My book reading slowed wayyyy down this past month! Well, in comparison.. But I am still on book 60 out of 65 for my Goodreads challenge, so I think I am still doing ok. Have you read any great books lately? Here is what I read in September!
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward – Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award–winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing journeys through Mississippi’s past and present, examining the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power—and limitations—of family bonds.
Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.
His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. She is an imperfect mother in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is Black and her children’s father is White. She wants to be a better mother but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. Simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high, Leonie is embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances.
When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.
What I thought – There was so much goodness in this book… but the ghosts and just some other random things made it lose some of the appeal to me after a while of reading.
Girl Unknown by Karen Perry – ‘I think you might be my father . . .’
When first-year student Zoë Barry walks into Professor David Connolly’s office and tentatively says these words, he is left reeling. But it is the lives of his family – particularly his wife Caroline – which are turned upside down by the arrival of this stranger.
A daughter, a sister, a friend . . . an enemy?
Though no one knows quite who Zoë is, she is soon entangled in their lives. Yet her stories don’t ring true and Caroline is determined to learn if the girl is the unlucky innocent she claims to be or someone with a far darker agenda.
A deadly cuckoo in the nest . . .Because by letting Zoë in, David and Caroline aren’t just leaving themselves vulnerable. They’re risking the most precious thing in the world – the lives of their children . . .
What I thought: It was an easy read, but it just didn’t have the suspense and story that I thought it would. It did have me keep reading, but it just wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped.
Flying at Night by Rebecca L. Brown – An emotionally charged debut novel, told through the voices of three family members, who learn that when your world changes, so does your destination….
Stay-at-home mom Piper Whitman Hart is too close to her nine-year-old son Fred to realize that his idiosyncrasies are signs of something more. And just when his diagnosis of autism sends her life reeling, she’s dragged back into the orbit of her emotionally abusive father, Lance, after a heart attack leaves him with brain damage.
Fred is in need of a friend. Lance is in need of care. And Piper just wants to feel stable ground beneath her feet. What she never expects is that Fred and Lance–both misunderstood by the world–will start to connect in the most miraculous of ways…
What I thought: At first I thought this was the authors story, it just seemed so real. It was a great story full of well done characters. I actually enjoyed the three character narration as it wasn’t too involved…
Forever, or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter – An achingly beautiful story in the vein of Rebecca Stead and R. J. Palacio about two foster children who want desperately to believe that they’ve found their forever home.
Flora and her brother, Julian, don’t believe they were born. They’ve lived in so many foster homes, they can’t remember where they came from. And even now that they’ve been adopted, Flora still struggles to believe in forever. So along with their new mother, Flora and Julian begin a journey to go back and discover their past—for only then can they really begin to build their future.
What I thought: So, this was a middle grade book. And it was just everything. I am so very glad that I read it and wow. I am still thinking about it. It’s hard to know that things like this are happening to so many children every day. Foster care and adoption is all so very hard, but so very worth it. Gah, everyone should read this book…
That’s all I read for this month! Let me know of your favorites and I will put them on my list!!