Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

The Merry Spinster [review]


The Merry Spinster by Daniel Mallory Ortberg
To be published by Holt McDougal on March 13, 2018
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
Goodreads avg: 
cw: domestic abuse,

Spoiler-free Review of an eARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

Goodreads | IndieBound 

From [Daniel] Mallory Ortberg comes a collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales. Adapted from [his] beloved “Children’s Stories Made Horrific” series, “The Merry Spinster” takes up the trademark wit that endeared Ortberg to readers of both The Toast and [his] best-selling debut Texts From Jane Eyre. The feature become among the most popular on the site, with each entry bringing in tens of thousands of views, as the stories proved a perfect vehicle for Ortberg’s eye for deconstruction and destabilization. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, The Merry Spinster updates traditional children’s stories and fairy tales with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief.

Readers of The Toast will instantly recognize Ortberg’s boisterous good humor and uber-nerd swagger: those new to Ortberg’s oeuvre will delight in [his] unique spin on fiction, where something a bit mischievous and unsettling is always at work just beneath the surface.

Unfalteringly faithful to its beloved source material, The Merry Spinster also illuminates the unsuspected, and frequently, alarming emotional complexities at play in the stories we tell ourselves, and each other, as we tuck ourselves in for the night.

Bed time will never be the same.

I know that retellings are getting old for some people, but Daniel really does a magnificent job with this collection. As with any short story compilation, some fell a little short for me, but overall I was highly impressed with what he had done. All of the stories here are inspired by “fairytales” of some kind, but they aren’t necessarily what you’ll be expecting. They’re the perfect blend of creepy and thoughtful.

“Someday, I think,” she said, her voice muffled under the tub, “I would like to meet someone I have not caused any pain.”

My rating for each story:

The Daughter Cells ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Thankless Child ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Fear Not: An Incident Log ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Six Boy-Coffins ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Rabbit ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Merry Spinster ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Wedding Party ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Mr. Toad ⭐️⭐️
Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Frog’s Princess ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

She was beginning to learn the danger of silence, and that someone who wishes to hear a yes will not go out of his way to listen for a no.

In total, these scores averaged out to 3.36, which I’ve rounded up to a 3.5. I thought they were very well-written, and was particularly excited to see a lot of gender non-conformity in the stories. Gendered pronouns and titles were essentially meaningless in some of the stories, which was an interesting and much appreciated route to take. I’d definitely recommend this collection to anyone interested.

She was reluctant to offer any of her children, even Beauty, to something so monstrous and polite but she was even more reluctant to be shot, and mothers have given their children to monsters before.

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(Cover and blurb [pronouns edited by me] courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

This Love Story Will Self-Destruct [review]


This Love Story Will Self-Destruct by Leslie Cohen
Published by Gallery Books on January 23, 2018
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg:

Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

This is the classic tale of boy meets girl: Girl…goes home with someone else.

Meet Eve. She’s a dreamer, a feeler, a careening well of sensitivities who can’t quite keep her feet on the ground, or steer clear of trouble. She’s a laugher, a crier, a quirky and quick-witted bleeding-heart-worrier.

Meet Ben. He’s an engineer, an expert at leveling floors who likes order, structure, and straight lines. He doesn’t opine, he doesn’t ruminate, he doesn’t simmer until he boils over.

So naturally, when the two first cross paths, sparks don’t exactly fly. But then they meet again. And again. And then, finally, they find themselves with a deep yet fragile connection that will change the course of their relationship—possibly forever.

Follow Eve and Ben as they navigate their twenties on a winding journey through first jobs, first dates, and first breakups; through first reunions, first betrayals and, maybe, first love. This is When Harry Met Sally reimagined; a charming tale told from two unapologetically original points of view. With an acerbic edge and heartwarming humor, debut novelist Leslie Cohen takes us on a tour of what life looks like when it doesn’t go according to plan, and explores the complexity, chaos, and comedy in finding a relationship built to last.

I’m really glad I ended up picking this up. It was a nice, mostly light-hearted read that offset the thriller I had also been working my way through. From the moment I began, I just loved the voice that Leslie Cohen uses in her writing. I genuinely had trouble believing that this was a debut  novel, as her talent makes you believe you’re reading the work of an established and highly-lauded author.

Does an apartment still exist once you no longer live there?

I loved Ben and Eve both, and found them relatable in their own ways. I can understand Eve’s compulsion to destroy something before it can destroy itself, and I found Ben’s firmly-rooted logic to be soothing. They both felt like such real people. I also loved the way that Leslie wrote New York City, even though I’m pretty unfamiliar with it myself.

I was in that state of intoxication where you become very direct, very to the point. You tell people how you feel. You grab things that you want.

The story itself was great, and anyone who hates instalove will probably enjoy this book. Ben and Eve meet again, and again, and again over the years, before their relationship finally develops into something more. To me, this is a more realistic kind of love. Sometimes the people you love just drop out of the sky, but more often than not, I think they sneak their way in.

[…] we were in that weird in-between period when you’ve hooked up once or twice but you don’t want to hold hands or even make bodily contact in real life because everything is very unclear.

Overall, this was a lovely book and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for Leslie’s future work.

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(Blurb and cover courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

The Immortalists [review]


The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons on January 9, 2018
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg:
cw: homophobia, suicide, depictions of OCD/anxiety, animal cruelty

Spoiler-free review of an ARC provided by the publisher as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

I am sitting down to write this review over a week after finishing The Immortalists and realizing I wrote myself very few notes to refer to, so I’m going to have to go off of what stands out to me the most from this book. I remember being struck by the writing right away. I found myself pulled into the story, having no idea where it would go. I tend to add books to my TBR and then completely forget what drew me to them. I avoid re-reading the blurb directly before diving in so that I have no expectations. What I’m saying is, I went into this book almost completely cold.

When Klara peels a dollar from inside someone’s ear or turns a ball into a lemon, she hopes not to deceive but to impart a different kind of knowledge, an expanded sense of possibility.

I found the format very interesting. Without giving anything away, I’ll just say that you gain insight into the perspectives and motivations of each sibling in turn. I will say a little about my feelings regarding each character. I thought Simon’s section was precious and sad, I had a lot of emotions while reading it. Klara was maybe my favorite sibling, I felt really strongly for her and wished that I could reach into the book and save her from what was going on. Daniel’s section was the weakest, in my opinion, and I found it hardest to relate to him. I felt very strongly for Varya as well; it seemed to me that she and Klara were separate sides of the same coin and I related very solidly to different aspects of each of them.

Years later, a different therapist asked her exactly what she was afraid of. Varya was initially stumped, not because she didn’t know what she was afraid of but because it was harder to think of what she wasn’t.

Most of my experience reading the book involved me poring over the pages, trying to figure out what would happen next. There are a lot of surprises, and a lot of unanswered questions. If you want everything tied up neatly with a bow at the end, this may not be the book for you. Like I said above, Daniel’s section felt the most difficult to relate to. The book faltered a little for me there, which is mainly why it didn’t end up being a five-star read for me. Other than that, though, The Immortalists was kind of a masterpiece.

I recommend this book to people interested in familial relations, existential crises, and heartbreaking stories.

Other people speak of the ecstasy to be found in sex and the more complicated joy of parenthood, but for Varya, there is no greater pleasure than relief — the relief of realizing that what she fears does not exist. Even so, it’s temporary: a blustery, wind-swept pleasure, hysterical as laughter — What was I thinking? — followed by the slow erosion of that certainty, the creeping in of doubt, which requires another check in the rear view mirror, another shower, another doorknob cleaned.


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(Blurb courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Murder on the Orient Express [review]


Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Published by Berkley on January 1, 2000 (originally 1934)
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg:

Spoiler-free Review 

Goodreads | IndieBound 

What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant detective in Hercule Poirot, and the most ingenious crime ever conceived?

I’ll be honest — I was a little nervous going into this book. Classics (this is kind of a classic, right?) tend to be hit or miss for me, and mostly miss. I just find the writing so difficult to get into. Luckily for me, Agatha Christie truly is a master of the mystery genre.

The story did start off pretty slow for me, but I loved how witty and sarcastic Poirot was. I found myself cackling at his commentary more than once. I actually sent most of my friends a picture of this line:

Poirot rose. “If you forgive me for being personal — I do not like your face, M. Ratchett,” he said.

And with that he left the restaurant car.

My biggest issue was probably the number of characters. I lost track of everyone almost immediately and got extremely lost trying to figure out who was who. To be fair, there is a list at the beginning of the book, but I didn’t want to keep flipping back and forth or taking notes.

Things picked up a lot toward the end and I flew through the pages, eager to find out who the killer was. The finale honestly blew me away. Obviously I can’t say anything without giving away spoilers, but Agatha Christie did an incredible job of pulling it all together. It helps that Poirot has a flair for the dramatic.

I would definitely recommend this book to someone who is interested in reading something by Christie, or anyone interested in solving the Murder on the Orient Express!

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(Cover and blurb courtesy of Goodreads.)

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Goldeline [review]


Goldeline by Jimmy Cajoleas
Published by HarperCollins on November 14, 2017
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg:

Spoiler-free Review 

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

In the wild, free woods of the Hinterlands, where magic is as real as stories are, there lives a girl named Goldeline. Goldeline has hair as white as summer snow and gold-flecked eyes, and she travels from camp to camp with Gruff and his bandits, getting by on the things they steal from carriages that pass through the woods.

But someone is after Goldeline. The Preacher—the man who wants to cleanse the Hinterlands of anyone who’s different, the man who turned the Townies against Goldeline’s momma for being a witch—thinks that Goldeline must be a witch, too.

Now Goldeline will have to summon all the courage and magic she got from her momma to escape the Preacher, save her friends, and, maybe, if she’s lucky, find a place to call home.

I’m not typically into Middle Grade books, but this was an exception for me. I don’t remember what drew me to this title, I believe I saw a review somewhere, but it could have just been featured on a TBR post. I picked it up not really knowing what to expect, but finding myself pleasantly surprised with what I found.

Goldeline is a quick read that’s easy to power through, but contains a lot of heavy content. I was really surprised to see the age range was 10+ considering the themes present. There was a decent amount of violence and death, as well as some spooky scenes. The MC, Goldeline, really went through a lot of traumatic stuff!

I find that it can be difficult to find books with young MCs that aren’t written in an infantile way, but the author pulls off Goldeline’s inner voice wonderfully. The narration is naive and childlike without becoming unreadable. The relationships between the characters were great, and there was even a M/M couple, which was nice to see.

Overall, I thought Goldeline was a nice read and would recommend it to anyone interested. It’s quick to get through and tells a unique story.

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(Cover and blurb courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Everless [review]

Everless by Sara Holland
To be published by HarperTeen on January 2, 2018
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Goodreads avg: 4.17

Spoiler-free Review of an ARC provided by the author.

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Everless from the author, who was doing a giveaway on Twitter a few months ago. At the time, Everless wasn’t yet on my radar, but the concept really intrigued me, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Since then, I’ve seen countless reviews of it from people I follow — none of which I’ve read yet because I wanted to form my own opinion first!

The concept — a world in which time is worth more than anything else — was interesting, but I was worried about the execution. I had no reason to be, because Holland does a wonderful job of immersing the reader into this new world. We understand how it works, what the stakes are. It gives such an urgency to the concept of poverty: in Sempera, you are quite literally bled dry to pay off your debts.

The characters were incredibly well-written. I loved Jules so much, and her relationship with her father was both beautiful and heartbreaking. I liked seeing her relationships with the other characters develop. At times she can be a little too naive, but that’s probably somewhat realistic, given how she was raised.

For the most part I liked the plot and the writing. I blew through it pretty quickly, but felt that the ending was a little rushed. It could have easily been drawn out a bit more, I think some additional details could have fleshed things out nicely. I will say that it is certainly an impressive debut novel. And it definitely set things up very well for the sequel though, which I wish I didn’t have to wait another year for!

Overall, I was a huge fan of Everless. If you’re looking for a fantasy read, consider picking this up! You won’t be disappointed.

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(Cover and blurb courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Her Body and Other Parties [review]


Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
Published by Graywolf Press on October 3, 2017
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75
Goodreads avg: 
cw: basically everything

Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella Especially Heinous, Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgangers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.

Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.

I love weird fiction and I love short stories and I love literature with a feminist slant, so this collection was 100% for me. Machado’s writing is just beautiful and the prose in every piece stands out so strongly. There were only a couple pieces that fell flat for me, the rest of the collection was fairly hard-hitting. I definitely recommend this to everyone, but warn that there are a lot of sensitive topics tackled, so anyone with triggers should proceed with caution.

Brides never fare well in stories. Stories can sense happiness and snuff it out like a candle.

My rating for each story:

Her Body and Other Parties ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Inventory ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Mothers ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Especially Heinous ⭐️⭐️
Real Women Have Bodies ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Eight Bites ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Resident ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Difficult at Parties ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“It’s not that I hate men,” the woman says. “I’m just terrified of them. And I’m okay with that fear.”

I actually had to double-check my math, because it turns out that these scores averaged out to 4.75 stars. I guess the two-star story threw me off. I’m rounding down to 4 on Goodreads because it just doesn’t feel like a five-star collection to me. There was just… something missing. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. It’s just not quite there for me yet. I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for future works of Machado’s.

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(Cover and blurb courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Mini-Review Compilation #4


At the Water’s Edge
cw: domestic abuse, gaslighting, drug abuse/addiction

At the Water’s Edge probably isn’t a book I would have picked up on my own. I got it through a Postal Book Club that my friend Rachel is running, and I honestly put off reading it until the end of the month because I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy it. I’m not big on historical fiction, although I did enjoy Water for Elephants, by the same author. I really didn’t think there was anything in this for me, but I was wrong.

The first hundred pages kind of dragged on for me, but after that, things really picked up! I sat down to read another 50 pages or so, and next thing I knew it had been almost two hours. The only reason I put it away was because I needed to get to bed and didn’t want to fall asleep while reading the end. I finished it first thing the next morning, poring through the last several dozen pages at my local coffee shop. Had it not been for the slow start, I would have given it five stars!



Like Water

This is one of those books that I loved so much I don’t know how to write a review about it. I think all I really need to say is that it’s a queer latinx story with a genderqueer love interest and is beautiful and precious and definitely made me cry. There are so many good things about this. The MC casually realizes she’s bi and it’s not a huge deal and the MC is not only confident about her body, but also recognizes that different kinds of bodies are beautiful in different ways. There are just some lovely messages in this and the romance itself is beautiful and I highly recommend this read.



Good Me, Bad Me
cw: domestic abuse, pedophilia, assault

This was incredibly well-written and conceptually very interesting. It’s about the daughter of a serial killer, who turned in her mother in order to avoid her own demise. It’s a lot of introspection, but even though we’re inside the main character’s head, there’s still a lot of the story missing. Definitely an interesting read if you like unreliable narrators. I enjoyed it, but just didn’t find myself as invested in the story as I would have liked. I still recommend it, though.


Thanks for reading! Have you read any of these books? If so, what were your thoughts?

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(Covers courtesy of Goodreads)

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There’s Someone Inside Your House [review]

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on September 26, 2017
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg:
cw: statutory rape, suicide

Spoiler-free Review

GoodreadsIndieBoundAuthor’s Website

Makani Young thought she’d left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She’s found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn’t far behind.Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.

Wow y’all, this was such a fun read!! I wasn’t sure what to expect going into a YA slasher, but I had heard it was less scary and more corny, which is totally up my alley. I’m definitely going to second this sentiment — if you’re like me and love horror but get scared easily, you might like this book. While there’s a bit of suspense and some gore, it didn’t turn me into an anxious mess or anything. I was on the edge of my seat a few times, but mostly comfortable with my reading experience.

The next morning, the entire school was buzzing about two things: the brutal slaying of Haley Whitehall and Ollie Larsson’s newly pinkened hair.

I adored the romance, I’m a huge sucker for YA romance and as far as that part of the storyline went, this leaned toward YA contemporary. I gushed over Makani and Ollie endlessly and felt that they had a pretty healthy relationship. It was also nice to see them interacting with each other’s guardians! I felt like it was a pretty realistic portrayal of how dating as a teen works.

It had been so long since Makani had felt any amount of genuine, unadulterated happiness that she’d forgotten that sometimes it could hurt as much as sadness.

I did have a few issues, which is why this wasn’t a five star read for me. While I enjoyed the writing as a whole, I tripped over several awkwardly-written sentences and grammatical errors. I also didn’t care for Makani’s mysterious backstory. I felt like the reader kept getting hit in the face with it and when it was finally revealed, I was just kind of like “…okay?” Maybe it was just me, but it felt kind of forced and more like filler than anything else.

There is a huge yikes moment at the beginning where the author deadnames a trans character. From what I’ve seen and been told, this was brought up to the author by beta readers and was still put into the final copy. I’m cis and can only speak to the topic so much, but it was an unnecessary inclusion and could have been easily adjusted or removed.

Other than those issues, I did enjoy the book. It was a quick read that could have used a little more polishing. It was nice to see some diversity, although again the portrayals are something I cannot speak to fully. I would love to hear your thoughts on There’s Someone Inside Your House in the comments, whether or not you’ve read it.

(This book features a non-white MC and a trans side character. Please contact me with any ownvoices reviews that you would like featured here.)

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(Blurb courtesy of Goodreads.)

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Priestdaddy [review]

Priestdaddy: A Memoir by Patricia Lockwood
Published by Riverhead Books on May 2, 2017
336 pages.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
rape, victim blaming, suicide, pedophilia

Goodreads IndieBound | Author’s Website

The childhood of Patricia Lockwood, the poet dubbed “The Smutty-Metaphor Queen of Lawrence, Kansas” by The New York Times, was unusual in many respects. There was the location: an impoverished, nuclear waste-riddled area of the American Midwest. There was her mother, a woman who speaks almost entirely in strange koans and warnings of impending danger. Above all, there was her gun-toting, guitar-riffing, frequently semi-naked father, who underwent a religious conversion on a submarine and discovered a loophole which saw him approved for the Catholic priesthood by the future Pope Benedict XVI – despite already having a wife and children.

When the expense of a medical procedure forces the 30-year-old Patricia to move back in with her parents, husband in tow, she must learn to live again with her family’s simmering madness, and to reckon with the dark side of a childhood spent in the bosom of the Catholic Church. Told with the comic sensibility of a brasher, bluer Waugh or Wodehouse, this is at the same time a lyrical and affecting story of how, having ventured into the underworld, we can emerge with our levity and our sense of justice intact.

Let me start this off by saying: this is not a book I would have chosen to read on my own. My extended family is Catholic, but I have never had an interest in religion and this didn’t really appeal to me. However, I am in a postal book club (#5 on this list, if you haven’t heard of this concept) and this was chosen by one of the other members. And, to my surprise, I actually enjoyed it a lot!

Lockwood is an incredible writer. She has a unique, lyrical voice and a great sense of humor. This memoir covers a lot of difficult topics with grace. It made me experience emotions that cut me deep, but separated these moments with stories that made me smile and laugh.

How did I become a person who almost never left the house? Until I was twelve, I lived as an element of nature, tending to my untamed Rooms, wading through creeks and waist-high grasses, and bicycling diagonally across vacant lots after the sun had flared down.

Lockwood has a complicated relationship with her family, which I can appreciate. Her father is a conservative Catholic priest, who says and does an infinite number of absurd things. My father is a conservative atheist, who says and does an infinite number of absurd things. Some of the things he says are an insult to me and the things I believe in, but I love him anyway. That’s the way it goes with family sometimes.

You know it took me so long to write this piece because I kept trying to make it beautiful and finally I just had to shake myself by the scruff of the neck until a more natural sort of grunting came out. You can’t make something sound beautiful. It’s either beautiful or it’s not.

As an aspiring writer of sorts, this book was also inspirational for me to read. Every time Lockwood mentioned jotting down a quote from a family member, I yearned to do the same. I struggle with finding things to write about, but I think that’s because I haven’t figured out how to turn my observations into words. Carrying around a notebook like this was something I had heard about but for some reason, actually witnessing the practical applications of this finally flipped the switch for me and I’ve been scribbling things into a moleskine obsessively for the past few days.

Overall, this was a really nice read and I would definitely recommend it to aspiring writers as well as folks who like reading about dysfunctional families. Please let me know if you’ve read this, and what you thought about it, in the comments!

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(Blurb courtesy of Goodreads.)