September 2016 Wrap Up

I can’t believe that it’s already October. The cool weather is really settling in Brooklyn and I’m pulling out the scarves, jackets, and hot cups of tea. It’s my favorite time of the year and it’s also the perfect reason to go out and read (more than I usually do).

Anyway, here’s my September Wrap Up. I had a few books on my list in September, but as always, my plans changed (lol). I only read four books in September, but I feel like I’m more enriched by my reads. Here’s my reads:

  1. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West (5/5 stars) – I got this book in my Owlcrate box in August, but haven’t had the chance to read it until now. This was such a sweet little read. I love doing “in-betweeners,” which are books that you read to separate out some of the more heavy and serious reads. Not to say that this book isn’t serious. It’s the kind of book that doesn’t remind you of the strife and struggle of reality.  I don’t know if you deal with this kind of thing, but when I read too many serious books I get some serious anxiety about life. When you’re so enveloped by a book, you forget what’s reality and what’s the fiction and in those situations, the anxiety is real. If you haven’t felt anxiety after reading a serious book then you’ve got a stronger mind than me.
  2. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid (4.5/5 stars) – I was reading One True Loves as another “in-betweener” because I wasn’t ready to read something serious yet. However, as I got into it, I realized that this was a bit more serious. Dead husbands and finding love and finding old loves again. Those kinds of conversations are reserved for the reality of the world and not the fun world of “in-betweeners.” But I fell in love with this book the way Emma, the main character, fell in love twice. No spoilers here, but it’s really difficult to choose someone you want to be with when you have feelings for more than one person. I will keep the rest to myself, but I strongly suggest this book.
  3. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (5/5 stars) – Alright, when I talk about serious books, this is a serious book. However, it’s an important book and something I think everyone should read. If you’ve ever asked yourself what your ethnicity and heritage/background is, then you should read this book. Coming from a very family-centric environment, it was frustrating for me to read about a family lineage where it gets so muddled because of something as barbaric as slavery and war. It reminds me of the Syrian refugees ripped from their families and their homes. I think with modern technology they may be able to be together again, but back in the 19th century, that wasn’t an option. It brings a sad tear to my eye knowing that some families will never be together again. Everyone should read this if only to value the families they have.
  4. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (4/5 stars) – I read this one for Banned Books Week. There is something about Toni Morrison’s voice that compels me to read more and pushes me away from her. Her words are haunting and visceral like looking at a surrealist painting. The Bluest Eye is the first novel she’s published and if you’ve ever struggled with your own identity and accepting who you are, then you should definitely read this book. In the end, the moral of the story is that you shouldn’t struggle to try and be something you’re not. Love yourself for who you are and enjoy your youth as much as you can.

Enjoy!

 

Book Review: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

one-true-loves

If this can afford me anything, it’s the feeling I had when I was younger and believed that he was my true love.

Summary (from Goodreads.com) – In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

My thoughts – I love, love, love this book. If you’ve ever experienced heartbreak and sadness, you will know that feeling from this book.

I’ve never experienced the loss of a husband or a spouse or a boyfriend to something extremely tragic. I’ve lost them because they wanted to lose me. And even though that sadness of not being wanted is different than that of being wanted but completely impossible, you still feel the loss in the same way. Pain is pain. I’ve dealt with that kind of pain before, but my favorite part of it (if you could have a favorite part) is that I learned from it.

 

“Good things don’t wait until you’re ready. Sometimes they come right before, when you’re almost there. And I figured when that happens, you can let them pass by like a bus not meant for you. Or you can get ready. So I got ready.”

Taylor Jenkins Reid lovingly wrote a story of both being lost and then being found. It’s not just about who you love and that defining you, but how you can shape yourself through the process. Her character, Emma, is an insecure high schooler who through the process of being loved found a secure place to be in her life, Then through the process of falling out of love, found the person that she wanted to be. If you could learn any lesson from a book like this it’s that the loss of love isn’t the end of life.

I think the only flaw to this book (and honestly, a personal preference) is that it got super sappy at the end. I love love stories, but I think the lesson was learned before the final page:

“Maybe, if you’re the kind of person who’s willing to give all of yourself, the kind of person who is willing to love with all of your heart even though you’ve experienced just how much it can hurt . . . maybe you get lots of true loves, then. Maybe that’s the gift you get for being brave.”

::SPOILER ALERT::

Reading this book was like watching the final rose ceremony on the Bachelor or the Superbowl. You have your favorites and you want one of them to win. But who will Emma choose? My money was on Sam.

The reason being is that Sam is a new chapter of her life. She had lost Jesse, endured that pain, and through that struggle she found herself. Circumstances would have probably been different if Jesse was alive, but sometimes life can throw you into the lion’s den to see if you’ll survive.

“When you love someone, it seeps out of everything you do, it bleeds into everything you say, it becomes so ever-present, that eventually it becomes ordinary to hear, no matter how extraordinary it is to feel.”

Sam represents the new life she’s built for herself post-Jesse. He was familiar in that he reminded her of the person she was in high school, but also different because they created a life together. Like soldiers returning from war, some people are changed for good and Jesse and Emma were both different. That life they had died when Jesse was presumed dead.

I keep rambling, but the ultimately moral of this story is that sometimes you can’t go back home. Time moves on and if you don’t move with it, you might just miss everything.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who has lost love and then found love again and those who are hopeful that love will eventually find them.