Review: Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky

There are so many amazing anthologies on badass women in history being published lately. I’ve read so many in the past year or two that I could make a whole post about them (and maybe I will!), but for now here’s my review for my absolute favorite one of all of them:

women in scienceWomen in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World written and illustrated by Rachel Ignotofsky (Ten Speed Press, 128 pages)

Recommended for: Scientists or science lovers, teachers, young women and girls, all women and men, and boys (okay, so basically everyone).

“It’s made to believe / women are the same as men; / are you not convinced / daughters can also be heroic?” — Wang Zhenyi’s poetry

I love this book and am so glad it gets to live on my shelf. I wish I had a daughter or niece for the sole purpose of giving them a copy. Women in Science is an adorably illustrated short work showcasing 50 different women, in chronological order, who defied expectations and excelled in their fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine, physics, and many more.

The volume includes well-known names such as Jane Goodall, Marie Curie, and Ada Lovelace, but there are so many in here I’m sure many haven’t heard of, such as Wang Zhenyi, astronomer, poet, and mathematician, and Elizabeth Blackwell, a doctor who fought social injustice with medicine. She acknowledges how hard it was for these women to accomplish what they did and honors their drive and legacy in such a great way: by introducing them to kids who can look up to these women. WANG ZHENYI

Each features a beautiful, colorful illustration paired with a short bio and cute blurbs in the borders filled with tiny drawings of scientific tools. Geared for ages 10 and older, this is definitely an eye-catching book, and if I was young I certainly would have grabbed it off the shelf. There are even educational extras and infographics including lab tools, a timeline, statistics in stem, and a glossary. I learned so much! While I do wish there had been some non-cis women included, I found this to be my only complaint. Congratulations to Rachel Ignotofsky for creating a remarkable, feminist book to celebrate the achievements of women who can be role models for the next generation of female scientists, engineers, biologists, doctors, and more. We need more of these. I’d give this book 10 stars if I could.

You can buy and view her illustrations and prints on her Etsy shop. Buy the book from IndieBound here, or support your local bookstore! I received this book from Blogging For Books as part of their Book Review Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

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I’m an official book reviewer now!

Hello again fellow bookish friends.

It has been a while. A lot has happened. I can easily say I’m in a very different stage of my life now, but all that will have to be saved for another post because I have GREAT NEWS.

I’m an official book reviewer! I downplayed this for a while before realizing like, no, this is a big deal, and it’s super cool because it’s something I wanted for so long.

Where am I published? Two places currently. The amazing, locally-founded The Riveter Magazine and BookPage online. If you’re curious, check out my reviews below! Books I review for other outlets will not be featured here on my blog, but I’ll add them to my reviews list so you can still find them and check them out.

Happy reading!

 

 

 

Review: Scratch by Steve Himmer

scratchReview: Scratch by Steve Himmer (Dark House Press, 200 pages)

Goodreads synopsis: Martin Blaskett moves to a small town to oversee construction of a housing development, where he encounters a shape-shifting figure from local legend—Scratch. He is taken under the wing of his new neighbor, a retired hunting guide named Gil Rose, and befriends a local woman named Alison. Along the way, trouble ensues as Scratch feels threatened by changes to the landscape, luring locals out into the woods, including Alison’s son. As the blame for a range of events falls at Martin’s feet, he is beset by increasingly inhuman dreams, and comes to doubt his own innocence. A literary novel of wilderness noir that engages the supernatural elements of folklore in the manner of magical realism, Scratch explores the overlapping layers of history, ecology, and storytelling that make up a place.

Recommended for: Nature lovers, readers of creepy, surreal, horror, or mysterious books, books perfect for October.

This enchanting book follows main character Martin via a mysterious, unknown and unreliable narrator. The reader meets Martin just as he’s come to a small town to build a housing complex in the woods nearby, and he lives in a trailer next to Gil, a retired hunting guide. He learns of the legend of Scratch, a strange, shape-shifting creature in the forest whose presence many blame for people’s disappearances, until someone actually goes missing. What happens next as Martin’s dreams become more and more surreal and indistinguishable from reality is dark, philosophical, and completely unexpected.

Himmer does a lot with the legend of Scratch and expertly so, weaving magical realism, supernatural wilderness, and the thrill of a nature horror novel together to create this captivating story. He sets up the story well, and though at moments it gets slow and may disappoint readers more accustomed to traditional horror, the imagery captures expertly the psychological darkness Martin experiences in the forest at night. Though Martin is not particularly the most likeable character, through Himmer’s stunning prose the reader is transported to the forest too, experiencing all the uncomfortable sensations Martin is going through right along with him.

This is an intriguing, beautiful tale of the mysteries of natureparticularly the forestand mankind’s role amongst the creatures who make the woods their home. Part literary, part noir, part horror, Scratch is gripping tale of perfection that will thin the line between man and beast and leave you wanting more.

Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy from the publisher Curbside Splendor via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees

The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe by Anuschka Rees (Ten Speed Press, 272 pages)

Synopsis from Goodreads: Many women don’t know what their personal style is, don’t have a wardrobe that actually matches their style or life, and don’t know how to shop for a structured wardrobe of all pieces that can be worn easily and confidently. Style and minimalism blogger Anuschka Rees presents a fascinatingly strategic, prescriptive approach to identifying, refining, and expressing personal style and building the ideal wardrobe to match it, with style and shopping strategies that women can use every day. Including beautiful full-color fashion photography, infographics, and activities, The Curated Closet is a useful guide covering everything women need to know to fully realize their individual style and create their perfect functional and beautiful wardrobe.

Recommended for: fashion enthusiasts or bloggers, anyone interested in changing up their closet, shoppers, big spenders, people who are suckers for sales, minimalists.

The Curated Closet was an easy, down to earth read giving practical advice for the person who wants to find their personal style or live with fewer, but more high quality and tailored-to-you pieces of clothing in their closet.

It reads like a fashion blog carefully tailored (haha, sorry, couldn’t help myself) into a book that progresses from figuring out what you want in a wardrobe to teaching you how to select high quality clothing. Some other subjects she covers is information about capsule wardrobes, minimalist living, how to clean out your closet, how to stop impulse sale buying, how to shop mindfully, and much more. I’ll admit I learned a lot and as a baby minimalist, I’ve been trying to figure out how to live by many of the principles in this book such as only buying pieces that fit right, that I love, and that go with everything else in my wardrobe.

The cons were that I don’t have time for all the fun exercises she includes towards the beginning of the book, like taking a picture of your outfit every day for two weeks and then creating an inspiration board to figure out what you want and how to change your closet to reflect that. As other reviewers have stated, teenage me would have been all over that but adult me has to just get by on some of the more practical and less time-consuming advice in the book. Luckily there’s a lot of that! It’s a little long, but there were only small stuff here and there that I wasn’t interested in.

Unfortunately the Kindle edition was very annoying to read: it had formatting problems up the wazoo and the pictures here and there didn’t help. However, I did use my bookmark feature a lot as there’s a lot I want to revisit when I have the time or recall something I learned in this book. Another con is that the book is very female-centric (as stated in the synopsis, but still!). I would have liked to see more inclusivity towards men’s wardrobes and clothes, but I guess I can see why all her examples were from either her closet or the “typical” woman shopper since that’s the primary audience of the book (and it was long enough as is!). Some people will feel left out, though, or if you don’t struggle with sales and impulse buying, take the advice with a grain of salt. In all, pretending I read the book in print and not on the Kindle, 5 stars.

Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: You Can’t Touch My Hair by Pheobe Robinson

you-cantReview: You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson (Plume Books, 320 pages)

Goodreads synopsis: A hilarious and affecting essay collection about race, gender, and pop culture from celebrated stand-up comedian and WNYC podcaster Phoebe Robinson.

Phoebe Robinson is a stand-up comic, which means that, often, her everyday experiences become points of comedic fodder. And as a black woman in America, she maintains, sometimes you need to have a sense of humor to deal with the absurdity you are handed on the daily. Robinson has experienced her fair share over the years: she’s been unceremoniously relegated to the role of “the black friend,” as if she is somehow the authority on all things racial; she’s been questioned about her love of U2 and Billy Joel (“isn t that . . . white people music?”); she’s been called “uppity” for having an opinion in the workplace; she’s been followed around stores by security guards; and yes, people do ask her whether they can touch her hair all. the. time. Now, she’s ready to take these topics to the page and she s going to make you laugh as she s doing it. . . As personal as it is political, You Can’t Touch My Hair examines our cultural climate and skewers our biases with humor and heart, announcing Robinson as a writer on the rise.”

Recommended for: Readers of humor memoirs such as Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, anyone looking for diverse authors/women authors, those who seriously need to stop asking to touch a black woman’s hair, etc. Basically everyone should read this.

Phoebe Robinson is the creator and cohost of podcast 2 Dope Queens and is a gem of a comedian. Her hilarious, down-to-earth voice on the intersection of sexism and racism in comedy (and everywhere) is refreshing and, albeit sadly, so needed. This exposition of pop culture, gender, race told in very charming, conversational essay form is highly entertaining and thought-provoking. In an age where we have more women comedians in the industry than ever, you won’t want to miss Phoebe’s experienced perspective of being a black woman in comedy today.

This book starts out personal and ends personal. You’ll get to know Phoebe better than you would ever have possibly wanted to, but she has the gift of pulling you in and making you feel at home. There is a ton of goofy stuff in here that I think only Phoebe could get away with sharing. As some have said, perhaps her pop culture references are a little too current and will be hard to understand twenty years from now, but they are hilarious AF. They made me laugh out loud and I learned a thing or two I could stand to know, like how awesome Lisa Bonet is even though I never watched The Cosby Show growing up. And yes, you’ll learn all about a black woman’s hair.

Which is so important. Her perspective on race is invaluable, but she literally delivers sucker punch after sucker punch and isn’t afraid to call [specific and general] white people out for their micro-aggressions and general lack of understanding. Some other topics include the ABW (Angry Black Woman) myth, being the black friend, and Hollywood type casting. There’s something for everyone to learn here, even if it’s just to understand that each person’s experience is going to be different. And, if you mess up, the best thing to do is apologize and admit that you were stupid (unlike a few people she talks about in the book who messed up and then put their defenses up). Racism still exists even in the most subtle of ways and Phoebe isn’t afraid to get really upfront and blunt about what has happened to her.

In conclusion, if you haven’t ever heard of Phoebe Robinson (or her 2 Dope Queens cohost Jessica Williams!) you should get on that! I would recommend this wise, relevant, joy of a book for anyone to read.

Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

P.S! I saw Phoebe speak at the Twin Cities Book Festival, and everything is true. She is AMAZING and as awesome in person as in the book–even better! I’ll be posting about that soon (:

 

Review: Underground Airlines by Ben Winters

underUnderground Airlines by Ben Winters (Mulholland Books, 336 pages)

Recommended for: Readers or fans of alternate history, historical fiction, or spy/crime/adventure stories. 

Underground Airlines is an intriguing, suspenseful alternate history novel which asks the question of What if the Civil War had never happened and slavery still existed? The reader is placed alongside an escaped slave named Victor in the “free” north where segregation is still grossly perpetuated in a United States where slavery is still practiced in the “Hard Four” states. He’s been captured under the Fugitive Persons Law by the government and made to be a “soul catcher,” finding escaped slaves and returning them to slavery.

Victor at first seems cold and unfeeling before one realizes he has his own ways of coping: “I was not a person but a manifestation of will. I was a mechanism—a device.” He is sent to capture his over-200th escaped slave while investing the modern representation of the Underground Railroad, hence the title. Almost immediately, the reader is reading a redemption tale—but will it be enough to justify the horrifying idea that slavery was never abolished?

“Freedman Town’s purpose is for the rest of the world. The world that sits, like Martha, with dark glasses on, staring from a distance, scared but safe. Create a pen like that, give people no choice but to live like animals, and then people get to point at them and say ‘Will you look at those animals? That’s what kind of people those people are.’ And that idea drifts up and out of Freedman Town like chimney smoke, black gets to mean poor and poor to mean dangerous and all the words get murked together and become one dark idea, a cloud of smoke, the smokestack fumes drifting like filthy air across the rest of the nation.”

Though some have deemed the world building Winters executes here a triumph, I found it hard to follow and a bit too fantastic at times, specifically his references to pop culture and black celebrities (Michael Jackson, James Brown). I would hope that in a world so different from ours, things would be more different and much worse. The writing was too often dry as well, and I didn’t care about the characters as much as I thought I would, probably because it takes way too long for Victor to explain why he’s so troubled by his situation. I also had a problem with the way women are represented in the novel, but that’s a discussion for another day. In all, despite the intriguing premise of the book, there wasn’t that much there to make it different from other novels covering stories of slavery except that the main character is working for the wrong side.

I am not a long-time fan of Ben Winters like many of the readers flocking to this book. I heard about it first on IndieNext and thought well, if indie booksellers like this one, then I’ll give it a go. I should have first remembered that books about slavery are so hard to read (I recently read Homegoing and with The Underground Railroad yet to review, I’m afraid of the timing). I’m not saying I want to shield myself and as a white person forget it happened, but my heart is so heavy given the events of July and these past few months. Much too late did I realize the horror of what I was reading: a book considering that slavery never ended when it did, written by a white man. While he was going for an eye opener, and something to reveal how this terrible occurrence isn’t really that far from the racism of our day, the more I read, the more disturbed I felt that this book was even written and a publisher jumped on it. I just couldn’t escape that. In all, to me it wasn’t that redeeming of a narrative, and so I fear the publisher accepted the work based solely on the alternate-history plot device. 3.5 stars.

That being said, a lot of people have loved this book, so if you’re at all curious, check it out here.  

For some, this book is going to be a brain churner, which is great. Book clubs who want to create a discussion on racism in America would probably like this book, as I’m sure there are many different opinions on its execution.

Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Review: Spiritual Sobriety by Elizabeth Esther

It’s been a while since my last review, and I held off on posting my last Blogging for Books review because it means so much to me to get it right (also, I LOVED IT, and my excitement was skewing my ability to write an objective review). So heeeeeeeeere is a book that was honestly very good. Not perfect, but also not long, and I would recommend checking it out if you’ve ever been frustrated or hurt by a church or religious experience. Enjoy!

spiritual sobrietySpiritual Sobriety: Stumbling Back to Faith When Good Religion Goes Bad by Elizabeth Esther (Convergent Books, 192 pages)

Recommended for: Readers of faith (all kinds), readers who are tired of religion or have a negative viewpoint towards it, spiritual readers, readers of Anne Lamott, Addie Zierman, Madeleine L’Engle, Lauren Winner.

Spiritual Sobriety is a breath of fresh air. A memoir following Esther’s first book, Girl at the End of World, which is about coming out of a fundamentalist cult, this book covers the questions of whether one can come back to faith after experiencing a religious fervor that is damaging and ultimately a hurtful message from the Church. And her answer is yes, though it takes healing.

Esther describes that if you are one of those people who questions whether faith is worth it because of horrible experiences it’s possible you used God and religion like a drug the same way addicts use substancesto numb pain, alter [your] mood, or simply to escape the realities of this messy, unpredictable thing called life.” She calls it akin to being “high” on God. This is what she herself experienced, so she’s speaking from personal experience with a warmth of a mentor sitting down for coffee with you.

Once she identified her problem with what she previously practiced as religion, she struggled with depression and realized that her religious addiction was preventing her from experiencing faith as it was meant to be. At this point, the book is more of a “how to” than a memoir, but with the purpose of helping all who read it discover a deeper faith that is meaningful without being riddled with unhealthy behaviors.

If you liked Addie Zierman’s When We Were on Fire, you’ll love this book, but know that it is more instruction rather than personal emotional recollections. She includes research from books on this subject as well as quotes from interviews she conducted with people who faced similar experiences. Traveling through the journey with the reader, Esther also writes discussion questions at the back of each chapter to help walk you through healing and identifying personal issues to find acceptance, love, and a meaningful faith. The reader has the choice to go through the discussion questions and personally develop their ideas and faith or simply read it as a learning experience. The practical advice invites readers to decide for themselves if they want to rethink the way they relate to God or practice religion, and she is gentle with her suggestions. It is also a short read.

Coming from someone who experienced similarly damaging relationships with churches, camps, religious conventions, and even people in the Church, I very much appreciated the fresh viewpoint. I would say this book isn’t perfect and got a little repetitive at times, but it is definitely a positive stepping point for releasing and working through anger towards harmful religious experiences and looking at them from a fresh, learning perspective. I have a sense that this book will stay with me for a long time, and I may revisit it should I choose to delve back into faith with vigor. I will recommend this to any friend who has ever questioned their relationship with the Church, though I would also encourage any believer or person of religious experience to explore what this book is trying to say. 3.5 or 4 out of 5 stars.

Buy the book from IndieBound here, or support your local bookstore! I received this book free from Blogging For Books as part of their Book Review Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

 

Review: Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz

Guys. GUYS GUYS GUYS I loved this book! Also, I’d like to announce that it’s the first NetGalley book I’ve finished and reviewed since creating an account and becoming a NetGalley “Professional Reader.” I was so excited when I got approved for this one and a few others, so expect a few more reviews from me from NetGalley.

rad women worldwideRad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz (Ten Speed Press, 112 pages)

As a woman and feminist, I was so proud while reading this book. Let me praise it from the rooftops and hand sell it to every girl, boy, mom, dad, relative, friend, you name it. Everyone could benefit from reading this.

I was devastated to discover I did not even know about most of these women before picking up this book. I felt myself longing to have had this book in my hands as a girl in school when it came time to pick the people I wanted to write my research papers on. When it’s published, you can bet I’m gonna be buying myself a copy to pass along to my children someday and will hand sell it at Christmas as such a beneficial book.

If you’re at all curious about the women included, pre-order a copy now. Here are some of the most badass mothers, social activists, astronauts, scientists, doctors, teachers, athletes, musicians, artists, suffragettes, queens, spies, and even a pirate! Imagine picking this up in school as a girl and realizing that the options for your career are ENDLESS and that no one can tell you what you can and can’t do. Each description is quite short, like a brief summary and biography of why this woman was/is a luminary and what she contributed to society. I wished they were longer, but it is really is just a gateway for you to learn the fast facts now and research more if you want to later. Also keep in mind it really is meant for a younger audience, but doesn’t alienate adults at all either. It’s nice to having something so short and yet empowering. Women seriously rock! I also was so happy to see diversity represented as well as giving women credit who lived so long ago (think: Ancient Egypt). At the back there’s a list of other rad women around the world divided up by country. I wish I could add some to the list, though it’s quite long as is.

In all, this book is well written, needed, and absolutely fabulous. The cut paper illustrations by Miriam Klein Stahl were an incredible as well and added a dynamic to even the women featured who lived thousands of years ago, and the quotes were also a marvelous addition. You will not regret reading this book. 5 stars, without a doubt.

Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Spritz by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Parizeau

I think it’s no secret that I am in love with Italy. I have been since I was 11 and always will be. As I daydream about going back there very soon, I’m always immediately enchanted by any book about the country, whether it’s history, the food, or traveling its diverse and bustling cities. This book was no exception. I can still remember the bubbly, red aperitivo, or spritzer as I call it, I had at probably the wrong time of day and which most likely made the bartender either scoff or laugh at me. Even though it was only one in the whole three months I lived there, it’s a beautiful memory because I know exactly where it was and where my love affair with this drink began.

I anticipate making many, many more in the years to come. Ahem, if you ever, um, want to try one with me, you know where to find me 😉

spritzSpritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, With Recipes by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau(Ten Speed Press, 176 pages)

Have you ever fallen in love with a concept, a state of being, a glamorized item that you just want to think about and experience constantly? For me, that is the infamous Italian spritzer, a drink that enraptured and enticed me from the bars of Italy’s most beautiful cities. Though I only had one spritzer while I was there (the horror, right?!), in Trieste while visiting one of the world’s largest underground caves, I was again sold from the moment I saw this book. My love affair with the spritz wasn’t over, nor was I the first to be drawn by the enchantment behind the drink—or as the authors would argue—this “mantra, an attitude,” and state of being and drinking.

Spritz contains the history from ancient Rome, evolvement of the aperitivo throughout Northern Italy, and modern culture everywhere of the iconic cocktail and its “golden hour.” Aperitivo means a drink “meant to open a meal,” which is a part of the Italian culture and its importance on food and refreshers. Be prepared to learn some new words and many, many new brands and names of mixers—the ingredients that will make up your perfect spritzer. In Italy, the drink is enjoyed by nearly all at 7pm complete with snacks, transforming piazzas in every town into people’s very own social sitting rooms.

Baiocchi and Pariseau would know—they traveled from Trieste to Turin on their “Spritz Trail” in the region where it all developed to learn all they could about everything that goes into making the perfect spritz. Among many other juicy facts, here are the basics: 1) A spritz is not a spritz without bubbles, whether that be through champagne or soda water, 2) the drink is low in alcohol due to the young hour upon which it is enjoyed, and 3) it will always be slightly bitter, which is what a traditional spritz is most famous for. Your basic recipe is as follows: 1 ounce of bitters, some soda water, then top with white wine and some citrus.

That seems pretty straight forward, until Baiocchi and Pariseau launch into the history of the most famous bitters and many argue is the true way to assemble a spritz. They follow with a delightful ensemble of cocktail and simple syrup recipes, both well known and original submissions from others, as well as some Italian recipes for the aperitivo table snacks. Even though some of the ingredients may be hard to get one’s hands on, the recipes are easy to follow and the colorful, gorgeous pictures here and there certainly help.

While I know I won’t be buying all those different mixers anytime soon (ain’t nobody got the budget for that!), and this complete book is truly for the spritz aficionado who wants to try it all (I will not be trying the sardines recipe near the back, no thank you), I learned a lot from these pages and will keep them very near my home bar from now on. Spritz made me fall in love with the drink all over again and I would recommend it to any person wanting to explore more into Italy’s beautiful culture.

I received this book free from Blogging For Books as part of their Book Review Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

review: And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile

Finally, an ARC and a book that counts toward my summer reading goals: a book by an author of color. Jowhor Ile is a Nigerian writer, and this is his debut novel. I was so excited to be able to request it as a review copy! As always, you can find or request books like this at your local bookstore (bonus points, yes, if it’s Magers & Quinn, haha).

aamdAnd After Many Days by Jowhor Ile (Tim Duggan Books, 244 pages) 

A spellbinding debut about a country rife with change and a family’s bond and growth, And After Many Days is a novel I will remember for a while. In Port Harcourt, Nigeria in the 1990s, we meet the Utu family—a middle class, respected crew of five—through the eyes of the youngest child, Ajie, on the tragic day of his older brother Paul’s disappearance.

Ile’s description of Nigeria and village life is rich with poetic language, but the stark details he includes are refreshing and make for a quick read. “The skies open and drop water all day—drizzle this time, but the streets get flooded, drainages overflow, okada men in rain capes hang about under the eaves of roadside shops, shielding their motorcycles from the water, ignoring prospective passengers.” His talent for showing emotions without explanation of the family’s reaction to events is to be praised. This style wouldn’t work for every novel, but here it brings the vibrant Utu family’s interactions to life.

Unlike mysteries where the story begins with the puzzle and works to solve it, this book starts with the catalyst that sends the Utus’ normal existence spinning but then backtracks, starting with background family history and launching into Ajie’s childhood memories. The jump is almost startling. “The seeds of Paul’s disappearance were sowed by his parents. This was what Ajie decided. . . As for Paul, you really can’t blame a person for his own disappearance, at least not while he is still missing and cannot speak for himself. . . To tell Paul’s story, you would have to start from before he was born.” Unfortunately, we are fully immersed by Ile into the past and don’t return again to the present until it is almost forgotten, and by that point it is unclear exactly how many years have passed. Sometimes the story moves at a slow pace and other times you could have skipped many years without knowing. Though Ile’s talent lies in connecting the changing atmosphere and political strife of Nigeria to the growing children’s perception of their world through the eyes of Ajie, it was not enough to make the writing flow easily enough.

Though Ile is lauded by some for his seamless switching of stories through time, I found the book slightly confusing. I was in fact almost worried we would never find out what exactly happened to Paul, at least not to the level of detail I wanted, since the present does not get referenced in the past. Furthermore, there are instances in the book that make the reader uncomfortable—and that is what makes it interesting—but it almost didn’t have enough of Ajie’s personal thoughts or details of Nigeria’s tumultuous state (both extremes) to make the impact it could have. In all, I would laud this as a successful debut and one I wouldn’t steer anyone away from, but I just can’t call it the masterpiece I wanted to. Still, it gets 4 (or 3.5) stars on my Goodreads for being compelling, important, and a beautiful literary piece. 

 
I received this book free from Blogging For Books as part of their Book Review Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.