Book Review: Mayhem by Estelle Laure (2020)

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

“This can be really fun if you aren’t a drip about it.”

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Netgalley. Content warning for suicide, addiction, and violence against women, including domestic violence, child abuse, and rape.)

Brayburn lady coming for you
Take your man and curse you, too.
Brayburn lady knows your sins
Reads your mind and kills your friends …

I don’t know how to explain in words the feeling I have now, about how a person’s history affects their standing with themselves camtasia studio 8 kostenlos vollversion downloaden. About how in Taylor my mother and I were peculiar and nonsensical, but here we have the strength of all the Brayburns behind us and it runs like a current under our feet. Makes us stand taller.

Don’t deny evil, Billie. Crush it. That is your duty.

Seventeen-year-old Mayhem Brayburn has always felt like a square peg in a round hole. (I did an ’80s reference!) She and her babe of a mom, Roxy, live in West Texas, home of giant hair, fatty casseroles, and judgey conservative Christians amigos babylon kostenlosen. Mayhem is lonely and “weird” and her only real friend is Roxy.

But it wasn’t always this way: like her mother (and grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother before her), May was born in Santa Maria, California, the land of sun, surf, and endless beach parties. Mayhem is drawn to the water (Taylor is sadly landlocked), is a little bit punk – and her biracial heritage (she’s Brazilian on her father’s side) probably doesn’t endear her to the suburban bleached blondes in her neighborhood.

Roxy up and fled Santa Maria after the (allegedly) accidental death of May’s father, Lucas Machado, when Mayhem was just a toddler. She hopped in the car and drove until they ran out of money, and wound up in a shelter – which is where Mayhem’s now-stepfather found them excel 2010 gratis downloaden. It wasn’t long into the relationship that Taylor’s golden boy Lyle – a pastor, no less – started abusing his wife. He also got her hooked on painkillers and alcohol, and was no doubt thrilled to maintain Roxy’s isolation from her family. (Patterns, people.) When the abuse escalates to Mayhem, Roxy throws May and a bunch of random stuff in the car and books it.

With a little bit of cajoling and a lot of good/bad luck (read: no monies), Mayhem is able to convince Roxy to return to the family home, Brayburn Farm, now run by Roxy’s twin sister, Elle, and Elle’s adopted kids Neve, Jason, and Kidd. Here, Mayhem hopes to find some answers: about what happened to her father, why Roxy cut ties so suddenly and completely, and who she comes from. What she finds is so much more: a home, her people, a purpose kfz werkstatt software kostenlos downloaden. A voice and the power to wield it.

When she gets to Santa Maria, Mayhem is shocked to find that the Brayburns are celebrities of a sort (a really weird sort).

[T]his place was build by Brayburns, and here Brayburns matter. I know because the whole road is named after us and because flowers and ribbons and baskets of fruit sat at the entrance, a gift from the people in town, Roxy said. They leave offerings. She said it like it’s normal to be treated like some kind of low-rent goddess.

It’s clear from the get-go that Elle and the kids are keeping secrets – BIG SECRETS – from her, but it’s hard to concentrate when you’re worried about your stepdad tracking you down and dragging you back to a literal hellhole, kicking and screaming lustige video kostenlos herunterladen. When there’s a serial killer called the Sand Snatcher hunting the Santa Maria beaches – YOUR beaches – for girls who look like you, who could maybe even be you. When your mom is an addict trying to detox after a life spent running from her demons. When she’s maybe trying to escape by having sexy fun times with a dude nicknamed Boner (or, alternately, Officer Biceps). When your soon-to-be-adopted cousin is super hot and sexy and has a mouth made for kissing (I feel like I should be more grossed out by this last than I was, but idk, I shipped it) herunterladen.

Mayhem is billed as “A YA feminist mash up inspired by The Lost Boys and The Craft” – which is accurate but also doesn’t quite cover it. The Lost Boys is 110% accurate, for reasons I’ll dive into later. I can see The Craft for sure, but a better comparison is Mindy McGinnis’s The Female of the Species (possibly my favorite feminist revenge/female serial killer story of all time…not that there are nearly enough to choose from!). It’s a little softer and fuzzier than Female, to be sure, and a lot more magical, but Neve and to a lesser extent May definitely send off some low-key Alex Croft vibes herunterladen.

Elsewhere I saw references to Rory Power’s debut novel Wilder Girls – which is kind of funny-serendipitous, as I read Mayhem immediately after Burn Our Bodies Down, and felt some similarities in the foundations of each story. (Misfit teenage girl lives in Nowhere, USA with only her mom for company. She longs to know more about her extended family, which – as it just so happens – is matriarchal, occupies a supernatural/magical/sentient estate, and is longing for its wayward daughters to return home.) But Mayhem proved infinitely more enjoyable.

Laure’s writing is, in a word, exquisite. As in, the lady knows how to turn a phrase; there are so many quotable bits to be found here. But it’s not all flowery prose; the meat of the tale is delicious and satisfying as well soundcloud downloaden pc. This is a story brimming with ferocity, anger, compassion, and heart. Mayhem is about justice: what it looks like, where we might find it, and who’s responsible for meting it out. It’s about losing your way, and finding it again. About family: that bound by blood, as well as the family we choose for ourselves. About what we owe to each other, and to our truest selves.

Mayhem is set in the ’80s (LOVE!: 1978 baby here), and borrows heavily from The Lost Boys. As in: it’s a massive understatement to say it’s “inspired by” The Lost Boys alte java version downloaden. As in: Laure lifts some elements directly from the source material, including the Frog brothers and a half-naked, pied piper-esque musician clearly based on Tim Cappello. (To be fair, I remember the Frog brothers from the film; Tim Cappello, not so much. It has been more than a decade, though; I half considered a rewatch before calling it a day on this review – but, alas, The Lost Boys is sadly absent from Netflix.)

I should probably be more offended by this than I am; after all, it feels a little closer to plagiarism than homage. And what’s weirder is that the presence of the Frog brothers and the hypersexual musician really don’t further the story, or add to it in any way; Mayhem would be just as rad without those elements windows media player 12 free chip. But the story is just so damn good otherwise!

I’m also not terribly happy by May’s desire to work with the police, rather than outside of them, especially considering these times we live in. The legal system doesn’t take violence against women seriously as it is, and I can’t imagine it was any better in the ’80s. Their track record is even worse with women and girls of color; ditto: sex workers, those with disabilities, LGBTQ folks, etc. The occasional Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer aside, most rapists and abusers get away scot-free. Why should we think that Officer Boner will be any better, especially with all that victim blaming nonsense he pulled on Roxy?

On this note, I was downright incensed that Lyle was allowed to live … but I guess his ultimate punishment was even better. idk, maybe we can segue that scene into another entry in The Crows Have Eyes franchise? Kidding! But I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t already fancast Catherine O’Hara as Billie Brayburn.

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

Book Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers (2018)

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

Serial + The Girls, with a pinch of Vigilante = Sadie

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for violence against women and children, including rape.)

I’m going to kill a man.

I’m going to steal the light from his eyes schöne schriftenen kostenlos. I want to watch it go out. You aren’t supposed to answer violence with more violence but sometimes I think violence is the only answer. It’s no less than he did to Mattie, so it’s no less than he deserves.

I don’t expect it to bring her back. It won’t bring her back.

It’s not about finding peace. There will never be peace.

I’m not under any illusions about how little of me will be left after I do this one thing apps sony TV. But imagine having to live every day knowing the person who killed your sister is breathing the air she can’t, filling his lungs with it, tasting its sweetness. Imagine him knowing the steady weight of the earth under his feet while her body is buried six feet below it.

This is the furthest I’ve been from anything that I know kann man bei amazon prime filme herunterladen.

My eyes burn, and tears slip down my cheeks and I can’t even imagine how pathetic I look. Girl with a busted face, torn-up arm, begging for the opportunity to save other girls. Why do I have to beg for that?

Nineteen-year-old Sadie Hunter has had a pretty effed up life. Born to a young, single mom with multiple addictions (alcohol, cocaine, heroin) and a rotating roster of enabling boyfriends, Sadie grew up in a trailer park in the small, struggling town of Cold Creek, Colorado herunterladen. (Population: eight hundred.) She developed a stutter at a young age, but her mother Claire never sought treatment; consequently, Sadie was bullied, isolated, and shamed for it, for most of her life.

Claire’s own mother, Irene, died of breast cancer when Claire was only nineteen herself; Sadie’s striking physical resemblance to Irene was just one of many reasons why Claire had trouble bonding with her daughter audio von websiteen mac. Younger sister Mattie Southern (she got the matrilineal surname; Sadie did not – telling, that) arrived six years later, and Sadie tried her best to be Mattie’s mother and father. When Claire ran out on her and Mattie, Sadie dropped out of high school to support her family. She was only sixteen.

After two years of limping along, with no small support from May Beth Foster – manager of the trailer park and their deceased grandmother’s best friend – Mattie disappeared ballerspiele kostenlos herunterladen. Her body was found three days later in an apple orchard several miles outside of town. Nine months later, Sadie too goes missing; her car is found thousands of miles away, in a town called Farfield. When the local police write Sadie off as just another runaway, May Beth reaches out to West McCray, journalist and host of the podcast Always Out There, for help herunterladen.

Told in the alternating perspectives of Sadie (as she tracks down her sister’s killer) and West (in the form of his investigative podcast, The Girls, as he retraces Sadie’s steps, now three months cold), we embark on a Serial-type mystery that’s also a biting interrogation of rape culture, class, and misogyny.

I mean, I guess you could shelve Sadie under “mystery,” but it’s so much more than that. In a way, it’s a mystery within a mystery: who killed Mattie, and what happened to Sadie microsoft word kostenlosen vollversion? Sadie already knows the answer to the former, and it’s revealed probably halfway into the story. The bigger question is what became of Sadie when she reached the end of her journey – and this is a blank we readers are left to fill in ourselves. In this way, the ending is a tease, but also a blessing: realistically, Sadie’s fate was likely not a happy one. And yet, by leaving things as she does, Summers allows us to hope, to dream, to retain our faith in a flawed young woman who wanted nothing than to save other girls like herself herunterladen.

Sadie is also stark and uncompromising look at rape culture, much in the vein of All the Rage. Summers’s writing is at once beautiful and cutting; she dissects all manner of sexist tropes and stereotypes, from the Manic Pixie Dream Girl to the idea that men are only truly capable of grasping women’s humanity when they have a daughter of their own to care about and fear for and worry over. (Claire’s confrontation with West? Pure cathartic bliss.)

Sadie, Mattie, Claire, May Beth, Marlee – Summers has populated Sadie with a cast of complex, nuanced women characters gutschein vorlagen kostenlos downloaden. Sadie rather reminds me of a more realistic version of Alex Craft, the protagonist in Mindy McGinnis’s The Female of the Species. (Let’s face it, we can’t all be cold and calculating feminist serial killers.) Her relationships with Mattie, Claire, and May Beth are fascinating in their messiness. I love how Summers challenges our assumptions by allowing various characters to offer their own versions of oft-told stories at the 11th hour, long after our own impressions of them have begun to harden.

If you’ve never read a Courtney Summers book, you owe it to yourself to correct that ASAP. My first was All the Rage (amazing!), and with Sadie she’s fast becoming a favorite author of mine. I wouldn’t quite call Sadie a rape revenge story, but it’s a pretty fine distinction, and if you “enjoy” that subgenre as much as I, Sadie is a good choice on this front too.

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

Book Review: Pointing With Lips, Dana Lone Hill (2014)

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

“Ain’t gotta lie to kick it.”

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free pdf copy of this book for review through Library Thing’s Member Giveaway program herunterladen google. Also, trigger warning for discussions of rape, violence, and drug and alcohol use.)

Born and raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, Dana Lone Hill offers us a glimpse inside “a week in the life of a rez chick” with her debut novel Pointing With Lips application word for free. We meet 32-year-old Sincere Strongheart – “Sis” for short – the titular “rez chick,” just as she’s trying to sell some of her jewelry to the tourists who have flocked to town for the annual Oglala Nation Fair and Rodeo star wars battlefront 2 herunterladen. (“People from all over America and the world are fascinated with us, maybe because we are still here after all the bullshit America put us through.”)

During the course of the week, we follow Sis as she spends time partying with her best friends Boogie and Zona; evading brother George, a cop who’s constantly throwing his siblings in the drunk tank; quits/is fired from her dead-end job at the Great Sioux Shopping Center, the one and only grocery store on the rez; rescues her sister Frieda’s kids from one of her drug-fueled sex parties; and flirts with friend Ricky and border town white guy Mason herunterladen. There’s also the town parade (Planned Parenthood was banned for life when it handed out condoms instead of the more standard, diabetes-inducing candy) and brother Misun’s going-away BBQ, complete with plenty of family drama adobe photoshop elements 2020.

Against this backdrop, we see Sis slowly slide from social drinking into the bottomless pit of alcoholism, which has claimed the hopes, dreams, and lives of so many of her friends and family herunterladen.

(More below the fold…)