[REVIEW] One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel @GrantaBooks

I first came across One of the Boys earlier this year on Instagram so when I requested a different book to read and review I got sent this one too which I was so happy about because of seeing a lot of praise for it.

One of the Boys is a story about two boys and their manipulative father. After their parents divorce they move with their father to Albuquerque to start a new life free from all the mess of divorce. Both of the children go to school and begin having friendships and doing some sports which they’re excited about but what soon happens is that their father begins closing himself into his bedroom, they hear some strange noises during the night and see different people coming and going out of their house. What was an idyllic place soon becomes a nightmare for both of the children and they begin questioning the choices they made.

I hope I have summarised this book well and that you get the idea of the same. I’ll talk about the father figure first because he was a very interesting character. From the beginning of the book I knew that something was off with the father [well yes, because of the synopsis but also because from the start you gt a taste of who he is]. I am amazed at how parents can be so manipulative towards their children and have no remorse [in this case the father had ‘remorse’ if you could call it that but it still didn’t stop what he was doing] for their actions. The way he punished his children was very cruel to me what left a huge impact was the way he punished his child towards the end of the book. I don’t want to spoil anything but when you read this book you’ll get a better understanding of what I’m saying here. It amazes me that even though this is a story, a fictional one, this kind of behaviour is common in some families. I could go on about this book and as you can see even though it has 160 pages it can be analyzed in so many different ways.

One of the Boys is a very short book but a very impactful one. At one-hundred-and-sixty pages this book takes you on a rollercoaster ride of abuse, manipulation and hope.

I would like to thank the publisher Granta Books for sending this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions written here are my own and have not been influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Daniel Magariel is an author from Kansas City. His work has appeared in Granta, Lit Hub, Salt Hill, Stop Smiling, and Issue Magazine, among others. One of the Boys, his first novel, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and Amazon Best Book of 2017, and was published in twelve countries. He has a BA from Columbia University, as well as an MFA from Syracuse University, where he was a Cornelia Carhart Fellow. He currently lives in New York with his wife.

Find him on: Website

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[REVIEW] The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin @tinderpress

I’m sure everyone has heard of The Immortalists by now because it’s been everywhere on the internet. I added this book last year to my TBR because I loved its synopsis and that it was set in New York. I’m happy to say that this was an excellent read and that I read it fairly quickly because it was so engaging.

The Immortalists begins with four siblings – Simon, Klara, Daniel and Varya –  going to a fortune teller because they heard she knows when people die. They are all very frightened when they get to the fortune teller and hear their dates and what’s interesting is that none of that at that moment share theirs with the others. Their lives will be led with knowledge of their death dates at the back of their heads and some of them will be consumed by that knowledge. The book is divided into four parts each one revolving around one of the siblings – first part is Simon’s and then we have Klara, Daniel and the last part is about Varya. As each of the siblings go on their paths most become estranged from each other. Simon becomes a dancer, Klara a magician, Daniel an army doctor and Varya a research scientist. How will their stories go? Read the book and find out!

What I absolutely adored about this book was the truth behind it – how people can become distanced from one another even though they are siblings plus the effects it has. Simon’s story was the one I loved the most because of its rawness. Each of the stories were told in a great way and kept my attention. I am trying to keep my thoughts on this spoiler-free so I won’t mention certain things. I loved the magicam realism in this book because it gave it a different dimension. The references Benjamin used were precise and I loved how certain things correlated and how each story had a connection with the previous one.  I wouldn’t mind hearing more about Varya’s work because I liked that she was a scientist. What this book does is make you questions relationships with people close to you and it makes you wonder what would happen if they were to disappear from your life.

The Immortalists is a novel well-worth reading because it offers a great and heart-wrenching look at sibling dynamics, it makes you wonder and question things in your life. Should you read? The answer is very easy: YES.

I would like to thank the publisher Tinder Press for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. The opinions written are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Chloe Benjamin is the author of THE IMMORTALISTS, a New York Times Bestseller, #1 Indie Next Pick for January 2018, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, #1 Library Reads pick, and Amazon Best Book of the Month.

Her first novel, THE ANATOMY OF DREAMS (Atria, 2014), received the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was longlisted for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize.

Her novels have been translated into over twenty-three languages. A graduate of Vassar College and the M.F.A. in fiction at the University of Wisconsin, Chloe lives with her husband in Madison, WI.

Find her on: WebsiteTwitterInstagram and GoodReads.

[REVIEW] The Diamond Setter by Moshe Sakal @OtherPress

I love the cover of this book and that’s the first thing that attracted me to it and then the blurb which sounded so interesting. This isn’t a typical read for me but I am so glad I got the chance to read it because it’s good to read something different than your usual reads from time to time. I must confess that I really liked reading this book.

The Diamond Setter is a story that spans through generations and at the center of it is one diamond, the blue diamond. The story begins with one man’s journey from Syria to Israel with a goal of returning the diamond called ‘Sabakh’ to its rightful owner and also finding more about his family roots. Fareed gets swept not only into the mystery of the ‘Sabakh’ but into a dangerous life that comes with finding the truth. The author takes us to many places, from the present day to the 1900s where we get stories about the diamond, how it was first found and how it got into the hands of many different people (Don’t worry the stories revolve around the family and don’t stray away from the story). I feel like saying more will ruin your experience so I won’t say anything further.

I must say that the first two-three pages of the prologue were so interesting and they made me dive into this book. The first few chapters were confusing but after them I got into the gist of who’s who and what’s happening. Sakal writes characters that are flawed but also real because of that. If you’ve researched this book it says that it’s about a love triangle and I read that but was still surprised when I came across it in the book. The love triangle thing was so intriguing because of the things that happened later in the book. There’s a point where the name of the novel comes up within the story as well as the plot of it which I had mixed feelings about because it kind of deviated from the story but what I found rewarding was the potrayal of gay characters in the book. I loved reading about Tom and Honi. I feel like the end of the book had a bitter-sweet taste but it left me wondering and thinking about the future of these characters.

The Diamond Setter is a novel with a heart and I’m sure many readers will enjoy reading this story.

I would like to thank the publisher Other Press for sending this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own and were not influenced by the fact that I got a free copy for review.

My rating: 

Add ‘The Diamond Setter ‘ to your TBR: 

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Moshe Sakal is the author of five Hebrew novels, including the best-selling Yolanda, which was short-listed for the Sapir Prize (the Israeli Booker), My Sister, which was long-listed in 2016, and The Diamond Setter, forthcoming in the USA.

Sakal was born in Tel-Aviv into a Syrian-Egyptian Jewish family. He has been awarded the title of Honorary Fellow in Writing by the University of Iowa, the Levi Eshkol Prize for Creative Work, and a Fulbright grant. ​

Sakal lived six years in Paris, France. He currently lives in Jaffa.

Find him on: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

[REVIEW] Tangerine by Christine Mangan @LittleBrownUK

What first attracted me to this book is the absolutely stunning cover. I love everything black and white especially these kinds of photos so this was an immediate add to my to-be-read list. I didn’t base my decision of reading this book on it being optioned for a movie because that doesn’t attract me as much as the book itself does. I have to admit that I can see this book as a movie but I would be very careful who to cast for these roles.

Tangerine is set in Tangier, Morocco and it follows two women, Alice and Lucy. Their friendship is a strange one because of the horrific past that follows both of them. The book begins with the reappareance of Lucy  and a rather peculiar reaction from Alice. Is Lucy supposed to be there? It goes back and forth from the past and slowly reveals the happenings that took place when they were in college to the present where they are re-connecting their friendship. From the beginning we can see the strangeness that surrounds Lucy but also the spell she has cast on Alice. I don’t want to describe the story any futher because I  feel like the synopsis of Tangerine reveals a bit much about the plot. This is all you should know before going in.

Tangerine has a symbolic name because it’s doesn’t represent the fruit but something else you’ll have to find out when you pick it up. The characters were well crafted and the setting made the story ten times more interesting because I don’t usually see these kinds of stories set in the 1950’s. Mangan has a great way with words and can really paint a picture with her sentences which I particularly enjoyed. As I mentioned when it comes to the synopsis of the book I feel like it could ruin someone’s experience and I wish it was more mysterious because I didn’t feel shock when it came to certain scenes. From the synopsis you can tell that Lucy is someone who plays a major role in the book and I have to say that she was a great character. The ending was interesting because I didn’t expect it to end like that and I had a different scenario in mind which sort of fell short for me. Even though I had some issues with it I feel like the book will attract many readers who’ll fall under its spell like I did.

This book cover is one of my favourite ones this year.

Christine Mangan’s Tangerine is a great debut novel set in the 1950’s Morocco which is centered around two women whose friendship is  a very dangerous one but also a very intriguing one at the same time.

I would like to thank the publisher Little Brown UK for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. Opinions written in this review are my own and have not been affected by anything.

My rating: 

Add ‘Tangerine ‘ to your TBR: 

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Christine Mangan has her PhD in English from University College Dublin, where her thesis focused on 18th-century Gothic literature, and an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Southern Maine. Tangerine is her first novel.

Find her on: Instagram and GoodReads.

 

[REVIEW + Q&A] The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara @OneworldNews

The House of Impossible Beauties is one of those books you stumble upon once in a while that leave a mark on you. What first attracted me to this book was the topic it deals with plus it being a LGBTQ book it was an immediate add to my to-be-read shelf. What awaits you inside is a story filled with courage, hope and suffering but above all that what this book carries and showcases the most are love and support between each character in it.

Before reading this book I had to watch Paris is Burning because for some reason I wanted to see what exactly inspired this interesting-looking book. The documentary was truly amazing and this book follows the fictionalized lives of some of the real people from the documentary like Dorian Corey, Angel Xtravaganza, Venus Xtravaganza with appearances by some other characters like Pepper Labeija and many more. It mainly focuses on the life of the House of Xtravaganza : Hector, the father of the house, Angel Xtravaganza who is the mother and Venus, Juanito and Daniel. Each new part begins with a chapter narrated by Dorian Corey with her sass and wisdom.

At the beginning of the book we are introduced to each character and chapter by chapter get to know their upbringing stories as well as their lives in the present.  I loved reading their stories because they show the truth behind being a trans person and the judgment they have to face daily because of being trans. What this book offers is a real look at the 1980s, the HIV crisis and the moral people had back then about things that are somewhat accepted in our society [I say somewhat because there are still parts of the world where people look at someone who’s gay or trans with disgust]. These are the sort of stories that need to be told more often because they are so good and they made me feel closer to the T part of the community. I must say that where I come from trans people as well as gay people are treated very harshly because of the religious beliefs people have but nowadays a lot of young people have no judgement towards the LGBTQ community which makes me happy because future generations will be raised without hate towards people who are different.

What makes this book so special to me are the characters in it. I loved reading about them, hearing their stories, passions and their dreams. Throwing shade is the way they communicate at times and I just loved every bit of shade they threw at each other.

The only thing I found as a con is the use of pronouns because at times they were confusing. Some people may find the use of Spanish in the sentences annoying or too much but to me it made the story much more real.

What can I say? This review is a rollercoaster ride and I hope I presented the book and my thoughts in an interesting way that makes you want to pick up and read this marvelous book.

The House of Impossible Beauties is a gorgeous novel about transgender and gay kids set in the 1980s filled with stories that will make you feel every emotion possible. Once you finish reading this book you’ll want to read it again.

I would like to thank the publisher Oneworld Publications for sending this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own and not influenced in any way.

My rating: 

Add ‘The House of Impossible Beauties ‘ to your TBR: 

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Joseph Cassara was born and raised in New Jersey. He holds degrees from Columbia University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been a writing fellow at the Fine Arts Centre in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The House of Impossible Beauties is his first novel. He lives in Iowa.

Find him on: Website, Twitter and GoodReads.

 

You can find my Q&A with the author below.
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[REVIEW] Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover @PRHGlobal

Where do I begin? What a memoir. This is one of the most interesting and disturbing true stories you’ll read this year. With its title Educated you already get a sense on what this memoir is about: an education, but it’s also a lot more.

Tara Westover has been raised in a very unconventional way [this might not be unconventional to everyone but it is to me and I’m sure most people reading this]: she didn’t go to school until later in her adolescence, her family raised her with such ludicrous beliefs and ideas. I usually write the synopsis of the book in my words but if you’re interested in it you can go to the books Goodreads page.

Educated is a very strong memoir in every sense of that word – from the bravery of our heroine, Tara, to the will and emotional strength it took for her to be where she is now. I mentioned that her childhood was very unconventional and it truly is because no child is supposed to do the things her father makes her do, his ideas of the end of the world and preparing for it signaled something in me. After getting a little deeper into the book I could assume that her father wasn’t a mentally healthy person – I presumed he was schizophrenic or had bipolar disorder. One of my guesses was right and it was bipolar disorder because even as Westover mentions exactly this it can be caught early on because of his behaviour. What I salute the author for is showing her struggles with academia. Yes, you read the synopsis and it says ‘She earned a PhD at Cambridge.’ but what I am thankful for is the author showing that it’s not that easy to earn one. The struggles she faced were real and might happen to other people which made her very relatable to me and I’m sure it will to other readers.There is so much more I didn’t say about this book from because I feel like you should read it and experience it as it is not someone’s retelling of it.

This book left a bitter-sweet taste in me even though I craved finding out more about her upbringing and education I felt that she as a person hasn’t dealt with certain things in healthy ways. If I were put in her shoes I believe that I would deal with it differently but who knows? It depends on the effects that life has left on the person.

Educated: A Memoir is truly a special work of literature which I’m sure many people will enjoy. I felt empathy, got enraged and felt the positives and negatives of Westovers life and I must say that it was a darn good ride.

I would like to thank PRH Global for sending this free book my way in exchange for an honest review. The opinions written here are my own.

My rating: 

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Tara Westover is an American author living in the UK. Born in Idaho to a father opposed to public education, she never attended school. She spent her days working in her father’s junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother, a self-taught herbalist and midwife. She was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom, and after that first taste, she pursued learning for the next decade. She received a BA from Brigham Young University in 2008 and was subsequently awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014.

Find her on: Website, Facebook, Twitter and GoodReads.

[REVIEW] The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones @PRHGlobal

The first thing that attracted me to this book was the cover – look at it and admire that gorgeousness. The second thing is its genre dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel which I don’t read often and try to read more of. Synopsis of the book also intrigued me and lured me to find out what’s hiding behind that cover.

The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones is about a post-apocalyptic world where there are salt lines that protect communities against very deadly ticks. Many people live in a zone that is free of ticks but they still have some fear that the ticks will get to them in some way. The society has created some out-of-zone tours which cost pretty big amount of money for people who want to venture outside the Salt line in order to see the nature and see what’s outside. We have a famous pop star, Jesse and his girlfriend, Edie, a well-known tech guy, Wes and a woman who has a few secrets called Marta among other characters. On this journey they have been prepared for the dangers that are ahead but not quite for the dangers that actually await them when they go outside the Salt line.

Before going into this book I came across a one-star review of it but the reasons for the rating wasn’t that clear so I went with an open mind because I liked the sound of the synopsis. I didn’t expect to enjoy this book this much! It was a very interesting dystopian book filled with government conspiracies, dangerous ventures and much more. The thing I enjoyed the most about this book was the way Goddard Jones wrote her characters – I loved reading about Wes and Marta and how they bonded, I have to note that the first part of the book was mind blowing to me and that ending was so good and when the second part came I was a bit underwhelmed because I expected something else but I still enjoyed reading it and it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the book. There were a few parts of the world-building and explanations for some actions that were unnecessary in my opinion but this was still an enjoyable read which I couldn’t put down.

Fans of dystopian and post-apocalyptic books will find The Salt Line very interesting and very enjoyable.

I would like to thank Penguin Random House International for sending me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Holly Goddard Jones is the author of The Salt Line, The Next Time You See Me and Girl Trouble (stories). Her work has appeared in The Best American Mystery Stories, New Stories from the South, Tin House magazine, and elsewhere. She was a recipient of The Fellowship of Southern Writers’ Hillsdale Prize for Excellence in Fiction and of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. She earned her M.F.A. from Ohio State University and her B.A. from the University of Kentucky. She teaches creative writing at UNC Greensboro and lives in Greensboro with her husband, Brandon, and their children.

Find her on:  Website, Facebook, Twitter and GoodReads

[REVIEW] The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir by Maude Julien @OneworldNews

I was attracted to this book because I adore memoirs but something stood out when I came across this book because when I read its synopsis I was immediately intrigued. I added it to my to-read-list and then began investigating it further.

In Maude Julien’s memoir The Only Girl in the World we enter the world of power, control and madness but at the same time of escape and finding salvation from it all. Maude Julien’s father is an individual whose personality is deranged – filled with lunacy and ideas of upper most greatness. At a young age Monsieur Didier had a majestic plan which was to raise a superhuman – someone who will make him proud and who he’ll teach all the necessities one needs to conquer this world. He managed to get a child from some people and promised them that she’ll be given the best education he can afford and that she’ll be safe in exchange for her parents to never see her again. The girl he ‘adopted’ later on became his wife and they had a child named Maude. His wish of creating a superhuman was  becoming a reality with the birth of Maude and he began doing everything he could to make her exactly that. The training involved her to, at a very young age, drink alcohol and build tolerance for it, holding an electric fence for ten minutes without flinching and other horrifying things. With all these things that happened to her she still managed to stay sane and overcome some large psychological damage caused by her parents with the help of therapy and her friends.

The one thing that instantly pulls you into the story is the first three pages of the Introduction when Maude tells us her fathers chilling plan and at the end of it she writes ‘That child was me.’ I felt shivers down my spine when I read this Introduction. Once I began reading this book I kept turning and turning pages because the story it contains is unbelievable and gripping. The things her father teaches her are ludicrous and I will provide some examples of her fathers ‘wisdom’:

‘If you go and live with other humans, they’ll treat you the way the ducks in the pond treat Pitou. They won’t think twice about making mincemeat of you for the stupidest reasons, or for no reason at all.’  pg. 13

‘‘You don’t know how lucky you are to be spared from being polluted by other people,’ he tells me.’ pg. 19

‘Love is a colossal sham to amuse the masses. If anyone ever tells you he loves you, don’t believe him. It will be because he wants something from you: your power or your money. Never,  never, never trust anyone. I alone know what’s good for you. If you do as I say,you can rule the world and overthrow the darkness.’  pg. 141

‘You see what living beings are like? You think Perisaut is so sweet and affectionate towards you, but he wouldn’t think twice about eating you if he could – he’s happy enough eating his own kind! People are the same, they’re cannibals, quite prepared to betray you and eat you. Do you see now why you can’t trust anyone but me?’ pg. 172

These are clear examples of his lunacy and grand ideas for her. What amazes me is how she managed to find hope from all the torture and torment she endured. I just wish that we had more of her now life story because I’d be interested in learning about her education as a therapist and the ways she overcame her struggles. We do get a glimpse into her now life where she talks about the effects she has suffered due to trauma but I wish it was longer.

For any memoir lover this is a must-read because of Maude’s chilling childhood filled with psychological control, torment but also hope that one can overcome severe trauma.

I would like to thank the publisher Oneworld Publications for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Having escaped her parents’ clutches, today Maude Julien is a psychologist specializing in manipulation. She is working on a second book that examines case studies she has encountered in her work and is currently preparing a TED Talk on psychological control

Find her on: GoodReads

[REVIEW] The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

This book has been everywhere since September/November time: on Goodreads, on Instagram, Twitter etc. I read a few raving reviews and have wanted to read it ever since and when I got the chance I was so excited! I am so glad I had the chance to read it because this book is something very special.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies follows Cyril Avery from the age of seven and decade by decade into his seventies. Cyril Avery is someone who has been left as a child in care of two very peculiar people, Charles and Maude Avery. His adoptive parents’ peculiarity is pretty extreme because from an early age Cyril learns a lot by looking at them and observing their behaviour. One of the things his adoptive father always says to him is: ‘You’re not a real Avery’ which is a sentence he will remember all his life.  Since we follow Cyril decade by decade what happens next is that we follow him as he goes on to college and becomes acquainted with a boy named Julian. They become very good friends and their friendship is something that we learn a lot about throughout the book. This will be all I’m going to say about the synopsis of this book.

‘I sometimes feel as if I wasn’t supposed to live among people at all. As if I would be happier on a little island somewhere, all alone with my books and some writing material for company. I could grow my own food and never have to speak to a soul..’

“I was deluding myself, for love was one thing but desire was something else entirely.”

“It’s as if she understood completely the condition of loneliness and how it undermines us all, forcing us to make choices that we know are wrong for us.”

“I’ve always believed that if women could only collectively harness the power that they have then they’d rule the world.”

The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a book that leaves a mark on you – its story makes you turn the pages and dive into Cyril Avery’s life filled with moments of happiness and moments of great sadness. I loved the humour in this book and the line which has stayed with me is the ‘Cyril II’ because every time Cyril II was mentioned I cracked up. I laughed out loud reading this book and felt very sad and angry reading it. Boyne touches on many topics such as homosexuality in Ireland, the view of the church which was very assertive at that time, the AIDS crisis and much more. After I finished the book I quickly found the pages where Boyne talked about the inspiration behind this book and why he wrote it which I really enjoyed reading because it gave a new dimension into the story. This book has been pretty hyped up but it doesn’t fail like most hyped-up books tend to do – it is truly brilliant. I love following stories that span through decades like A Little Life so I knew that I would enjoy this one as well. I just found a small tiny thing annoying in the book and that was seven-year-olds talking about sex because it didn’t feel realistic [I might be wrong] but other than that I have no complaints. Once again, a wonderfully told story about a gay man and his struggles with finding himself.

You can obviously see by my review and rating that this is a book you should be picking up and reading ASAP.

I would like to thank the publisher Transworld Books (Black Swan) for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. I am forever grateful.

My rating: 

Add ‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies‘ to your TBR: 

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

John Boyne (born 30 April 1971 in Dublin) is an Irish novelist. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where he won the Curtis Brown prize. In 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by UEA. John Boyne is the author of ten novels for adults and five for young readers, as well as a collection of short stories.
His novels are published in over 50 languages. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which to date has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide, is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and a film adaptation was released in September 2008

Find him on: WebsiteGoodReads, Twitter.

 

[REVIEW] Mental: Lithium, Love, and Losing My Mind by Jaime Lowe

Whenever I stumble upon a mental health book I make sure to read it because to me mental health is the most important thing in one’s life. I try and read mental health books as often as I can and I hope this year will be filled with great mental health books. Mental: Lithium, Love, and Losing my Mind is a very interesting and thoroughly researched book on bipolar disorder and the drug Lithium.

In Mental we are introduced to Jaime Lowe, a woman who suffers from bipolar disorder (bipolar I) and who as you can tell by the title takes lithium (a commonly used drug to treat bipolar disorder). In her memoir she tells us the story of her life with and without Lithium – her younger days filled with manic episodes which weren’t yet diagnosed and her post-adolesence life filled with therapy and taking medication in order to control her bipolar disorder. Even though this is a memoir it is also a well-researched exploration of the drug, Lithium – its effects, good and bad sides.

As I mentioned Lithium is widely known in treating bipolar disorder and the Lowe’s decision to include her research of the drug into her memoir works pretty well because it makes the novel in its way much more enjoyable. Mental does have some downsides because of its repetitiveness and switching from one story to the other in a chapter. Lowe provides us with a lot of historical information about Lithium, its components and how it was used in the past. While researching she has interviewed many psychiatrists, psychologists and scientists who gave her more insight on the drug as well as us, the reader. I have learned where the first mental institution was built and how mentally ill people were treated back then. I have highlighted a few quotes and interesting information from this book which I’ll share below:

‘’One of the first examples of hysteria was observed by Thomas Sydenham in 1681.’’

**

‘‘[talking about mania] There’s a magnetism to that kind of high, and I knew I could draw people to me.’’

**

‘’I turned into a comet or a supernova, bursting but going in no particular direction, aimed at nothing but intensely moving forward on a trajectory to nowhere and everywhere at the same time. Everything was eclipsed by me. I was the sun, the moon, the solar system, the beginning of time and the end.”

**

’’When you are depressed you want to be a time traveler, going back, going forward, being anywhere but in the here and now.’’

**

‘‘One night when H was away, the sky shook and lit up like war.’’

To anyone who loves learning about mental disorders or bipolar disorder in particular I would recommend this book because it contains plenty of interesting information and the work Lowe put in it shines through the pages.

I would like to thank the publisher (Blue Riders Press) and Netgalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Jaime Lowe is a writer living in Brooklyn. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine and her work has appeared in New York magazine, EsquireSports Illustrated, Maxim, Gawker, The Village Voice,  LA Weekly, and on ESPN.com. Lowe is the author of Digging for Dirt: The Life and Death of ODB, a biography of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan.

Find her on: Twitter