tweets for 2018-10-23

October 24th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Quiver by Julia Watts (2018)

October 23rd, 2018 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

You say helpmeet, I say handmaid.

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss. Trigger warning for misogyny, homophobia, and domestic violence.)

Mr. Hazlett’s getting worked up, too. A vein in his forehead bulges disturbingly. “In a Christian home, the man is like God, and his wife is the holy church.”

Dad laughs out loud. Maybe a little too loud. “So you get to be a deity, and she just gets to be a building?”

I don’t know what shocks me more—my grandmother cursing or hearing her say I have the right to choose what to do with my life.

— 4.5 stars —

Liberty Hazlett is the oldest of six children. Well, seven counting the baby on the way. Nine with the two angel babies that died in utero. Each child is named after a Christian virtue: Justice, Patience, Faith, Valor, Charity. They live in rural Tennessee, where father James has his own small business (Hazlett and Sons Pest Control), and mother Becky homeschools them. The kids (the girls in particular) have little contact with the outside world, and their everyday lives are strictly regulated. (For real: they’re allowed ten minutes for a shower, as “it’s not good to stay in the bathroom too long because it leads to temptation”).

Libby and her family are part of the Quiverfull movement: a Christian patriarchy that doesn’t practice any form of birth control, including so-called “natural family planning.” (Think: the Duggars.) Rather, they “trust the Lord” to give them as many children as he desires/thinks they can handle – each of which is to become an arrow in the Lord’s quiver, a Christian soldier in His army, hence the sect’s (read: cult’s) name.

At sixteen years old, Libby is barreling towards marriageable age. This means wedding a virtuous Christian man of her father’s choosing; accepting her husband as the head of the household; and obeying him in all matters, from sex to finances to child rearing…even what opinions she should adopt on any given topic under the Heavens. It also means churning out children like a baby factory, until her body wears out. Only, pray as she might, Libby doesn’t want this life for herself. She knows it’s sinful, but she has two eyes and a fully functioning brain, and she can see the toll it’s taking on her mother.

Zo Forrester and her family – younger brother Owen and parents Jen and Todd – just moved into “the old Dobbins place” next door. Life in Knoxville was wearing them all down, so they traded it in for a simpler existence in the country. Todd traded in his nursing job for one at the department of health, and Jen homeschools the kids and does some weaving on the side.

The Hazletts might define Zo as an uppity young heathen woman, but Zo’s gender identity is more complicated than all that: she’s gender fluid.

Being a lesbian was really important to Hadley, and she wanted me to say I was one, too. But if I said I was a lesbian, I’d be saying I was a 100 percent girl who only liked other 100 percent girls, and I couldn’t say that. Sometimes I feel like a boy in lipstick. Sometimes I feel like a girl with a bulge in her jeans. Sometimes I don’t even feel like I have a gender—that the body that contains my personality is no more significant than the jar that holds the peanut butter. I’m fine with all of this, but Hadley wasn’t.

In contrast to the “tragic queer” narratives that dominate fiction (yes, LGBTQ folks face higher levels of violence across the board, and it’s important to explore this – but we need uplifting, happy stories, too!), the Forresters are incredibly accepting of both their kids. They’re also super-progressive and open-minded, basically the exact opposite of Lord James, so much so that I wish they could retroactively and imaginarily adopt me.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2018-10-22

October 23rd, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-10-21

October 22nd, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-10-20

October 21st, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-10-19

October 20th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Lil’ Donnie Volume 1: Executive Privilege by Mike Norton (2018)

October 19th, 2018 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

449 Days in The Bad Place

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss.)

I will say about Lil’ Donnie Volume 1: Executive Privilege what I say of all humorous/satirical books about 45: it’d be funny if it wasn’t so damned depressing. A collection of the first 125 strips of Mike Norton’s webcomic of the same name, Volume 1 spans the time of Drumpf’s inauguration through April 13, 2018.

Norton’s art is spot-on; somehow he manages to make a revolving door of white men all immediately recognizable and distinct (something not always easily accomplished in comics). My favorites are Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, depicted here as a cursed apple-doll puppet. John Bolton’s ‘stache merging with Drumpf’s comb-over in nuclear ecstasy is a solid runner-up.

Norton’s wit is similarly biting, although I must admit that some of the earliest strips had me scratching my head and consulting ye ole google. With catastrophes breaking on the daily, it’s hard to remember what fresh hell transpired last month, let alone last year.

I look forward to reading the inevitable Toad-inspired strip.

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

tweets for 2018-10-18

October 19th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-10-17

October 18th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @shanedkavanaugh: Alternate headline: Woman who appears to have once baked swastika-shaped cookies to celebrate Hitler's birthday but de… ->
  • The @EBRD’s draft energy strategy looks like it's from 2008 – but it's now 2018. With climate impacts mounting, the… https://t.co/gpct0CFrtz ->
  • Gubernatorial Candidate in Charge of Elections Tossed Out 53,000 Voters #care2 https://t.co/vDoyZZi8WR ->

tweets for 2018-10-16

October 17th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Zenobia by Morten Dürr & Lars Horneman (2018)

October 16th, 2018 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

A powerful piece of activism.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss.)

One day, young Amina’s parents leave her home alone, ostensibly while they travel to the market. This is kind of a Big Deal because they haven’t had much to eat lately. But when they fail to return, Amina must summon the courage of Zenobia – a warrior woman and queen of the Palmyrene Empire, who once ruled over Syria and is now widely considered a national hero – to help her traverse her war-torn homeland and make it to safety.

Zenobia provides a window into the Syrian war and resulting refugee crisis through the eyes of a child. The result is deeply personal and moving. The narration is sparse and the illustrations, simple, sometimes rendered in just two tones of a single color. This allows Amina’s experiences take center stage.

The ending is rather jarring and deeply unsatisfying. I’ve been trying hard to shake the hollow feeling settling deep in my bones since finishing the book several hours ago. But perhaps that’s the point: there is no happy ending, at least not yet. And though I consider Zenobia a powerful piece of activism, it’s hard to imagine that it will soften hearts and change minds in this deeply divided and hateful political landscape.

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

tweets for 2018-10-15

October 16th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-10-14

October 15th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-10-13

October 14th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-10-12

October 13th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: The Book of Onions: Comics to Make You Cry Laughing and Cry Crying by Jake Thompson (2018)

October 12th, 2018 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Embrace It, Jack

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through NetGalley.)

This is not a cookbook, although a book of onion-based delicacies does sound amazing. Rather, The Book of Onions is a collection of strips from the webcomic Jake Likes Onions by by Jake Thompson. Drawn in black and white with a four-panel convention, Thompson’s comics often veer toward the absurd and bizarre, with a wickedly dark sense of humor. They’re a little reminiscent of The Far Side, but more obscene (mostly in a good way). The never did get me crying quite like a fat, juicy onion, but they were good for a chuckle or two, and some of the especially bleak ones just may haunt my nightmares. (Jack, I’m looking at you.)

If you don’t follow Jake on twitter, what are you waiting for?

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

tweets for 2018-10-11

October 12th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Twenty-One Little Ralphie Things

October 11th, 2018 2:00 pm by Kelly Garbato

2012-10-03 - A lazy afternoon with the dogs - 0002

Dear Ralphie,

I know I’m a day late with this, but cut me some slack, okay? It’s been a pretty stressful week/month/year/decade around here. Mags is maybe-probably dying – or at least really struggling – and I have to deal with selling my house, packing up, and moving back to New York when I should be worrying over her 24/7. (Yup, right back where we started!) Anyway, if you think about it, it’s a tiny miracle that I was able to continue the tradition at all this year. I’m sure there are a million other things I oughta be doing right now.

Anyway, you’ve been on my mind lately. I’ve spent no small amount of time in the local auto shop’s waiting room, and the owners have two dachshunds that they bring to work with them! The more curious of the pair kept me company; I rubbed my clothes all over her to keep my doggos jealous and on their toes. It worked as planned with Rennie and Finnick, but Mags really couldn’t have cared less. She knows where she stands. (Right on top of me, if that is her wish.)

I miss you, bud, but I’m also glad you got to go first. These have not been happy times, and you got out while the getting was good. Lucky goose. I still miss you anyway. Shine a little light my way if you can, okay? I mean, assuming part of you is now a star. We could sure use it down here.

Love you. Wish this was more upbeat. Next year, maybe?

Forever yours,

Mom

Sunday Afternoon

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2018-10-10

October 11th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2018-10-09

October 10th, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @alex_cono: This post in my neighborhood FB group is getting absolutely destroyed https://t.co/8i0wAGP0qO ->
  • RT @camanpour: Exclusive: @HillaryClinton says “you cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what y… ->
  • RT @AriBerman: SCOTUS just upheld voter ID law in North Dakota that could disenfranchise thousands of Native voters & cost Heidi Heitkamp h… ->
  • RT @linhtropy: Did you know there's a comic anthology written & edited by Native women?
    Check out Deer Woman: An Anthology!
    Content noti… ->
  • RT @spindlypete: you, foolish: in my country we simply pay for cancer doctors and hospitals collectively
    me, wise: here, for cancer, we sel… ->
  • (More below the fold…)