Thursday, March 31, 2016

March Currently . . .

Here’s what I’ve been doing in March.

I’m Currently . . .

Reading: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis.

Watching: I’ve been trying to watch political stuff so that I can be an informed American citizen, but it’s mostly just stressing me out.

Stalking: You guys should check out Carole’s Random Life. Carole has the greatest book hauls ever, and she writes helpful reviews, too.

Planning: Discussion posts for the next few months. Coming up with topics that haven’t been discussed to death is difficult for me. I don’t think the blogosphere needs any more posts about how much we all hate insta-love.

Making: It recently took me 6 hours to make one blog post. The post required a lot of research, and then I had to make graphics, which I suck at. You’ll see the post next month, but you probably won’t be able to tell that it took 6 hours. It doesn’t look like much. I loved doing the research, though. The one good thing about spending my entire life in college is that I know how to research like a boss. When I want to know something, nothing can stop me.  

Stocking up on: Nothing, really. I have been putting all of my classic horror books in one place. I’m hoping that seeing a big stack of them will motivate me to read them. I guess I’m stocking up on classic horror books, even though I already own them.

Wishing for: World peace.

Enjoying: Not going to the dentist. I spent way too much time at the dentist in February. My teeth don’t hurt now, so I guess it was worth it.

Trying: Not to freak out about all the stuff happening in the next few months. I’m going to be doing some things that I’ve never done before, and new responsibilities always make me feel squirrely.

Eating: Not very much because I’m trying to lose weight. I did eat some ribs from the pig truck a few weeks ago. You gotta love food trucks.

Goal setting: Get better at commenting on blogs. I’ve been really slacking on this lately. I also need to find some new blogs instead of just sticking to my favorites. Spread the comment love.

Learning: That sometimes I need a break. I’m not a robot. (Even though it might be cool to be a robot.)

What have you been doing in March?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review: Black Like Me – John Howard Griffin

Black Like Me – John Howard Griffin

In the Deep South of the 1950s, journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross the color line. Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man. His audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work about race and humanity that in this new millennium still has something important to say to every American.

Review: This book is the diary of John Howard Griffin, a journalist who decided to conduct a social experiment about segregation in the American South. In the winter of 1959, John started taking vitiligo pills to turn his skin dark brown. He left upper-class white society to travel through the South as an unemployed black man. What he discovered helped change the way that many Americans viewed race.

Griffin’s diary shows the day-to-day challenges of being a black person in the South. It definitely deepened my understanding of segregation because it includes a lot of information that I don’t remember learning in school. In the diary, John talks about traveling through areas that didn’t have a large black population. He wasn’t allowed to use white facilities, and there weren’t facilities for black people in these areas, so he had to walk miles to find water to drink, bathrooms, or a bench that he was allowed to sit on. White people were also deliberately cruel to him. They wanted to make black people miserable so that the black people would leave the towns and move somewhere else. I knew that the South in the 1950s wasn’t a wonderful place, but it’s shocking how horrible people can be to each other.

Also, it made me sad that a white man had to live through segregation and racism before other white people would take it seriously. During the time that John Howard Griffin was conducting his experiment, there were black activists trying to draw attention to the problems in the South. Many white people refused to listen to the activists. This book was groundbreaking when it was published because it was one of the first times that a white person had written extensively about the experiences of black people. John Howard Griffin was seen as a “credible source” by many white people who wouldn’t listen to the black activists.

The diary discusses Griffin’s transition back to his regular life. This is one of the most interesting parts of the book because it shows the hatred and mistrust that the races had for each other. After Griffin’s skin turned white again, it was no longer safe for him to be in the black neighborhoods he’d lived in a few days before. When the experiment was made public, he was called a “race traitor” and had to move his family to Mexico to avoid angry white supremacists.

I think everyone in the world should read this book, but I did have two issues with it.

First, since this is a diary, it sometimes references parts of the author’s life that are not explained. I had to do research on the author to know what he was talking about. This wasn’t too bad because Griffin was an interesting person. He struggled with diabetes for most of his life, traveled the world, lived in France for years, worked as a medic in the military, and helped smuggle Jews out of Austria during WWII.  An accident left him blind for a while, and when he got his sight back, he became a photographer. Some of these things are referenced in the book, but they’re not explained in detail.

A slightly bigger issue is how Griffin writes about himself in the book. He says he’s not a spokesperson for any race, but that’s exactly how some of his statements come across. This especially bothers me when he writes about himself like he was part of the black race. He wasn’t black. He was a white guy with dark skin. There’s a difference. (In my mind, at least.) He experienced many of the horrors of segregation, but he didn’t spend a lifetime as a black man in the segregated South, so it bothers me when he writes about himself like he was a black man.

Those are minor issues. This book was eye-opening for me, and more people need to read it. Even though it was first published in the 1960s, it’s still relevant. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Five-Star Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is top ten recent 5-star reads. I don’t hand out 5 stars easily, so here are the lucky few books that have earned all of the stars from me this year.

Recent Five-Star Reads

1. A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness (Author), Jim Kay (Illustrator), Siobhan Dowd (Concept)

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.  
But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming . . . . 
This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild.  
And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.  
It wants the truth.

2. Midwinterblood – Marcus Sedgwick

Seven stories of passion and love separated by centuries but mysteriously intertwined—this is a tale of horror and beauty, tenderness and sacrifice. 
In 2073 on the remote and secretive island of Blessed, where rumor has it that no one ages and no children are born, a visiting journalist, Eric Seven, and a young local woman known as Merle are ritually slain. Their deaths echo a moment ten centuries before, when, in the dark of the moon, a king was slain, tragically torn from his queen. Their souls search to be reunited, and as mother and son, artist and child, forbidden lovers, and victims of a vampire they come close to finding what they've lost. 
In a novel comprising seven parts, each influenced by a moon—the flower moon, the harvest moon, the hunter's moon, the blood moon—this is the story of Eric and Merle, whose souls have been searching for each other since their untimely parting.

3. Burial Rites – Hannah Kent

Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. 
Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.

4. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic. 
Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior—to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

What’s your most recent five-star read?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Review: A Wrinkle In Time – Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle In Time – Madeleine L’Engle

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract." 
Meg's father had been experimenting with the tesseract—a fifth dimension of time travel—when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

Review: This is a hard review to write because A Wrinkle in Time is a children’s book, but my adult brain keeps getting in the way.

I vaguely remember a teacher reading this book to my class when I was very young. It must not have had a huge impact on me because all I remembered about it were the three annoying witches who abandon some children on a dystopian planet. I guess child-me wasn’t impressed with this story.

Here’s a real summary: Meg’s father is a scientist who disappeared years ago while studying time travel. The family has not given up hope that he will come home. One day, three mysterious women turn up in Meg’s neighborhood and tell the family that the “tesseract”—the scientific phenomenon that Meg’s father had been studying—is real. Meg’s father is trapped on a distant planet. It’s up to Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and her friend Calvin to save him. This book was first published in 1962.

There is so much in this novel that I either missed as a child or forgot. I think this book is read in schools because it covers a wide range of subjects: science, math, language, history, philosophy, and religion. The child characters are extremely intelligent and not ashamed of their intelligence. They are most definitely nerds. Meg is an average-looking girl who loves math and has some anger problems. Charles Wallace uses big words and easily understands complicated concepts, but he’s arrogant. I think it’s helpful for real children to see fictional children who have a variety of strengths and weaknesses.

This book is a fun space-travel adventure story, but after I finished it, I started to feel irritated. It took me a while to figure out why. I think it’s because everything in this book is oversimplified.

I’m aware that this story is a product of the Cold War, and many people consider it a Christian book that conforms to a Christian worldview, but I have issues with labels like “Good” and “Evil.” I don’t think the universe is that simple. In the book, there is a villain called IT. IT has turned a planet full of people into cartoonish communist robots. The only explanation that’s given for IT’s behavior is “IT’s evil.” That bothers me. Even children’s books should have complex villains with believable motives. I have no idea what’s motivating IT to create communist robots.

The villain isn’t the only thing that bothers me about this novel. The educational aspects of the book are so heavy-handed that I think many children would be turned off by them. They disrupt the plot and start to feel like a school lecture. The story also doesn’t have much internal logic. It never explains why an adult can’t save Meg’s father or why the witch/angel/alien ladies can’t give Meg and her friends more help. Finally, I’m not sure what purpose Calvin serves in the story. All he does is hold Meg’s hand whenever she gets hysterical. I often forgot that he was even in the book.

So, obviously this isn’t my favorite children’s novel, but I’m going to read the next one in the series. I think the next book was published about 10 years after this one, so I’m interested to see if it’s different. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Sunday Post #43

The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, and share news.

Happy Easter!

On the blog last week

On the blog this week

  • On Monday I review A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.
  • On Tuesday I show you some recent five-star reads.
  • On Wednesday I review Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin.
  • On Thursday I tell you what I’ve been doing in March.

In my reading life

Last week, I reread To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and struggled through A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle. Right now, I’m reading White Dog Fell from the Sky by Eleanor Morse.

In the rest of my life

Five things that made me happy last week:

  1. Exploring a used bookstore that I’ve never been to before.
  2. I stuck to my book-buying ban! I didn’t buy anything at the used bookstore.
  3. As soon as the book-buying ban is over, I’m totally going back to that store. The books are more expensive than I’d like, and the shelves are disorganized, but the store is huge. I was in there for almost an hour and didn’t see everything.
  4. I got my new camera!
  5. The new camera can zoom in so close that I can take pictures of my dogs without shoving the camera all up in their faces. They’ll appreciate that.

I hope you had a great week! See you around the blogosphere!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The “I Have No Self-Control” Book Haul (Part 2)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. I get to show off all the books I’ve gotten.

Here are the rest of the books that I got at the Presidents’ Day sales last month.

Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread – Chuck Palahniuk

Representing work that spans several years, Make Something Up is a compilation of 21 stories and one novella (some previously published, some not) that will disturb and delight. The absurdity of both life and death are on full display: in "Zombies," the best and brightest of a high school prep school become tragically addicted to the latest drug craze: electric shocks from cardiac defibrillators. In "Knock, Knock," a son hopes to tell one last off-color joke to a father in his final moments, while in "Tunnel of Love," a massage therapist runs the curious practice of providing 'relief' to dying clients. And in "Expedition," fans will be thrilled to see a side of Tyler Durden never seen before in a precursor story to Fight Club.

There Once Lived A Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, And He Hanged Himself: Love Stories – Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

By turns sly and sweet, burlesque and heartbreaking, these realist fables of women looking for love are the stories that Ludmilla Petrushevskaya—who has been compared to Chekhov, Tolstoy, Beckett, Poe, Angela Carter, and even Stephen King—is best known for in Russia. Here are attempts at human connection, both depraved and sublime, by people in all stages of life: one-night stands in communal apartments, poignantly awkward couplings, office trysts, schoolgirl crushes, elopements, tentative courtships, and rampant infidelity, shot through with lurid violence, romantic illusion, and surprising tenderness.

Pygmy – Chuck Palahniuk

“Begins here first account of operative me, agent number 67 on arrival Midwestern American airport greater _____ area. Flight _____. Date _____. Priority mission top success to complete. Code name: Operation Havoc.” 
Thus speaks Pygmy, one of a handful of young adults from a totalitarian state sent to the United States, disguised as exchange students, to live with typical American families and blend in, all the while planning an unspecified act of massive terrorism. Palahniuk depicts Midwestern life through the eyes of this thoroughly indoctrinated little killer, who hates us with a passion, in this cunning double-edged satire of an American xenophobia that might, in fact, be completely justified. For Pygmy and his fellow operatives are cooking up something big, something truly awful, that will bring this big dumb country and its fat dumb inhabitants to their knees. 
It’s a comedy. And a romance.

Charm & Strange – Stephanie Kuehn

He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost. 
He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable. 
Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present. 
Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Review: Ordinary People – Judith Guest

Ordinary People – Judith Guest

The Jarrets are a typical American family. Calvin is a determined, successful provider and Beth an organized, efficient wife. They had two sons, Conrad and Buck, but now they have one. In this memorable, moving novel, Judith Guest takes the reader into their lives to share their misunderstandings, pain, and ultimate healing.

Review: This is one of those quiet books that doesn’t seem like much on the surface, but there is a lot going on underneath. It’s one of those books that require some thinking to really get it.

Ordinary People alternates points-of-view between a father and a son. The father, Cal, is a successful attorney who is attempting to hold his disintegrating family together. Cal’s son, eighteen-year-old Conrad, has been dealing with depression since his brother drowned in a boating accident. Conrad’s suicide attempt and his father’s efforts to understand it put even more strain on the family. This book is a modern classic that was first published in 1976.

I can see why this book is a classic and why people love it. It has one of the most relatable portrayals of depression and perfectionism that I’ve ever come across. It was frighteningly easy to see my teenage self in Conrad. A lot of his thoughts were my thoughts when I was eighteen.

“Depression is not sobbing and crying and giving vent, it is plain and simple reduction of feeling.”
“Because it has always been easier to believe himself capable of evil than to accept evil in others.”  

I’m very happy with the way that the author handled Conrad’s character. He’s depressed, but there’s more to him than just his depression. He has a wonderful sense of humor. He cares about people. He sets goals for himself and works hard to achieve them. He actually feels like a real person and not just a stereotype of a depressed teen. I also appreciate that his father takes an interest in his life and makes an effort to understand him.

Conrad is an interesting character, but I wish I could say that about the other characters in the book. This is a short novel with a lot of minor characters. There were a few times when I struggled to remember who was who. I wanted many of the characters, especially Conrad’s mother, to be more complex. Sometimes his mother comes across as an uncaring witch, and I don’t think her character is that simple.

The writing style also caused a few issues for me. The book is written stream-of-consciousness style. Some sections have very little punctuation. This isn’t my favorite writing style because it slows down my reading. Also, since the reader is so deep inside the characters’ minds, the style becomes a bit maudlin at times. There are a few places where I remember thinking, Okay, you’re upset. You’re suffering. You’re in pain. I get it. Talk about something else now.

Despite those issues, I really liked Ordinary People. I know that I will reread it in the future. I have a feeling that it’s one of those books that get better with rereading. There are probably a lot of subtle things that I missed on the first read. And, I need to track down a copy of the movie. Everyone has been telling me that it’s amazing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Love But Rarely Talk About

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is top ten books I love but rarely mention on the blog. These are a mixture of favorites from childhood and favorites from my pre-blogging years. All of them are amazing.

Ten Books I Need To Rave About More Often

1. Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson

Jess Aarons' greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He's been practicing all summer and can't wait to see his classmates' faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys' side and outruns everyone. 
That's not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits.

2. Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri

Navigating between the Indian traditions they've inherited and the baffling new world, the characters in Jhumpa Lahiri's elegant, touching stories seek love beyond the barriers of culture and generations. In "A Temporary Matter," a young Indian-American couple faces the heartbreak of a stillborn birth while their Boston neighborhood copes with a nightly blackout. In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession.

3. The Body of Christopher Creed – Carol Plum-Ucci

When Christopher Creed, the class freak and whipping boy, suddenly disappears without a trace, everyone speculates on what could have happened to him. Soon fingers begin pointing, and several lives are changed forever.

4. When Zachary Beaver Came to Town – Kimberly Willis Holt

Nothing ever happens in Toby’s small Texas town. Nothing much until this summer that’s full of big changes. 
It’s tough for Toby when his mother leaves home to be a country singer. He takes it hard when his best friend Cal’s older brother goes off to fight in Vietnam. Now their sleepy town is about to get a jolt with the arrival of Zachary Beaver, billed as the fattest boy in the world. Toby is in for a summer unlike any other, a summer sure to change his life.

5. Walk Two Moons – Sharon Creech

"How about a story? Spin us a yarn." 
Instantly, Phoebe Winterbottom came to mind. "I could tell you an extensively strange story," I warned. 
"Oh, good!" Gram said. "Delicious!"  
And that is how I happened to tell them about Phoebe, her disappearing mother, and the lunatic.  
As Sal entertains her grandparents with Phoebe's outrageous story, her own story begins to unfold—the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose only wish is to be reunited with her missing mother.  
In her own award-winning style, Sharon Creech intricately weaves together two tales, one funny, one bittersweet, to create a heartwarming, compelling, and utterly moving story of love, loss, and the complexity of human emotion.

6. The Long Walk – Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as The Long Walk. If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying . . .

7. In Our Time – Ernest Hemingway

When In Our Time was published, it was praised by Ford Madox Ford, John Dos Passos, and F. Scott Fitzgerald for its simple and precise use of language to convey a wide range of complex emotions, and it earned Hemingway a place beside Sherwood Anderson and Gertrude Stein among the most promising American writers of that period. In Our Time contains several early Hemingway classics, including the famous Nick Adams stories "Indian Camp," "The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife," "The Three Day Blow," and "The Battler," and introduces readers to the hallmarks of the Hemingway style: a lean, tough prose—enlivened by an ear for the colloquial and an eye for the realistic that suggests, through the simplest of statements, a sense of moral value and a clarity of heart. 
Now recognized as one of the most original short story collections in twentieth-century literature, In Our Time provides a key to Hemingway's later works.

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

Charlie is a freshman. 
And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. 
Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.  
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant rollercoaster days known as growing up.

9. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation. 

10. The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien

They carried malaria tablets, love letters, 28-pound mine detectors, dope, illustrated bibles, each other. And if they made it home alive, they carried unrelenting images of a nightmarish war that history is only beginning to absorb. Since its first publication, The Things They Carried has become an unparalleled Vietnam testament, a classic work of American literature, and a profound study of men at war that illuminates the capacity, and the limits, of the human heart and soul.

What is a book that you love but rarely talk about?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Review: I Am The Cheese – Robert Cormier

I Am The Cheese – Robert Cormier

Imagine discovering that your whole life has been a fiction, your identity altered, and a new family history created. Suddenly nothing is as it once seemed; you can trust no one, maybe not even yourself. It is exactly this revelation that turns 14-year-old Adam Farmer's life upside down. As he tries to ascertain who he really is, Adam encounters a past, present, and future too horrible to contemplate. Suspense builds as the fragments of the story are assembled—a missing father, government corruption, espionage—until the shocking conclusion shatters the fragile mosaic.

Review: This is going to be a very short review because everything about this book is a spoiler. Even the title is a spoiler.

Adam is on a mission to bring his father a gift in the hospital, but the only way he can get there is by bicycle. As he peddles through small New England towns, he remembers the event that destroyed his family and led to him spending time in a mental hospital. Half of this book is told in interviews between Adam and his doctor. The other half is about Adam’s journey to visit his father.

I was eager to read this novel because The Chocolate War was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. I also really like Robert Cormier’s short stories. I Am the Cheese was first published in 1977. It’s a classic of young adult literature and a must-read for fans of the genre. Like the author’s other works, this one is unapologetically depressing. Adam has some serious mental health issues. Even he doesn’t understand how serious they are. The book has a few twists at the end that probably took a lot of bravery for the author to write. I love the twists, but many readers will find them disappointing. This book is full of ambiguity and unreliable characters.

I’m glad that this book helped pave the way for other realistic books about mental health. Some of the ideas about mental health may be outdated, but it’s still an important book. Adam is a sweet kid who loves his family, but his life starts going downhill after he discovers family secrets that put them in danger and keep them on the run. None of the characters in this book can be trusted, not even the narrator.

The interview chapters are a bit dry and info-dumpish. I was always happy to get back to the chapters about Adam on the bike. I wish that the interview chapters had either been developed more or left vaguer. Even though the book is a quick read, I found them slightly boring.

On Adam’s journey, he experiences betrayal and fear, uncertainty and isolation. He has a very unusual life, but he’s still a relatable character. I enjoyed reading his story.