And … another ebook review!

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Ok ladies and gents. I’ve received another free ebook from blogging for books. This time it is A Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne. Obviously, all opinions are my own.
Review time!

Wait … I’m confused.

This was the ongoing thought I had during much of A Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne. A Girl in the Road is a futuristic story of two individual, yet connected, girls. The chapter – “Books” alternate between first person narratives of each. I initially didn’t realize these stories are set in the future – I was at a great cultural disadvantage (I’ll get to that in a bit) and attributed my ignorance to not understanding Indian or African cultures. No exact dates are never given, but I came to realize the stories were not happening concurrently. It appears, based on discussion of political events still to occur, to be set in the late 21st Century. There is a lot of inventive terminology used for the futuristic items and opportunities. This was discovered as my ereader dictionary nor an internet search could tell me what these words mean. I was puzzled by these terms and failed to comprehend the capabilities they were able to perform.
The stories are set in India and Africa (and briefly, countries in between). I try to consider myself culturally competent (goes with my career choice), but my lack of knowledge was blatantly realized as I found my self lost trying to navigate and understand culture terms that are never translated nor described in layman’s terms.
Despite all of these misunderstandings, I must say the book was well written. I was drawn into the stories and emotions of the two protagonists (or one protagonist and one antagonist?) and felt empathy for each. I appreciate the author’s symbolism of the “Trail” – a long journey to discover oneself and find what is lacking. However, at points the symbolism went too far and I was again (not again!) completely lost. The snakes? The Semora werk – golden meaning? The girl in the road (Hey…?) with the black wings – is she supposed to mean something? The book was titled for her after all.
And then, I came to the end … and I’m left scratching my head.
My verdict is … ehh… With Ms. Byrnes writing style, I would like to read another of her works before I judge too deeply. (Should I throw in an ambiguous symbol here?) But, I’m scared that I will once again be confused – and that’s not somewhere I like to be!
Thanks for reading!
Jen

My Review of A Life Apart by L.Y. Marlow

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I recently received a free ebook copy of A Life Apart by L.Y. Marlow from Blogging for Books. I received no compensation for this review and all opinions are my own.

Now on to the review!

Choices, consequences, and grief. These are the main themes of L.Y. Marlow’s A Life Apart. Morris, our protagonist, is caught in a life of his own creation. The book begins in the 1940s outside Boston, Massachusetts. Morris finds out as a teenager that he will become a father. He does the “right thing” and marries his girlfriend Agnes, though he isn’t sure he is in love with her. Agnes, however, feels that she has found her soul mate in Morris. Shortly after their child’s birth, Morris joins the navy and is involved with the bombing at Pearl Harbor. This event alters their lives forever.

Morris is saved by a black man, Robert, after the bombing. He spends his time searching for Robert before discovering he died that fateful day. Morris is resolved to find his family to inform them of Robert’s bravery; despite social mores that prohibit whites from associating with those of other races. Morris is able to track down Robert’s sister, Beatrice, who oddly lives close to his hometown. Once he and Beatrice meet, it becomes love at first sight despite all the barriers against them – namely Morris’ wife Agnes and the color barrier.

The book follows these intermingled families through several decades. Morris feels much grief from his decisions and inability to find happiness for himself and those he loves. He doesn’t want to hurt those around him, so he becomes paralyzed and unable to keep stringing his families along. The book ends in a circular fashion, with resolution being found for everyone.

This book was an interesting and good read. It highlights individualism during world events and how we are all interrelated in some ways. Despite Morris’ betrayal of his wife and daughter, I found myself pitying him. Overall, a good read and I would recommend this to others.

Have you read A Life Apart? How about another book with similar themes? What did you think?

Jen