April books

50. What Alice Forgot – Liane Moriarty
Story – Alice Love is 29, madly in love with her husband, and pregnant with her first child. Until the day she apparently falls in exercise class and wakes up to discover that she’s almost forty, a mother of three, and on the brink of divorce. The book follows Alice’s journey through forgetfulness to memory, and how she rediscovers her family, friends, and herself.
Thoughts – This started off as a pretty normal, fun-but-forgettable chick lit book, but it wound up more enjoyable and meaningful than that. I found it so easy to identify with Alice, who looks around at her current life and thinks about where she was ten years ago and thinks how on earth did I get here? What happened to my relationship, and my beliefs and my family? It was a surprisingly thought-provoking novel about the way people and relationships change, and that where we end up isn’t always where we expected to be.

49. Clean – Amy Reed
Story
Five teenagers in drug rehab, getting sober and coming to terms with the past that put them there and the future that’s coming up upon release.
Thoughts
It was probably a little clichéd, but that didn’t matter. The characters were a little uneven- some of them being kind of flat, but others really jumping out of the page and making you care about them. I loved all the different stories that led to them being where they were, and thinking about the elements of their personalities that played into their addictions. I almost think it would have been better to have been from one character’s POV though, or maybe two- five different POV’s made each one seem a little short and maybe lacking some depth.

48. Pet Sematary – Stephen King
Story – When the Creeds move to their new house, they look like the perfect family. Louis is a doctor and his wife Rachel stays home to take care of their daughter Ellie and baby son Gage. They have a beloved family cat, and all of them are looking forward to the future in their new home. They have no idea what forces are massed in the forest that lies on their doorstep, and the devastating and horrific events that about to unfold.
Thoughts – I’ve read several Stephen King books over the years, and I’m never sure how I feel about him. I’ve found myself bored when I should have been scared, and then critical of his lengthy style and bad attitude towards women and gays. And yet there’s enough there that I keep going back and trying again…and this time I’m really glad that I did.
Pet Sematary is the best King book I’ve read. The characters are some of the most sympathetic and likeable that King has created. It’s not too long, and the storyline feels tight, with the horror building inexorably to the climax. It’s creepy, and also plays on a lot of more fundamental fears of people to make it pack a real punch. Really well done.

47. Kick me – Paul Feig
Story – This was a funny biography about all the humiliating moments in the author’s life during his childhood and teen years- most of them involving girls and body embarrassment.
Thoughts – I didn’t know who the author was (he is apparently a successful writer/ director) but I read it because it sounded funny and it was. After all, who doesn’t identify with teenage awkwardness and embarrassment? Admittedly Paul Feig seemed to take awkwardness to an entirely new level, but it was pretty funny to read about, although much less amusing for him to live through at the time I’m sure!

46. Double Dexter – Jeff Lindsay
Story – Dark Dexter is back. After flirting with being a real human after the birth of his daughter Lily Anne, Dexter is managing a nice balance between his family, his work, and playtime with his Dark Passenger. Until one night his playtime is interrupted, and Dexter realises that he’s been seen.
Thoughts – I love Dexter, and this one was great. I loved how much there was about his family and his relationships with Rita and with the children. The storyline with the Witness was good too, since it makes sense that Dexter would eventually get caught/ be seen considering how often he goes around slaughtering people.

45. Good at Games – Jill Mansell.
Story- A chick lit story about a bunch of friends and relatives and their complicated and intertwined love lives.
Things I liked- This book was actually pretty funny. There were some great sniping bitch fights between the main character Suzy and her neighbour/the girlfriend of her ex-husband, and for the most part the story moved pretty quickly.
Things I didn’t like– It did drag a little once it got close to the end and I knew who everyone was going to end up but just had to wait for it to happen.
Thoughts- In terms of unrealistic, fun chick lit this book pretty much ticks all the boxes. I doubt it’ll stay in my mind for very long, but I enjoyed reading it a lot and will look out for some more of the author’s work.

44. Bipolar Disorder – Francis Mark Mondimore.
Thoughts- This was probably the most information dense bipolar book that I’ve read. I did like the use of case studies to illustrate specific points, and some of the history of psychiatry and medication development is really interesting.
But mostly I just wanted to kick the book across the room. I don’t think I’ve reached the acceptance phase of this yet.

43. If I Stay – Gayle Forman.
Story- This is a story about change, about family and friends and relationships that need room to grow. The protagonist is Mia, a 17 year old aspiring cellist, who finds her whole world shaken when she is involved in a car accident with her family.
Things I liked – I thought the position that Mia was narrating from was interesting. I was intrigued by the idea of choice in that scenario.
Things I didn’t like – Nothing specific, but for no specific reason that I can articulate the book just didn’t grab me.
Thoughts- I think I read this at the wrong time. It’s a beautiful story, but I just wasn’t in the right place for it.

42. The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide – David Miklowitz
Thoughts– A more in-depth look at bipolar. Symptoms, diagnosis, history, medication etc…had most things you needed to know.

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