Monday, May 8, 2017

April Reads // Small but Mighty

Happy Monday friends! It was another super social weekend here. I'll talk more about that on Wednesday, because today I am sharing my April reads. They were few... because I put most of them in my March post... but I enjoyed both of them!

Mermaids Singing by Lisa Carey

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy generational family stories, complicated mother-daughter dynamics, and coming of age themes.

This book follows the complicated history of three women; a mother, daughter, and grandmother. Cliona left Ireland for Boston in the 1960's. She raised her daughter Grace in the states, and she grew into a rebellious girl. When Grace is taken back to the island where her mother lived, her rebellion grows. She finds the island as cold as her mother's heart. Grainne, Grace's daughter is being raised in Boston, far away from the Irish Island that Grace hates, their life is unconventional, but they are close like friends. When Grace dies of her cancer, Cliona meets her granddaughter and the two return to Ireland to heal their broken relationship and dig up secrets from the past.

I have a lot of thoughts about this book. Overall, I really enjoyed it. The writing was really vivid, and the characters were extremely complex. I like the way it was told, each chapter from one of the women's perspective. The timeline isn't linear, so it skips back and forth in time filling in the blanks and secrets of the women's lives. By the end I found myself pretty wrapped up in the pain that they felt, the secrets that were left untold, and the acceptance they were all looking for. A lot of this book has to do with sex. At first it felt a little odd, but I actually it's pretty representative of what it's like to grow up and not know who you are or what you want. I think it explains stigma on young women related to sex, and also how it complicates mother-daughter relationships. The contrasts between the mother daughter pairs reminded me a lot of Gilmore Girls, but much more stark. This book is not funny. I think mostly the book made me think about how important communication is. If you can't tell those you love what you need, how you feel, etc. it complicates everything. Sometimes causing huge issues. It's absolutely tragic to read about people who want and need love, but can't accept it, because they feel like it compromises their freedom and individuality. It's like none of these women could ever tell anyone how they actually felt. Never fully confide in anyone. That's not how love works, and it makes me sad to read it. As a side note, this book is not *about* mermaids, but the island in Ireland is named after mermaids, and folklore, etc. is woven through the novel.

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

4.5 - 5 Stars - I recommend if you like vivid characters and coming of age themes. Or if you're human, this one seems like required reading you guys!

This book follows serial prep school failure Holden Caulfield as he leaves his Pennsylvania prep school early for winter break, heading to escape reality for a few days underground in New York City. This book captures (what I imagine) it's like to be a teenage boy, who's stuck between boy and man. Filled with extremely colorful characters, settings, situations, and dialogue - this book is hard to put down. An eloquent and classic coming of age story.

I LOVED THIS BOOK. I was really hesitant to start it... I haven't been reading (or doing well, with) classic novels lately... but I found this book really compelling, and therefore quick to read. I enjoyed the way that it was written (like Holden is telling you his story, very informal). I loved how clear of a character he was for being SO complex. I loved his observations about the world, his innocent heart despite questionable circumstances that he gets himself into, and his conversations with others. I have read one other Salinger book (Franny and Zooey - which I also loved), and I have to say... Salinger's writing is just phenomenal. I felt like everything I was reading was incredibly vivid and interesting. (Despite the fact that male coming of age stories, and classics haven't been my jam in the past few years). The only part that was harder for me to understand or get into was near the very end. Things are moving pretty quickly and because it's from his perspective (and written in the 1950's) it's unclear what actually is going on... it would have been interesting to know... but it didn't really change my opinion of the book. I highly recommend to anyone and everyone.

Currently Reading:

A Fork in the Road edited by James Oseland
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Books on Deck:

Since I've been reading genres that are tougher for me and also slower for me, I am feeling like I'm in a slump. I expect to read a bunch of fun, fluffy, compelling, etc. to get out of it!

Linking up with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books tomorrow. :) 

Life According to Steph

What have you been reading? What do you hope to read this year?! 

Let's be friends on Goodreads!


* Asterisks denote titles that I was given advance access to by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. These reviews are my own opinion, and based on the edition of the book I was given at the time. Thank you Netgalley!

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