And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

I’ve always enjoyed books that focus on the aftermath of an event because we never talk about it. I think that is the reason I liked Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher so much because it was life after suicide. And We Stay is also the story of the after, after Emily Beam’s boyfriend kills himself in the school library. It is the story after her abortion and the guilt that drives Paul Wagoner to kill himself in front of his girlfriend.

We as a society don’t often talk about the after. We either focus on the before or the event itself but never the after. Why was there so much personal outcry against Thirteen Reasons Why? This is just my opinion but I think because it talked about the after.. Hannah Baker couldn’t be saved and we as a society couldn’t accept the fact that suicide happens and people are successful at it. It’s a sensitive subject because we probably all know someone who has committed suicide and we don’t want to talk about it because it hurts too much. We need to talk about it. I cannot stress how much we need to talk about it because there are kids out there hurting who feel they can’t talk about their suicidal thoughts because then they would get labeled. There is such a stigmatism surrounding suicide that some people are fearful of talking about it because they are not sure how people would react.

A girl recently convinced her boyfriend to commit suicide and that is tragic. Her boyfriend reached out to her and she obviously did not help him but let us use this as an opportunity to talk about suicide. I’m sure everyone at some point in their life has thought “why go on?”. However will any of us openly and publicly admit this? Why?

We live in a world where Netflix can take a book about suicide, make it into a tv show and then in everyone’s opinion “glorify” suicide. I admit I haven’t watched the entire series nor do I plan to simply because of Netflix’s decision to show Hannah’s suicide and not in the way she did it in the book. However that hasn’t stopped me from rereading the book I loved as a middle schooler and still do. I know this is not a review of Thirteen Reasons Why but what And We Stay and Jay Asher’s novel have in common is suicide a subject that is never talked about enough. Jay Asher wrote a story about a girl who committed suicide. It happens and we cannot ignore it by saying people shouldn’t write about it. It’s like saying let’s not write YA novels about love. As much as I would love to say that teens don’t think about and/or commit suicide it happens. I still shake my head at a comment I read about Thirteen Reasons Why which essentially said Hannah could have handled her suicide better. First of all Hannah is a fictional character. Second of all suicide is a tragedy and it doesn’t matter how we handle it because for someone to get so sick of life that they wish to end theirs is just awful. I don’t care how they do it what matters is that they feel life is no longer worth living.

I’m reminded of the scene in the book Thirteen Reasons Why when Hannah wrote the word suicide on a slip of paper and the remarks her fellow students made. Lots of people say those things because we don’t want to talk about suicide. We hope that by saying “it is  a selfish decision”, “why would you want to kill yourself” and “think of those you are leaving behind” that somehow it will make everything better. Actually being there for people and listening to them when they are hurting is going to help more than just making blanket statements about suicide.

What about those of us left behind wondering what went so horribly wrong? Emily Beam, a fictional character, is left wondering that as well. She made a hard life choice to abort her child and then she lost the only other person she could turn to. She turned to Emily Dickinson to help her and this is why literature that talks about death and suicide is so important. Sometimes the only place hurting people can turn is to stories that mirror their own life. I am an introvert and as I explore the world of introverts I find that I am not alone and that when I want to be I can be an extrovert. I read an amazing book called FanGirl by Rainbow Rowell and it was the first time I found myself staring into a mirror as I read the story of Cath the introvert. I had never before read a book that so perfectly described my life and it makes me sad to think that it took me 20 years to find a book that described me.

Thirteen Reasons Why and And We Stay are those books for people who are reeling from a suicide of someone they know. We need to be able to talk about the “tough” subjects because if we simply ignore them those students/people who are hurting and need to talk about suicide, depression, anxiety, or whatever else you are dealing with they are not going to get the help they need.

 

Recommended Reading:

After by Amy Efaw

The Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

-A

James Breakwell Vs. John Green

First of all let’s define who James Breakwell because thanks to Tumblr/Youtube/Fault in Our Stars I am pretty sure everyone knows who John Green. James Breakwell is a father of four who tweets what his children say (@XplodingUnicorn). He’s a pretty popular guy and I was introduced to him by the wonderful people of Pinterest who screen shot his tweets and then pin them. I just recently got into Twitter and so I started following James and I haven’t regretted it yet. He’s a funny guy who has a great Twitter presence unlike some people who aren’t original and just retweet stuff all the time, oh yeah…that’s me. When I heard James was publishing a book I was like “cool for you” and didn’t think much of it. Just recently however James started a competition where if you pre-order his book by August 1st and tweet it to him he will put your name into a drawing to have a conversation with him. I don’t know why, maybe the fact I have no social life and spend all my time reading tweets by some middle aged dude about his little family of four, but for some reason I really wanted to enter this competition so I pre-ordered James’ book.

What does of any of this have to do with John Green? Well James’ book comes out the same day as John Green’s new novel Turtles all the Way Down (I honestly don’t know if this is the title nor I do I really care enough to look it up). I dislike John Green’s pitiful attempts at writing a young adult novel. He has a great Youtube channel: Crashcourse in History. It’s fun and I’ve watched it several times in some of my classes (high school and college). John is a great guy he just cannot write a young adult novel. However, I cannot lie…I did like Fault in Our Stars. Out of the four books he has written he got lucky one time. I have read three of his books, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, and Fault in Our Stars. I couldn’t bring myself to read another one of his books so I never did read An Abundance of Katherine’s, though I did have a friend named Katherine read that one and she didn’t like it.

I read Paper Towns when I was in middle school. It was new and a requirement for book club. Well, not really a requirement but if I read it and ten other books I would get a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble. B&N! B&N people! I would have read the dictionary cover to cover to get a gift card to B&N. I actually have a twenty dollar limit when I go there because I would spend a $100 on four books and not regret it. Anyways back to how dumb the ending to Paper Towns was. I actually liked the plot but then I got to the end and it left me so angry it didn’t matter whether or not the plot was good because without a solid ending it just left me empty. As an author you cannot create this really strong plot and send these kids on an epic road trip and just have it fizzle out at the end because there really is no climax just a sad bunch of kids and disappointed readers.

The book that would have turned me off from John Green permanently, and did, was Looking for Alaska. If I had read this book before I read any of his other books I wouldn’t have read Paper Towns or Fault in Our Stars. I HATED Looking for Alaska. First of all, the characters were flat, boring, not likable and just frustrating. The main character made me want to punch all prepubescent boys in the crotch. He was sad, whiny and really just needed to grow up. Don’t even get me started on Alaska. She was a tease of the worst kind. She didn’t deserve to die and that is not a spoiler because the whole book is a countdown and you know it is coming. In fact I didn’t even finish the book because by the time I got to that point I was so done, I just quite. Why is Pudge looking for Alaska, I don’t know because she isn’t worth it; you are too young to know what love is and you all suck as characters!

Fun fact: I read this class for a book club in college. Half my book club liked, the other half hated it and one kid just walked out when the yelling match started.

The point of this story is that James Breakwell is a great guy and even though I haven’t read his book yet and it’s not YA, I know it will still be better than anything John Green will write. So pre-order his book instead and help support a family man instead of a middle aged man who thinks he can write about teenagers.

-A

Learning to Love Myself: In a relationship…with myself

This post has been on my heart for a very long time.

Close your eyes and imagine a little redheaded girl whose favorite movie was Sleeping Beauty because they lived happily ever after. She prays every night before she goes to bed “Dear God, please give me blue eyes and blond hair”. She dreams about her prince charming and cannot wait for the day he will walk into her life. His name was Eric when she was a kid (I always find it strange I liked the name Eric when I didn’t even own The Little Mermaid nor watch it all as a kid. What about Phillip?) and as she got older his name changed to James. He would be tall, dashing, British and completely sweep her off her feet.  They would get married and travel with their six children (I since have amended that number) all over the world. They would grow old together and sit in rocking chairs on their wrap around porch while grandchildren played in the yard.

Realistically as a child I probably didn’t think beyond the guy himself, but the dream was always there. It really hadn’t changed throughout the years. His attributes may have changed but not the dream. I’ll wear a giant poofy dress with lace sleeves and my best friend will be my maid of honor. He’ll cry when he sees me walking down the aisle and I’ll be so blissfully happy I will start crying myself and my mascara will run. We’ll have the giant house, kids, pets, and he’ll play with my hair every night to help me fall asleep. It’ll be perfect.

Jump forward to my eighth grade year. I get my first real serious crush (no matter how much I want my love for Johnny Depp to count, it doesn’t) and it turns out to be a disaster. We ended up breaking each other’s hearts. I wasn’t ready for a relationship plus I wasn’t allowed to date so I broke his heart. He moved and then I found out the kind of guy he was so he broke my heart. I’ve never pursued a guy after that- I just crushed on them from afar and wrote pitiful poetry when they got a girlfriend. I always figured I would just meet him eventually. When I moved in high school I thought I would meet him at my new school and yea, no. I then went to camp to work as a counselor and I had a crush on a guy, who probably saw me as a just a friend. I spent most of that summer trying to get to notice me which frustrates me looking back-I’ll explain in a minute. Summer is over and I go to college. Still no boy. Here I am two years into college, two camp summers behind me and still no boy. Where does that leave me the sad hopeless romantic who cries at every chick flick and romance novel?

My brother got married last summer, my best friend got engaged and is getting married in January. I have friends from high school married with kids and everywhere I look I see relationships. I started writing this post a long time ago and it has taken me a long time to write it simply because my heart is fickle. Just recently three people I know ended their relationships, relationships which I thought were going strong. It made me start to doubt once again whether or I wanted to engage myself in the messy world of relationships. A quote about relationships that has always stuck with me is “You are either going to marry the person you are currently dating or break up”. That quote alone makes me nervous about dating.

I have never had a boyfriend.

I hate telling people that because, to me at least, it makes me feel immature and unexperienced. I also hate it because I feel awkward giving relationship advice when I have never been there myself. I have been living with my brother while the both of us are going to college and I set him up at my other brother’s wedding with a friend of my sister-in-law’s. They got pretty serious pretty quick and I had reservations because this girl had just gotten out of a long relationship and I wasn’t sure if she was ready for another serious relationship. I thought they would take it slow and enjoy each other. This is all said with a little bias however because I only get my brother’s side of the conversation and he is pretty serious about her.

Every time my brother talks to me about his relationship I feel the need to comment because if I don’t he will directly ask me for my advice or think I’m “holding back” or something. However when I do give my advice it’s not usually something my brother wants to hear and comes back with the same retort every time “You’ve never been in a relationship so how would you know what it is like?”. True I have never been in a relationship, but I have lived on this Earth for some time and had a lot of friends in relationships. I have seen those relationships rise and sink like the Titanic. They were great on the outside and inside, but something was lurking in the deep that would eventually destroy them. Yes, I have never had a boyfriend but I have set standards and I am not backing down from them. If you ask for my advice about relationships I will give you advice based on those standards because I would expect nothing less.

Where is this going?

Last summer I worked at the same summer camp I worked at for the last two summers. Once again I found myself crushing on a guy who saw me as a friend. The crush didn’t last long (that being the same summer my brother was getting married so I think I had wedding fever or something) and once again I found myself frustrated with myself. Why did I keep doing this to myself? Was I really interested in this guy or was I more interested in the idea of a relationship? Did I want to be in a relationship for the actual person or just to be able to say I was in a relationship and I had a boyfriend? After I that summer I came back to college, moved into a house, and got a job as a cashier at Wal-Mart (that is a post for another time). I was suddenly independent for the first time in a long time and honestly I love it. I love only being accountable for me and not having to worry about texting someone all day or having to call/face time at night. I don’t have to worry about seeing them, date nights or whatever else people do in a relationship.

I am learning who I am as a person and it has been the greatest thing I have done for myself. I was so concerned for the longest time about appearances and what I look like to other people that I stopped loving myself. I was creating a persona of myself that I didn’t even recognize any more. I genuinely love spending time by myself and would rather spend the evening home alone, in comfy clothes, eating pizza and watching Netflix, rather than going out with friends. I DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR THAT! I love who I am and I love exploring who I am as a person. Two years ago if I had been in a relationship I would have defined myself by that relationship, but that’s not the case anymore. I am learning what I want out of a relationship and I am waiting. My aunt waited until she was in her thirties because she knew what she wanted and she wasn’t going to settle. I don’t want to settle either. Sure I want to do fun couple stuff and have those adventures with my best friend, but not until I am ready and not until he is ready.

I keep a box of letters that I write to my future husband. It’s helped me a lot especially when I am feeling lonely and that old pressure of needing to be married and having kids comes pressing in on me after I have looked at Facebook and see pictures of my friends kids. I call it my alabaster box because there is a story of a woman in the Bible who poured perfume on Jesus’s feet. The perfume was expensive and was most likely her dowry or some kind of saving. Either way this woman gave up her dreams of a future just to wash Jesus’s feet. It has always been a dream of mine to get married but it’s no longer a goal or a priority. It’s a blessing. In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul gives some advice on marriage. There is a lot there to process but what I love about that chapter is that Paul advises against marriage. Wait, did I just contradict myself? Paul says it is better to be single than to be married because then your work for the Lord isn’t corrupted by the needs and demands of the marriage. I would advise you to read that passage for yourself because I am doing a terrible job of summarizing it. When you are single you are more free to do the Lord’s work because you don’t have the demands of the family. Of course Paul isn’t saying don’t get married. He is saying if you don’t feel the need to get married then don’t get married; ignore the pressure of the world around and spend your time serving the Lord. No one should have to think they have to get married because that is what everyone else is doing. If you want to get married (like my brother does) then get married, but if you are like me and realize that while marriage is a possibility it’s not a priority then don’t worry about it. It will happen on it’s own time and if it never happens then you will have saved yourself the trouble of constantly wondering why you aren’t married yet.

God is going to bring someone into my life when I am ready and if he never does I don’t think I’m going to look back on my life and cry because I never found “the one”.

-A

 

 

 

 

 

 

My brother is getting married this summer and every one of my close friends is in a relationship. I should probably be feeling sorry for myself right? WRONG!

This post is for you. The girl who thinks she needs a guy to complete her. His love will fill her and she will be happy. WRONG!  This has been something I have been trying to figure out my entire life and it took me until I was a Junior in college to figure it out.

Only God is going to fill that hole in your heart. That spot you reserved for your future husband only God can fill it. Only God will love you unconditionally. Only God will love you at your worst and at your best. Don’t make finding a husband your idol. That’s what I did and it kinda wrecked my relationship with God. I spent two summers at camp worrying about boys and not worrying about my campers. I will admit I got better the second summer but I still had boys on the mind even when I was telling my campers, “We’re not here for boys. We are here to learn about God.” I was a hypocrite for so long. I was lying to myself for so long.

I am not sure the exact year but when I was in high school I think I went with my cousin to a bible study.

Thirteen Reasons Why: Book vs. Netflix Original

I read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher when I was in eighth grade. All I remember was that it was a good book and I liked it a lot. It was recommended to me by a friend and it quickly went through my group of friends. We were all vivacious readers who were constantly throwing (and sometimes we quite literally threw) books at each other and telling each other to read them.  When I heard Netflix was making an original series I was super pumped as were some friends of mine from school who loved the book as much as I did.

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However, as with any book to TV adaptation I am wary. I thought it interesting that Netflix chose to do a show because I have been saying for years, and Tumblr users agree with me, that books should be adapted into shows because there is much more room for play instead of trying to cram everything into a two hour time period. That all being said I was excited to see what Netflix would do because they have been doing great things since they started streaming, which let me tell you was pretty crappy when it first started. All they had was B movies and maybe just maybe a few good movies. In fact when my dad first signed up for streaming he hated it, thought it was a waste of money and got rid of it. It wasn’t until we moved, bought a smart TV and decided satellite was too expensive that we looked into streaming. BEST decision ever! Of course watching the entire season five of Supernatural in one Saturday was probably not the best decision I ever made, but eh. I digress.

I decided that in order to fully appreciate the Netflix adaptation I needed to reread Jay Asher’s novel and decided to order the tenth anniversary deluxe edition because it came with all these extras plus the original ending, which I’m not sure if it makes the novel complete or not. Personally I don’t think it does because this books main theme is suicide and Clay realizing that he missed all the signs. If Hannah Baker had lived (sorry that is a somewhat spoiler as to the original ending) it wouldn’t have the same impact. Clay didn’t know the real Hannah. Despite the fact that he liked her and wanted to know her, he didn’t put in the time and effort to know her.

There is a lot of grumbling out there on the internet about this book and the TV show. In fact before the TV show was a thing I am sure not a lot of Americans had even heard of this book, so why suddenly do they care? People don’t read and it is only when it is on a screen will they pay attention. I recommend reading the book first if you want to watch Thirteen Reasons Why. It’s really for one main difference between book and show and that is Hannah’s means of suicide. She doesn’t slit her wrists in a bathtub. She takes pills. She explains it all in the tapes, but of course Netflix couldn’t have her falling asleep and never waking up. It had to be dramatic because that is what keeps people’s attention these days. Gore, violence, and sex are what keep people glued to their screens and that’s all Netflix needs from you. Don’t get me wrong I love Netflix but I am not blind as to what they are doing. If you look at any Netflix original there will be sex, and there will be violence of some kind (with the exception of Kimmy Schmidt but they have ways of keeping you coming back to that show even, only three more days!).

I’ve only watched two episodes so far, so maybe you’ll write me off because I don’t know what I am talking about but I’ve watched enough and maybe I will finish and maybe I won’t. This book is not glorifying suicide and I don’t think the show is either. Not that I would recommend this book to someone who is suicidal rather I would read it to better understand suicide. Sometimes the warning signs can all be there and yet we simply ignore them because that person cannot possibly be suicidal. I bet if I told any of my friends in eighth grade I had thought about killing myself none of them would have taken it seriously. Sure they would have listened and advised me but I don’t think any of them could have seen me do it (I don’t want to kill myself but I would be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about it). The point of this novel is to show that you cannot really ever know someone and that the snowball effect is real. Don’t ignore the signs either. Clay ignored them, Tony ignored them, everyone in Hannah’s life ignored them and she killed herself.

One other thing. This book is marketed towards teens. That’s right adults that keep weighing in and sharing your opinion. You are not the target audience. I read this book when I was fourteen years old. FOURTEEN, not FORTY! Yes, you are entitled to have an opinion but the young adults that read this book understand it because it is written about them, to them and has characters they can understand. Don’t pretend you understand teen angst and what teens go through. Maybe you do because at one time you were a teen so why do I read such comments as “Hannah Baker could have handled her suicide better”. Excuse me?! “Handled” her suicide better? How could she have handled it better? She was a sophomore in high school. She moved to that town and thought she could start over. Yet, due to one stupid list and one extremely stupid high school boy a reputation was created that Hannah could not escape from.

Thirteen Reasons Why is a good book. It gives teen suicide a face and a name. It does not glorify suicide in any way rather it just tells a story. You literally have to take it and leave it. It’s the story of a girl who killed herself and wanted those who hurt her to know they hurt her. I’m not saying she was justified in her actions, but she did what she did. She truly did reach out, she tried everyone she could to help her and they all just turned away. So before you claim this show (and potentially the show does) so before you claim the book glorifies suicide think about the fact that Hannah did reach out. She looked for a reason not to end her life. She didn’t find one. Next time you see someone hurting give them a reason not to.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

-A

It is not the end. It is simply the beginning

When I first started out in college I was sure that I wanted to be a teacher. I was sure that I wanted to teach English and I was positive I was never going to change majors. I’m not going to lie I did think about changing majors. I did think about just becoming a lit. major, move to some remote location and write book reviews for a living (I think that is every lit. major’s dream), but I stuck with it because I didn’t see a purpose in that. I want to make a difference in kid’s lives and even if they still hate English after I teach them it won’t matter because ultimately I am there for them not for me.

This might be the end of the semester and this course, but for me it is just the beginning of a long life full of kids. It really truly is wonderful when a passion and a career come together. I love kids. I love English. I love the idea of being able to teach them someday a subject I am passionate about. That dream isn’t that far enough considering if all goes well I will be student teaching next spring, which is a terrifying thought. However, I feel much more prepared to teach writing then I was a semester ago. Honestly before this course I hadn’t given much thought to teaching writing. I’m not a huge fan of writing and would prefer to spend my days reading, but being able to express yourself on paper is a wonderful feeling. I just finished writing a critical essay for another course, and it was a lot of fun. I had the option to do a more creative paper, but I went for the critical because I wanted to be challenged. I wanted my voice to be heard, and that’s what I want for my students.

My favorite part of college so far was my semester I took Shakespeare, because I had to write so many critical essays, but in each and every single one of them I made my voice heard. I was told I had to write about a certain play, make sure it was argumentative, but I could what choose what I argued about. It was the best feeling in the world because my voice was being heard, and I hadn’t felt that kind of power over my own writing in a very long time. It all starts with choice, and if I have learned anything this semester it is that student’s need choice. They also need to be able to have their own voice when writing. I don’t want my students to write for me I want them to write for themselves.

If I have enjoyed reading one person’s blog this semester it has been Jessica’s. She has great voice and from what she has told us she had great English teachers as well. English teachers that encouraged voice in her writing and read aloud contemporary lit. as well. It has definitely been a joy (haha) reading the thejoyouslifeofjess.

I learned so much in this class and I cannot honestly fit it all into one blog post. We started off the semester talking about the history of writing and honestly at the time I didn’t see the point in it. Writing has a history like everything else so what? It honestly wasn’t until I started researching écriture feminine that I found out the history of writing matters. It matters a whole lot.  It doesn’t matter to just women, but anyone who has written out of the canon because they aren’t old dead white guys. History is my other passion and I get pretty angry when someone says no one else in the history of blah blah, did this or that. Well honey they did so get over it. The same goes for writing. History repeats itself, a lot (just read the Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson), and it is important to   recognize those cycles in order to know where people are coming from and where they are going. We need to know our history in order to change the future which is why we also studied contemporary practices in writing.

I studied writer’s notebooks because as a student I was never encouraged to keep one. I love my writer’s notebook and it is a way for me to vent my creativity. The one blog I kept coming back to however was Eli’s English-Only is A Problem because I didn’t know schools enforced English-Only rules. My advisor/professor at my community college told us about schools that encouraged bilingual teaching and how the waiting list was so long for these schools because parents wanted their students learning two languages. It just shocked me that students from another country aren’t encouraged to speak their native language. I understand the push to make it so students are able to communicate with their teachers and peers but being bilingual is simply incredible. Why would anyone encourage you not to be bilingual or share your native culture/language? I had a friend tell me that she overheard a teacher telling some girls (they were from Thailand, I think) “English only”, when they were chatting with each other in their native tongue. These girls weren’t even allowed to speak to each other in their own tongue and as a human being that makes me angry. Isn’t one of the rights of this country freedom of speech or does that only apply when you are speaking English?

Looking back over this post I realized how much I learned, but I dreaded this class when I left after the first day. I was confused because the rigid structure of the typical classroom was not there and I so wanted it to be. I’m so thankful it wasn’t but at the time I longed for the familiar. Dr. Miller warned us it wasn’t going to be easy (changing our mindset), but he knew he couldn’t teach us how to teach writing if he didn’t give us room to explore our own voice. I know I am still going to struggle teaching writing but I feel better equipped then I was a semester ago.

-C

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

I listened to this book on cd and I highly recommend doing that because of the different letters and voices. I honestly just grabbed this book because I had seen it before but I had no idea what it really was about and I was pleasantly surprised. I love WWII fiction but I don’t read a lot of post-war fiction that reflects back on the past. This story focuses on the channel islands that were occupied by the Germans during the war. I never knew this happened and much like the main character, we as the reader learn as she does.

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This story is written in the form of letters from several different characters which is why I recommend listening to it. The two characters you are introduced to at first are Juliet Ashton and her friend Sydney Stark who doubles as her publisher. They have been exchanging letters back and forth for years, especially focusing on Juliet’s novel she wrote based on a column she wrote during the war. One day Juliet receives a letter from Dawsey Adams who happened to find a book with her name and address written in the front and he wishes to know if she knew of anymore books by Charles Lamb that she wouldn’t mind recommending. This began a long correspondent in which the two became friends and Juliet decided she needed to write about the island Guernsey during the war and it’s occupation. Along the way Juliet is courted by a potential rival publisher, falls in love with a bright young child, and finds her inspiration for her novel.

This is truly a wonderfully interesting story about WWII and most specifically the island of Guernsey and how life was during the occupation. I love reading books written in letter form because they are so personal and so interesting because you get the personal voice of every character, in a much more intimate way then you would from just regular narration. The epistolary style also fits the time period of this book so well. It’s very different then anything I have read about WWII because everything I read focused on the Holocaust and this doesn’t. There is so much more to WWII than just the Holocaust and sometimes that gets overlooked so it’s important to find literature that discusses other aspects of WWII.

-A

Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

I’ve been taking a multi-ethnic literature course this semester and it’s put me in contact with a lot of books I would have never read otherwise. I have never heard of the book Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts but I did enjoy it surprisingly. I say surprisingly because this isn’t your typical style book and I would call it post-modern because it really isn’t her memoir but rather the stories of women in her life who shaped who she was.

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I read an article for the class that described Kingston’s novel as a forgiving style in which daughters write the story from the perspective of the mother to forgive them. I found this to be intriguing because throughout the memoir you don’t really get from the author that her and her mother had a great relationship. Kingston’s parents were born and raised in China but Kingston was born and raised in America and throughout the book you see that clash of culture and I think Kingston was trying to explain that.

The first section of her book focuses on her unnamed aunt who committed suicide in China when it was discovered she was pregnant and it wasn’t her husband’s child. Kingston doesn’t know exactly what happened because the version she gives that her mother told her is dark and a warning not to get pregnant outside of marriage. Kingston theorizes throughout her narrative, but her main goal was to give her aunt a voice and then throughout the rest of the narrative she gives her mother a voice, her other aunt and herself.

This is not a traditional memoir and it raises a lot of interesting questions about what Kingston was trying to do. I watched an interview with Kingston in which she said she wanted to write a book for Chinese women and a book for Chinese men which is why she wrote China Men. She purposely split the two genders into two different books because she wanted one specific novel for each. I loved this book not only for it’s style but the language as well. Kingston writes in such a way that you can understand why her mother does the stuff she does and I do think Kingston is forgiving her mother.

-A