My Week in Books {4/29/20}

I really don’t have anything new to add…I mean, we’re all living Groundhog Day together so how about we just get to the books!?

Before moving onto some #minibookreviews, here are a few links to some recent posts in case you missed them:

What have you been reading (and loving) this week?

Last Week’s Reads:

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📱 *** The Book of Longings by: Sue Monk Kidd 💑

I finished this book and sat with my thoughts over the last few days, and I still find it hard to put my thoughts into words.

Bottom line: I didn’t really like this book. The writing kept me reading, but the overall story just doesn’t sit well with me.

Maybe it’s my Christian background, but this story just made me feel icky as I read it. To imgaine Jesus as a husband, a lover, a man that had a wife…everything about it made me feel unsettled.

In all honesty, this book really is about Ana, the imagined wife of Jesus. She is a strong character, a champion of feminism in a time that definetly saw women as lower than men. Ana is a writer, intent on preserving the lives of other powerful women of the Bible. She has a sense that their stories will be lost, so she labors to record them.

I think this aspect of the book is what Kidd hopes her writers will focus on – Ana as an individual, a strong and independent woman – not Ana the wife. That is a part of her story, but not the focus. (Sadly, I wasn’t able to do that very well.)

Lots and lots of people have enjoyed this book…please seek out some other reviews. I’m sure a lot of my distaste comes from my personal beliefs. I thought as I continued to read it, my mind would turn the corner to a place where I could just enjoy the story, but that never happened for me. And as the distance continues to grow between now and finishing the book, my overall dislike is only solidified.

⭐️⭐️ | Viking | Pub Date: April 21, 2020 | 432 Pages | Ebook (ARC) | Purchase via Bookshop

📖 My Dark Vanessa by: Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Dark Vanessa is not for the faint of heart! It’s dark and gritty, and at times, it’s very tough to read. But what I appreciated the most about this book is the way Russell demonstrates an abuser’s ability to manipulate and groom their victims, the lifelong impact sexual abuse can have on a person, and the odd way some victims come to sympathize with their abusers.

My feelings for and about Vanessa are as complicated as hers are for her abuser, Strane. At times, she’s incredibly naive and immature, but at others times she’s deeply introspective and nuanced about her relationship. Because we see Vanessa at two very different stages of her life, we’re able to see that lasting effect of trauma on a person – and that is part of the brillance of the entire book. Strane capitalized on Vanessa’s isolation and loneliness. He made her feel desired, beautiful, and somehow different than her peers. Combined with Vanessa being away from her parents and attending boarding school, Strane’s attention hurled her into a terrifying spiral of destruction.

This book is told in two separate timelines – one in the early 2000s when she is just fifteen years old and experiencing this inappropriate relationship, and the other in 2017 when she is thirty-two years old and reflecting on the relationship as well as processing new information about other victims. Its scope is broad – touching on so many important topics that need to be at the forefront of conversations regarding sexual abuse.

As a mother to a pre-teen daughter, this book terrified me and helped open my eyes to the red flags that Vanessa’s mom didn’t see or chose to dismiss. Again, this would make an excellent book club choice because there is A LOT to discuss!

Obvious trigger warnings abound! Sexual abuse, grooming, stalking, predatory behavior, suicide, etc.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ | William Morrow | Pub Date: March 10, 2020 | 384 Pages | Hardcover | Purchase via Bookshop

Currently Reading:

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📖 *** Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties by: Tom O’Neill

Methinks it’s time to start questioning our government. 🤔🤷🏼‍♀️

Totally coincidental timing with all that’s going on with coronavirus, this book falls into conspiratorial thinking…but even though it’s about the Manson murders and the 1960s, I see some relavancy to our current times.

These coincidences are eery and unsettling…and this book has given me a lot to think about.

Little, Brown and Company | Pub Date: June 25, 2019 | 528 Pages | Paperback (ARC) | Purchase via Bookshop

(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

12 thoughts on “My Week in Books {4/29/20}

  1. I’m so glad to read your thoughts on The Book of Longings. I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not I want to read it and you’ve helped me decide. The Chaos book sounds like something I might like. I hadn’t even heard about it before today, so I’m going to investigate a little further.

    Have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have my eyes on The Book of Longings by: Sue Monk Kidd but it’s definitely not on the forefront of my tbr right now, it can wait until I’m in the right mood. AND I need to finish My Dark Vanessa ASAP!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve had my eye on My Dark Vanessa for a while, but I don’t think I’m in the proper headspace to read it just yet. It might have to be a post-quarantine read.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I admire that you’d pick up a book that contradicts the tenets of your beliefs the way The Book of Longings does and appreciate you noting what was personal about your reaction to the book. It made for a really helpful review 🙂


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