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✿Ring Around the Prose✿

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August 2015

Review: How to Grow Up: A Memoir by Michelle Tea

Brief synopsis: In her memoir How to Grow Up, Michelle Tea shares her struggle to understand a world just out of her reach: adulthood. She argues that certain markers of adulthood—living on your own, paying taxes, reproducing—don’t apply to everyone (they certainly didn’t apply to her), and as such are impractical standards when it comes to determining if you’ve got your life all figured out. Tea examines the life she’s lived by trial-and-error, and illustrates that being an adult is really about recognizing and becoming the best version of yourself.

Rating🏡  Left behind

Long story short: For someone whose path to adulthood is on the conventional side (I went to college → I got a job → I eventually want to settle down and start a family), Tea’s non-linear journey feels raw and compelling. At times her (painful) honesty about her past as a junkie and alcoholic is uplifting, because it shows that even your vulnerabilities can unearth certain strengths.

I like the overall message—”being an adult means knowing what you want and letting yourself have it”—but Tea’s narrative voice is a little too preachy for my taste. After a while the memoir starts reading more like a self-help book that’s trying too hard to prove its point. This is not a book I can read over and over again, but do see myself referring back to certain sections on days when I want to compare myself to an ex-alcoholic and know I have my life together.

Continue reading for a more in-depth review (note: spoilers below).

Continue reading “Review: How to Grow Up: A Memoir by Michelle Tea”

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Review: The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Brief synopsis: April Hall doesn’t make new friends easily, until she moves in with her grandmother and meets Melanie Ross. She soon learns that Melanie and her four-year-old brother Marshall both share her fascination with Egypt. Together their wild imaginations lead to the creation of a role playing game in an abandoned storage yard behind an old antique shop. The children spend afternoons as pharaohs, servants, and priestesses. They invent their own ceremonies, erect statues of Nefertiti and Thoth, and even design a secret hieroglyphic language. But Egypt’s spell is soon broken: certain events—including the murder of a little girl in their neighborhood—reveal that the children may be being watched…

Rating✈  Travel companion

Long story short: This has become one of my favorite children’s books. It has everything I love (even as an adult!): fantasy, intrigue, a murder mystery, and a healthy dose of life lessons tucked in here and there. While at times I knew exactly where the story was going, there are scenes and dialogues that totally threw me off, and I like that sort of unpredictability. The writing itself is simple, yet not patronizing; and it’s well-paced, with action and downtime balanced appropriately. Each character’s distinct voice and personality really come through, which always helps me become a part of the story. Would definitely read it again.

Continue reading for a more in-depth review (note: spoilers below).

Continue reading “Review: The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder”

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