Tag: #bookreview

September 7, 2018: My Thoughts on ‘The Other Wes Moore’

Yesterday I finished reading Wes Moore’s book ‘The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates’. Each chapter was broken into two parts, going back and forth from each Wes’s perspective. Both men were born in the same Baltimore, Maryland neighborhood, their father figures being absent from their lives (one never met their father, the other lost his to a medical issue that was sadly treatable). For the first few years in their lives, both boys turned to the streets in search of a connection, forming close-knit friendships that served as a bond that was absent in their lives. As they got older, the connections made in their lives took them in the path that determined the deciding factor in their life journey. One became a successful Rhodes scholar and Army veteran, returning to serve the community in which he was raised. The other became ensnared in the drug trade, leading to an arrest and conviction for first-degree murder.

Reading ‘The Other Wes Moore’ brought into mind the environment in which I was raised. I was born and raised in an inner city in Northern New Jersey, living with a loving family with very little money. Things didn’t look too well when it came to obtaining assistance for higher education. My family encouraged me to take the steps necessary to apply for college. My high school counselor did little to support my decision, so I took care of the whole application process on my own. Once I got admitted into college, I took the steps needed to better my life.

My path in life could have gone differently if my family was not supportive of my choices in bettering my education/job situation. I believe that this was a large factor in why one Wes Moore was able to take the right path in life, while the other failed to progress. I enjoyed reading ‘The Other Wes Moore’, and I hope that I come across another book that focuses on people connecting with community in order to better their standing in life.

June 24, 2018: My Thoughts on ‘After Alice’

‘After Alice’ by Gregory Maguire tells an alternate story of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. The story focuses on Ada, a friend Alice briefly mentions during the popular tale of her adventures down the rabbit hole. In the beginning of the story, Ada is walking to Alice’s house when she encounters a mysterious creature. She follows it, and falls down the rabbit hole, into the magical world where the Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, and other eccentric characters rule the domain. As Ada ventures through this unusual world, she discovers that Alice has also ventured through the area moments before. The story also tells the tale of Alice’s sister Lydia and her attempts in searching for her, while encountering some eccentric people herself.

‘After Alice’ was a very good story to read, and I appreciated looking back on well known characters that I read about in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’.  I’m looking forward to reading the other ‘alternate’ fairy tale stories (what I like to call them) that involve The Wizard of Oz and Cinderella’s step sisters.

June 5, 2018: ‘Our Kind of Cruelty’: My Thoughts

‘Our Kind of Cruelty’ by Araminta Hall tells tells the story of Michael Hayes and his extreme love for Verity Metcalf. The story begins with Michael receiving an invitation for Verity’s wedding, as Michael is designing the perfect home for his ‘dream’ girlfriend Verity to live in, despite the fact that they no longer speak. He believes that this lack of correspondence is all part of a game they used to play when they were seriously dating, a game that heavily relied on avoidance. What follows in this story is the narration from a character whose desire for someone falls heavily on the line of obsession. Michael has a personality that falls on deviance and anger, molded from the hardships from his past, and hardened by his inability to understand when to let go when things come to an end.

Araminta Hall writes beautifully the views of both a the jilted, dangerous lover unable to take no for an answer, and the woman taking the steps to move on, yet pays a steep price for her decision. This story was very moving, and kept me rivited through the end of the story.

May 18, 2018: Finally Finished ‘The Girl on the Train’

Due to a sprained ankle, I stayed home from work today. Although I received an Air Cast from the urgent care visit last night, it was still painful to walk, and I knew that I would be moving nonstop with the toddlers all day. So to promote healing, I stayed home.

So I finally finished reading ‘Girl on the Train’. I still had 100 pgs. to get through, and since I needed to rest my foot today, I figured I can finish the book. So I took care of it in over 2 hours. It was quite a good story. The story is told from 3 first-person accounts, and the speaker switches throughout the book. The primary narrator is Rachel Watson, a woman undergoing great tribulations in her life. She’s an alcoholic, struggling to handle the end of her marriage, losing her home, and losing her job. She takes the train daily in order to hide her lack of employment from her housemate. Along with drinking heavily, Rachel is prone to blackouts when drinking excessively, and such a blackout occurs the night a woman from her old neighborhood disappears. The story details Rachel trying to put the pieces together of that night, while discovering the details of the life of people in her old neighborhood she felt she knew.

‘The Girl on the Train’ has a layer of suspense, and this tension built up right up to the moment the truth of what happened to the ‘mysterious woman’. It left me wondering what was going to happen next, and feel for the characters as facts and secrets are told. I’m glad I got to finish reading ‘The Girl on the Train’. It was well worth the wait.