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Book Review: The Half Life of Molly Pierce, Katrina Leno (2014)

Monday, October 6th, 2014

An Unexpectedly Heartfelt Look at Mental Illness

five out of five stars

(Trigger warning for depression and suicide. Also, this review is of an ARC. Any mistakes are mine and not the author’s or publisher’s.)

Seventeen-year-old Molly Pierce is blacking out. Losing time. Sometimes it’s just a few minutes; other times, hours or even most of a day passes before she comes to. One afternoon, the Massachusetts native was halfway to New York before she woke up behind the wheel of her car.

Though this has been going on for a year, Molly can’t tell anyone: Not her parents, who already walk on eggshells around her as it is; not her sister Hazel or brother Clancy; not her best friends Erie and Luka; not even her psychiatrist Alex. She’s too afraid of what might happen. She’ll be labeled “crazy,” shipped off to a “loony bin,” perhaps. Plus, talking about it? Giving voice to her problems? Makes them real. If she can just pretend to be normal, maybe she will be. Eventually.

(More below the fold…)

Remembering Molly Ivins

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

I will not support Hillary Clinton for president
January 20, 2006

AUSTIN, Texas — I’d like to make it clear to the people who run the Democratic Party that I will not support Hillary Clinton for president.

Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone This is not a Dick Morris election. Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terri Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges.

The recent death of Gene McCarthy reminded me of a lesson I spent a long, long time unlearning, so now I have to re-learn it. It’s about political courage and heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times. There are times a country is so tired of bull that only the truth can provide relief.

If no one in conventional-wisdom politics has the courage to speak up and say what needs to be said, then you go out and find some obscure junior senator from Minnesota with the guts to do it. In 1968, Gene McCarthy was the little boy who said out loud, “Look, the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.” Bobby Kennedy — rough, tough Bobby Kennedy — didn’t do it. Just this quiet man trained by Benedictines who liked to quote poetry.

What kind of courage does it take, for mercy’s sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush’s tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do “whatever it takes” to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

Go read the whole thing here. Tributes abound ’round the internets; try here, and here, and here.

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Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

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Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

2014 Real Book Challenge: August Roundup

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

All nine of my reads this month were “real” books; this puts me at 44 for the year, which means I surpassed my original goal of 39 books. Yay me! Since I already bumped up my total goal to 101, I decided to increase my Real Books goal to an even 50. Still ahead of the game, yo!

 

  • The Fever: A Novel by Megan Abbott (2014); reviewed here
  • The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne (2014); reviewed here
  • Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes (2014); reviewed here
  • The Wraith (Welcome to Christmasland #1-6) by Joe Hill and Charles Paul Wilson III (2014); reviewed here
  • Fault Line by Christa Desir (2013); reviewed here
  • The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks and Caanan White (2014); reviewed here
  • The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno (2014); review coming soon
  • The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi (2014); review coming soon
  • The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander (2014); review coming soon

     

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    Saturday, August 30th, 2014

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    Friday, August 22nd, 2014

    2nd Annual Beat the Heat Readathon: August 11th – September 1st

    Friday, July 25th, 2014

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    Phantasmic Reads and Novel Heartbeat are hosting the 2nd Annual Beat the Heat Readathon from August 11th through September 1st. Basically the idea is to hang out in an air conditioned building – or maybe the beach, if it isn’t too toasty – and read your little heart out. Who cares about the reading on the thermostat when there’s a girl on fire demanding your attention!?!

    You can set the goal – for me, that’s six books – and there will be some min-challenges, too. You have until August 25th to sign up (here!).

    Once 8/11 arrives, you can track my progress on this post. Six books doesn’t sound terribly impressive, but at two a week (and not counting kid’s books or short stories!), I think it’s enough to keep things interesting. At least on my end anyway. (Hey, I’ve already exceeded my goal for the Summer Reading Program, so you never know!)

    Let’s do this thing!

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    Update, 8/31/14: I beat my goal by one book! Yay me!

    2014 Book Blogger Summer Reading Program!

    Sunday, May 4th, 2014

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    When I was a kid, I used to live at the library during the summer months. (Air conditioning and books, what more could a girl want?) One of my favorite childhood memories is participating in the summer book challenges; I’m pretty sure I still have some of the craft projects we made for our assignments. (Book worms, anyone?)

    So I was pretty psyched to see the 2014 Book Blogger Summer Reading Program at Katie’s Book Blog. I don’t know if I officially rank as a “book blogger,” though books are one of the few things I blog about now (also: food and dogs. Again I ask: what more could a girl want?) Either way, I’d like to play along, even if I don’t qualify for the grand prize or anything. Reading is its own reward, yo!

    My goal for the summer – defined here as the beginning of May to the end of August – is 20 books: one per week plus three extras to make things interesting. Since I’m pulling titles randomly from my book jar, I won’t name anything specific; I don’t think this is a requirement anyhow. I’ll keep track of my progress on this page, as well as on Goodreads.

    Four days in, and I’ve already got one book under my belt!

    (More below the fold…)

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    Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

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    Thursday, December 26th, 2013

    Book Review: Runaways, Vol. 1: Pride & Joy, Brian K. Vaughan & Adrian Alphona (2009)

    Monday, November 18th, 2013

    The Kids Are Alright

    five out of five stars

    What would you do if you found out that your parents were evil? Not, like, run of the mill, parents gotta parent evil – putting the entire family on a diet because your younger brother has to make weight for football, for example, or siding with your klepto sister when she steals your favorite pair of shoes and then proceeds to cut you with one of them (both of which happened to yours truly and still burns some twenty years later) – but real life supervillains bent on world domination evil?

    When Alex, Nico, Chase, Gert, Karolina, and Molly witness their parents murder a young woman during their annual get-together, they decide on the most reasonable option: report their “psycho ‘rents” to the police. Only problem is, the LAPD is in The Pride’s pocket – along with the rest of the city. As the sextet sets out to procure concrete evidence of their parents’ wrongdoing, they also embark on an unexpected journey of self-discovery: among their group hide unwitting aliens, mutants, prodigies, and even a prospective time-traveler with her very own pet velociraptor!

    I scooped up the first volume of Runaways for a mere buck at a library book sale; ten pages in, and I was hooked. (Hey, you had me at vegan tempeh fajitas!) Fifteen pages, and I’d already ordered the next nine volumes in the set on eBay. (They can’t get here fast enough!) The characters are both believable and relatively diverse; four of the six protagonists are young women, and two are people of color. A little “chubby,” Gert is a welcome deviation from conventional beauty standards, and Molly’s age (at just eleven years old, she’s several years younger than her teenage cohorts) introduces a whole new set of coming of age issues to explore. (Indeed, one plot point hinges upon the confusion caused by Molly’s changing body, assumed to be the result of her first period.)

    If this first volume is any indication, it also looks as though Runaways will explore such weighty issues as domestic (child) abuse, and the more general problem of reconciling a parent’s evil deeds with their outwardly “good” personae.

    While the general consensus seems to be that the series takes a nosedive somewhere around Volume 9 (bummer!), I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the runaways.

    (This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

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