24 Followers
26 Following
SkinnyDippingIntoBooks

Skinny Dipping Into Books

I like the rain. I want to have a spring bookworming rain party full out with wellies—but not those Hunter Boots; absolutely not—, with yummy airy things like puffed pastries, meringues, mini fluffy cheese cakes, mousse dessert, macaroon, biscuits, crepe, and Earl Grey tea, definitely Earl Grey tea.  and Tillandsia. We'd have lots of "air plants". Lots! And We'd read, but not anything structured. We'd bring books, trade books, read out-loud, pass books around between sentences and paragraphs. We'd leave with books we hadn't discovered.

 

I like books like I like my Jazz; euphoric, dangerous, occasionally a bit manic, sorrowful, bleak, raging, mood-incongruent, mournful, unforgivingly ragged, symbolic in a quiet way, warm apple pie for the soul. Give me a Plath style. Yōko Ogawa, M. Roach,


Criteria: Not rated on likability of characters. Not objective. I like Moxie Soda; chances are you don't.


time spent in that before bed reading slot:

5-until blurry eye 4-Later than I intended, but I still kept to my extended, extended reading time 3-I really should have been to bed an hour ago  2-customary 30 minutes. 1-book. side table. eyes closed.


How are common themes handled?

5-With an aesthetic that repurposes everyday themes into something fresh. Think of Hole Celebrity Skin covered by Cat Power  4-there is a comfortable air of familiarly.
3-Deja Vu 2. No deviation from its mates  1. Devastatingly trite, redundant, and stale.

Where would you keep it post-reading?

5-Next to my bed.  4-it's the center piece of my favorite bookshelf 3. On my other favorite bookshelf, but it's a bit dusty over their 2-Great cheap bookends 1-It never made it out of the box marked 'moving'.


Emotional response-

5- Where is my teddy bear? Emotional-hangover 4- If I wasn't so emotionally stunted I'd cry.
3. Did James Cameron co-wrote this? Artfully contrived. 
2- calculative emotional manipulation. This was literally written by James Cameron.1- I…feel…..nothing.

Mechanics (plot structure, voice, presentation, word choice, sentence structure, characters, writing style, pacing, and consistency):

5-Chanel 4-Prada 3-J-Crew 2-Gap 1-Old Navy

Currently reading

The Complete Stories
Flannery O'Connor
I am No One You Know
Joyce Carol Oates
Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls
Alissa Nutting, Alissa Nutting
Something Like a Love Song - Becca Burton
  I could take this review in two different directions. I could be a brutal dickhead or i could give the author some slack because she is all new and green to writing and publishing…. I’ll go with the latter, but that doesn't mean I'm going to be all sun shine out of my ass kind.

Landon and Dylan’s story is one that is tragically part of the fabric of the gay community—and the LGB-etc, but for the purposes of this story… right—, a trend that has steadily increased, and fiction that explores this has significant value.

They met in a college library, by way of a very adorable, blush inducing saga involving procrastination, a morning deadline, and a need for a specific book. It was stupid, pretty much unbelievable, but cute. their relationship blossomed over cheap liquor, a movie, the bravado that spurs from cheap liquor and a movie.... and being two horny guys.

They moved in together, and if it wasn't for the location, a big city and an apartment, you’d most likely see picket-fences, in fact id reckon that this was the urban version of a house w/ a picket-fence, and the annoyingly cute gay couples that live in houses with picket fences.

While the author portrays their area as a very welcoming, accepting location, with a myriad of folk of different distinctions, homophobia always lingers. And, unfortunately, on a beautiful night, slightly chilled and the fellows out for gyros, the two held hands in front of the wrong people, a situation that was further complicated by the two making out in a dark, sinister alleyway. I mean i’ve had… made out in alleyways, but this one seemed like the wrong choice from the start.

An incident occurs, leaving both injured, but more so Landon, and the climb from a crisis event, through the trauma left in its wake, fractured the once perfect couple—and if you ask me a bit too perfect…. a bit too annoyingly perfect. the details we get, which are pretty concrete, don't really illustrate how Dylan could escape by with a shoulder injury, while his love is basically humpty dumptied.

I’ve not read much about brain trauma, but that is exactly the injury sustained by Landon, and the reader is brought through the entire thing; from the ER to the conclusion. And ultimately this is about the resolve and resilience of those around him, as well as he himself. Hope, Loss, Change, FORGIVENESS. It’s about a shit load of forgiveness. Self-hated is all over the place.

Problems fester.

it’s very introspective, very in Dylan’s tortured head. Page after page in his head. Page…. after… fucking… page.

The beginning is all sorts of really fragmented narrative, and the perspective is chunky, going from one character to another, and then back to huge lengths of Dylan’s introspection, daily events, feelings, etc, which lead to a lot of me, “please shut up, now!”. The problem with this, with this sort of wide, uneven focus on one character then being thrust back into Dylan’s head for long expanses of time, is that it screamed newbie author, but also subtracted from the overall impact of Dylan’s personal relationship with the incident, and his growth— in understanding love at a deeper level, as well as his own mental and physical healing—. The narration matured as the novel progressed, and the author did seem to get a better grip on method, yet it still felt terribly disconnected and the changes in POV were abrupt and not as seamless as it should have been.

Secondary characters, especially the mom’s and dad’s, started off fairly strong, with Landon’s being the most neglected, but eventually they faded out, and with Dylan’s mom, a character that was so prominent that their relationship screamed enmeshment, the phenomenon of having her fade out was amazingly awkward. And the neat cleanup to explain the absence of landon’s father was too clean, too perfect, too obviously a throw in.

And the lame older brother, distant and all emotionally not available and the protective sister? all tropes that are so frayed, so over used, that it’s just sad to see them reintroduced here.

A backstory of the incident, and also Landon and Dylan’s relationship as it grew from an awkward tug-of-war with a obscure book (this in itself was just weird), to them moving in with one another, and further into domestic life together, are explored in individual chapters, many of which are only a few pages long, rather than having the information interspersed throughout the novel. Ultimately this too added to a feeling of disjointedness.

For two characters in college and beyond, there was sure a lot of cutesy annoying dialog. I have to say, if I acted like this in front of anyone, even my mom, i would be eventually backhanded (more so by a friend) and asked to go sit in the car until I showed a semblance of maturity. We read references to fights, but rarely encounter them, and the dialog between them was so puke-worthy middle school dating scene.

There were also portions that were derivative, particularly Janessa the nurse/caregiver. Something about her rang too close to ‘Me Before You Lou’. Maybe it was her coolness factor and her bonding with Landon, or maybe it was how critical Landon’s family was over her youth, but something, something had me creating parallels in my mind until i couldn't separate the two.

PTSD, a space widely neglected, and that is a pity, was, when focused on, pretty fucking accurate, sad, salty and gnawing, yet, because it bloomed so close to the mid and end sections of the book, i didn't feel that I got to really experience any of Dylan’s real emotional trauma, which resulted in me feeling disconnected from him, even though he went on and on AND on about how sad and guilty he felt. Yet, the sections on his PTSD were almost pitch perfect, and the scene in the park, with all its tied togetherness with the incident and the triggers (fireworks, smells, etc), albeit a bit trite and textbook, were remarkably strong.

the brain injury part, the details of the progression of it, and the therapies involved, was pretty much perfect and really engrossing, so props for that! total props!!

While there are frankly some very reckless things in this book that the author must shoulder, it isn't terrible in comparison to many of the more seasoned authors, such as the remarkable ethical issues in Bill Konigsberg’s work, or the complete bewilderment of how things could be THIS boring as exemplified by Jeff Adam’s ‘writing’. This is not, by any measure, the worst experience in YA M-M you’ll have, and you can really sense that when she gets her footing, she is going to throw down some pretty good shit. So i would suggest bookmarking her and following up on her future work.