Welcome to another Netgalley review!
I am back again with another collective review. I am still stuck at home and my request gets approved quickly. One rule I like to follow is to not request a book that I really know nothing about and if I decide to request a book I know nothing about, I stay in the area of graphic novels and poems. So far I have kept my % at about 62 and 70. Anyways as always, leave a link of your latest post in the comment and I will be sure to check it out.
My Riot by Rick Spears, Emmett Helen
Trigger warning for eating disorders, violence, and sexual shaming
So I started this book with high expectations because I seem to be reading a lot of good graphic novels lately and this book was good but I felt like it was a bit too drawn out and I lost interest halfway into the story. Let me explain
The first half was fantastic, we got to know Val as a character and I love the diversity of the characters and the representations. However, Val wasn’t a character that I necessarily enjoyed. She is a teenage girl who just got her first job and she also has a love-hate relationship with ballet. Her teacher is always on her case about her weight and she advised her to start smoking because it would curb her hunger (I mean, an unhealthy way to curb your hunger). So she starts smoking and she also develops an eating disorder.
Then we have her mother who is a conservative mom and she freaks out when she finds Condoms in Val’s bag and I remember thinking that ‘this is not the right way to handle finding condoms in your teenage daughter or son’s bag’. Her mother slut-shames her even though we know that Val isn’t having sex.
Then riots begin around the state with everything being destroyed and there is one line that stood out to me “Last night’s riot was the release of pent-up racial tension” which explains what is happening today. Val and her family seemed very removed from the situation as they enjoy their suburban life until her workplace is smashed by a brick during the riot. A statement she made, “I never saw the brick until it was part of my life” made me realize how much she didn’t recognize her privilege. Anyways she makes a friend on the same day and through her friend, Val’s love for punk rock began.
There were so many hilarious moments in the story and I love the art style although the absence of color in the book made it hard for me to read. The facial expressions were just so hilarious.
Expected publication date: October 2nd, 2020
I gave this book 3 out 5 stars
Some Are Always Hungry by Jihyun Yun
This book follows the life of a family from the perspective of a daughter through war, starvation, and immigration. I am assuming that this story follows a Korean family who had to do everything to survive during the way that leads to the division of Korea. A story told through recipes, tales of fictional characters, discomfort, and shame.
I felt how personal this book was. You cannot express such emotions unless you have gone through it. I enjoyed the way some things and situations were explained. Take for example when she talked about miscarriage her the shame she felt being an unmarried woman, she used the description of a stepmother poking a mouse. Or when she talked about bombings, “the planes dropped their eggs, hatched a red so loud the landscape was struck briefly mute”
“Call us lotus, we bloom in rot” a line from the poem ‘For Now, Nothing Burns’ has to be my favorite in the whole book.
It is quite a short book, I hope you check it out.
Expected publication date: September 1st, 2020
I gave this book 3.8 out of 5 stars
Talk to Me Always: Poetry, Prose, and Photography by Hsh Prince Alexi Lubomirski
I tried to read every poem in this book and it took such a long time then I realized that I could just get myself a copy when it comes out and read and enjoy it as slowly as I can.
Each poem is accompanied by a picture that speaks volumes about the intension behind the poem. There are poems, short stories which are written in prose and photography that highlights the importance of family, friendship, love, brotherhood, there are poems about hope and inspiration for a better future.
There are a few lines that spoke to me about mothers relationship with their children
“We have both aged now,
and I have evolved from protected to protector
As we outgrew you, my siblings and I began to discuss your well-being, more than our own”
This just simply shows the circle of life, the children become the parents and the parents one that needs to be cared for.
There is also another that slightly address addiction and recovery in the poem “Vegan Poem”
‘Like an ex-smoker cleaning an ashtray,
an ex-drinker surrounded by slurred conversation,
an ex-addict being shouted at by his friends.
Once we move on, it pains us to see what we once were’
This just reminds me of a conversation I had once with a friend about how when you leave a situation can you really look back and realized how toxic that position was in totality.
I really enjoyed this and I hope you check it out.
Expected publication date: October 27th, 2020
I gave this book 3.9 out of 5 stars
African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song by Kevin Young
This is a collection of poems by African American poets who write about their experience living in American, their experience with racial inequality, motherhood, and the fear of raising children in a country infested with discrimination and marginalized profiling that leads to death of millions of sons and daughters.
I cannot express enough the importance of this book and the impression it made and I have also been introduced to a lot of new poets, one of them is Khadijah Queen whose prose addresses loss of the sense of self and that of family and the retention she wears to deflect from her problem in order to allow the focus to be moved to police brutality and the devastating effects it has on families and how sadness, tears, and marches are not an antidote or a treatment of pain experience for over 25o years.
There are so many poems that speak volumes about the black experience including those who were able to build things up from the ground and others whose hard work was overshadowed and burnt to the ground like it was in Tulsa.
There is a poem by Clint Smith that addresses the injustice that Colin Kaepernick was dealt with in his poem “Your National Anthem”. A child will grow, he won’t remain a boy that you think is cute, because someday he would begin to ask for his right to live, then he is threatening and not so cute anymore.
I also really enjoyed Yusef Komunyakaa’s poems such as “Annabelle” and “More Girl Than Boy” there is also Carl Phillips’s poem “Blue” which struck a chord with me.
I hope you check this book out upon its release.
Expected publication date: September 29, 2020
I gave this 4.5 out of 5 stars
Thanks for reading.