September '22 Reads
Reads #33 - #36 of 2022
Another monthly roundup. Not necessarily because I read so many books in September – I only read four – but mainly because they were very emotionally draining books. Maybe? I don’t know how else to describe them. Maybe I just had a very emotionally draining month that made it hard to read?
They weren’t bad by any chance. Well, maybe one was. (But we’ll get to that one later).
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Such a Pretty Girl – Laura Wiess, read #33 of 2022
Oh boy. This novel.
I went into Books-A-Million looking for something that would shake me up. Or transport me into a different life. Just something to make me feel something.
I didn’t expect to find this one. Before spotting it on the shelf, I'd never even heard of it. Let alone knew what it was about. But the back cover compared it to The Perks of Being a Wallflower and that was enough for me.
Laura Weiss’s Such a Pretty Girl was way more than enough for me. It was hauntingly beautiful.
Despite its short length, Such a Pretty Girl does a strikingly good job at drawing its readers into the harsh reality of life and everything – good and bad – it encompasses.
That’s a weak thesis statement-esque sentence, but I truly cannot capture everything this novel is in one sentence.
Such a Pretty Girl follows the three days after Meredith’s world falls apart. Again. Her father is released from prison early and her mother, the woman who is supposed to protect her, is living behind rose-colored glasses. So she has to find protection elsewhere: the woman and her wheelchair-bound son who live across the way, a retired cop in her apartment complex, her grandmother. The novel takes place only over three days, but the agonypainfear is enough to last a lifetime. Meredith’s father molested her, and now she has to live with him again. And she knows there’s only one thing to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again to anyone.
Verity – Colleen Hoover, read #34 of 2022
I don’t even know where to begin. I feel like I say that a lot, but this time I’m serious.
I loved Verity.
And yes, finally, a Colleen Hoover book I fully enjoyed. This one seemed so different from her other ones, and I ate it up. Romances are probably easier to write, but I feel like CoHo really shined through with this one. I’m excited to see what she does with the popularity; hopefully she writes more like Verity in the future.
Verity did so well because Colleen Hoover incorporated multiple genres – romance and suspense – tastefully, along with other literary tropes, without any of it overpowering the other elements. Yes, there was romance. Yes, there was suspense. Yes, there was the *chef’s kiss* literary device of a novel-within-a-novel. But none of it was overpowering and they all were used to push the novel forward.
Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous, read #35 of 2022
This one. This one was a pain to get through.
It was a library book, so I felt obligated to finish it, but if I was any other type of reader, I probably would’ve DNF’d it. It’s not a long novel. It’s not a terribly dense novel. It just exists. And in my mind, it exists and doesn't make an ounce of sense.
It’s only 150 pages, roughly. I thought I could read it in a day or two.
I was suffering through it. 150 pages of a man documenting that “hurt people hurt people” and he likes to emotionally hurt women? I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t the inner whininess of a psychopath.
It also didn’t make any sense. I feel like I missed something crucial, and I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t paying attention or if it just wasn’t included.
The chapters were also insanely long, and with someone with a semi-short attention span, it made it even more difficult to get through.
Beautiful World, Where Are You – Sally Rooney, read #36 of 2022
Another one that was a struggle to get through. But, different from Diary of an Oxygen Thief, I actually enjoyed the plot overall. It was just kinda dense, and the pages-long paragraphs and lack of quotation marks ruined it for me.
A coworker recommended it to me, leaving his copy on my desk. So of course, I felt obligated to read it. I read Rooney's Normal People and loved it immensely, so I had high expectations.
It took me nearly the whole month.
I wanted to like it. There was nothing inherently wrong with the plot – two college friends in their years post-grad. I liked it. It gave me hope for my early 30s. I saw myself in both of the female protagonists. The two male protagonists were conglomerates of guys pastpresentfuture that I would find myself with.
I think there was too much mundane description and not enough direct character development.
But maybe that’s a good thing? I dunno. I didn’t see much change in Eileen nor in Alice between the first chapter and the last.
And, to be fair in my excuse for another monthly roundup rather than detailed reviews about each novel, Such a Pretty Girl and Verity had ones that were halfway done, hence why their sections were more detailed and held more heart. It was the other two that made that idea seem comparable to eating glass.
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