are jostled, elbowed, tripped, and they haven’t even made it inside the building. It was like a train-wreck that I couldn’t tear my eyes away from. I felt embarrassed for the south, the United States, and the people that were forced to endure that kind of humiliation.

“We’re inside.
It’s done. We did it. We’re in the school.
But the white people are still staring at us. Shouting at us.
They’re all around me. And they still look hungry.”

“We haven’t been sitting ten seconds when everyone else who was sitting on the front row stands up, all in one smooth motion, and files out.
For the second time this morning, I wonder if the white people rehearsed that.”

Every time a group of people changed seats leaving one of them alone just broke my heart. It made my chest hurt. My throat just burned, either with sadness or with anger, or both. I just couldn’t settle on one emotion. I can’t imagine treating people this way and I am thankful that I was not raised to treat anyone as though they don’t matter or that they are different than I am so I treat them differently.

I can understand why some of the kids that don’t hurl insults don’t help, they would then become a target, but the teachers blatantly ignoring it just fills me with rage. I’m sure there was pressure from higher ups not to interfere unless they had to, or even in some places that would have cost a teacher their job because they didn’t agree with the majority opinion. But..every adult that stood by and let it happen made it me want to cry or break something. While I am very non-confrontational, I hope that I would say something or do something if I saw such cruelty. I hope that I am never faced with making that decision, because if I chose wrong I don’t know that I could forgive myself.

The other main issue at hand in this book is the fact that Sarah finds herself attracted to another girl and can’t stop beating herself up about how wrong that is. Now not only is she one of ten black students in a newly desegregated school, but she is also a lesbian with no way of dealing with all her pain. AND on top of that her new crush is white. This girl just can’t catch a break from herself or the world.

There was also a lot of religion questioning that I found interesting. Sarah did a lot of praying and talked frequently of her church, but she would question why God would allow them to go through this or why if he was watching over them that he had to do his job from so far away. That broke my heart all over again.

I was slightly disappointed that Linda didn’t grow as much as I wanted her to, but she definitely made some giant leaps in the right direction. The amount she changed was very believable, anything more would have seemed outrageous due to length of time the book spans, but I just wanted everyone to realize how wrong they were and get some karma for how horribly they acted. Just punch them all in the face, repeatedly, and call it a day.

Chuck. For some reason my heart went out to him the most. Maybe because he was supposed to be the protector of the girls, the younger boys, and also try to survive this new school with his head held high. He also had a lot to lose because the was most likely to be ganged up on in a fight with the assholes from his new school. I worried about him and I found myself actually flinching when I thought something bad was going to happen to him…..he actually made me cry a bit.

This book is not necessarily easy to read. There is no shying away from what people call them and the language itself may be too offensive for some, but it’s pretty damn accurate for what these people were forced to endure. The idea that anyone could be treated that way just kills me.

I highly recommend this book. I’ve never read a book quite like it and I don’t think I ever will again.


Pretty Girl-13

Hmm….I really expected to like this more. I know that may sound….weird (for lack of a better word) when thinking about the subject of the book but it could have been written so well. I know that this book is out there to educate kidnappings/sexual abuse that in the end come to happier conclusions (Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard, etc.) but there were no surprises here. I found myself thinking, “was that supposed to be a surprise?” “Really? That’s the “twist”?” and I guess I’m not sure what I fully expected from this book. It did it’s job in introducing the world to a character that you could almost relate to. I thought some of the plot lines were a little weird. I really loved the idea of exploring Disassociative Identity Disorder and the reality of being in a situation you are beyond dealing with and your body basically taking over. But, and this is a big one, this could have been MUCH better. I applaud the author for taking a really hard subject and giving it a voice. Not often in literature for teens do certain sort of taboo subjects come up.

Angie, our main character, goes camping and the suddenly finds herself back on the street she lives on. She goes home and her parents are elated to see her. She doesn’t understand that three years have passed because she doesn’t remember them. Her alternate personalities are basically shielding her from what has occurred so the last thing she remembers is leaving to go camping and then winds up home instead.

I found I couldn’t relate to Angie as a person. The story felt like a story and not a world that I could try to understand and join. It lacked some sort of emotion for me that would have made it seem more realistic or at least made the characters more realistic. I also had a hard time accepting her “alters” as real characters. The interactions with them were strange and kind of detracted from the story a bit for me.

I wouldn’t say I don’t recommend that you read this, just that it really wasn’t for me. 

An Apple a Day

I’ve noticed a certain trend in my non-fiction…I mostly read about eating disorders and animals. I will read some memoirs but they have to be pretty good or I get bored quickly. I love a book that will make me laugh so the new book by Jim Gaffigan (my favorite comedian) was an obvious choice as well as BossyPants by Tina Fey. I also like the occasional random non-fiction thrown in there but I usually ready about murder or anything YA. I can’t help it.

Best line of the book. “Remember when Kate Moss said, ‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’? She’s wrong: chocolate does.” This is said as Emma Woolf walks down the street unwrapping a kitkat, the first chocolate she has eaten in over 10 years. 

I thought this book was great. I loved how honest the author was in her struggle and she just seemed so real. I will say she also has some pretty strong views on things and isn’t shy to let you know them. I didn’t like her view on suicide because it seemed skewed and actually a bit juvenile. Her thoughts were that suicide is selfish and I used to think that growing up but as I got older I realized it isn’t that way for those who suffer severe depression or suicidal thoughts. I have a very close relationship with a couple people with suicidal tendencies and I definitely have a different view, including my own bout of depression while growing up. Senior year in high school was really hard for me because of depression so I am not one to judge others on their demons.

Back to the eating disorder part. Emma Woolf brings up some good points. Doctors and even family members have the main goal of trying to get the sufferer to their “goal” weight that is healthy for them but there isn’t always a lot of therapy for the mental side of the problem. Once your at a higher weight it can seem like everyone is thinking, “Oh well you’re fine now. No big deal just eat.” Well it’s not that easy.

I thought it was brave of the author to write a column while she was struggling with overcoming anorexia and letting her audience kind of follow her progress. That is also a scary decision and for the less brave might have even set them back quite a bit in their recovery.

I think the most heart-wrenching part was reading her struggle to stop over controlling her food and body so that she could have a baby. For some reason when people can’t have children or get pregnant and have miscarriages it makes ME emotional, as though I am suffering right along with them. I don’t have children nor do I want them right now. I do not have a stable enough life for kids, my cat is plenty yet these aspects of stories really get me. It might be because I would love to have children someday or because I know people who struggle but it goes right for the heart.

If you like to read about eating disorders for whatever reason, you should definitely pick this one up. It might just give you a different view on things. I give this one 4 stars.


About time I finally write a blog post!

Amped is a wonderful book written by Daniel H Wilson. I must say I was quite impressed to read in his author bio that he has a PhD in Robotics. I didn’t know that was a thing, but I approve.

I have to start off by saying that I wasn’t sure what to expect with this story. Amped takes you on a journey through the lives of those with medical implants that completely alter the brain. The main character, Owen, is an Amp. Owen has epilepsy but the implant prevents him from having seizures. Have a kid with ADD? No problem! Give them an implant and they will have improved m

ental focus. The implant can make you smarter, faster, and most of all, an apparent threat to the unaltered people of the world.

I was immediately hooked into this technology thriller. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Owen. It took me a while to even figure out the main character and his personality which would usually turn me off from a story but this was so intriguing I couldn’t wait to get on with the story.

The view we see from Owen’s life begins when the Supreme Court has begun to pass laws that basically state that amps don’t count as people. The “normal” community can’t enter in contracts with the amps, which basically means they are left homeless, jobless and in a whole new class of undesirable status. Why would anyone want to do that? We all know that is going to be a bad idea. Who let them vote that in?!

Joseph Vaughn (the nemesis of the amp communities) and fear let them vote that in. That is the scariest part of this story. I could actually see something awful happening in the book that could be real. Fear and lack of understanding create a lot of the problems we currently have in our world and sometimes it seems as though technology is only hurting us. I love technology but that doesn’t mean I don’t worry about it running our lives. Hell, it kind of does already.

I can’t wait to read others by this author. His writing is fast paced and so refreshingly honest. I loved this.