Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A review of Made by Mary by Laura Catherine Brown

With depth in relationships that celebrate the chaos and imperfect love of mothers and daughters, lovers with lovers, and between friends, Brown delivers a beautiful and painful reminder that love often includes disappointment and failure, but also redemption and forgiveness. In the end, the human connection no matter how fallible, regardless of trappings of belief, is necessary for our survival.

A review of The Harper Effect by Taryn Bashford

The whole mix-up of the book, with elements of tennis, teenage and torture, it makes it relatable for people aged 13 to young adults, especially girls. The repeated message of following your dreams rings clear throughout, even when mixed up in love, relationships and secrets.

A review of The Silent Invasion by James Bradley

Callie’s character is very insightful and from her perspective in the book, she describes the world with similes and personifications, creating and painting beautiful or terrible images. It shows the world in all its beauty and horror through the words on a page, but seems so much more than that.

A review of Boats for Women by Sandra Yannone

Sandra Yannone’s brave poems contribute to popular history of the time, flooding us with the arc, the ache, of family and lesbian relationships in her first full-length collection. Some poems live in heartbreak, some, in ecstatic joy. They are worthy of many rereads.

Robert McDowell’s Narratives in Quiet Money and The Diviners

To understand the poetry of Robert McDowell, it is important to see him through the lens of the late, great poet Philip Levine, whom Robert McDowell recalls proclaiming, “Robert, he’s his own cat!” In a way that is prophetic and unique, Robert McDowell enters the circus of human stories, and tells them wryly, reminding us that humor exists even in some of our darkest and bleakest moments.

A review of Wonder By R. J. Palacio

The main character in Wonder is August Pullman: Auggie. He is a funny and sensitive ten-year-old boy from New York who was born with a facial deformity. The story follows his first year at school, after having been home schooled. Auggie wants to feel normal but this is hard when people stare at him and avoid him. 

A review of brookings: the noun by Jennifer Maiden

As with all of Maiden’s books, brookings: a noun is powerfully astute and thought-provoking, pulling together disparate ideas, deep emotion, and critical thinking and empathy in places where they’re often not found. Above all though, Maiden is a poet’s poet, with a rich lyrical ear.

A review of Writers on Writing: Conversations with Allen Mendenhall

Each included author has something important to say and Mendenhall has a talent for finding just the right way to allow the authors to express themselves. Mendenhall has a knack at getting to what is significant, and revealing truths both about the writers and about their books. Nor do the interviews shy away from topical issues or cultural conflicts.

A review of The Age of Fibs by Beth Spencer

However true to fact and corroborated by photos and drawings, memoir is always subject to recreation, to one-sided perception, rewriting, and recasting. It is always both true and fictive, and like dreams, pieced together from a grab-bag of images and turned into stories that reflect the themes being explored.  The Age of Fibs picks up on this uncertainty beautifully and works with it, allowing for openness, complexity, and fragmentation, while still keeping the coherency of the story intact.