I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez
28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
Last month was a pretty spectacular month of reading! All of my books (I only had one go to the DNF pile) were 4 stars and higher! I owe this to all the awesome #bookstagrammer recommendations.
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
The Third Rainbow Girl by Emma Copley Eisenberg
In the early evening of June 25, 1980, in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, two middle-class outsiders named Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, were murdered in an isolated clearing. They were hitchhiking to a festival known as the Rainbow Gathering but never arrived; they traveled with a third woman however, who lived. For thirteen years, no one was prosecuted for the “Rainbow Murders,” though deep suspicion was cast on a succession of local residents in the community, depicted as poor, dangerous, and backward.
In 1993, a local farmer was convicted, only to be released when a known serial killer and diagnosed schizophrenic named Joseph Paul Franklin claimed responsibility. With the passage of time, as the truth seemed to slip away, the investigation itself caused its own traumas–turning neighbor against neighbor and confirming a fear of the violence outsiders have done to this region for centuries.
Emma Copley Eisenberg spent years living in Pocahontas and re-investigating these brutal acts. Using the past and the present, she shows how this mysterious act of violence has loomed over all those affected for generations, shaping their fears, fates, and the stories they tell about themselves. In The Third Rainbow Girl, Eisenberg follows the threads of this crime through the complex history of Appalachia, forming a searing and wide-ranging portrait of America–its divisions of gender and class, and of its violence.
January 21st, 2020
While I love a memoir and investigation into a person or area, I think my expectations for this to be more of a true-crime deep dive made this book disappointing for me as the reader. This may just have been one of those situations where I thought this would be a different kind of book based on the book summary.
I struggled to engage with the content because I was really wishing I could get more information about the actual events related to these cases. I have recently enjoyed some of the books that portray life in Appalachia that were quite compelling but this one was just really hard to engage with and felt quite unfocused.
The Third Rainbow Girl ended up being such a slow read for me and it just didn’t hold my interest. While there was some relevant information a lot of it just seemed unnecessary and way too drawn out.
Thank you to NetGalley, LibroFM and Hachette books for advanced copies. All opinions are my own.
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
Hailed as a “marvel of a book” and “brilliant and unflinching,” Alexis Schaitkin’s stunning debut, Saint X, is a haunting portrait of grief, obsession, and the bond between two sisters never truly given the chance to know one another.
Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men–employees at the resort–are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.
Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth–not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.
As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.
February 18th, 2020
I had a lot of anticipation about Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin and it was just one of the 2020 books I was the most excited about. Unfortunately, after a really great start, it ended up being a reading letdown for me.
I think my lack of connection with this book has to do a lot with what my expectations were when I read the book summary compared to my actual reading experience. I was just expecting something very different!
I love a slow burn with highly detailed characters but this one totally threw me off with the fast-paced beginning. I think if I knew it was going to be less plot-driven I would have had very different expectations for it.
I don’t need twists and turns but this was ending up being so wordy and after a dramatic beginning just lacked any oompf for me after the beginning set me up with so many questions I needed answers for.
Because the characters weren’t likable and even though it was rich with text, I never ended up feeling like I “knew them” which just made me feel uninvested in the storyline. I think this book did have some powerful messages regarding race, class, and privilege, but these fell flat for me with the particularly wordy writing style.
I think Saint X is going to be one of those books that there are strong feelings about. Even just reading the initial ARC reviews on Goodreads, there is a whole range of reactions, some that are very positive. I think, all in all, this just was a case of being the wrong timing and expectations for me as a reader.
Thank you to Celadon Books, NetGalley and LibroFM for advanced copies. All opinions are my own.
Disclosure: Some of the links on this blog are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog (at no cost to you). Thank you!