This memoir is written by a young woman, a millenial born in the 1980s. Ms. Miller chronicles her relationship with food and the many diets she has tried over the years. She has been all different sizes over the years. . . her closet is full of clothes, most of which don’t fit in the opening of this book. She either exercises and diets like crazy, or has no urge to do anything and overeats. It seems to be all one or the other. Ultimately, the author decides not to follow any given diet at all anymore, and see how things go.
I enjoyed this book. Miller is good and engaging writer. It drew me in. I wanted to keep reading. As someone who is actually been all over the place weight-wise (in the last 15 years I have been between 139 and 208 lbs . . . and that’s not counting my two full-terms pregnancies – the highest I got was around 200 lbs with my first pregnancy, which means I gained just over 50 lbs during that pregnancy – a little much), this book was definitely of personal interest.
A Heart Like Ringo Starr by Linda Oatman High (2015)
Faith’s family runs a funeral home, which is kind of ironic because Faith is dying at age 16. She does not want to die, and she is angry about this. She needs a heart transplant to live. While she is waiting, a teen boy dies in a car wreck and her family’s funeral home handles the body, etc. At about the same time, she gets the call: there is a heart for her. Come in immediately.
This novel is a quick read. It is told in verse, and is very effective. I highly recommend it to nearly everyone.
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt (2015) – Juvenile/Middle Grade Fiction
Ally is really very smart. She’s made it through several years of school without anyone finding out that she cannot read. She fakes, she jokes, and she disrupts her class to avoid being found out that she find reading extremely difficult. Her new teacher is Mr. Daniels. He is perhaps more perceptive than her previous teachers. He realizes that she has dyslexia, and starts working with her one on one. He also shows her and the entire class that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. Ally also makes new friends and develops some of the closest friendships she has ever had in her life, so far.
This was a quite read for me (I am also not dyslexic.) I would highly recommend it for students who feel different, and for those who would like to better understand dyslexia. I did find myself frustrated with Ally in the beginning of the book, however. Why didn’t she tell someone years earlier about all of the problems she was having?
Rating: Five of Five Stars
Summer Reading Online – Book 26 of 30
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (2015) – Middle Grade Graphic Novel
Astrid is twelve. She has had a best friend – the same one – since she was about six years old. Their mothers take turns doing all sorts of things with them. Nicole is into ballet, but Astrid is not. One night, Astrid’s mom takes them to watch roller derby, and Astrid falls in love with it. Nicole still prefers dancing, but Astrid assumes that Nicole will sign up for roller derby camp with her. She does not as she prefers dance camp instead. They both make new friends with other girls at their respective camps, but it is difficult because they’ve always been there for each other.
This was a quick read for me, and it was immediately engaging. There is quite a bit about roller derby, but it is really more about friendship, relationships with family, and how having lots of support in all you strive to do well is important in life. I really enjoyed it, and I think my 10-year-old self would have really appreciated it as well!
Five of five stars.
Summer Reading Online (book 25 of 30)
It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell (2015) – Memoir/Nonfiction
The author is a food blogger (http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com) and though she is only 30 now, she has written this memoir. I have read several criticisms about this book including these: sometimes she doesn’t go in depth enough about her feelings because her mother will read them (I think this is true to a certain extent) and it is not well-written (I will say that parts of it are very well-written, and others are not as well-written.) I was really drawn in most by the beginning to the book – when she is talking about her early childhood. This section is really effectively written. The center of the book, and the gliding through high school seemed rather glossed over in many ways. I was overweight (possibly on the border of obese) during high school, as well as having issues with anxiety (which led to me not being able to eat at school during the school day and stuffing myself at home after school.) The author seemed much more outgoing in general than me. It was/is anxiety that makes me want to eat. I did like that the author mentioned that she just liked the act of chewing sometimes . . . me, too. It is very calming.
The title is very appropriate in many ways. It really was about the author and was always about the author. However, it is a memoir, so therefore isn’t going to be all that much about anyone else.
(Summer Reading Online, 29 of 30)
Saving Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea (2015) – Middle Grade Fiction
This is the third book in the Mr. Terupt series. As in the previous two, each chapter is told from the first person perspective of a different classmate. These students have been in the same class in school for the last two years, with Mr. Terupt, and this year, they are starting seventh grade. It is a major issue that they will no longer be in class with Mr. Terupt. They go to visit with Mr. Terupt after school. Meanwhile, their friendships have started taking some turns. Will they make up and become friends again? Meanwhile, Danielle has not been feeling well. She feels exhausted. It all comes to a head on Christmas Eve when she can’t stop visiting the bathroom.
Personally, I just could not get into this book as much as the first one. I raved about how good the first one (Because of Mr. Terept) was. This story felt kind of of blah, but it could have just been me!
The Glass Kitchen: a novel of Sister by Linda Francis Lee (2014) – Fiction
Portia Cuthcart grew up in Texas. Her parents were fairly poor, but their love was so great that after Portia’s father died while she was still a child, her mother followed in only a few short months. Portia and her older sisters went to live with their grandmother who ran a restaurant called The Glass Kitchen. Her grandmother has a gift that Portia has also inherited. . . food comes to their minds (and then they must cook or bake it, usually without knowing why right away) in a way that can predict the future.
After Portia predicts her grandmother’s death, Portia gives up The Glass Kitchen in Texas, and marries her politician boyfriend. For him, she subdues the cooking, and becomes a polished and bland politician’s wife. Three years into their marriage, it comes out that her husband has been cheating on her with her best friend. She escapes to New York City, where she moves into the garden apartment her beloved great aunt had willed to her. Gradually, she gives in to the demands of the food . . . and her new neighbors.
I enjoyed this book overall, and give it four of five stars. However, it says it is a novel of sisters. I suppose in a way it is. At first, I thought it was just about Portia and her sisters (her sisters are really pretty flat characters, though.) It is not. Portia meets the man upstairs who as two daughters, and actually, this story is more about those two sisters – their relationship with each other, their dad, and even with Portia. It also about the grief over the loss of their mother (and the secrets their mother was hiding.)
Summer Reading Online (Book 27 of 30)