Welcome back to the bookish version of Six Degrees of Separation. Here’s how it works: Start with the book suggested by Kate over at booksaremyfavouriteandbest, and see where you end up by linking it to six other titles. It’s easy and it’s fun, and no two chains are the same!
This month’s starting point is Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I know I read and loved this book when I was younger, but after reading the synopsis, no part of the story came back to me. A lot of book bloggers can point you to the book that gave them the love of reading, but I’m not sure I can. I know this is a book I read and liked, but the book I really remember from around the same time of my childhood is…
…Forever, also by Judy Bloom. I remember picking this book up at a garage sale with my mom and I had no idea what I was getting into. I don’t remember how old I was, but I know this book was not age appropriate. I remember my jaw dropping at some parts of the book!
Another book I shouldn’t have been reading was Flowers in the Attic. Holy smokes…what?!!? This book introduced me to themes I shouldn’t know as a younger teenager, but I also look back on it and appreciate it because it was a book I couldn’t read fast enough. It helped me realize that books transport you to a different world – I felt like I lived in that attic with those siblings – and that reading can be fun (and dangerous)!
The next book I thought of along those lines was All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. It’s a story that really pushes the boundaries of what’s acceptable behavior and what isn’t (much like Flowers in the Attic). What makes this book so important to me is that it changed my thinking and made me look at a topic in a completely different way. This book made me realize I like books that change you because they challenge you.
Speaking of books that chane you and have inappropriate relationships, I immediatley think about My Dark Vanessa. This book is dark and complex and the writing is incredible. It also terrified me because it showed how manipulative sexual predators are – especially ones who are in a position of trust (like teachers). As strange as it may sound, I feel that all mothers should read this book in order to teach their sons and daughters what healthy boundaries look like.
Speaking of teaching our chidren about appropriate sexual boundaries, Know My Name comes to mind. When Chanel Miller was sexually assaulted on Stanford’s campus, the world was (once again) introduced to what white privilege means. Brock Turner, a champion swimmer with Olympic dreams, was hardly given consequences for the act he commited, yet it forever changed Miller’s life. Her memoir is well done – forever changing the way I look at race, white privilege, and sexual abuse.
Another book that really dives into race, white privilege, and the US justice system, is A Knock at Midnight. Barnett convincingly argues that Black people are treated differently than white people who commit the same crimes. Their sentences are longer and harsher. Barnett has made it her life’s work to try to overturn these unfair convictions, and this book will make my Top 10 this year.
Next month (January 2, 2021), we’ll begin with the winner of the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell.