Book Review: Before The Fall

Book Review: Before The Fall

“To try to predict the places we’ll go and the people we’ll meet would be pointless.”

Reading has become a big part of my life, and I’m so happy I get to share my thoughts on the books I read with all of you! As I write this I am almost finished with another book, so expect yet another book review sometime in the next month.

Today’s review is on Noah Hawley’s suspense novel Before The FallIf you haven’t noticed already, my book reviews tend to be less plot-focused and more general thoughts about the book. So if you’re looking to learn more about the plot, I found this New York Times review by Janet Maslin which I would recommend reading (before or after coming back to my review, of course).

Not only is Hawley an author, but he is also a TV producer/writer (best known for creating the award-winning show Fargo). As I read this book, I could definitely see elements of a TV script in his writing. He added a lot of details and descriptions of the characters, which helped them come to life on the page the way I’m sure he has to do when creating characters for the screen. I’m a sucker for good character development, so this caught my attention right away.

Another element of the novel that I liked was that each chapter switched perspective, giving you a look inside the mind of all of the main characters, similar to the way Paula Hawkins wrote The Girl On The Train. I always enjoy novels that are set up like this, because I like to get to know all of the characters instead of being stuck hearing the story from only one point of view. I also think it works well with mystery/suspense stories, unveiling pieces of the puzzle from different angles.

The one part of the novel that was a bit disappointing to me was the ending. It felt rushed and abrupt, and I didn’t feel satisfied the way I did at the end of The Girl On The Train. Like I said, Hawley adds a lot of details into the novel, and when I reached the end I realized many of the details hadn’t been relevant to the conclusion. I know this is a typical ploy to throw off the reader and ensure the ending can’t be easily guessed, but I was left wishing there had been more essential details to explain the ending.

Overall this was a well written and entertaining read, and it kept my interest the whole way through. If you like stories that include a lot of character detail and plenty of mystery, you will enjoy this book! Like I said, the ending wasn’t my favorite, but it is still well worth the read.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this book, and if you agree or disagree about the ending. Have you read any of Hawley’s other novels? If not, what is the last book you read?

Book Review: I Am Malala

Book Review: I Am Malala

“It was as though they wanted to remove all traces of womankind from public life.”

I’m back with another book review! Like I mentioned in my last review, I joined a book club. I’m excited to share my thoughts on our first book with you: I am Malala. 

I am Malala is a memoir written by a young girl named Malala, who grew up in Pakistan. She tells her experience fighting for the right to get an education, which ultimately lead to her being shot by the Taliban. The book includes a lot about the history of Pakistan, as well as Malala’s own family history and details about the Islamic faith. I enjoyed learning more about a culture that I didn’t previously know much about. It was definitely eye-opening to read about the struggles young girls and women face in other parts of the world.

Despite the many cultural differences I saw between the United States and Pakistan, I was surprised by how many similarities there were. For example, Malala mentioned the book series Twilight, which caught me off guard because I would have never thought girls in Pakistan were reading Twilight just like American girls. A quote that I loved was when she said “sometimes I think it’s easier to be a Twilight vampire than a girl in Swat.”

One of the most moving aspects of the book was Malala’s relationship with her father. Though she is close with everyone in her family, her bond with her father was really special to read about. They appear to be very similar in many ways, most notably their passion for women’s rights. Malala began campaigning for women’s rights alongside her father, and it was evident how proud he was of her, especially when he declared in one of his speeches, “In my part of the world most people are known by their sons. I am one of the few lucky fathers known by his daughter.”

Malala’s pure bravery was another thing that stood out to me in this book. Even when it was known that she was being targeted by the Taliban and could very well be in real danger, she claimed to not feel scared and she continued to fight for what she believed in. She said,”My feeling was nobody can stop death; it doesn’t matter if it comes from a [member of the Taliban] or cancer. So I should do what I want to do.”

I will admit this book can be a bit dull and difficult to get through at times, especially when she goes into detail about the history of her country and her family. However, it was worth it to me because I really learned a lot and I feel like I gained a better understanding of another culture, which I always find beneficial. I would definitely recommend reading this book if you like true stories, and if you are looking for something semi-educational but still interesting to read!

Let me know in the comments if you have read this book, and what you thought! If you haven’t read it, let me know what the last book you read was.

 

 

Book Review: It Gets Worse

Book Review: It Gets Worse

“The problems you have as a kid will seem ridiculous when you get older because bigger and worse problems will come along. But you will learn to deal with them easier as you grow up.”

Welcome to another book review! It’s been a while since my last one, but I actually just joined a book club, so that should help keep me on track with reading more often. Right now we are reading I am Malala, which is quite different than the book I will be reviewing for you all today. But the one element that connects the two is that they are both non-fiction.

Shane Dawson is someone that I have been familiar with for a while from watching his YouTube videos. His humor is outrageous and extremely self-depricating, so I knew his book would at least be entertaining.

It turned out to be much more than simply entertaining. I thought he did a great job of having a good mix of humor and seriousness. He covered some heavy topics such as his past eating disorder and his grandma passing away, and somehow managed to have me laughing in one sentence and covering my mouth in horror in the next. He has an understanding of the fact that even the most serious of topics have a grain of humor buried within them, and he tactfully extracts that humor at just the right moments.

His book was also extremely inspirational, which was something I didn’t necessarily expect. In one of my favorite chapters in the book, Human Trash, Shane tells a story about making a film for his class in high school, and how his teacher freaked out and turned off the film halfway through, saying it was terrible and that he was disappointed in Shane for making something so awful. Even at that age, Shane already knew he wanted to be a filmmaker, and the teacher’s harsh words really hurt him.  However, there was someone who disagreed with the teacher’s critique. The school principal saw the movie and called Shane into his office, and he had this to say:

“Shane, throughout your life some people aren’t going to get what you do. They won’t open their eyes to see the potential you have and see all the greatness you have in that head of yours. But there will also be people who do. People that get you. And I’m one of them.”

Shane says this conversation has stuck with him ever since. I think it’s so awesome that the principal not only understood him, but took the time to make sure he got the reassurance he needed to keep reaching for his dreams.

One of my other favorite chapters was the very last one, which was written by Shane’s mother. He writes that she always wanted to be an author, but was never able to follow through on that dream since she was a busy single mother. Shane chose to give his mom the gift of officially becoming a published author by letting her write the final chapter in his book. She wrote about the first time she saw him perform in a school play, and how the audience loved him and gave him a standing ovation. She said she had a feeling that night that in the future he would be impacting millions of people, not just one theater. And he certainly has, with more than 16 million total subscribers across his YouTube channels!

Overall I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a good laugh (particularly if you don’t mind crude, irreverent humor), and who enjoys reading personal, true stories. Even if you’ve never heard of Shane Dawson, you will still enjoy reading it. He is honest and hilarious, and the book is a quick read that will have you both laughing and close to tears.

Hope you enjoyed my book review! Leave a comment below if you’ve read the book, or just let me know what the last book you read was.