My Trip to Adele by R.I. Alyaseer, A.I. Alyaseer

My Trip to Adele Rating:

Synopsis2An Adele concert held in Verona becomes the focus for an unhappy married couple, a divorced mother and a devoted lover from three different countries and cultures.
This is the story of three flawed but likeable people. First up is Elias, a Moroccan man living in Rome. He discovers that a black magic spell was cast upon him but starts to doubt whether it was the real cause of the break-up between him and his long-lost love Malika. He decides to search for her in the shadows of Marrakesh after eight years of separation.
Nadia, a single mother from Jordan, is battling her ex-husband in the courts and doing all she can to secure freedom for herself and her only son. Her dream is to take her son to see his idol, Adele, live.
Finally, Yaser, a married man living in Las Vegas, realizes that his marriage is crawling all over him like a slow, painful death, so he starts to rebel against his wife. While faith initially brought them together, it is now causing them to drift apart.
These three characters are on a journey to break free of everything that has haunted them, learning harsh truths about fate, religion, courage, desire and guilt along the way.

My review I loved this one!! I went into this book thinking it was some “frivolous” read, but I was so taken aback by the breadth of cultural insights and ethical issues it covered. From local sights and sounds of Morocco to the women standing up against patriarchal “family councils” in Jordan – I loved how none of the “dilemmas” felt manufactured. I mean, the whole time you really do wonder about what decisions they are going to take next and how “right” or “wrong” it is.

My favorite story was Nadia’s because of the sheer simplicity and bluntness of its message in the end – Happiness and freedom don’t run in parallel. Sometimes you just have to keep bartering one for the other based on priorities.

I don’t prefer books which end up reading like religious fiction, but in case of Yaser’s story, I didn’t really mind it. Because, more than “religion-specific” it was more about faith and belief in higher power and making a marriage work when one of the thornier issues between the couple is that one is an atheist and the other is a staunch believer. What happens when your belief system is completely different (or non-existent) from your partner but you are not honest about it because you want to make your marriage work? This is the story of Yaser’s marriage with Mariam. His feelings of suffocation within the monotony and acrimonious daily nature of his life with Mariam was well written.. maybe too well. Which is why I couldn’t understand the rationale behind his decision in the end… It felt rushed, and completely contrary to his state of mind some hours ago..

Elias’ story is probably the one I least connected to. I liked the all the backstory of his connection with Malika, but his final thoughts as the story concluded was .. well it was something I had to read twice to understand.. I mean, I didn’t get what was going on in his head though it was all written.. Did he feel foolish about his search? Was he upset or disappointed that the love he imagined in his head didn’t translate into the same reality?

All the three stories lead up to the characters deciding to (or not to) go to an Adele concert – to either mend or nurture existing relationships or start a new one. Well, I won’t reveal who do or do not go but I absolutely loved how (and with which character) the authors decide to end the story. It was so goddamn powerful and reminded me of this quote:

“Listen to the music of your heart and the voice of your soul and dance to the best soundtrack of your life. ” (Credit: http://www.simrankankas.com/quotes)

25 Literary Must-Haves for Book Lovers (via Reader’s Legacy)

Do you read past your bed time?
Find yourself begging, “Just one more chapter!”?
Have an emotional break down when your favorite character dies?

 

Then say it loud and say it proud: I LIKE BIG BOOKS AND I CANNOT LIE!

Here is a list of must-have pieces for every literature lover.

  1. Harry Potter

Represent your Potter pride with this tank.

Cozy up with your favorite Quidditch player. Pillows here.

Just in case Hogwarts starts delivering their acceptance letters via text. Here.

***Attention Harry Potter Lovers: In honor of J.K. Rowling being named the Top Followed Author on Reader’s Legacy in 2015 we’re holding a 1 week sale on ALL of her books. From April 25th-30th, 2016 any Rowling book is 20% off AND double the LitCoins will be loaded into your account just for purchasing. Click the link to check out this limited time offer! ReadersLegacy.com/JKRowling***

 

2. The Hunger Games

If you get a set of these bracelets you’ll know it’s real. See what I did there? Click here.

Let’s be honest, Seneca Crane’s beard is the real winner of the Hunger Games. Mug here.

But what do we do about the tracker jackers? Tank here.

 

3. Lord of the Rings

The one fire pit to rule them all here.

You’ll love these leggings like a hobbit loves second breakfast.

 

4. Alice in Wonderland

Now you can go to Wonderland every night. Bedspread here.

“I’m not crazy. My reality is just different from yours.” -Cheshire Cat Here.

 

5. To Kill a Mockingbird

…and stick it in my awesome tote, thanks.

 

6. Sherlock Holmes

 

Nothing says ‘high-functioning sociopath’ like these Baker St. cuff links.

*ring ring* Detective Holmes, is that you? Phone case here.

 

7. The Great Gatsby

Why Daisy Buchanan, you are simply radiant tonight! Headband here.

 

Ain’t no party like a Gatsby party because a Gatsby party don’t stop until two people are dead and everyone is disillusioned with the jazz age as a whole. Gatsby envelopes here.

 

8. The Chronicles of Narnia

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So how does it work if you keep your map of Narnia in your wardrobe? Do you fall into Narnia when you go to put it on? Narnia-ception. Scarf here.

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Three cheers for The Great Lion! Necklace here.

9. Pride and Prejudice

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Is it just us, or did Mr. Darcy give you unrealistic expectations of love too? Printable here.

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Never leave home without your Jane Austen! Bag here.

 

This wisdom from the 18th century still holds. Pillow here.

10. Where the Wild Things Are

 

I think they’re hiding in your hair! Bow here.

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Capture the wild side of parenting with this matching set.

 

And for all of the book lovers that can’t choose just one novel to rep!

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How’s THAT for a full-fandom? Shirt here.

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You other readers can’t deny; when a book walks in with a good plot base and a big spine in your face you get sprung! Tote here.

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Deep breathe in. Ahhhhh books! Candle here.

As an added perk of Reader’s Legacy’s Rowling celebration, we will be holding a special 20% off sale for each of her novels from April 25th to April 30th – ReadersLegacy.com/JKRowling

The sale not only celebrates J.K. Rowling, but was also brings attention for a special grant program we have created in order to give away 1 million physical books in support of literacy programs! Spreading a love of books, and ending illiteracy around the world is 100% possible, and with the help of reader’s on the site, we believe will be one step closer to achieving that goal! Get in on this sale HERE.

[Blog Tour: Review+Giveaway]In the Context of Love – By Linda K. Sienkiewicz

Rating:

Buy Links:

Amazon – Paperback          Kindle              Barnes & Noble

*Note: I received a print copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review for iRead book tour*

Synopsis:

What makes us step back to examine the events and people that have shaped our lives? And what happens when what we discover leads to more questions?

Angelica Schirrick wonders how her life could have gotten so far off-track. With two children in tow, she begins a journey of self-discovery that leads her back home to Ohio. It pains her to remember the promise her future once held and the shattering revelations that derailed her life.

Can she face the failures and secrets of her past and move forward? Somehow she must learn to accept the violence of her beginning before she can be open to life, and a second chance at love.

My Review:

Reading this book was like watching a portrait taking shape, with each messy stroke of misplaced teenage angst and every jagged line of anxious parenting decisions. And the canvas – a secret about Angelica’s past that she mistakenly uses as a yardstick to determine her self-worth. However, the final picture that emerges is of a life lived in a way that mattered, was relevant and also strived to make a change in lives of other women.

This is my second women’s/literary fiction novel told in a second-person narrative (after Hesitation Wounds), and I think I have really developed a liking to this genre and style. Here, Angelica tells us of her journey by “narrating” it to Joe, her first boyfriend. The book starts from her present life with her kids but we are soon taken back to the mid-1970’s, the year when everything changed for her. We are introduced to her overbearing and overprotective mother, her snarky grandma, and soft-spoken dad. She has always found her mom’s anxiety-ridden nature stifling but reasoned it as motherly concern. But it finally gets to her once she is at the end of her high school years, and when she meets Joe, she falls in love with him and starts rebelling at home. She starts sneaking out, breaking curfew and dreaming of a future with him. But one day, Joe disappears. She is heartbroken and to add to her volatile state, she finds out something about her past that further distances her from her parents. It splits her family apart, and starts her on a downward spiral. She turns self-destructive, walks out of her home, refuses to go to college despite her dad’s best efforts to convince her, and takes up low-paying jobs to sustain herself. She deliberately chooses the wrong men and discards them. Well, one of them sticks around longer and that is Gavin, who she ends up marrying.

The way I saw this book is one of how relationships evolve over time – and Angelica has four main ones – as a daughter, as a teenage girlfriend, as a wife and as a mother. My favorite one was how Angelica’s relationship changed for the better with her parents over the years. It was just so organic and real. There was no big scene or confrontation where everyone is shouting or apologizing. But her parents were there for her always, even after years of strained ties and I just liked how it was gestures of help and just “being there” that was respected from both sides. It is a far cry from Angelica’s teenage years when she refuses to see reason even after everything her dad tries doing for her, right from buying a car to pushing her to join college. I loveeddd her dad, he is such a gem.  Angelica shared a more tumultuous relationship with her mum. Over time, they communicate better and all the past hurt fades into something that both can deal with studied nonchalance. There is also a lovely moment in the book when Angelica helps her mom speak out about her past and unburden herself.

If there is one thing I couldn’t really connect with is her love for Joe. More specifically, I didn’t understand how she could carry a torch for him all these years. I mean, I did get it when she was in high school and there is obviously this whole thrill of your first boyfriend and sexual experience when you think you have found your one true love.. but I was just surprised she never outgrew it. Not even after all the years and even through a marriage. And well, to be honest, I just felt she fell in love with the “idea” of being love.  Of her travelling with Joe everywhere and him singing songs and poetry to her. They hardly had any real, long conversations or anything, and more of sneaking around and having sex.

Speaking of the sexual content, there is quite a bit of it in this book. The way it was described was .. well, it was a mix of flowery-cheese, crude and matter-of-fact. And I think that’s why I liked it. Because, multiple experiences were described, with her boyfriend, husband and other partners. I liked that the author was mindful of the fact that sex is not just physical and it would have been so unrealistic if it was written the same way every time. I mean, Angelica with Joe in her teens is not the same Angelica with her husband in her 30’s.

Overall, I loved the book and I am so glad I signed up to review this for the tour. It is such a well-written book and paced so well. It is a little over 250 pages, but so many years of a person’s life is covered; and I never felt like the transitions in timelines was jerky or confusing.  Do check this out, it is a wonderful addition to women’s fiction.

Book Trailer:

In the Context of Love | Book Trailer from Linda Sienkiewicz on Vimeo.

About the author:

LindaKSienkiewicz-2Linda K. Sienkiewicz is a published poet and fiction writer, cynical optimist, fan of corgis, tea drinker, and wine lover from Michigan. Her poetry, short stories, and art have been published in more than fifty literary journals, including Prairie Schooner, Clackamas Literary Review, Spoon River, and Permafrost.

She received a poetry chapbook award from Bottom Dog Press, and an MFA from the University of Southern Maine. Linda lives with her husband in southeast Michigan, where they spoil their grandchildren and then send them back home.

Connect with the Author:

 Website   Twitter   Facebook

Giveaway (Click on the link below to enter for a chance to win 10$ Amazon Gift Card):

A Rafflecopter giveaway

Do check out all the tour stops! –

March 28 – Corinne Rodrigues – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
March 28 –  Olio by Marilyn – review / author interview / giveaway
March 29 – The Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass – book spotlight / giveaway
March 29 – Writing Pearls – review
March 30 – Book Reviews Nature Photos – review / author interview
March 30 – Amie’s Book Reviews – review / giveaway
March 31 – Sahar’s Blog – review
March 31 – #redhead.with.book – review / giveaway
April 1 –   A Splendid Messy Life – review / author interview / giveaway
April 1 –   The World As I See It – review / giveaway
April 4 –   A Blue Million Books – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
April 4 –   The Autistic Gamer – review
April 5 –   Working Mommy Journal – review / giveaway
April 5 –   The Phantom Paragrapher – review
April 6 –   A Bookaholic Blog – review
April 6 –   Deal Sharing Aunt – review / author interview / giveaway
April 7 –   I’d Rather Be At the Beach – review / giveaway
April 8 –   Ali – The Dragon Slayer – review / guest post / giveaway
April 11 – Bound 4 Escape – review / giveaway
April 11 – T’s Stuff – review / author interview / giveaway
April 12 – Readers’ Muse – review / guest post
April 12 – Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway
April 13 – Allthingsbookie – review / giveaway
April 14 – bookmyopia – review / giveaway
April 14 – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – book spotlight / author interview
April 15 – Novel Escapes – review

iRead Book Tour Logo Medium

[ARC Review] Dodgers – By Bill Beverly

  Rating:

Note : I received this ARC from the publishers via the Reading Room (https://www.thereadingroom.com/) giveaway program. Thank you Penguin Random House (Crown Publishing)!

Buy Links:

Kindle
Hardcover
Audio CD

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
Dodgers is a dark, unforgettable coming-of-age journey that recalls the very best of Richard Price, Denis Johnson, and J.D. Salinger. It is the story of a young LA gang member named East, who is sent by his uncle along with some other teenage boys—including East’s hothead younger brother—to kill a key witness hiding out in Wisconsin. The journey takes East out of a city he’s never left and into an America that is entirely alien to him, ultimately forcing him to grapple with his place in the world and decide what kind of man he wants to become.
Written in stark and unforgettable prose and featuring an array of surprising and memorable characters rendered with empathy and wit, Dodgers heralds the arrival of a major new voice in American fiction.

My Review:
The story starts off on a pretty intriguing note – We are introduced to East, who is only fifteen and running a crew comprising other teenagers, all tasked with keeping watch outside a crack house and alerting its members in the event of an approaching police raid. East is employed by his uncle Fin, who owns many such houses, and when the house that East is supposed to watch, is discovered and raided, Fin sends East on another mission. East agrees, in an effort to redeem himself. He soon discovers that he is in for a very long roadtrip, and a harrowing one, from LA to Wisconsin, with his half-brother Ty, UCLA dropout Michael and a tech geek Walter.
The book is pretty descriptive and detailed in a lot of ways; in terms of how street gangs are run, the hierarchy and people. It was so unsettling to see boys who should be in school, being so comfortable and exposed to such a world. Ty sort of freaked me out, he seemed to be someone totally closed, cold and ruthless .. I had to keep reminding myself that he is just a thirteen year old kid! Beverly was pretty effective in communicating the ugly, cruel existence and reality of some lives, and how it is practically impossible to turn around or change their financial situation, especially with absent, irresponsible or weak parents. And then on the other side, you have the slightly older boys, Michael and Walter, who seem to be throwing away all the good things they have; choosing to make money this way than live honest crime-free lives.
There was one particular chapter, early on in the book, when my heart went out to East. We get a glimpse into the house he has to go back to, where he has spent his early years, with his mom and Ty. It is dirty, unkempt, the kitchen is empty, with ants scrambling and cold half-cooked eggs being the only thing available to eat. His mom seems to have shut herself off to what exactly her boys do out there in the real world, meekly takes the money handed by East, and tells him as goes out again “I know you ain’t in no trouble. My boys ain’t”. I also liked all the reflective bits where East is thinking back and wondering just what happened between him and Ty and whether there was a particular phase they drifted apart, or did any sort of kinship ever exist at all.
Despite some moments like these which stood out for its blunt and raw exposition, it just wasn’t enough. The descriptive and detailed narrative of East’s journey, both literal and metaphorical; ended up being this book’s weakness more than its strength. I found the pace too slow with a lot of repetitive and drawn out moments. I think I would have liked to see more of Ty, and more conversation between Ty and East. Michael irritated me as much as the boys, Walter was okay. Now that I look back, I can appreciate the book’s originality in terms of prose and narrative, but as a reading experience, by the time I finished the book, I was as exhausted as East was by the end of his LA-to-Wisconsin roadtrip.

[ARC Review] Shelter – By Jung Yun

Rating:

Buy Links:

Kindle
Hardcover
Audio CD

Summary (From Goodreads): 

Why should a man care for his parents when they failed to take care of him as a child?

One of The Millions’ Most Anticipated Books of the Year (Selected by Edan Lepucki)

Kyung Cho is a young father burdened by a house he can’t afford. For years, he and his wife, Gillian, have lived beyond their means. Now their debts and bad decisions are catching up with them, and Kyung is anxious for his family’s future.

A few miles away, his parents, Jin and Mae, live in the town’s most exclusive neighborhood, surrounded by the material comforts that Kyung desires for his wife and son. Growing up, they gave him every possible advantage—private tutors, expensive hobbies—but they never showed him kindness. Kyung can hardly bear to see them now, much less ask for their help. Yet when an act of violence leaves Jin and Mae unable to live on their own, the dynamic suddenly changes, and he’s compelled to take them in. For the first time in years, the Chos find themselves living under the same roof. Tensions quickly mount as Kyung’s proximity to his parents forces old feelings of guilt and anger to the surface, along with a terrible and persistent question: how can he ever be a good husband, father, and son when he never knew affection as a child?

As Shelter veers swiftly toward its startling conclusion, Jung Yun leads us through dark and violent territory, where, unexpectedly, the Chos discover hope. Shelter is a masterfully crafted debut novel that asks what it means to provide for one’s family and, in answer, delivers a story as riveting as it is profound.

My Review: 

Oh, how I loved this book! It reminded me of everything that I love about literary fiction with messed up family dynamics at its core. The book bristles with a frenzied, unsettling energy, with unhappy people, unhappy marriages and .. uneasy silences. At the heart of this story is Kyung, a Korean-American, estranged from his parents, and who has maintained a distance from them for over two decades and kept contact to a bare minimum though they stay only a few miles apart. But a brutal robbery and attack at his parents’ home changes everything – his father is left bruised with a broken arm and his mother and their housekeeper are raped. Overnight, Kyung’s perfect facade of keeping up appearances of a normal family is shattered as he is forced to confront the fact that he has to step into the responsibilities of a son, something he has tried to stay away from for years.
Kyung is conflicted, confused and angered by the strange, changed situation. He is bewildered with Jin’s closeness to his grandson, and wonders why he never had the same equation with Kyung. He is frustrated with Mae’s aloofness with Kyung, even after all these years, and even more puzzled to see Jin and Mae distant with each other. He is surprised to see Mae not acting like a subordinate to his dad anymore. He wonders what has he missed and doesnt know how to deal with everything – his parents, the Korean Church folk who take over his home and seem to do a better job of “caring” for his parents, his wife Gillian, who tries to be “understanding” of Kyung’s dilemma, but for all of her pop psych talk and self help advice, doesnt really “get it”. She doesnt get why he is rigid about not “forgiving” his parents. Why he is unable to move on. Or maybe Kyung does a bad job of explaining it. Because he is not able to explain it to himself in the first place. And Kyung feels, Gillian is swayed by his dad’s financial help as a compensation for all their trouble, and that makes him feel more uncomfortable with everything.
I think it is not until I finished the book did I fully appreciate how fitting and contextually loaded the title of the book is. It means so many things, and in some ways, nothing; atleast for Kyung. What is Shelter supposed to mean or signify anyway? A roof over your head to give you a sense of security? Well, Gillian and Kyung’s current home has brought nothing but constant financial burden through mortgages and bad loans, that they have always tried to play catch up with. Is shelter supposed to remind you of your roots, the first safe place that you look back and think of with fondness? Well, if you ask Kyung, that can’t be right either. The only memories he has of his parents’ place is his dad hitting his mom and his mom in turn hitting him as a means of taking out her frustrations of being trapped in a bad marriage in a new country. Is it meant to be a getaway vacation home for a family to enjoy and destress? Well, Kyung’s dad does have one in New Orleans, but as it turns out, Mae lost interest in that home ages ago, once she finished playing her role as an interior decorator and couldnt pretty up the place anymore. But the current Mae is different, changed by the recent events. She can’t bear to stay here in or near her current house any longer and wants a change in environment. Gillian and Kyung’s in laws are thrilled with the idea, and go along with Kyung’s parents.. but Kyung can’t stand the idea of travelling with everyone and making forced conversation. However, he does join them later when he cannot delay it anymore. What happens next is an outburst from Kyung, of pent-up grievances and complaints, with tragic and irreversible consequences.
I finished this book a few days ago but I couldnt immediately type down a review. And I feel like there is so much more that I want to say, but I am not able to, maybe because I have delayed the review a bit, so I feel like there is so much of the “immediate reactions” to the book that I am not able to recall entirely and put it in words. But I will say this – it was a wonderful read with some characters you would care about and wish that their lives turned out differently. There were a few things that I didnt like much though. Kyung ends up doing something impulsively and I just felt that.. that was an unnecessary add-on to the story.. because it is something irrelevant and independent of Kyung’s circumstances, or atleast that is how I judge it. So Kyung lost some major sympathy points from me there. Okay, to Yun’s credit, she didnt justify or “explain” it, but I guess I was so invested in Kyung’s hard-done-by arc, that, this kind of burst the bubble for me. Another thing I didnt like is the book’s final moments. I did get and appreciate the thought behind it, but I found it a bit schmaltzy rather than impactful. All this doesnt dilute the overall effect of the book though, and I guess the best part of this story is the ample room for grey. Do let me know what you think of this book if you get around to reading it .. maybe you are going to see the Chos differently.

*Note: I received this ARC from the publisher via the Goodreads giveaway programme. Thank you Picador!*

Forever Since An Apple – By Ken Welsch

9781942111061Rating:

*Note: I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Buy links:

Paperback
Kindle

Summary (From Goodreads):

Reality TV stardom. Garage band dreams. Through the lens of his camera, news photographer Daniel Evart sees a world in which opportunities are evident and success is clearly defined. If only life was that simple. 

Set on a fictional college campus in rural northwestern Michigan, “Forever Since An Apple” tells the story of how Daniel struggles with early-adulthood confusion and learns to define his own measure of success.

My Review:

Daniel is just a week away from graduating in Journalism from the Great Lakes University (GLU) located in the fictional town of Wanishing. He and his friend+roomie+GLU-ite Ebner have been working for Campus Telegram, a small-time local newspaper run by GLU folks, over the past one year. Most of their assignments are a mix of mundane and mildly interesting until the last week of semester when they get a new and exciting feature to work on – a reality show which is going to take them Chicago. What follows next is a short road trip, a week-end of observing the idiosyncrasies of a reality show up close and personal, and the aftermath.

The book is a little bit of many events, all meant to be instrumental in nudging Daniel to, in Ebner’s words- “not do nothing”. You see, he has so far been perfectly okay to just go with the flow of things, photographing events for the local newspaper, that he hasn’t really dreamt anything big or flashy or pondered over the huge “questions of life”. Ebner is the flamboyant counterpart to Daniel’s “ordinary” self – he cannot see himself stuck in the rut of wherever the natural progression of his career graph would take him. He has already planned things out to start his own designing/advertising venture after the end of next semester and has roped in Daniel to take care of the graphic designing and photography part. I must say, Ebner was probably the most fun character to read about. I guess, he was intentionally written that way – the kind of guy who can command attention and make any event all about him.

So coming back to all the little events and characters in the book, there is Darren, another GLU guy who is participating in the reality show, and the reason Daniel and Ebner were sent to Chicago to cover the show. There is Sidney, who is Daniel’s best friend in class and whom he somewhat harbours feelings for. There is Jim, a parks and rec director, who is married with two kids and another one on the way. To Daniel, his is an almost picture-perfect life, filled with love, laughter and companionship. There is Peter Spellman, an aged editor and Daniel’s boss at the Mirror, where he takes up a job after college.

It is funny, but what I have seen or observed is that most of the time no amount of pushing or goading really works when you want someone to pursue something, it can be something as simple as a hobby or as huge as changing your professional path. Sometimes, it is just a series of events that fall into place (the whole “right place at the right time” phrase) or sometimes it is just that one fleeting moment when you feel like someone has smacked you hard right across the face to see what was always in front you and wake up. The same thing happens with Daniel, and ironically what shows him the mirror (literally) is photography. I really liked that moment.

(Although, if I may add, that there is nothing wrong with following the “mundane” .. I mean, not everyone needs to have that one awakening to go “OMG, This is my passion.. let me leave everything else and follow this and make up for lost years!!!” … Like seriously, if you are just happy with the “ordinariness” of life, then just let it be… I guess that was what Jim represented.)

I think what sort of bugged me is that some story and character arcs just felt unfinished and half-baked. Like, I never really understood what the whole Sidney-Daniel deal was. I think she was supposed to be like some sort of talking conscience for Daniel to have a conversation with, but her function in the storyline was as vague as her ad-hoc poetry. And then there was this whole reality-show plot which is supposed to be the running background on which this novel is constructed. Again, I never understood what the takeaway was from the whole experience of being privy to insider info. Disillusionment? Bewilderment? Envy?

I guess what didn’t sit well with me is how things were left open to interpretation. I would have liked some sort of definite answers. And now that I look back, I don’t think the reality show played much of a part in enabling Daniel to make decisions, let alone being a tipping point. So while some things didn’t work for me, I will say that it was a pretty breezy read. And if you like stories which give you a part road-trip and part slice-of-life and coming-of-age feel, made of everyday characters and occurrences, this book is probably right up your alley.