{ESC} BOOK SEVEN: THE EX FILES

A few months ago, I was walking through Half-Priced Books, and I came across The Ex Files. After reading the back, I decided to buy it for $4. Was it worth that $4? Hard to say…

Here’s what I gathered from the back: Kendall’s husband left her for her sister, Sheridan’s husband left her for another man, Asia’s baby daddy left her for his wife, and Vanessa’s husband committed suicide. Each woman deals with heartbreak in a different way–from depression to revenge. Interesting plot, right?

That’s what I thought! But now it’s over a month later and I’m just now finished.

Part of this is due to it being almost 400 pages long, but part of it, too, is because I actually had to put it down at one point.

It says on the cover that it’s a faith-filled novel, but I didn’t even consider everything that meant. So when I got to the part where two characters are casually talking about how homosexuality is a choice–and a wrong one at that–I was floored. It shouldn’t have come to me as a surprise, especially since one of these characters is a pastor, but I was shocked to be reminded that some people truly believe homosexuality to be a sin.

This along with some of the comments about suicide made me a bit uncomfortable, and when I first set it down, I didn’t pick it back up for three and a half weeks. Part of this is because second semester started and all of a sudden I was really busy, but it was also hard for me to go back to a book that was preaching ideas I just couldn’t get behind.

So that’s part of the reason why I give this book 3 stars. Other than that, the characters were alright, but not ones that I fell in love with. I didn’t really understand Sheridan or Vanessa, so I didn’t connect with them, and by the end of it I was so done with Kendall, I didn’t even want to read the chapters devoted to her.

Then we have Asia. I didn’t mind her, but her morals were pretty questionable. And I don’t want to spoil anything (in case this review for some reason prompts you to read the book for yourself), but what she does it horrifying and awful. I enjoyed watching her character develop, though.

Another sidenote is that some parts were really cheesey. There was one part at the end with Sheridan that actually had me rolling my eyes.

Also, I found a blatant typo, and I always find that to be weird. I mean, didn’t someone read this before it got sent to publishing? How was “reuion” missed? Did the editor just get bored and skip that part to get to the end? Because I’m not sure I blame them.

Well that’s all I’ve got for you. The Ex Files was a bit of a disappointment, but I’m holding out hope for Book #8.

It’s a good one.

Sincerely,

Sammy

18 IMPORTANT THINGS TO LEARN FROM PARISIANS

Dear Reader,

I finished the book How to be Parisian Wherever You Are a few months ago (I actually wrote a blog post about it, as it was the second book I finished for the empty shelf challenge), and I promised a follow up entry. Because it’s just. That. Good.

So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite tips that these four fascinating, Parisienne women gave:

  • Wear a black bra under your white blouse, like two notes on a sheet of music.
  • Don’t follow trends. (Trends follow you.)
  • Go to the theater, to museums, and to concerts as often as possible: it gives you a healthy glow.
  • Make it look easy. Everything you do should seem effortless and graceful.
  • A Parisienne never hires a babysitter who is pretty, always finding the less attractive one to be far more competent.
  • If you believe that tears are a vibrant sign of you vulnerability, think again. Forget the notion that they are heart-wrenching in any way. Crying is not a weapon, it’s little more than noise and needlessly wasted energy.
  • Your look should always leave one thing left undone–the devil is in the details.
  • You don’t have to spend a decade’s worth of salary on your wardrobe, or flaunt designer brands the whole time. All you need is one signature item: the one you wear when you need to feel strong.
  • Never wear you glasses, especially if you’re nearsighted. That way you won’t have to acknowledge people you know. You’ll have that aloof look, the one that seduces men (but annoys women because they see right through you).
  • When meeting someone for the first time, never say, “What a pleasure,” but rather “What a pleasure to meet you.” (You never know what the future might hold).
  • A Parisienne always has a good reason to be sitting on a bench (Like when she wants to read a book and be seen reading a book)
  • She is alarmingly honest and answers “terribly” when asked how she’s doing.
  • Beauty in France is epidermal–nobody cares that much about makeup, it’s what’s underneath that matters.
  • The Parisienne retains her little imperfections, cherishes them even (the gap in her smile or her slightly crooked tooth, her prominent eyebrows or strong nose): these are the signs of a certain strength of character and allow her to feel beautiful without being perfect.
  • It’s her personality that sparkles like nothing else: the signs of intellectual wealth.
  • Age should never be an excuse to go to bed early.
  • Too much cleavage leaves too little to the imagination. It’s like serving dessert before anyone has even touched their appetizer. It tries too hard, shows its hand too quickly, and betrays a certain lack of self-confidence. Like a girl who talks so incessantly there’s nothing left to ask.
  • Be your own knight in shining armor.

And then my favorite sentence in the whole book: She concludes that you can indeed by orphaned by a fantasy and feel abandoned by a perfect stranger.

Sincerely,

Sammy

{ESC} BOOK FIVE: IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY

Dear Reader,

If you’re just skimming or stopping by: yes. That’s all you need to know. Yes to this book. I. Love. This. Book.

The main character, Craig, is having some problems with depression and finds himself in an adult mental hospital after almost killing himself one night. I think this is a very important book for anyone to read, whether they’re in high school, out of it, or even way past it. Mental illnesses aren’t always treated as they should–like actual illnesses–which is kind of ridiculous. With so many people struggling with things like depression and anorexia and OCD, we really need to not be ignorant in this topic area.

It’s now to the point where 1 in 5 Americans (yeah I googled it) suffer from a mental illness, yet many aren’t comfortable getting help or even talking about it. And, like Craig, there’s not always a specific reason for why people become depressed or anorexic or what have you. It’s a chemical imbalance, one that doesn’t necessarily occur because of a traumatic event or an extremely difficult life. Just because Craig has a supportive family and is in a good school and is a smart kid doesn’t mean he’s going to be okay, or take everything the same way everyone else does. It’s okay for him to get help. Just like it’s okay for a person with a broken bone to get help from a hospital, it’s okay for someone with a mental illness to, too.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a beautiful, refreshing, and, yeah, funny story. And this part on the last page (after the story) just made me love the book and Ned Vizzini, himself, so much more:

Ned Vizzini spent five days in adult psychiatric in Methodist Hospital, Park Slope, Brooklyn, 11/29/04 – 12/3/04. 

Ned wrote this 12/10/04 – 1/6/05. 

I’ll definitely be looking into this author some more.

Sincerely,

Sammy