Such a Fun Age

Such a Fun AgeSuch a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Emira had met several “Mrs. Chamberlains” before. They were all rich and overly nice and particularly lovely to the people that served them. Emira knew that Mrs. Chamberlain wanted a friendship, but she also knew that Mrs. Chamberlain would never display the same efforts of kindness with her friends as she did with Emira.”

Overrated and mediocre. Sorry folks, I just couldn’t get into loving this one. The interesting perspective on white savior syndrome would normally give a reader something to think about or discuss, but the writing and characters just fell flat. Alix, the privileged white rich bitch was annoying and one-dimensional. Emira was too wayward and listless for me to have any type of feeling for. Regardless, this one might be a good choice for a book discussion as it does cover curious themes on race, privilege, and the true motives people have for helping one another. Three stars.

The Color Purple

The Color PurpleThe Color Purple by Alice Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”

I first read this book in college in 1985. I recently reread it for a book group. I loved it then, and I had the pleasure of loving it again. It’s not a pretty story. Celie is a woman beaten down by chronic abuse, first by her father and then by her husband. She has no feelings of self-worth or free will of her own. Then along comes a special woman who inspires her to feel, to love, to nurture herself, find her true self, and be strong.

The characters in this book are rich and well-developed. There are many story arcs that would even be great novels on their own. Shug, Sophia, Harpo, and Nettie are all compelling and engaging people. Universal themes of forgiveness, sexuality, friendship, race, and self-worth will suck you in and immerse you in a tale that feels so real you think you are living it right there with them. A great read for young adults who are searching for their true selves. By the way, purple is my favorite color. Highly recommended.

The Shape of Night

The Shape of NightThe Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you like ghost stories, you might like this one. Ava Collette runs away from her troubled past to a coastal town in Maine where she tries to find peace as she finishes her cookbook. She rents a reclusive old house that is haunted (or is it?) by the spirit of an old sea captain whose ship was lost at sea. Ava’s encounters with Captain Brodie drive her to the breaking point as she struggles with the reality (or unreality) of her situation. Part ghost story, and part whodunit, this book will appeal to readers who enjoy both genres. For me, Ava’s rendezvous with the ghostly Captain Brodie were a bit preposterous and took away from what otherwise could have been an alluring and eerie tale. The atmospheric setting of an isolated sea town was perfect. I think that’s what I liked most about the book. Three stars.