Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson | Riverhead Books {Book Review}

book review of Red at the Bone

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Book Summary:

An unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming.
 
Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson’s taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child.

As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony in her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody’s mother, for her own ceremony– a celebration that ultimately never took place.

Unfurling the history of Melody’s parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they’ve paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives–even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.

Publication Date:

September 17th, 2019

Genre:

Literary Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

audiobook recommendation

The hard copy of Red at the Bone is patiently waiting in my October TBR pile but that stack is getting pretty big…So a couple of weeks ago I looked on the Libby App (you can read more about the Libby App on my blog post about Kindle e-readers HERE) and our library recently purchased a copy of the audiobook so the wait was only 2 weeks. I listened to this one yesterday (clocking it at 3.5 hours it was totally doable!) and wow!

This was an amazingly beautiful audiobook and the four narrators along with Jacqueline Woodson were just incredible. ⁣⁣I love stories that bring us back to how someone arrived at a poignant moment in time. Red at the Bone moves back and forth with different timelines to include stories of the main character’s family members and flowed very easily for me as a listener. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
The perspectives on life, parenthood, identity, race, class, and self-discovery are raw, powerful, thought-provoking and also heartwarming. While this book is on the shorter side, it packs a punch. Woodson’s writing evokes emotion and I love that she had each multi-faceted character speak for themselves which I think added so much depth and perspective.  I highly recommend this and it was just wonderful on audio!

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer | Graydon House Books {Book Review}

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

Book Summary:

In 1942, Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the Russian refugee camp she calls home, a young woman speaks her wedding vows. It’s a decision that will alter her destiny…and it’s a lie that will remain buried until the next century.

Since she was nine years old, Alina Dziak knew she would marry her best friend, Tomasz. Now fifteen and engaged, Alina is unconcerned by reports of Nazi soldiers at the Polish border, believing her neighbors that they pose no real threat, and dreams instead of the day Tomasz returns from college in Warsaw so they can be married. But little by little, injustice by brutal injustice, the Nazi occupation takes hold, and Alina’s tiny rural village, its families, are divided by fear and hate.

Then, as the fabric of their lives is slowly picked apart, Tomasz disappears. Where Alina used to measure time between visits from her beloved, now she measures the spaces between hope and despair, waiting for word from Tomasz and avoiding the attentions of the soldiers who patrol her parents’ farm. But for now, even deafening silence is preferable to grief.

Slipping between Nazi-occupied Poland and the frenetic pace of modern life, Kelly Rimmer creates an emotional and finely wrought narrative. The Things We Cannot Say is an unshakable reminder of the devastation when truth is silenced…and how it can take a lifetime to find our voice before we learn to trust it.

Publication Date:

March 19th, 2019

Genre:

World War II Historical Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

40899464.jpg

The Things We Cannot Say came highly recommended to me by some of my favorite Bookstagram friends. I enjoy the historical fiction genre but it can be a hard one to really wow me as a reader. I went into this one with a little trepidation because it is quite long and while the summary was intriguing I wasn’t sure if I was in the mood for this kind of book during this more hectic time of year. I ended up choosing it as an audiobook and it was a perfect choice. My worries were completely unnecessary because I ended up becoming completely engrossed in this storyline.

This book ending up checking all the boxes of a memorable historical fiction reading experience. Told in a dual narrative format, we meet Alina, a girl who is growing up in Poland during World War II and Alice, a mom who lives in present-day Florida with her husband and two children. We quickly realized that these two storylines are connected and the story unfolds beautifully over these 400+ pages.

“Not for the first time, I wish just once when I asked my grandmother about the war, instead of her telling me “that was a terrible time, I don’t want to talk about it,” she’d been able to say something more. Anything more. Maybe if she could have shared some of her story, I could have learned from it, I could have taught my children from it—we could have built a better world from the hard lessons she surely learned.”

― Kelly Rimmer, The  Things We Cannot Say

This was my first book by Kelly Rimmer and I was blown away by her ability to share multi-faceted characters that felt so real and raw while also diving into a heartbreaking part of our not so distant history.  I love the dual storylines and how they wove together and kept me guessing until the end. Rimmer captured the power of sharing our stories while also reminding us that so many people have a history we might know nothing about.

As well as being completely enthralled by Alina’s harrowing and heartbreaking time in Poland, I connected so much with present-day Alice and her struggles to find herself amidst the daily challenges of family life.

“I can’t wait to tell him how much of a revelation it has been to do something like this – standing on a mountaintop for no reason other than the sake of the experience. This moment is an investment in myself. I’m giving myself permission to make a memory that benefits no one but me. I love being a mother, and I love being a wife. I even love being a daughter and a granddaughter. But as I stand here on the mountaintop, I’m not any of those things. I am simply Alice, and for one breathtaking moment, I’m completely present.”

This book captures heartbreak, resilience, persistence and the power for standing up for what is right, not only for yourself but for those around you. This is definitely one of my favorite books of 2019 and I highly recommend it.

Fair Play by Eve Rodsky | G.P. Putnam’s Sons | Reese’s Book Club October 2019 Selection {Book Review}

Book review of Fair Play by Eve Rodsky

Fair Play by Eve Rodsky

Book Summary:

It started with the Sh*t I Do List. Tired of being the “shefault” parent responsible for all aspects of her busy household, Eve Rodsky counted up all the unpaid, invisible work she was doing for her family — and then sent that list to her husband, asking for things to change. His response was… underwhelming. Rodsky realized that simply identifying the issue of unequal labor on the home front wasn’t enough: She needed a solution to this universal problem. Her sanity, identity, career, and marriage depended on it.

The result is Fair Play: a time- and anxiety-saving system that offers couples a completely new way to divvy up domestic responsibilities. Rodsky interviewed more than five hundred men and women from all walks of life to figure out what the invisible work in a family actually entails and how to get it all done efficiently. With four easy-to-follow rules, 100 household tasks, and a figurative card game you play with your partner, Fair Play helps you prioritize what’s important to your family and who should take the lead on every chore from laundry to homework to dinner.

“Winning” this game means rebalancing your home life, reigniting your relationship with your significant other, and reclaiming your Unicorn Space — as in, the time to develop the skills and passions that keep you interested and interesting. Are you ready to try Fair Play? Let’s deal you in.

Publication Date:

October 1st, 2019

Genre:

Time Management, Gender Studies, Parenting & Family Life

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

fairplayeverodsky

(LINK to Fair Play by Eve Rodsky)

If you follow me on social media, you know I have been going on and on about Fair Play but I am just so excited about it. I love parenting books, I love self-help and relationship books and as soon as I saw the premise of this I knew I needed to read it ASAP!

The Adjustment to The Roles in Parenthood…

The adjustment to parenthood did not happen super easily for us both personally and in our relationship together. It was a huge transition and we struggled in many ways as we navigated our new roles and expectations of one another.

“On many days, feeling the full weight of exhaustion that would seize me the moment my baby was down and I was finally offline, I’d wonder What did I do all day? When even I couldn’t answer the question, there was no doubt in my mind that I’d lost all control of my time. Sound familiar?”

While we have learned a lot as the years have gone by, figuring out the daily logistics of life with work, marriage, kids and household tasks is a constant juggling act. Fair Play both takes on and tackles the topics of the mental load, second shift, emotional labor and invisible work that in the 21st century still cause a great imbalance in many families ‘ home lives.

Relatable and Proactive!

Fair Play by Eve Rodsky

Not only is Eve Rodsky’s writing accessible and totally relatable, but it is also helpful! I love a good plan. I feel the absolute worst when life feels tough and I don’t know what my next steps are going to be. Even when things are still rocky, when I am moving forward, things always feel more manageable.

Rodsky created a simple and straightforward approach to help equitably restructuring the balance of domestic “duties” while also factoring in time to focus on creative and personal growth so that everyone feels fulfilled and happy.

While our relationship does follow a similar path as Rodsky’s (heterosexual married couple with kids) she has also done her due diligence. Rodsky worked with 500+ couples to include a wide variety of multiple social constructs that can alter perspectives, challenges, and accessibility so this book really is for everyone!

More Information…

Eve Rodsky’s Q&A on her own website is super informative if you are looking to learn more about why she took on this project. Resources like this are so awesome to help raise awareness of these important conversations that are so important to navigating family life.

Thank you to Putnam for sending this amazing book mail and to Edelweiss for an ARC ebook edition.

***On October 1st, 2019 Reese’s Book Club Hello Sunshine chose Fair Play for their October 2019 book club selection!! You can read more HERE on their Instagram page and this article is a great summary of what Fair Play is all about! Congratulations Eve, what a well deserved accomplishment! <3