“Hero” (2013) | Book Review (Sep. 2020)

Chosen Book:

“Hero” (2013) by Rhonda Byrne

Part of “The Secret” series.Β 

Trigger Warnings:



Hero, “the hero’s journey”, maps, guidance, inspiration, compass, advocacy, stories, aspirations, advice, worldwide, global, dreams, belief, how to get there, perseverance, pursuit, visualization, hope, graphic design, art, expectations, potential, encouragement, success, self-worth, self-esteem.

General Layout/Information Delivery:

This book is uniquely defined in a way that I haven’t seen any other book do before. This book follows twelve incredible human beings and their successes in businesses and life and finding meaning in their struggles along with advice for the reader to understand and grapple with, to become inspired and searching for their own dream either locked away or uncovered again from within their soul. The book has this beautiful aged paper look to it and it communicates wisdom and power just by the look of it, let alone the words of hope and help that are bound into it to begin with. Each “hero” is determined by a relating graphic design that appears beside their name as they add in quotes or sharing their own lived experiences about various parts of the “hero’s journey”. The separate but continued parts of the story are comprised of hotly orange, yellow and red landscapes and each chapter has the title at the right with the introduction to the chapter below in text and to the left, the area of the map and title with a red flag to mark where the hero is upon their journey. There are trees, mountains and often bodies of water. It makes for a book interactive and intuitive along with being aesthetically pleasing and inspiring.

I also happened to find the art not too overwhelming or distracting and I really quite appreciated that notion. πŸ™‚


Following the advice and wisdom of every hero’s journey along with Rhonda’s interpretations and spirit through each page and paragraph, comes alive a book about dreams and making them a reality that I have not encountered before in my life. It wasn’t without issues, of course, because at the beginning of this book I felt their notions of optimism and faith to be forced and pretentious in some respects, I found it to be a little annoying and seemed like it was trying too hard to be uplifting and inspiring without putting in the work yet to show me that it was uplifting and inspiring. I’m glad I stuck it out though because eventually I fell in love with the book and I’m grateful to have read it and have the opportunity to properly review it on here. ❀ πŸ™‚

Additionally, “The Secret” is a widely acclaimed international film that made strides and leaps in bounds in hundreds of ways. Although I would have liked some type of explanation to what the film was, what it was about, even just a small blurb about it, we never get that from this book. There is apparently a book about the film out in existence as well as two other books in the series. Personally, this is the FIRST time I’ve ever come across this information so I have purely NO opinion or formulated thought about this series, the books or the film and I would have appreciated some introduction or blurb about anything on the material, but alas, I never received this. It does make me wary and also grateful that I can go forwards into this topic further without preconceived notions or judgments. πŸ™‚

Overall this is a great book to read if you’re looking for inspiration and wisdom and guidance based on other people’s successes and how they made their dreams come alive like never before. The book really doesn’t cover any triggers so it’s safe in that respect, as well! I think a lot of people could get an excellent benefit from this book if they took the time to read it. πŸ™‚

Keep reading this review to check out my thoughts on this book and how I interacted with it as well as some pieces I thought could have been better defined or explored.

Book Length:

227 pages

Recommendation Score:


accomplished dreams

Outstanding Quotes with My Commentary:

  1. “You might think ‘I’ve got time to follow my dreams.’ You don’t have time. Life is short. The current life expectancy is more or less 24,869 days. You do not have time to put off your dreams” — Byrne, 2013, p. 31

I found this quote to be particularly: necessary, anxiety provoking, important, true, crucial and terrifying. :O

2. “Realizing that no one else is going to make your dreams come true is a big step. Your boss, friends, partner, family cannot live your life for you. You are responsible for creating a life that makes you happy and fulfilled” — Byrne, 2013, p. 32

I really felt this quote and it reminds me once again how other people can’t exactly write a story or a fanfic in the same avenue that I am–not to say I’m particularly unique but that the plot, the way it happens, the details there, come from my head and while they can be influenced by my life and others, no one can replicate it in the exact same way that I do. So, if I passed on before I could get everything I wanted out in the world, people left behind could try and piece it together but it would never be quite “me”, you know? No one can live my life for me besides me. No one can make my dreams come true besides me. I have to live and live the way I know how. The rest will come into play later. ❀ πŸ™‚ I definitely find quite a bit of truth and wisdom in this quote.

3. “We can’t take material things with us [when we pass on] because they are not who we are; while they are part of the joy of living on earth, they are not the purpose of our life” — Byrne, 2013, p. 37

I thought this was an incredible, poignant and resounding quote to read. Just, wow. I think a lot of us could use this reminder in our lives. I love the notion of it, and it reminds me of estate sales and yard sales even, because when we do pass on from this world into the next–whatever that may be–none of our personal belongings or ties to this world will go with us, not exactly. Certainly not physical items, some things like relationships will carry on but likely they won’t follow with us exactly. It’s fascinating, really.

4. CONTEXT: On p. 45 Byrne asks the reader to take a moment to listen to their subconsciousness, to find an inkling of an idea of what their dream is and what action step they can take towards completing their dream. She asks questions like ‘What is my purpose in life?’, ‘What am I meant to do?’ and ‘What is my reason for being here?’ She suggests to notice anything that arrives and says that the answer will come (from the Universal Mind) while we’re busy doing something else and try not to judge it or ignore it. Mine? Here:

“I am an inspiration not because I am flawless but because I am flawed.”

5. “It often takes courage to do the thing you love and go against the majority. Resist the temptation to try and please anyone and be true to yourself. It’s not your job to please anybody else, anyway; it’s their job to please themselves and find their own happiness. This is your life and you must follow your own heart” — Byrne, 2013, p. 60

I thought this was such a beautiful paragraph that needed to be seen by everyone’s eyes who reads this review. It’s so true and so well said. Again, it’s a wonderful reminder. We are not responsible for the actions of others or their reactions, only they are. And remember, not everyone is going to like you or approve of you, and that’s okay!! ❀

6. “Believing in yourself doesn’t mean there won’t be moments where you question your ability to achieve your dream….you can only take one step at a time on the Hero’s Journey and one step at a time is all that every successful person took” — Byrne, 2013, p. 74

I felt this was particularly important to note and if the journey at length becomes overwhelming, just break it down into the smaller pieces because everything has smaller pieces and it’ll be easier to carry that load than the entire tree. One log at a time. ❀

7. “The energy you put into the world comes back. In other words, the fruit is in the seed. You can’t sow an apple seed and expect to get an avocado tree. The consequences of your life are sown in what you do and how you behave” — Tom Shadyac p. 118

I really, really liked this and it has inspired me to do more art shares on my social media platforms and get back into doing that because I used to do it a lot before so yeah. Yay, inspiration! If I do it for online like with Twitter I can actually use some hashtags ahaha.

On top of this, the intention isn’t to put good out to get good back rather it’s to feel good about giving out good and being happy and fulfilled in that exercise.

8. “In fact, there are no walls (for your dream); there is only the appearance of walls. There are no dead ends; there is only the appearance of dead ends. Both are actually only detours for the purpose of redirecting you to that greater version of your dream” — Byrne, 2013, p. 141

I thought this was an excellent thing to be reminded of. That sometimes the roadblocks we face in the pursuit of our dreams really are ways the Universe is working for us to see the other side in a different way than what we may have imagined and maybe this new way could be even better and greater for us than what limited view we had from our own perspective (Byrne, paraphrased). It also made me think that I may try and get my memoir compiled and done within one and two years. As well as work towards more of the TEDtalk I’d like to give, my recovery projects, books and artwork. πŸ™‚

9. (Liz Murray) “Every time something got in my way, what if it was just another hurdle? Because a hurdle’s not separate from the track; a hurdle is a part of the track, and it wouldn’t be an indication that I was off my track. When things were in the way that was just part of the course and eventually if I jumped those hurdles enough I would reach my finish line” — p. 163

I really, really, really LOVED this metaphor. So good and so easy to visualize and have such a fresh new perspective on obstacles and adversity in this way. πŸ™‚ I really want to continue checking out Liz’s work trampolined from this book: she’s an author, has a movie about her journey and she’s a motivational speaker, which is really up my alley! Can’t wait to check her out. πŸ˜€

10. “(Liz Murray) [This woman] told me, ‘I can’t do much, but I can do that’ and if everybody on this planet would get that lesson–I can’t do much but I can do that…I learned that you can help other people in small ways that are available to you right this second” — p. 171

I love this!! It’s so profound and such a wonderful glimpse into a person’s life and what they wanted to do to help make a positive impact in the world (or in someone’s world; the woman wanted to do Liz’s laundry). It definitely made me think of the articles I wrote for the paper and one of my friends dealing with homelessness. I hope that she’s okay!! ❀

11. “(Peter Foyo) Some people say, ‘Why do you still work?’ and I say, ‘Because I’m making a difference and I’d like to continue to do that while I’m here.'” — p. 191

Straight up in love with this. What a perfect answer to an interesting question and so deep and profound at that, too!! It’s honestly so beautiful. *_*

12. “(Laird Hamilton) I only wish to figure out how to do more and make a bigger difference, and as I continue in that direction I think I may realize, at the end, that my goal was more to make a difference than it was all the other things” — Byrne, 2013, p. 204

I just thought this was breathtakingly beautiful. I’m not sure if it still is out of context but it was a great juncture to make at this point in the book.

Wandering Thoughts or Ideas I had While Reading:

  • How much do cruel comments about another person’s potential successes or failures wind up making or breaking an individual and what they can go out and do in the world? Can these remarks be unintentionally inspiring? Even if their intention was to hurt and put down–what defines whether a person will rise to the challenge or give in, give up and never try?
  • On the notion that how you were raised or the “circumstances of your beginnings” don’t dictate the life you lead made me wonder how much this is true for cases of trauma? Abuse? Neglect? Having finished the book I suppose it makes sense that one can aspire and become greater than those circumstances and at the same time it may be important to recognize the very reality that some people won’t. But that that power is up to the individual’s choices themselves. (Paraphrased, Byrne, p. 16).
  • I did find it frustrating that I was never told plain and simply what “The Secret” film/book/other books were about or what they even meant. Also, I was reminded early on about “Ashes” by Celine Dion in the film “Deadpool 2” (a film review that I could do very well in setting aside time to address and upload for myself and you all just the same; p. 18). :3
  • On the notion about how your hobbies are clues into what you’re most passionate about, what you make time for and that they can even be avenues for you to explore to make money out of: came the idea and reminder for myself to work on my fanfics synopses and place these and the dates they were created into my memoir. Of course, since then I uncovered a rule about them on FFN that clearly states to not use song lyrics in stories (how I missed that I’ll never truly know) which will be a difficult roadblock for my memoir, but I hope that I’ll figure it out or one day with an editor I can have my uncertainties answered properly. For now, it’d be nice to work on it again, I actually thought of it today, the last day of Sept 2020 but yeah. Haven’t quite made it there yet again but it’s on my mind. ❀ (Reference to paraphrasing: p. 20, Byrne, 2013).
  • From the section on receiving the call to my dream I was able to link and uncover the fact that reading GIAJ got me to make a Disney+ membership, YAWI (you haven’t seen this yet) inspired me to title my memoir “SOAR” and begin to work on it and this book, H, well, I haven’t completed figured it out just yet. But I was approached by someone on Twitter along the same time as I got my memoir title idea that prompted me to think about writing my book so there’s that. I think this book, H, helped to redefine goals and motivation and inspiration and structuring for myself, at least, from what I can remember! I’ll have to see at the very end of this review if there were any other lingering factors. πŸ˜€ Β 
  • At one point of reading this book I thought of Chadwick Boseman and his passing and hoping that he, himself, had led a fulfilling life and was happy. It’s so sad to have lost him. And it was wonderful to have him for a while. ❀ </3
  • Being around books, reading books, ingesting books and watching movies really lights up my world. I’m drawn to books so much even if it’s more difficult these days to read, still I crave them. I find them hard to let go of, too. I also find photography helps me to pass the time by fast… which actually reminds me, I need to do some tracking tonight!! Art in general also serves that function. It’s what I’m most passionate about and I’m really glad I have that as one of my main outlets. In so many mediums, too!! πŸ˜€


  • p. 47 talking about the Universal Mind and asking it for questions or advice reminds me of my Thinking Rock out in my backyard that I would refer to for instructions and guidance to any problem I was having. It was a large oval rock by a beautiful tree and I would feel the coolness of the rock against my clothing and the mossy bits here and there. I’d sit saddling it and close my eyes, looking up at the tree’s leaves, imaging what life was like when the dinosaurs existed and pretending this big rock was a dinosaur egg. Those were good times. πŸ™‚
  • From tips about how to ask for advice or guidance from people who’ve made their own dreams come true I thought of how: 1. getting help and advice from others mattered, 2. getting inspiration from others and 3. immersing myself in reading and writing helps, too. (Particularly in regards to being a published author, of course!)
  • I really want to work some day soon on mind mapping in my planner, setting aside and brainstorming monthly SMART goals in said planner as well as creating a cool and awesome mini vision board in my memoir’s journal πŸ˜€ Hopefully some day soon!!
  • I’ve definitely fallen into the trap of not putting in as much effort and work and time into the things I enjoy yet still expecting to be hitting it big regardless. So, as ofΒ  p. 50 I need to work on this and work on interacting more online and blogging and such and doing more than the stationary level I’ve reached as of the last few years. πŸ˜› I suppose all in due time.
  • I don’t know how much my dreams involve popularity versus community but it’s definitely something I’ve been searching for for a while, once again reminding me I have to put in the effort myself to network and boost myself while also supporting others in their journeys and such. I’d like to do more shout-out posts and things to that nature to help with this. Maybe October will be a good month to start with! (Again though, I need to track tonight and fill in my planner a bit with these goals and ideas!)
  • The idea of navigating and expanding on daily blissful moments reminds me a lot of building mastery in DBT and the pleasant events diary homework assignment. πŸ™‚
  • While I do want to write my own memoir and have that journey be the way it is, I also do want to return to reading other people’s memoirs, I think that’d be nice! πŸ™‚ Get some exposures going again and all. πŸ˜›
  • Opening your subconscious mind to believing in yourself…and you will find that others new or old begin to believe in you too (paraphrased, Byrne, 2013, p. 73). This reminded me of Amaryllis again. :3
  • (About the keys and use of visualization…) I definitely want to practice more of drawing and writing about situations and dreams coming true and going well so I found the information on page 81 to be really helpful! I’d like to do practice scripts and things to that effect. πŸ™‚ More work ahead of myself, for sure! XD I also have an existing idea about what the cover image of my memoir would be. πŸ˜‰
  • One of the successful people talks about a book they only ever read the title of and no other mention of the author but I’m incredibly curious now: “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” ❀
  • There’s a nice few sections on gratitude in this book that I enjoyed. It made me think (p. 104) about my fanfics like D&D, S, ALU and also made me think of someone whose mental health/ED journey I follow online as well as even just practicing gratitude when I’m at work. Which I still need to come up with activities for this week! Eeep! :S
  • I also think I can use gratitude for an old blog post idea I had back in the day and for my current online presence and community (maybe in shambles in some respects) but yeah. :3
  • I also think all this gratitude stuff came to align with a new twice daily journal that I got at Michael’s on clearance which has a prompt about gratitude and such. So, that’s nice. πŸ™‚ Thanks, Universe!
  • On the idea of intuition being a flash of reasoning from the Universe: I need to work on trusting my intuition more at work especially. It is growing and becoming to exist/blooming in my chest.


  • Learn more about humility.
  • As told from Liz Murray’s perspective and how she moved from homelessness into a degree and motivational speaker: “what if that’s the school that lets me in? So I went and that was the school that let me in–that very next school. You never know when you’re about an inch away from your dreams. You have to do it one more time. Even if the one more time didn’t work, then do it one more time” — p. 133 For this, these positive what if’s, reminded me of the first IOOV and even the second IOOV from NAMI presentations I saw about mental health conditions and it always made me aware of this snagging reality that recovery is possible and maybe I could feel happy and fulfilled and live a life with mental health conditions. And, I’m where I’m at now. So, it IS possible!! Having a story and a purpose in that way was so beneficial for me. I’m grateful for that!! πŸ˜€
  • I don’t know if I ever did a proper blog post regarding this thumb/graphic design I made but it talked about how there are no one ways in life, that there are rotaries and side streets that will get you to the same destination in the end regardless. πŸ™‚
  • Life Works Itself Out - No One Ways - THUMB - TT6 - 7.16.19
  • Art Idea Drawing #1 (9/14/20) : Lantern with rainbow light pooling out of it with a dark black background. Watercolors.
  • There exists an interesting comment on page 143 about how dreams evolve and how they will always be greater than you imagined, never smaller. πŸ™‚
  • On the idea that as sensitive beings you’ll always be affected by naysayers but how you react to it is up to you (p. 147): This is exactly right and trolls and insensitive comments will always be there, how you handle it is up to you. Even in fanfics this would arise. It’s the consequence of putting yourself out there. Also reminded me of the lyric from “10 Feet Down” by NF: “it’s not about what you did, it’s what you became from it”
  • On the concept of other people taking your ideas and running with them before you get the chance to… yes, this is why I don’t want to be overly descriptive of some of my more pressing projects like my memoir, SOAR and my own fiction novels, etc. I’d rather keep some things under wraps whereas a few years ago I would have (and planned to) put it all out there. πŸ˜› (By the way, SOAR isn’t the actual name of my memoir’s working title for now either, it’s just the pseudonym I’m using for it. :D)
  • On about p. 159 Byrne discusses how facing adversity and overcoming it gives you a set of strengths that forms your character and changes who you are into something greater than you were before…. This reminded me of an article I wrote during my final semester at uni titled “How I Earned My Degree Despite Adversity”. It was a pretty great article. It also makes me think of these words: ambitious, persistent, perseverance and determination


  • Concept: obstacles prepare the hero with the abilities to handle maintaining our dream when it comes true; without the skills to handle success [the dream] would not last (Byrne, 2013, p. 160). — I felt this was a good reminder even to myself to have more gratitude and patience with creating an online presence and following. ❀
  • I’m still pretty confused because on page 177 one of the hero’s mentions chronic fatigue to a debilitating degree and I’m not sure if they meant in general like tiredness or chronic fatigue syndrome/ME. It was never spelled out. :/
  • Liz Murray has a movie and a book!! I definitely want to check them both out! πŸ˜€ ❀
  • I liked this quote a lot from another hero saying essentially that living her dream is satisfying in respect and that she’s grateful for the fact that her doing what she wanted to do was inspiring to those who look up to her! p. 187 ….. I felt this was relatable even if just for my IOOVs and having hope within the darkness like I try to mention in my story’s script. πŸ™‚
  • Out of nothing, you made something” Gwah! Love that! Byrne, 2013, p. 188
  • A hero is someone who’s made their life about something more than just themselves” — Byrne, 2013, p. 196; Amazing. Once again: interaction, promotion, encouragement. ❀ Bringing back the glory for everyone else to communicate with it, see it and engage with it.
  • I feel like giving back with writing blog posts and reviews and reading books in general is a great way to contribute to the larger good in the world. And my recovery projects and acts of kindness are also ways that make me feel like and inspire me to do more. πŸ™‚ (Not gonna lie, at this point I’m getting very sleepy).
  • There’s a really great quote and experience that Liz Murray shares on page 209 of this book where she talks about how we are the sole authors of our stories and that we can change the way the plot goes at any point in time, that our interpretations make up our lives and it’s up to us to answer why we’re here and who we are. πŸ™‚ This also reminded me of ALU.

At the very end of the book’s hero’s contributors pages (p. 200-227):

  • What’s the difference between a nonprofit organization and a foundation?
  • I wonder if Laird Hamilton ever made his goal for assisting 700k of people with the global water crisis. Also, did they help Flint, Michigan?
  • I would like to also check out Mastin Kipp (The Daily Love)
  • Mastin Kipp has Daily Love published by Hay House Publishing, 2014
  • Liz Murray: Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard; Hyperion, 2010.
  • Rhonda Byrne: The Secret film, The Secret book, The Power, The Magic.

A List of All the Things I Disagreed With:

    • I feel that on p. 25 it’s flawed logic to always look for the good in negative situations because it could be interpreted as dismissive and invalidating while having some kernels of truth locked away inside: that there is that duality in life and that something good can come out of the bad, some strengths can be found in the moments of weakness, etc.
    • Something I really didn’t agree with was on p. 31 where one of the heroes talks about how sitting on the couch moaning about what could have been and not living life by meeting people and traveling to new places was just unnecessary because just because they live their life one way doesn’t mean that’s the way EVERYONE has to live theirs, you know what I mean? It just didn’t sit right with me and really drags people down when you could easily use “I statements” or change the way you’re saying something instead of demeaning an entire population of people. πŸ˜› Again, just because it wasn’t their definition of a life worth living doesn’t mean that they have to drag someone else’s life through the dirt like that. Bleh.
    • Another thing I didn’t agree with at all was this notion that mental health problems occurring throughout the world (p. 58) more these days is because it’s evidence that people are living miserable lives with jobs they were pressured into taking or had the expectation placed on them by others or society to do instead of their dreams. Like, no, that ain’t it chief. You can’t, or shouldn’t, define every case of a mental health condition to that of job dissatisfaction. Like, no, it’s a helluva more complex than that and doesn’t do the topic justice. Grrr. >:[
    • On the idea that people who are living with a pessimistic attitude suck the joy out of life and they suck the energy out of you and they’re miserable…. at what point is this insulting and demeaning to those who have these world views because of trauma or because of living with a mental health condition that clouds their perspective? Hot damn.
    • On the idea that whining, blaming, complaining and criticizing can’t fulfill a person’s dreams and give them happiness….. Whoa, whoa, whoa there. When is critique such a bad thing? When is having critical thought or skepticism or looking at all angles of a situation something so insulting and below a person? Like, not everyone is going to have the same opinion on things and they may tell you about it but what you do with that information is up to you! No one is forcing you to compile, change or do something at all in response to that. Besides, I admire those who can speak of their own opinion when it’s different than the masses. That’s helpful. Unless it’s just hate and is derogatory statements, than no, that’s not helpful/constructive criticism yet painting all criticism as a bad egg is one dimensional and doesn’t allow for enough freedom of speech and exploration of other things that the person in charge may not have realized. Again, saying nay when EVERYONE else is saying only yay, can be courageous too and just as helpful. Again, you don’t have to take their opinion into consideration. I don’t think it’s fair to begrudge and damn all of people’s opinions if they’re not just asspats to your ego. πŸ˜› (p. 92) Critique, at its best, helps to spur on growth not diminish another’s worth.
    • Again the idea continues that a hero cannot ever be self-deprecating, miserable, a negative person could never be a hero, they can’t blame or complain etc. Honestly? That’s just mega judgmental and invalidating. I think having these flaws matters a little more than measuring up to whatever belief this author has about those types of things. I’d still watch if Tony Stark was more ‘negative’. It wouldn’t diminish him in my eyes! Ugh. Ranting and venting doesn’t equate to complaining. Having moments of despair doesn’t equate to being negative or pessimistic. It’s a part of being human. πŸ˜›
    • I really, really, really dislike this dangerous notion that certain feelings are “bad” and shouldn’t be experienced and never are by heroes, etc. Like, no, that’s not it. Emotions simply are and as long as we’re taking a more balanced approach to what our action urges are and what we want to do healthily with those emotions, than it doesn’t need to come down to “should’s and shouldn’ts”. Again, I think eliminating the experience of darker, less fun emotions is dangerous and not it at all. A person can’t exactly control their emotions and trying to suppress them could ignite a whole other flame of problems.
    • Continuing my level of disagreement with this book is what happens on p. 95 under the presumption that a hero is consistently optimistic, predominantly having a positive mind (eh) and the notion that your thoughts and your attitude become your life: 1. Yes, thinking it and believing it are related. Reminds me of that quote “Believe you can or believe you can’t, either way you’re half right” Also though, the idea 2. that your thoughts become your life is hardly the case in situations like MHC’s and OCD for instance. So, um, no. Maybe don’t make sweeping generalities that could be misconstrued and painted false easily by incorporating other perspectives? Or is that too much criticism from me? πŸ˜›

What Kept Me Reading and the Impact this Book Had on Me:

What really drew me to this book was when I found it at a great library by my psychiatrist’s office and I was looking for helpful and inspirational nonfiction books. I saw this cover and read the inside and outer flap and flipped through the pages and really wanted to try it out. I accidentally read it as “The Secret: Hero” rather than just “Hero” up until the point I actually dusted off the book and started reading. I’m glad that I stuck through the parts that made me disagree or exasperated and that I was able to read it pretty well, got pretty into it and got it done in a month. I’m proud of me for that! There is something very satisfying to me to get from page 1 of a book all the way to the end! πŸ˜€

One thing I really did like about this book was within the introduction when it was described by Byrne that the world is comprised of duality: that there is good and there is bad, there is hope and there is hopelessness, there is light and there is dark and it’s about how you perceive and interpret these things that paves ahead the road you’ll walk upon. Also, it’s emphasized that everyone has something great to offer the world and so it’s uplifting in that sense as well as encouraging and good for the soul and one’s self-worth. πŸ™‚ And it’s up to you whether you achieve your dream or not, too.

I think this book has a great quality of being relatable in a lot of ways and sometimes also I found that it focused too much on business only dreams, but I took that in stride with the rest of its enthusiasm, patience, and practice. :3

I also think this book reminded and validated some of the areas of my life that I’m existing in right now, too: like, my work at Amaryllis, which it’s been a year now once a week and for a little while twice a week, is NOT my end goal destination job path. Rather, I want to write and publish books, do public speaking and the like. Those are my real dreams. *_*

Another thing I liked about this book is the way I could relate to it and how it made me think deeply on what I want to accomplish in life and how I might work towards getting there. The way I interacted with my own memoir, the preparation, the incentive and just being reminded that my dreams were possible and I could achieve them just as much as the next person, like the heroes stories in this book was very encouraging and uplifting. It definitely kept me reading more because I wanted to see not only where the book would head and end and how much inspiration and motivation I could even pull from it for myself–something no one else will have exactly in the same way I have. πŸ™‚

On the idea of visualizations, I’d like to practice them going well with things like: IOOVs, work days, my memoir, my TEDtalk, reading and reviews. πŸ˜€

Something else that really inspired me about this book and from this book, really, was Liz Murray’s story and how she got into public speaking and sharing her story of adversity and overcoming it into success and triumph. It’s exactly the type of thing I want to get involved in and I found it particularly inspirational and I’m really, really happy for her!! πŸ˜€

For my own self, I’ve been doing advocacy work since March 2016 so that’s great. I am hoping to line up some of my ventures (interviews) in this avenue onto my blog within the next month. πŸ˜€

So, yes, overall those were ALL my thoughts about this book and the review. I tried to do a few things differently in this work of art so I appreciate you sticking with me until the end and around as I try and compact all of my thoughts, commentary and resounding opinions as I carry on reading books and reviewing them on this blog.

Thank you so much for reading!!! I am adding the final touches to this entry now on the first of October. I hope you all are doing well and I hope to be utilizing my planner very soon to revamp the way I do some blog posts, shout-outs etc. I desperately need a schedule ahaha. Thank you again! xxx ❀ ❀ ❀

Dates I Read this book:

8.30.20, 9.1, 9.8, 9.9, 9.12, 9.14.20.

Dates I Wrote this review:

9/24/2020, 9/30/20, 10/1.

“Grief Is A Journey” (2016) | Book Analysis (Mar-June 2020)

Book Analysis - THUMB - 7.3.19

Edit: Aug 31, 2020; I changed this post from a “book review” to a “book analysis” so the thumb is now different and the rest of the post should reflect this change. This is a LONG post, I had a lot to say and I’ve been procrastinating on it for months. Bleh. It’ll be so satisfactory to end this analysis, publish the post and return the book to the library**. Happy reading!! ❀ xxx
**As it were, I finished all the quotes section and the wandering thoughts section on a time crunch because I wanted to return this book and 4 others (that I never read, yes, I know) to the library today, Sep. 10th 2020 so technically the rest of this analysis is being written without the book in my possession. But it’s still going to feel so GREAT publishing and finishing this after so, so long. πŸ˜€

Chosen Book:

“Grief Is A Journey” (2016) by Dr. Kenneth J. Doka

Trigger Warnings:

Emaciation, skeletal reference; grief; loss; disenfranchised grief; death.


Losing and repairing relationships, legacies, anecdotal scenarios, grief, definitions, checklist, myths vs facts, finding meaning, adversity, triumph, grief is a process, changing relationships, inspiration in some aspects for me reading it at least, reminding the Reader that they are not alone, comfort, informational, a bit dull and boring at times.

General layout/Information Delivery:

I didn’t like at first the way the myths were spoken of and then the later descriptions as to why they were instead false. It seemed a bit redundant to me and didn’t always hold my attention well. To emphasize the myths and how they came about made me see how they seemed rational but then only paragraphs later Doka was dismissing them and that just rubbed me the wrong way and made it confusing. Like I think if the myth was stated and then the focus was emphasized on WHY it was inaccurate and like have it be like: Myth X; Reality Y would have been better, like right from the get-go have it be disproved, would have made more sense to me and would have improved my experience of the book, especially so early on. (For instance, in the way the book is styled itself it shows a Myth, explains all about it, THEN it says the reality and explains all about that at length too. It’s just a little wonky to me.)

Sometimes the general sentence structures would confuse me, too and I found that to be taking me out of the immersion of the story being told and made it really frustrating, too. It wasn’t exactly the cleanest read through I’ve ever had and it really seemed to draaaaag on and on for me and I’d get annoyed with myself multiple times so that I had to read it in little exposures here and there over the course of a few months.

It was a little overwhelming at times however once I did get into it, it wasn’t so bad. It gave me a bunch of inspiration for my fan fics, novel and other things. For that, I am grateful. It is a pretty dull and boring and at times, ironically, lifeless read and I did learn quite a bit from it either way. These factors will come into play in my final recommendation score. Also, it was pretty gender non-inclusive too, only ever referring to people with “he” or “she” so I think it could have been better in that aspect too (“they” is a good option).

The chapters were split up by general myths and facts on grief, what type/style of grieving the Reader may be, each type of loss from: adult siblings, parents, child, then into disenfranchised grief and each topic underneath that. I would have liked for it to go into more detail regarding homicide/suicide and what changes would have been explored in the case of abusive parents passing on, etc. but it never really goes into it. Also, celebrity deaths, it mentions it, but never really dives into it, which is what my expectation was of it, so if you’re looking through in from that lens, this probably isn’t the book for you.

But, before I say anything more, onto the rest of the analysis….


This book carries with it a caring and delicate deliverance of realities and news regarding grief, grieving styles and grieving processes per individuals, circumstances and the relationships involved. Grief is not in stages, as is popularly referred to, rather death and dying is. Grief is more of: a continuum spectrum, where the loss of life or loss of the relationship isn’t the end of the story–instead, grief and loss is about having an unbroken bond with that relationship because the relationship is forever and it remains intact even when death or other circumstances (moving, divorce, separation, ending relations) take away the physical aspects. The loss itself is felt and shared throughout loved ones (family and friends) and even death cannot sever this enormous tie. So thinking otherwise or thinking that grief has an end date is particularly damaging and simplifying the large and intense complexity of the matter to a minor or dismissive state, which helps no one and can disenfranchise some people’s experiences with grief even more than society may already be doing so (suicides, homicides, AIDS deaths etc).

If you’re looking for a book to provide you with examples and information in the form of unrelated, pseudonym based characters, this may be the book for you! This book is rich in information and the necessary replications of repetition that go into handling these emotionally difficult matters. It also has a great source of resources and opening the door towards understanding more about this phenomenon than what I’m used to. I definitely read this book as an insight into grieving, to relate, to understand what I’ll have to deal with at some point in my life and it did get me thinking a lot and even was the reason I signed up for a Disney+ account! :O

While meticulous in some spots, this is a good informational book and a starting point to the topic of grief. Grief and loss will happen to each of us at some point in our lives–objects, people, pets, etc. It’s helpful to know what style of grieving you possess and how to manage that.

If nothing else, it was helpful for me to read about how reading books especially means I can control how much I expose myself to and I definitely used that for this book because it was just heavy and felt like a lot at times. I found that taking those breaks really helped me to come back at the book and attack it. It definitely has its faults and it also has its wins. I’m pretty stickler about finishing a book once it’s started so that definitely came into play here, however, I’m still glad I stuck it out and finished reading. πŸ˜‰

Book Length:

261 pages

Recommendation Score:

2.8/5 losses

Unforgettable Quotes and Comments I’d like to add:

1. “[Grieving] takes you as long as it takes. There are no rules that make one person’s response normal and another’s abnormal” — p. 5

I particularly think this is a nice quote and a fundamental part of the book as a whole. This book explains how there’s no true stages to grief as what is often misconstrued as existing (those are the stages of dying rather than grief), and it really drives home the point that grief and reactions to loss will be different for each person depending on how their relationship was, how the loss or death occurred, how that person has dealt with loss in the past and more. There’s no right or wrong way to deal with grief necessarily, and each process and each loss is different and unique to the individual. There can be circumstances that make it more difficult or engage the person into self-destructive behaviors which Doka encourages seeking professional counseling or group support for as adequately as possible, while reiterating the normalization of grief and that it’s a process we will ALL go through at one point or often multiple points in our life’s journey. Yeah, those are probably the biggest take-aways from this book that I received, which is great.

2. “There is no closure to grief. Grief is not about letting go of past relationships or closing yourself off from them. Even in bereavement, you continue your bond–albeit in a different way” — p. 6

Again, this helps to further reiterate the biggest take-aways from this particular nonfiction book. There is no real getting over part of grief, it can come and go and the emotional reactions can be caused by reminders or certain memories and while there do exist parts of it that can become unhealthy or disordered, it is an ongoing journey that you embark upon differently for each case and each death and there are ways to grow and learn from them as you continue onwards in your own life’s journey. You will find ways to grow in strength, to make peace with what was lost and what never was and so on. You will be able to survive it and you may be able to even thrive despite the nasty repercussions of that painful, painful bereavement. It’s not about moving on but moving through.

3. Be specific in what you can do to help (p. 9) i.e. instead of just saying “I’m here if you need me” or “Let me know if you need anything” mention specific ways you can help, like “If you want, I can pick up someone from the airport; I can bake you a cake; I can call you at X time” etc. Platitudes of generality are nice but if not followed up on or through they’re more like empty words. Plus these nice intentions when not followed through on can be lacking perceived care when it comes to the grieving individual, potentially accruing more pain onto them and their isolation, if they are doing so. It helps to name specifically what you can offer as they try and understand for themselves what they need during this difficult time. This is true as well for those struggling with their mental health conditions and wanting to best support them. Follow-through is HUGE. πŸ™‚

4. “The bad days will come less often, will become less intense, and will not last as long” — p. 13

As we move through grief and the grieving process it will become more manageable and if it doesn’t or the pain spikes again, then there may be other underlying issues beneath the surface that require professional help and support to identify, uncover and manage. This will take time. And again, there’s no real closure in grief, you carry on with the relationship in ways that the other person isn’t physically present to interact with you on but the relationship is still there. That cannot be severed and you have your memories and your feelings and your thoughts to sift through, as well as rituals to remember them by or legacies to unfold or other meaning making ways to celebrate them and grow from the experience.

5. “People we love become part of our own biographies. We cannot really separate ourselves from them. They have left an indelible mark on who we are and how we see ourselves” — p. 15

Again, this is the part of the chapter where Doka goes into labeling myths and then asserting their true realities. The idea that loss is about letting go of people or things or pets is inaccurate as really we still have a connection and a past relationship with them that is just now challenged by the metaphysical world and what our brains can imagine and see. The people we encounter in our lives all have a special place and we are so intrinsically interconnected that leaving them “behind” as you “move on” isn’t really true. You still have them even as you move through the pain of loss. It’s just in a different way. ❀

6. “One task of mourning is deciding how to carry those memories and feelings with you in ways that still allow you to reengage fully in life” — p. 16

Once again, the point driven home is the ongoing relationship regardless if the person is still on this physical plane or not. Part of the grieving process is finding ways to live with it and through it and memorialize the person or perform rituals in their honor or compact your feelings into a visual and significant process that makes the most sense to YOU and what you need, not necessarily what you think other people think you should be doing or acting or behaving. Your process is your process and you have to own it. How you choose to remember this loved one is up to you. Allow people to grieve as they will, unless it’s detrimental or harming themselves or others, of course!

7. “Even in grief, you are not without resources or devoid of any power. In acknowledging your grief and in recognizing that your emotions are normal and natural responses to loss, you can begin to cope with your feelings” — p. 31

I feel, as I’m now returning to this review turned analysis (although arguably it was always going to be an analysis) in August 2020, this particularly hits strongly now with the recent news of Chadwick Boseman’s (Black Panther/MCU) passing. It may actually do me some good to finish commentating on the content of this book not only for you guys who may still be grieving whatever you happen to be losing and for myself as well to come to some terms and baseline with it. It’s sad news indeed. I’m not sure how this year will get worse, but I’m prettttty sure it’s gonna find a way to do so. :/ Maybe it’ll help someone else out there too, if they’re able to read long and hard at my thoughts, ideas and that of this book itself. So, thank youuuu!! ❀

8. “Rituals of affirmation celebrate the life of the person who died and recognize his or her legacy or accomplishments” — p. 33

Relevant for today’s end of August truths. </3 As well as being potentially just as helpful while people are still alive, to appreciate and say that you love them more and more. We never know what someone else is going through by just looking at them, like how we can’t tell their story by their face today, yet we can learn. We can try to grow and get better. It matters to be as kind as possible, and critique constructively where needed. Overall, being kind is worth it. It is.

9. “‘I have come to terms with the death of my daughter… I have not yet come to terms with the loss of everything I believed'” — p. 43

Hot damn. That’s powerful and says a lot!!

10. “Our different ways of grieving may create conflict. Some grieving individuals avoid reminders of their loss, while others seek them. One person may want the home full of photos while another wants to put away all these painful photographs” — p. 46

Grief, however it is felt, thought of and expressed, is never either “right” or “wrong.” Grief just is. Allow yourself as much as you can to feel your emotions and express them towards those you trust. And if you’re still struggling much time later, get help from a professional. It’s okay. The grief will subside somewhat, at least in its frequency and intensity, even though the relationship will always remain intact, just in another way. Sometimes it comes back in smacking waves, sometimes it’s quiet, sometimes it is loud and painfully felt, it all depends on the relationship, when you heard the news, how you heard the news, if it was a singular death or multiple at the same time, what else was going on, if you’ve dealt with other losses before this one, and so forth. Additionally, if it’s been unclear from before this point: Grief/Loss can happen with any one or any object. Loss is still loss. ❀

11. “You are having these [grief] reactions because you lost someone–or something–you loved. You are grieving” — 50.

So be kind to yourself!!! ❀

12. “The intense pain of grief will not be forever, but grief is not something you get over. It is a process that becomes part of a new, meaningful life. Certainly the pangs of pain will continue. But you need to mindful that, over time, it is not helpful to the deceased for you to live in a state of chronic loss” — p. 65

And promises you made to the deceased prior to their dying don’t necessarily have to be something you’re locked into for life. Like, if you swear you’ll never love again, your significant other probably never wants that misery of loneliness for you. If it would make you happy to love again, they’ll be glad that you’re enjoying your life and moving along as steadily as possible even when–and especially when–it hurts.

ALSO: This reminded me of Thor in Endgame and Tony Stark. And my avoidance of all of that. And how fics work. XD I keep wanting to rewatch the MCU movies but I’m getting bogged down in the perfectionistic bubble that I should watch them in order and review them all. Gwah. I do have Disney+ now so that’s a start. I don’t know, I’ll have to work on it and challenge myself. Maybe I’ll watch one or two out of order to just get into it again, you know? We’ll see. I am listening, at the time of writing this part on Aug 31st, to an MCU soundtrack/instrumental music video that’s about an hour long, so I mean, progress! Baby steps, ahaha.

13. “The good memories or life lessons that a person left us create a legacy that lives with–and within–us” — p. 72

A true point. This also reminded me of Luna but in general to other grieving relationships as well. Sometimes, as is mentioned after this quote, the memories of the illness can become more prominent however it is possible to work on bringing the lighter moments back into the forefront. They will always be with us, some even standing the passage of time like through photos or videos. ❀

14. “After all, the greatest legacy your loved one can offer are the memories and life lessons you can take from them as you learn to live without their physical presence” — p. 74

An emotional roller coaster of a quote. </3

15. “Sometimes you may feel you are not getting support when, really, you are asking people for support they cannot offer. It is good to remember that some people are good listeners; others are doers, while still others offer respite–or time off from your grief. Use your support system wisely” — p. 96

I feel that this quote is ESPECIALLY important and critical to keep in mind and is a fabulous take-away from this book if nothing else is. Or at least with newly frame grief experiences alongside it. ❀ I also think it applies well to even physical health and mental health conditions. xxx

16. “You may be giving mixed messages–saying you are all right when you really can use support. You cannot expect people to read your mind and guess your intentions. If you need others’ support, you have to ask for it. Only then can you know if it is available or not….. Sometimes people may offer help so generically–for instance, saying ‘Call me if I can help’–that you really do not know that they are willing to follow through with their offers. If someone offers to help, ask them for something [specific/] tangible” — p. 96

So this is actually two quotes I wanted to get through. For the first: advocate, advocate and advocate. You have to advocate for yourself in your treatment, relationships and life in general. People can’t know how to help you if you don’t ask for what you need. So yeah, that’s HUGE. For the latter: it’s so, so, so important to follow-up after the initial message is sent. I know we get busy and everything and that’s okay and if we really want to be a part of the solution for that person we’re trying to help help themselves, we HAVE to follow-up. If you say you will, follow through! And be specific too. Like the previous quote, ask for what you need and if you’re not sure, try and do some soul searching to come up with some idea, or try out what you think you need and depending on how you feel about receiving it, adjust your expectations from there. Good luck!! ❀

17. “Book services such as the Centering Corporation (centering.org) and Compassion Books (compassionbooks.com) [may be helpful resources]” — p. 97

Just spreading the word on a couple of the good amount of resources mentioned in this book. ❀

18. “While there is an inherent loneliness in your journey with grief, you do not have to journey alone” — p. 101

Just a nice reminder. ❀ There is help, there is support and you have to do a lot of work to manage it. It’s a process. Never-ending, always there. That doesn’t have to always be a bad thing. :3

19. “In other cases, you may overwhelm your support system. Sometimes neediness can drive away other people…You may be expecting too much from those around you” — p. 114

Oops, can relate to what all went down in 2017, my codependency and a friend I tried to reconnect with this summer who wanted nothing to do with me. Whoops. :/

20.Β  “You may never have the opportunity to respond [to an invalidating comment on your grief] but just thinking about what you could have said reaffirms a sense of control and empowers you not to be a victim again” — p. 118

I thought and think this is an important and nice comment to refer to. Sometimes doing role play for the future or the past can be really therapeutic and prevent future issues or at least prepare you in case they happen again and you have a template on how to deal with them. :3 ❀

21. “Acknowledge to yourself that some days may be more difficult than others. Flexibility is important. When you have a rough day, you may not be able to accomplish all that you wished. Other days will be more productive. Be gentle with yourself” — p. 119

This is relatable not just towards grief but to mental health conditions and life itself in general, too. I think this is a very important and critical lesson to be reminded of. We all have bad days, with or without health issues. And it matters to self-validate and remind ourselves (and our loved ones) that sometimes days are off and it’s okay and we can work towards making tomorrow a better one. ❀ πŸ™‚

22. “It is important to remember that there is no single, right way to experience grief. Nor does grief have a timetable. Your experience of grief is what it is and comes from who you are. You cannot compare your loss to the losses of others, or your reactions or responses to those of others. Differing experiences of grief have little to do with how much you loved or cared about your loved one (or thing)” — p. 132

Just a really important thing I wanted to highlight, have you focus on and remind myself of, too. I think lately with my mental health conditions I’ve been struggling with this notion, the whole comparing myself to others and it’s important to notate for myself even in an analysis that those types of depictions aren’t reality and aren’t comparable. It’s also nice to be reminded what grief really is and how it takes its course is how it takes its course. ❀ :3

23. “You do have choices within your grief. You could choose to live your life in perpetual mourning for your child. Or, as difficult it is and may seem right now, you can choose to live a now different life–but to live it fully, keeping alive the memories of your child and lessons that, however long or short your child’s life was, you gleaned from them” — p. 149

Honestly, this is just beautifully stated, worded and conceptualized. ❀ xxx

24. “Family holidays offer an opportunity to name the elephant in the room and to acknowledge that someone who was so much a part of your life and other lives is now missing. It can be as simple as a toast that allows the name to be spoken, stories to be shared, and the cloud of silence to be lifted” — p. 181

I think this is so beautifully and poetically stated. ❀ πŸ™‚

25. “Sometimes you have to have the courage to share with others what you are feeling and to ask for the support you need. This may mean that you educate your community about the meaning of your loss. Sometimes you can be your own best advocate” — p. 195

Vulnerability is a strength. ❀ Advocacy is crucial, even when, and especially when, it’s hard and exhausting and you’re tired of it. You have to tend to your reserves until they’re recharged and use your support network appropriately and as healthily as possible and then go from there! ❀

26. “A loss of functionality tests your sense of self. Your identity is challenged when you lose the ability to do things that were once important to you” — p. 208

I think this can relate especially towards disability as a broad term and also with the cognitive impairment of mental health conditions and also apparently I’ve severely limited my capacity and ability to read books as effectively as I was once able to do. Grrr. Each page and paragraph and book done is a test to the amount of concentration and mental gymnastics I had to uphold to remember what happened, who was involved and all the information I feel abounding my soul because of all the commentary I have to say about it and the experience of reading it as a whole. Phew. That was a lot. πŸ˜›

27. “‘Anything that you have, you can lose; anything you are attached to, you can be separated from; anything you love can be taken away from you. Yet, if you really have nothing to lose, you have nothing‘” — Quote by Richard Kalish p. 211

I thought this was particularly interesting and worthy of being mentioned in this analysis. :3 Blap!

28. “You may even find that your loss generated significant changes that in some way made the world better–creating new laws, or something more local such as a safety rail or traffic light where none had been before. However significant such changes are–in yourself or in society–they do not bring the person back. Yet that is not the choice. The choice is how you deal with the loss you experienced” — p. 254

This important quote is something I referred back to and referenced in my #SummerComer poem entry #4 HERE.

29. “Grief, too, takes time. Sometimes you want to get over it so rapidly that you lack the patience to let the process unfold. You expect to wake up one day and be “better”. You need to give yourself time to grieve, but like watering a plant, you can sometimes test how far along you are in the process. You can experiment by testing yourself as to what you can do” — p. 259

So this final quote is a testament to the idea that we take grief as a moment by moment kind of thing, a process, and some days the thought of doing one little action can feel too insurmountable and so when that happens we know to back off and try again another day. Then, each day we find ourselves getting closer and closer to actually and actively acting on the thought. Like, for me, I’ve been getting closer and closer to watching various MCU movies or working on a journal entry in a guided journal or things like that. Each day and moment I’m getting closer and I’m warming up more and more to the idea, it just hasn’t quite fully happened yet. But I know it will. I know it will. ❀ πŸ™‚

Wandering Thoughts or Ideas I had while reading:

  • p. 7: I used to be really stickler about keeping my artwork and dating it properly and having trouble letting go of it. Nowadays, I still date religiously but I’m also able to give things away and let go of other things that at one point were mine but no longer need to be. I found this a fascinating thing to come into awareness of as I read this book myself. And the way that I related to other parts of the book itself, seeing how I could incorporate certain concepts into my creative writing, how I’ve dealt with loss in the past, what techniques I can try in the future, etc. I still struggle letting go of physical things (pieces of clothing, lists, tracking things) but it is becoming more of a natural pace for me to save some things and share others elsewhere with the world or with those I come into contact with. πŸ™‚
  • p. 24: Here I had the idea that I could incorporate the ideas that whatever we grow attachments to and love can be lost and when those ties are severed we will grieve. I think this could be especially relevant to some of my fanfic stories, including “Severed,” as there is a loss of health in that fic (and honestly most of my stories) where Loki has to come to grips with things he’s unable to do now and grieve that loss, while also building ways he can soothe himself and still carry on forwards. Just a thought I had. πŸ™‚
  • p. 27: Doka explains the physical symptoms that grief can ignite in the human body and this made me think of my fiction novel I wish to write and how I can incorporate some of these symptoms into my story’s main character and sibling relationship. πŸ˜€
  • p. 31: “[Causation guilt, something we did or didn’t do caused the death] We may be fixated that if only we had taken the person to a doctor or recognized a symptom, death could have been avoided” — This is a great inclusion I’d like to make in my fanfic “A Little Unsteady.” ❀
  • p. 34: I really want to focus in on a “Distorted and Disordered” alternate universe spin-off where Loki actually does die from his suicide attempt and how that impacts his family and tears them apart, really. It would be multi-chaptered, focusing on each family member. Thor would be like how he is in Endgame and develop a difficult and harrowing drinking problem. Odin would leave and grieve to himself, pushing everyone away and Frigga would be trying to find meaning and purpose through her life’s work in the nonprofit and probably dedicate something within it to her son. I think I could even explore the side characters/the other Avengers as they react to the death. It’d probably be each character as a chapter, I think. But yeah, this page here discussing anger in grief made me think of this at the time.
  • p. 35: On the topic of constructive ways of channeling anger, it reminded me of how I got started writing in my uni’s newspaper on mental health and my recovery journey. :3
  • p. 35: “Fantasies can be an effective way to cope with anger” — This made me think of my own travels with art and fanfics/writing in general. It makes me think of how I transform my grief. I wonder how many T’Challa related fics there are out on FFN and AO3 right now. Maybe I will look into this. I feel like I don’t know his character well enough to write about him but it would be cool to see like Black Panther and Chadwick meeting on the other side. I know FFN doesn’t allow you to write about real people though, I guess maybe Black Panther leaving behind his family instead? Like his ghost seeing each of his family members one last time as he moves from this plane to the next? I don’t know, it’s an idea, at least. ❀ [AIwFF: 8/31/20]
  • p. 42: Reminded me of the movie “White Noise” (2005) that I watched a summer ago and am still in the middle of a film review notes section on. πŸ˜› I’d have to take it back out again though too. (Which won’t happen until I bring more books back…. Like this one. Sep 20: Now I’ve brought it back but haven’t got out any movies. :3)
  • p. 75: There’s no option within the talk of spirituality for what to use religion/prayer with grief when you happen to be an atheist. D: It’s never explored in the book, either.
  • p. 87: What style out of four is Thor through my fic D&D? (Head grievers are impacted most by the cognitive impairments that arrive from loss) In D&D he’d be fixing Loki’s bed sheets etc. What about in “Lead Me Home, Brother”? Or in Endgame?
  • p. 88: “[Reading books about grief] may appeal to your mind and allow you to “dose” your grief. A book after all can always be put down for a while…. John Gunther’s book Death Be Not Proud
  • So for the above statement: I’m pretty sure I read that book in high school and absolutely LOVED it. Also just in general, I feel the former is very true. When I get frustrated or upset by a book I can take space away from it for a while unlike some other things. I did that a few times with this book (it’s just lengthy, informational and boring. Deathly boring, ironically enough). But yeah this just reminded me of what I was doing with this book itself and researching for my fanfics even. πŸ™‚
  • p. 93: I would like to rewatch “Being Human” (US) version, find “Saving Hope” and watch that too as well as get Disney+ and watch MCU movies. Which, I have had the account for for the past few months (D+) and it was actually reading this book that brought that into existence, so, thank youuuu, book! ❀ I have seen a couple MCU movies on TV at least, so that’s some re-watching. πŸ˜›
  • p. 117: Estate and yard sales are pretty cool. I got a few books and a couple paintings and such from an estate sale my Mom and I went to a couple years back. So that’s nice. :3 (About re-purposing items left behind from loved ones for other people to cherish and enjoy. πŸ™‚ )
  • p. 130: In my AU spinoff from D&D where Loki does die in his suicide attempt, Frigga would find some relief in the notion that he wouldn’t be in pain anymore and that even though that painlessness meant he was taken from her too soon, it would also comfort her in the smallest of ways. Odin would leave them and Thor would, as I mentioned earlier, would dabble into alcoholism to bury his own pain. 😦
  • p. 132: [Parents having lost a child can sometimes reach a state of renewal where…] “They choose to move forward, to live a meaningful life despite the loss. They find a meaning that makes their lives a tribute to their child”
  • Commentary on this quote: I really liked this and again I think it conveys a sense of pain and rebirth to a very tragic and unfortunate situation.
  • p. 132: Yes, your memories of your child (or any other loved one) will always be with you…unless you die or you get dementia of some kind. :S
  • p. 144: I was raised in a Christian household but in my teens I turned more towards atheism. I don’t know exactly what I believe now, maybe agnostic, but I do like to think of “god” as the Universe. That is comforting to me. Also, ironically, for someone who didn’t believe in an afterlife, I wrote and still write a LOT about it ahaha. This ‘rebuilding faith’ section made me think of this and reminded me of my plot for my fiction novel. ❀
  • p. 144 cont: For that novel, I’ll list out a couple of themes mainly for myself to remember and jot down into the future (and which probably will make no sense to you ahaha) – RxR, breakdown, remembers decisions to stay after 1/2 through, afterlife. ❀
  • p. 147: Again for that D&D AU of which I don’t yet have a title for: Focusing each chapter on the immediate family, then to the Avengers as would have been friends and then other characters as the people Loki had yet to meet and how his absence impacted and changed them. ❀ :3
  • p. 148: “Your child’s death will affect not only your spouse and children but also other relatives and friends. Your parents have lost a grandchild, your siblings grieve the death of a niece or nephew. Neighbors, coaches, teachers and friends all experience that loss. Their own ways of dealing with that loss may influence their own abilities to offer support” –> This is exactly why I want to do that additional AU fanfic where this is explored properly and fully. I hadn’t even thought of the further ramifications and how plenty of other people would be impacted by Loki’s suicide. So, yeah, super important! If only I could actually do some D&D writing for what’s happening now and then come up with a title and start working on it. I have a title for the AU where he gets help instead of attempting first, too (“Failure to Pass A Psychiatric Evaluation”.)
  • p. 168: “As parents age, we realize that they are not the awesome or awful powerful figures we once imagined them to be” –> This also, once again, reminded me of the relationship between Loki and Odin (both in D&D and in general). 😦
  • “(Your parents’ deaths reminds you…) of a central truth. Your parents left their mark on you–left you legacies and perhaps liabilities–not only in their lives but also in their deaths” — p. 169 I thought this was particularly poignant and necessary to be brought into the discussion of this book analysis. :B
  • p. 176: The name isn’t said here but I do like for one of my future characters somewhere to be named “Nardia”.
  • p. 205: “Experts recommend open and ongoing communication between adoptees and adoptive parents to allow information, thoughts, and feelings to be acknowledged and processed. This is unlikely to be a “one time tell all” but rather an ongoing process” –> This reminds me of the Thor movies where Odin pretty much did a one time tell all and how it’s referenced in the movies thereafter. Also makes me think of my sequel for D&D. :3 BUAHAHAH
  • QUESTION: p. 207: (How visiting within the prison system can be humiliating for the search of property and person) Can psych hospital admissions be grief provoking? And related, can you grieve what no longer is (like for me it’s been 2.5 years hospital free, can I grieve times I was in the hospital or times I’m not in it now? Like, mainly for “free” meals or meeting friends etc. I don’t know, it’s an interesting thought. :3
  • QUESTION: p. 218: Does a positivity bias [“in those with intellectual disabilities they may have positive bias where they have a sunny disposition that masks their deep sense of loss”] exist in other realms and contexts too? Because I think I can be like that sometimes too because of my optimism and positivity and kindness whereas it’s there because I’ve been through pain, you know? I thought this was interesting and I was curious about it. :3
  • p. 257: Exercise on life imprints by asking how a person we’ve lost affected our mannerisms, way of communicating/speaking, hobbies and pastimes, basic personality and values/beliefs can be like sea shells making indents in the sand–we can have imprints from people’s legacies placed on us, liabilities from them, and just imprints in general. This could be a good group activity for my work at Amaryllis. I may need to flesh it out more or research a bit more but it could be excellent. ❀
  • p. 258: Strengths group for work as an art activity. What strengths have gotten me through hard times before and what can they do for me now etc.

What Kept Me Reading, How I Read it & The Impact of It All on Me:

There are sweet moments within this book that made me cry, smile and laugh. Ahaha. Also I have rules for myself and while I can change them, I just don’t yet. (Like if I start a book I have to finish it. If I read or consume something (books/movies), I have to review them, etc.)

Overall, what kept me going was that I was closer and closer to finishing it. I knew that I had to get through it to get to all the other books I really, really do want to read so that helped. I found that putting on perfume or lotion helped too, ambient music like train sounds on Alexa and Calm app scenes like the mystic water fountain, sunset on the ocean, gleaming sunshine, etc. Even just reading on my bed or curled up on the floor. Definitely having a view of the stack of books helped, too.

So yeah, once I was reading it I wanted and knew I’d be in it for the long haul. I’m so glad and relieved I’m almost completely finishing off this post and everything about it. I’m excited for my next review or analysis. I think this book overall served a great purpose for me and that’s reflected in its score as well as the fact that I made this review and stuck with it, regardless of all the procrastination involved and finally it is done and I can wipe my hands clean.

I’d say it made an impact on me and definitely got me thinking and trying to find ways to relate it to my stories and everything, so that was really nice!

Lastly, thank you so, so, soooo much for reading!!! Leave me your thoughts down below and if you have a post you’d like me to read and review, leave it down there, too! ❀ ❀ ❀

As always: stay safe, take care and be well. Much love and light to you. xxx

Dates I read this book:

3/23/2020, 4/8, 4/23, 4/24, 4/26, 5/16, 5/18, 5/19, 5/27, 5/29, 6/11, 6/12, 6/15.

Dates I wrote this review:

6/15/2020, 8/31/20, 9/1, 9/10/2020.

“Sea Glass Island” (2013) | Book Review (2018) & Sherryl Woods Appreciation Post

Book Review THUMB

Chosen Book:

“Sea Glass Island” (2013) by Sherryl Woods

An Ocean Breeze Novel; Book 3 of 3.

Trigger Warnings:

PTSD (brief), substance use (alcohol), brief reference to suicide.


Romance, meaning (life), purpose, acting, long lost love, forgiveness, faith, taking a chance, happiness, opening one’s mind and soul, letting go, dreams, work, dating, war heroism, second chances, hope, overcoming, new pursuits, southern state, meddling sisters (for the good overall), betrayal, disability, medicine (as a practice).


This is the final part of a trilogy of romantic relationships at the hub of the story in which Samantha Castle finds love with a football player turned war hero named Ethan Cole. The story follows Samantha and Ethan and their growing love interest while the other two Castle sisters set weddings in order with their own romantic partners (as described in the first two novels).

Along the way, Samantha gets Ethan to take another look at happy endings and true love and to set his heart on the line to engage in a romance that could become life changing for the two of them. Samantha also leaves behind old acting dreams to pursue a new future. Based in North Carolina, this book offers love, dreams, hopes and insight on taking upon pursuits once foreign and daunting and making something beautiful, meaningful and life changing out of overcoming that fear. ❀

Recommendation Score:

5/5 Romantic Relationships

**Disclaimer: I hand wrote this review two years ago and will only trim down and somewhat edit it (so as to keep it shorter and more readable) to best portray my thoughts on this novel and my intense love and admiration of Sherryl Woods’ work as I gravitate towards her novels ever since I read this book in the last hospitalization I was in. I hope that you are able to enjoy the shine and the glitter of this review. Thank you, even years later. <3**

Striking Quotes:

1. “(Emily [sister]) ‘Why? Not everything is up to you to fix. If Samantha wanted help, she could have said something. That’s her way, though. She just suffers in silence, then resents it when nobody jumps in to save the day'” — Woods, (2013), p. 16

My Thoughts (18): This portion of the conversation jumped out to me as noteworthy regarding Emily’s stance in her sisterhood with Samantha and Gabi as well as relevant to my newest mode in my recovery journey. It was something that stuck out in my mind.

MT (20): I think it’s just a super relatable mental health theme, that we sometimes expect others to be there for us to help rescue us, forgetting that WE are the ones who have to put in the work, time and effort to be our OWN superheroes. It’s definitely possible and when we’re highly symptomatic it feels impossible and out of this world. We have to keep chipping away at our brain’s lies though, and we’ll do that best by talking openly and being there for one another. That is all. πŸ™‚ ❀ (And of course, that’s not to say that asking for help is easy, either!! It’s incredible hard and it’s also possible. Keep reaching out til someone hears you!!!)

2. “(Greg, Ethan’s friend, speaking): ‘But the woman’s (Lisa, E’s ex) still in your head. I’ve seen you show a spark of interest in someone new a time or two, and then in a flash I can almost see the wheels in your head turning and that tape of her dumping you playing again. I think that’s what I hate her for the most, not that she left, but that she ripped your soul to shreds in the process'” — Woods, 2013, p. 35

MT (20): I think this really sets up the issues that Ethan has with love and the betrayal that happened to his mind and heart after he got injured in the war and came back not himself. Lisa was a biiiiitch. And I’m glad he clicked with Samantha and gave her a chance and they fell in love and got through the hardships together!! Such a great story arc/redemption πŸ™‚

3. “And Ethan, who’d once caught (Samantha’s) attention with his charm, good looks and football prowess, was courageous. She had no doubts about that. Even in this morning’s brief encounter, she’d realized the kind of strength it must have taken for him not only to survive his (war) injury, but to move forward, to not accept limitations. In her view, that made him someone to be admired” — Woods, 2013, p. 41

MT 18: I thought this was just something to think about and keep in my mind. :3 Which one do you think you are for having survived and have worked on thriving through your own struggles?

4. “Samantha barely contained a sigh of envy at the conviction she heard in (Boone’s, her sister’s husband) voice. Boone sounded the same way when he talked about Emily. Was she ever going to find the same sort of devotion? Would anyone ever look at her as if she were the sun, the moon and stars all rolled into one?” — Woods, 2013, p. 58

MT 20: This is a beautiful depiction of some of the writing held within this book. ❀ I wonder if Woods has ever written same sex couples? It’d be amazing if she has.

5. “(E, saying things are all in black and white) S: ‘Oh, sweetie, there is an awful lot of gray in the world. Believe me, you’ll figure that out eventually'” — Woods, 2013, p. 61

MT 20: Beautifully said. And so, so, very, very true. ❀

6. “E: ‘ Can you identify with what [kids with disabilities are] experiencing?’ S: ‘No, that doesn’t mean I can’t feel compassion for any of you'” — Woods, 2013, p. 105

MT 18/20: Empathy exists, too. ❀ ❀ ❀

7. “(I believe this is Samantha’s father telling her): ‘The time to quit anything is when you no longer feel the same passion for it. There are people who work because they know they need the money, and there are people whose very soul depends on doing the kind of work they’ve chosen'” — Woods, 2013, p. 174


8. “‘(S): They key to living a good life, I think, is to wind up with more good days than bad ones. And you know what? I really do believe we have some control over that'” — Woods, 2013, p. 220

MT 18: Maybe the biggest takeaway from this book with all its romances and positivities. Makes me ponder on my own set of good days and the choices I have to make in my life as well as some part of the way to get there. It skirts on the edge of finality yet there’s a form of acceptance in that. πŸ™‚ (Maybe this too inspired me to do accomplishments of the day. :))

9. “Overnight one thought had echoed again and again–that the only way to grab the future she wanted was to stay here in Sand Castle Bay and fight for it. That meant letting go of New York and everything it had once represented. She needed to wholeheartedly embrace a new plan for her life, then throw herself into it with total passion” — Woods, 2013, p. 247

MT 18: Life is a bunch of series of knowing when to stay put and fight and when to let go and dream.

10. “‘Being here will only limit you as much as you allow it to'” — Woods, 2013, p. 251

11. “(Samantha’s father): ‘Let it be a lesson to you, Samantha. Life is short. I always thought there’d be time to do the things your mother wanted to do some time down the road. There wasn’t'” — Woods, 2013, p. 266

MT 18: I don’t know if the previous two books touched on how their Mom passed away but this quote is morbid and all too real. ❀

12. “Flowers were everywhere, a mix of white roses and blue hydrangeas. Small arrangements of the same flowers served as center pieces, set on periwinkle-blue tablecloths. Candles were ready to be lit as soon as dusk fell. Twinkling white lights in the shrubbery and trees would add a fairy tale element as guests danced under the stars” — Woods, 2013, p. 271

13. “(S) ‘You aren’t the same man, though. You’re a thousand times better. You’re courageous and brave. You’ve overcome a serious injury that could have destroyed you.’ E: ‘I haven’t overcome anything that thousands of other soldiers haven’t had to face.’ S: ‘And you’re all heroes, Ethan. You’re worth more than a hundred self involved, shallow women like Lisa'” — Woods, 2013, p. 279

MT 20: This makes me wonder how many mental health warriors there are out in the world and it reminds me that I’m not alone. Also, it’s important to think about what sets you apart from everyone else who has gone through similar circumstances. This can be a fun thing to play around with in terms of identity, passion and inspiration. πŸ™‚ ❀

14.Β  “Now all Cora Jane could do was sit back and pray that Samantha would find her way through the pain she was experiencing right this second and focus on the bright possibilities ahead” — Woods, 2013, p. 343

MT 18: This quote really stood out with me and resonates as something those around me likely feel. I’m starting to grow a view of the future beyond May or June. πŸ™‚

15. “Samantha had to think about this, determine how badly she wanted it. Was it enough to fight for it? Samantha: ‘I don’t know if I want to go forward.’ This whole incident had shaken her more than she’d realized. Sophia: ‘Of course you’re going forward. Backward is never a good option in life'” — Woods, 2013, p. 350

MT 18: A plight in my recovery that is timeless. ❀

Even in 2020. ❀

For A Moment to Fangirl over Sherryl Woods’ creations:

I love Sherryl Woods since this book, although I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t think I’ve successfully managed to read another one of her novels since then (I stopped reading for a while; unrelated) but I’ve taken out her books and bought others relentlessly since. I just love her positivity, her descriptions, her characters, her tone, her meaningful prose, her life changing reads (even if it was only the one so far). I just love HER. She’s an excellent author in a genre I don’t normally read very much at all. And she gave my life the calm and ability to think of the future possibilities ahead of me during a time where I was struggling to get through the next hour. So, for that, I owe her writing so much of what I’ve accomplished today. She may never know how deeply affected my stumbling upon her work in a psychiatric hospitalization was for me but it truly helped to spark change, hope and renewal within me. I felt so inspired after I read the story and could really better imagine a future for myself, if her books existed. I’m ever so grateful that that future DOES exist. ❀ I hope that this very long review helps to best depict that, too. I was drawn by the beauty of the cover and I’m so, so, so glad I was able to be. And yes, I totes stole like 5 or 6 other books from that hospital too, ahaha. I also haven’t read any of those… XD I have a bit of a book problem, if it’s not obvious yet. Thank you so much for reading. ❀ ❀ ❀ (And go check out Sherryl Woods novels!!)

Notes/Reminders/Less Significant Quotes:

    • “(Greg, Ethan’s friend, speaking): ‘But the woman’s (Lisa, E’s ex) still in your head. I’ve seen you show a spark of interest in someone new a time or two, and then in a flash I can almost see the wheels in your head turning and that tape of her dumping you playing again. I think that’s what I hate her for the most, not that she left, but that she ripped your soul to shreds in the process'” — Woods, 2013, p. 35

      MT (20): I think this really sets up the issues that Ethan has with love and the betrayal that happened to his mind and heart after he got injured in the war and came back not himself. Lisa was a biiiiitch. And I’m glad he clicked with Samantha and gave her a chance and they fell in love and got through the hardships together!! Such a great story arc/redemption πŸ™‚

    • “Even as the offer came out of his mouth, he was mentally kicking himself for making it. Spending any more time with this woman than absolutely necessary was probably emotional suicide” — Woods, 2013, p. 33

      MT (18): This is something that probably rubbed me the wrong way but luckily it didn’t cause me to give up and drop the book, rather I gave it another chance and I’m glad I did.

      MT (20): You could probably say I was bristled reading this line and it made me feel a lot of feelings because I was emotionally vulnerable at the time. Now, it’s definitely not my most FAVORITE thing, but I can shrug it off a bit better and not take it to heart as much. ❀ Yay, growth!!

    • MT 18: A quote that’s not super applicable for this review involved me just wondering in contemplation whether books were meant to be physically owned or returned? And, which of the two was the deciding factor? How do we know when a novel isn’t for us and when it could have a life altering secret to it?

      MT 20: When is it okay to quit mid-way through and can you, realistically, do so if you’ve already become invested in the characters? Could you live with not knowing how it ends?

      I don’t know these answers, honestly. It seems utterly absurd to me to not finish a book after I started to read it, no matter how terrible it is. Maybe this would be good for me to challenge in the future. :3

    • “(Greg) ‘Like I said, (Samantha) was out of my league. And I had enough issues living in the shadow of your popularity without risking rejection by one of your adoring fans'” — Woods, 2013, p. 36

      MT 18: This reminds me of Loki telling Thor in the MCU that Loki always had to live in “the shade of your greatness” and it’s a small insight of acknowledgement for my fanfic D&D, a high school AU.

      MT 20: Hehehe, sponsoring my fanfics even years ago!! But yeah, that’s definitely what it reminds me of, the quote, even today. Hehe. God, I love the MCU. ❀

    • I like to live my life with declarations of gratitude because you never know when someone is going to need to hear that confession, that support, that positivity. ❀ πŸ™‚
    • How do people/writers understand consciously such subtle clues of socializing and deeper emotional connection (that being body language)? (Depicting small movements, facial cues, emotional expressions etc.)
    • CONCEPT: good actors are supposed to be capable of engaging an audience to make them forget all about reality (Woods, 2013, p.115). MT 18: I love these characters and can really get behind their message and see through their eyes their thoughts and I wonder if I’ll ever look at actors the same way again. πŸ˜€
    • Reference to the title of this book is made on p. 122. MT 18: Shots fired!! I love how Sea Glass Island was described and the GORGEOUS photo for the cover of the book was used. It’s a way of describing that I could include in my own fanfics and stories. It’s also dawned on me at this point that my own experiences and the quotes I use to highlight these contents reflect my own thoughts and interpretations and may not necessarily be the same for someone else who comes by them because of the background of THEIR own experiences. Thought that was neat!!
    • Balance theme for juggling work, a social life, family/friends/support and hobbies and health, and chores. ❀
    • (Cora Jane to S): “‘Just keep in mind how much you love this man and how much he loves you. Do that and everything will turn out all right'” — Woods, 2013, p. 159 MT 20: This is the hope and romance every grandma could produce into the world and it’s so beautiful and true that I had to include it because reasons. ❀ ❀ ❀ Sherryl Woods’ novels are a perfect amount of hope and light when I pick out serial killer novels and nonfiction streams of words, ahaha.

    • “Maybe when someone loved deeply and lost, they never got over it. In the case of Ethan–a man with so much to offer–going through life alone would be a real tragedy” — Woods, 2013, p. 169 MT 20: A less significant quote but something I wanted to include all the same. :3
    • On page 171 I was reminded from a discussion of accommodation in relationships of a good example of love between Thor and Loki in my Severed fanfic. πŸ™‚
    • CONCEPT: This is a novel about love and happiness and at the same time it touches briefly on loss and grief yet the story is not central to it. It’s okay to have happy endings. Life is more than just the finality of death. Dare to explore and expand your world view and you’ll see brighter stars than ever before. ❀
    • Reminder that I wanted to organize my fanfics and my own dreams and ideas. πŸ™‚
    • Idea: One of the characters talks about being somebody else for a while (acting) and this made me wonder in what ways I could try that myself–writing is one way and other forms of art are too (reading especially). I wondered, too, if I could act. It’d be interesting. ❀
    • Question: How do us writers know when to keep writing and when to stop? What’s the understanding behind that? How are chapters and length of books decided? What’s the longest book out there?
    • It’s important to tell those you care about that you appreciate them and you recognize their strengths and when they’re trying their best. ❀
    • (On a behavior/viewpoint that’s outlived its usefulness) MT 18: It’s interesting how behaviors/thoughts serve us a purpose for a while and then are no longer needed or necessary.
    • CONCEPT: I used to really despise changes when I was younger but now I think that I’m a bit more flexible. Sometimes we fight changes and sometimes it’s nearly inevitable that we find ourselves capable of slouching back and relaxing into the process. Don’t fight your growth. You are worth it.
    • IDEA: I wonder how many authors and writers that have been published will accept questions or letters from readers about how they are aspiring writers and what ways they can best navigate the process. Yeah… πŸ™‚
    • Related Reminder: I could totally write a book and I really look forward to really setting aside time to work on this goal of mine. I really, really should soon. ❀ I have better ideas as to what they’d be about now, in 2020. πŸ™‚

Original days worked on this review (handwritten notes):

2/15/2018, 2/16, 2/17/18.

Days typing this post:

4/2/2020, 4/3, 4/5, 4/6

Ending note:

Hi again. I hope that this post was interesting, you found some inspiration from it, you read it because it took me forever and a lot of re-formatting to figure out again and that it’s something you can come back to in the future. πŸ™‚ I have TONS of old book reviews and now film reviews to upload for you guys. My next two posts involve: revisiting recovery and music with 3 new songs and a coming out blog post. After this, I will work on some other old reviews and hopefully by next week I’ll have a new book read from this year under my belt. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much!!! I’m off to eat and shower and write, hopefully, some fanfic. πŸ™‚ ❀  ❀ ❀ xxx

PS If there’s any glaring typos or misspellings, let me know! I don’t have the heart to fully scan through this post lmao

“The Friends We Keep” (2019) | Book Review (Feb-March 2020)

Book Review THUMB

Chosen Book:

“The Friends We Keep” (2019) by Jane Green

Trigger Warnings:

Substance use (particularly alcohol, diet pills, cocaine), addictions, domestic violence, eating disorders (details, behaviors, thoughts, feelings, almost like a “how-to”, competitiveness), abuse, toxic relationships, verbal abuse, abortion (p. 105), sex (p. 95), depression, mental health, glorification, childhood sexual abuse, character death, trauma, PTSD, sexual assault mentioned in passing, pedophilia comment (said without any basis in fact, i.e. used as an insult against a main character), bar tending, gas-lighting, stigma, anorexia with bulimic tendencies (p. 80), dementia.


Betrayal, families, friendships, grief, closure, moving, gay relationships, university, adults, growth, lies, deceit, deception, shame, hiding, secrets, recovery, modeling, entertainment industry, acting, happy masks, culture, 1980s-2019 timeline, author, book sub-plot, marriage, relationships, sexuality, body language, putting people on pedestals, perfection vs struggling behind closed doors.


This story follows three main friends, Evvie, Topher and Maggie, from university in the 1980’s to their time drifting apart over the years and then slamming them together again in their fifties in 2019. They become strong and unique friends in college in England until they go separate ways after graduating. Evvie is struggling with an eating disorder that no one knows about; Topher is dealing with trauma from his childhood and being switched off from exploring his homosexuality and intimate relationships (although he is able to sustain a few romantic-like relationships over the years); and Maggie has married Ben, her love at first sight from college, not knowing that his alcoholism would take their future together into a nosedive to only be left as a fantasy.

This book is heavy in terms of all of its mental health focus, so if you’re looking for a book that’s light and airy, this may not be it. I honestly had to take a few mental health breaks while reading because it was so heavy with its depictions–which is legitimate and real and also something I wasn’t entirely suspecting. I almost quit very early on because of the eating disorder related information in this book but luckily I stayed through it and really fell in love with the characters and wanting to know what happens next!

Evvie has a secret relationship with someone and winds up having one abortion and raising a son that never knows his true father. Evvie pulls away from Maggie because of this and the secret she is harboring until one day when they’re all together again in their fifties, the truth is uncovered, and yet at the same time of it being horrible and emotional, it proves to help Maggie immensely deal with her grief and find closure and peace on once hard, raw and tumultuous memories and a past relationship. It’s the secrets coming out that leads to her greatest sense of peace.

This book dabbles with the idea about “perfection” and “perfect lives” to reveal that there really is no such thing. Everyone is battling something behind closed doors and a lot of willfulness, shame, guilt, what-if’s and more come into play when it comes to these mental health challenges.

I do wish that there was more coverage on the dangers of eating disorders and the physical/medical/psychological ramifications of intense eating disorders–hell, even more mild ones–which unfortunately was not covered, described or depicted in this book, which is too bad.Β  Evvie just doesn’t seem to have any lasting/damaging effects/physical ailments from her ED which may be a problem for the representation in this book.

Overall though, Maggie, Evvie and Topher, have all gone through a lot of hell in their life and still they remain, friends and together again in the end. They have all sorts of dreams that they uncover again and it’s so, so wonderful. They grow together and grew apart but came back to be cheering one another one again.

I think this book has a big strength when it comes to ending chapters and pulling the reader along. I definitely got invested and emotionally manipulated, so to speak, while reading this book.

Recommendation Score:


Long lasting friendships

Remarkable Quotes or Comments I’d Like to Add:

  • p. 57: Evvie would have had more luck explaining why she thought Ben wasn’t the right fit for Maggie or why she didn’t think highly of him than purely just trying to pull Maggie away from having feelings for Ben because of Evvie’s own bias and mistrust. Like, Evvie was looking out for Maggie but the way she acted about it was unhelpful and dis-empowering. It also pushed Maggie away rather than if she had used I statements, it could have helped to bring them closer together. πŸ˜› Just my thoughts!
  • p. 63: I feel bad for Evvie because she was brought up in a household where love and affection had to be earned and she felt that her Mom judged her more than Topher’s Mom seems to judge him (or give him unconditional love, as it were).
  • The most Evvie vocalized her ED at the start of this book was on p. 64 which is truly saddening because she was struggling and didn’t have people around her that saw that she was or could help her to help herself. That sucks. 😦
  • p. 65 is especially fucked up when Topher’s Mom tells Evvie what she uses to keep herself slim and I felt that it was a dangerous detail for vulnerable readers, again, like that ‘how-to’ kind of thing. Also it’s just fucked up in general. I feel like discussing the darker sides of mental health are intrinsically very, very difficult.
  • p. 65 continued: I think it was incredibly irresponsible, dangerous and damaging for Topher’s mother to suggest these pills to Evvie, that while yes, she didn’t realize E has an ED, still in general is messed up. Joan (Topher’s Mom) just didn’t get it or realize how problematic it could later be for E. 😦
  • Evvie was presenting with a lot of warning signs that something was “wrong” with her, that she was suffering and struggling but sadly no one really noticed or at least didn’t know how to verbalize it. 😦
  • p. 66: We catch glimpses of how deeply into her ED Evvie is because of how she prides herself on not needing to eat as much as her peers. This detail reminds me of what I try and achieve in my ED related fanfic: “Distorted & Disordered” </3
  • p. 70: Here, we get more of a description of what Evvie’s side effects are from the slimming pills she’s taking as physical ramifications and it’s overall so fucked up and reminds me how helpless, sad and concerning it all is just as someone who is reading the struggles. Freaking EDs, man. I thought it was a pretty accurate depiction although, something I’ll be noting elsewhere, I don’t think there are ever any long-term side effects/physical illnesses that Evvie has to live with as a consequence of her disordered eating in her young adult and youth life. This, I feel, continues to glorify the conditions and play with how dangerous of a topic it really is, sorta downplaying the whole thing. It kinda reads like there are no physical or psychological consequences to engaging in ED related behavior which definitely isn’t a good message to put on blast. Again, just my thoughts. πŸ˜›
  • I also wondered here if D&D my fic conveys these intense emotions when readers read through it. And of course, Evvie is lying to feed her ED. Damn.
  • p. 75: This is later addressed by Maggie herself but yes, Ben’s drinking problem was clearly well established early on in the book and it was staring them all in the face, they just didn’t want to believe it, sadly.
  • p. 80: Trigger Warning for anorexia with bulimic tendencies. Includes a purging scene, just FYI. Also, the lie that it’s just a “one time thing”. That’s what they always say. :/
  • p. 95: Sex scene
  • p. 96: I hoped that Evvie learning that Ben was attracted to her at her “larger” size would be a good wake-up call that her brain was lying to her and that she was already worthy of love and respect regardless of where her size landed her. ❀
  • “(Evvie) would miss Maggie, but the truth was it wasn’t the Maggie of today that she would miss, it was the Maggie of their university days, a Maggie she really didn’t know anymore” — Green, (2019), p. 140

  • I thought the above quote was so excellent and relatable, it perfectly summarizes how relationships change and shift in life and how when we’re grieving the end of those relationships, sometimes we forget that who we thought we once knew maybe we didn’t know as well or we’re missing X version of them which may not be who they are anymore. I don’t know, I thought it was pretty profound and worthy of mentioning! Sometimes we miss one version of a person but people grow and change and transform and we have to grieve that loss of who they once were but may no longer be. ❀
  • “…this was the way {Maggie} saw it: it was her responsibility to stop {Ben} from drinking, her responsibility to make him sober” – Green, (2019), p. 143

  • My thoughts on this quote: It’s definitely not Maggie’s responsibility, it’s really only Ben’s. That’s a choice that he has to make and it cannot be forced on him (and expected to stay/be maintained by Ben) and it can only be him who really wants treatment and to begin recovery and to get better. Maggie is placing over-responsibility onto herself and it would never truly work out the way she wants it to. Maggie cannot change him and sometimes we are not enough to blockade someone from acting on their self-destructive urges. Unfortunately, that’s life and that’s the reality of the situation. By all means, try and help and support where you can and also recognize that you cannot control another person’s actions, only your own. Tread carefully out there, peeps. ❀
  • p. 144: Maggie uses a lot of “you” and “you’re not…” as argument points which, those of us who have learned DBT, know that that’s not effective communication skills. Instead of using “you did, you won’t, you should”–use “I statements”. Use “I statements” to express how it makes you feel when someone behaves a certain way, how you feel about a situation, how it affects you, etc. That way you’re showing more responsible behaviors, you’re voicing your strengths and empowering yourself and showing yourself and the other person ownership of thoughts and feelings.


  • p. 144: Ben resorts to gas-lighting, geez, great, and totally reveals how much of an alcoholic he is by trying to say how he doesn’t get hungover and can stop at any time, riiiiight.
  • p. 149: The idea of a fresh start somewhere else is great and all, like the whole theme with New Year’s but the thing with that is that all the problems you had before are still there if you’re refusing to address them and work through them. So yes, Maggie and Ben getting a new house some place else is great and environment can definitely play a big role, however Ben can still find ways to use while in a new place and his using may not change even when his geographical location does. Like, he’s still himself and he’s battling something within himself that won’t just disappear if he moves locations. His brain is always with him, unfortunately. He has to start working on the internal stuff to better accommodate his outer world experiences.
  • p. 187: The chapter ending for Evvie and in regards to her ED TOTALLY reminded me of the way I end chapters in D&D, it was pretty uncanny!
  • p. 192: Maggie grapples with the idea that she missed Ben’s warning signs with his alcoholism from the beginning and didn’t see them even if they were screaming at her because she was wearing “rose colored spectacles” and was so in love with him that she would have ignored it otherwise. Sad. So, like, the signs were there but she wasn’t ready to admit it and not enough to stay away, either.
  • p. 198: I honestly hadn’t interpreted Topher’s admission in his book subplot as him having gone through childhood sexual abuse so I was a little confused in this chapter when the interviewer was asking about it and using the collective term “we” are not alone as a whole.
  • p. 198: Dickie (Topher’s partner except not so much sexually) validates and explains himself well here to encourage Topher to look into his trauma and abuse and come to terms with it all through therapy and such, which I think is so huge and important, he tells Topher he loves him and wants the best for him and that Topher has been shutting down his sexuality for years because of the trauma. I don’t know, I thought it was so important to bring awareness onto these struggles and to deepen Topher’s character and in a way that felt real and earned and empowering; it’s something I haven’t seen before in books. Also, it felt like 0 – 100 real fast for me but that’s probably because it wasn’t even on my radar when I was reading this page
  • p. 201: Evvie has gained weight by this point and misses the attention she would get from her appearance when she was younger, the pride she would feel over her body and being praised for it, as well. The only issue is that she was unhealthy and deep in the throes of an ED so it wasn’t something she could realistically maintain because it wasn’t like she was always slim as her body naturally would be, she was instead forcing her body to be a way and that wasn’t sustainable.
  • p. 216: Maggie reveals the character death causation and how much shame she feels over it because of the stigma around mental health and substance use disorders. I honestly can’t relate too much to that although I can kinda understand it, to a degree. I think it sucks that Maggie feels so much shame that she felt she couldn’t voice what actually killed her partner because of the judgment she fears may come along with the truth. She wants to believe the lie of their marriage being perfect but if there’s one thing that’s a theme in this book is that a lot of people hide behind a ‘perfect’ li(f)e when really they are deeply struggling and we can’t guess what struggles a person faces just by looking at them. It’s a hard hitting and sobering realization. Sometimes one we’re very afraid to face or leave behind as truth. I do like the way this book dealt with grief and depression and how they showed Maggie’s descent and her guilt and what if questioning that came after her husband’s death. It’s very raw and relatable, I think. It’s talking about something openly with characters closed off about the reality and truth which is a very interesting tale to tell. It allows the reader to recognize their own avoidance and their own grappling with stigma in their life and realize that it’s okay not to be okay and that everyone has something and no one is perfect. It makes it okay to talk about, okay to write about, okay to say I’m not okay. It’s okay to get support and help, too. ❀


  • p. 217: I found it very frustrating that Maggie hated lying about how Ben died (alcoholic liver disease (truth) vs a heart attack (lie)) and that it would bring her more guilt and shame when she lied but then she keeps lying about it. Like, you’re the one in control of the narrative here and you could just tell the truth instead of lying about it, etc. Like it was very frustrating for me to read about how she continued a harmful behavior that she was in full control of spinning or taking a different narrative. She had the power to be a survivor when instead she was choosing to be the victim. I know it’s a bit harsh, I suppose, and it was incredibly frustrating. Like, if it’s causing you that much pain, then tell the truth. Standing in your truth is more powerful than lying about your weaknesses, especially when it’s causing damage.
  • “{these people} had the confidence you had when you were in your thirties, before life became a grind, throwing obstacle after obstacle in your path, taking away the things you loved and making you realize that the only way to ease the hardship was to move through it” — Green, (2019), p. 223

  • I thought the above quote was a pretty accurate depiction of the difficulties faced in depression (as well as this chapter as a whole for showing Maggie’s downward decline) and also the effort that’s involved to have to move THROUGH hard times. I thought it was pretty hard-hitting and truthful.
  • p. 232: Back to Topher, mention of EMDR treatment, PTSD, therapy
  • p. 239: “(Maggie to Evvie) ‘You’re not enormous. You’re beautiful. Are you really still hung up on your weight? We’re fifty. You need to get over it'” — MT: Lol, I thought Maggie would be more validating and supportive and compassionate than resorting to ‘get over it’. Like it’s THAT simple. I guess the notion that not everyone will be perfect in how they try to reframe things is important to highlight rather than everyone always saying all the right things which isn’t reality. I suppose I can understand that. ❀
  • “‘Of course I knew. We were worried as hell but figured you were old enough to look after yourself'” – Green, (2019), p. 242

  • This is Maggie talking to Evvie, telling her she knew about the diet pills she was tossing back. Probably not to a super detailed extent but she and Topher knew. Again, I feel like there was a missed opportunity to confront Evvie with her ill choices and it balloons out this major issue that Evvie wasn’t in the right frame of mind to be able to properly take care of herself because she was struggling with a mental health condition that just so happens to have physical ramifications. It bothers me that her friends and her loved ones and people around her didn’t speak up on EVVIE’s true behalf, instead thinking she’d get over it on her own or that it wasn’t that big of an issue. Evvie is lucky it didn’t go further and that she didn’t have any long-lasting physical ailments because of her diet pill abuse, anorexia, bulimia, etc. Not that we’re ever told this flat-out. I feel that while tackling these issues is so important in contemporary literature, I wish more would have been explored for treatment or saying the right things or confronting these very real issues. I felt this was a little lackluster in comparison to how other things were handled. I think it’s also dangerous and important too because if we wait for the person to realize their issue themselves, we may we waiting forever and they may never fall into their “rock bottom” before they wind up dead or with life-altering conditions they then have to live with for the rest of their life. Plus it may also dampen the severity of these disorders for some people. Again it’s that glorification type thing and I don’t think getting through and over an ED was really well explained or depicted in this book unlike some of the other traumas and treatments.
  • “It was too late. [Evvie] wanted this, these people she loved, all back together, more than she wanted to keep hiding, more than she wanted to keep secrets” – Green, (2019), p. 255

  • Two things: 1. This is a HUGE turning point for Evvie and for everyone and it reminded me how invested I had become in this story. 2. She is risking a lot to jump back into Maggie’s life and live together with her and Topher again, especially with the secrets she’s harboring but even another line says she wants to choose happiness rather than secret keeping, which again, means she’s risking a LOT but that it’s worth the risk, which is totes relationship goals. ❀
  • p. 258: Topher talks about his abuse as a child from the hands of someone else and in trying to find closure, he discovers that his mother genuinely never knew about it or knew how it was affecting him (or that it was even occurring in the first place) and he talks about having a voice now and it’s just so powerful and sad because his Mom is dealing with some early stages of dementia now too and it’s .. FEELS man FEELS.
  • p. 266: A cardiophile moment, hehehe
  • p. 267: If Topher had just referenced quotes or otherwise made it obvious that he was gathering inspiration from another person’s work of art, I feel like it wouldn’t have been such a big deal but I guess that’s what this mini sub-plot wanted to achieve, I think you could take it out of the story and it wouldn’t make a difference, though.
  • p. 267: I really feel if you took out the whole portion of Topher getting under fire about plagiarism, the book wouldn’t be all that different. I suppose it serves SOME purpose for Evvie to swoop in to help Topher out, for Topher to leave the States, for a touch on bullying and online hate can occur too, but it just seemed like a dumb plot move, to me, at least. It wasn’t all that necessary, I think. This book also weaves a lot of fiction between nonfiction with specific famous celebrities and such which is particularly confusing to me because then I can’t tell what part is made up versus what part is actually occurring in this reality. Bit of a mind fuck.
  • (Evvie to Topher during the book subplot): “‘We all make mistakes, this one just happens to be in the public eye, but it doesn’t make me love you any less. A mistake doesn’t change who you are. I know you and I love you'” – Green, (2019), p. 271

  • I thought this was a really sweet and validating remark on Evvie’s behalf and that it could be true and applicable to other situations, too. ❀
  • P. 285: Evvie was bothering the shit out of me and causing me immense frustration because I knew if her friends found out, and they inevitably would, about her son and how he had come about, then it was all over. Gwah. Just tell the truth!! πŸ˜›
  • “‘(Topher about his Mom) And if she needed to be taken care of, he would do that, too, even though, all those years ago, she wasn’t able to take care of him” — Green (2019), p. 291

  • I felt like this quote above was just SO HARD HITTING, like right in the GUT, and had to include it in this review. I think anyone with a childhood trauma history and having to come to terms with that (especially if your parents didn’t know about it) can relate to this. I think it’s really inspiring of Topher to want to help his Mom out, even when she wasn’t able to be there for him when he really, really needed it. It’s such a sign of closure and kindness that I couldn’t pass up to not include here!! Growth, for sure! ❀
  • p. 294, when Maggie tells Evvie that she doesn’t want to keep secrets anymore–it’s so breath taking that she’s able to come to that point and that there’s been some resolution to her story arc. It’s honestly inspiring and I really wanted Evvie to reciprocate her own truth-telling.
  • p. 314: Maggie wonders where all the years went by that she tried to chase and find happiness. I think this concept is uniquely human, we so often–like the book on hygge I published earlier this week–spend time trying to meet the end goal and find happiness or BE happy that we forget about the reality and the impact of the journey itself rather than focusing on the destination. It’s okay to be present in the moment, in the trajectory more than in having some end goal accomplished–there’s always going to be more goals and more products, it’s the journey there that matters most. What matters most is how we get there and how we feel whatever we feel along the way, and make space for that, and feel it.


  • The way it’s described Evvie bawling (p. 331) is such a painfully relatable type of cry. Just saying. </3
  • p. 334: Only Ben could have saved himself. Only him. 😦
  • p. 351: (paraphrased) “however he’s acting now is his pain talking” — I think this is a particularly good thing to remember when working with kids as I do now at Amaryllis. Their reactions to things are because they are in pain and feel emotionally intense feelings and struggle with the ability to properly verbalize their emotions before they act on them. A sobering detail. ❀
  • p. 356: ‘He was deeply, deeply flawed. Like all of us, he had so much good, but he wasn’t all good’ — Thought this was remarkable and incredibly profound and important to this story and other stories that need to be told. ❀

Reminders or Wandering Thoughts I Had While Reading:

  1. p. 3 reminded me of a book I read about toxic love and death that I could barely recall until I found the notes for it later (A book called “Drowned” that I haven’t posted here yet)
  2. p. 237: Really confused me with Evvie feeling she couldn’t go back to her ‘home’ or find a true ‘home’ ever again because of how much she moved and such. I don’t know, I was just very confused here, was she saying that living in X place and the moving to Y that you could never move back to X and feel at home? Yeah, I don’t know. It was pretty wordy and just really unclear for me. I guess I was confused thinking she was only visiting Maggie for the university reunion but it was sounding like she was moving there which I think at this point in time she wasn’t. Unless I’m misremembering. :/
  3. P. 245: ‘demurred’ is a nice word πŸ™‚
  4. p. 249: I wonder how many people in the world live that deceitful “perfect” life when really everything is broken, cracking at the seams and nothing is how it appears.
  5. The next type of books I want to take out (as a reminder to myself once again in a book review) include: hobby/crafts, interior design/homes/architecture, gardening and cook books. πŸ™‚

Dates I read this book:

2/17/20, 2/26, 2/28, 3/1, 3/3, 3/13, 3/14, 3/16, 3/18, 3/19, 3/20/2020.

Dates I wrote this review:

3/23/20, 3/26/2020.


I Love Me by Demi Lovato, Razor’s Edge by Digital Daggers, this is what self destruction feels like by Marina Lin

And finally:

To end this post, thank you SO MUCH for reading this! I hope that you all are staying safe and indoors as this covid-19 stuff is blowing around in the wind. Check out my fanfic stories if you need a break from all the coverage and something to dabble into and be emotional with. Additionally, I’m available to chat if anyone needs to! I have plenty of future posts coming out soon, as well as other old reviews, a coming out post and more song a day’s! Stay safe, peeps. Wishing you all the best. ❀ ❀ ❀

“The Little Book of Hygge” (2017) | Book Review (March 2020)

Book Review THUMB

Chosen Book:

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living (2017) by Meik Wiking

**Pronunciation: Hoo-ga

Trigger Warnings:

“Throat cutting” a cake (p. 56).


Humor, hygge, definitions, research, happiness, lighting, essentials, small group socializing, illustrations, art, community, mindfulness, present moment, process not the product, culture, cooking recipes, lists, easy to read and understand, nonfiction.


This book is an excellent nonfiction read to inspire the reader to incorporate the cultural phenomenon of hygge (a Danish pleasure that involves a lot of mindfulness, small social gatherings for togetherness (our social relationships are a big factor in how happy we feel), feeling safe and secure, feeling comforted) by implementing skills and hyggeligt experiences into the reader’s day to day life. The book, by Meik Wiking (2017), includes dozens of small illustrations that make the book digestible, easier to understand and pleasant to the eye. Some photos are compiled in this review itself, from crafts to hygge essentials. Hygge is about exploring your authentic and pure self and things that are hyggelig are broken down into smaller pieces, making the read enjoyable and understandable. Hygge, for instance: is that warm cup of coffee in the morning, sitting on a fluffy pillow, smelling a frosted cake, sitting amongst friends in front of a fire, etc. It’s being in the present moment as fully as possible.

Largely, when I read this book, I was left intrigued, inspired and ready to practice more and more hygge into my life. I’m so glad that I took this book out from the library and I’m hopeful that you may see this and enjoy it too, or be intrigued to check out similar projects in the future. This book is an excellent intrigue and opening for all things hygge and how the Danes incorporate it into their every day life, giving ideas and fresh perspectives for all those who may read this book itself or come across the author’s work in other ways. πŸ™‚

Thank you!!! ❀ ❀ ❀

Recommendation Score:


hyggelig atmospheres

Book Length:

223 pages

Remarkable Quotes, Ideas or Inspirations:

  • Hygge essentials: unscented candles.Β 
  • This is a photograph of a Le Klint light that reminded me of a photograph I KNOW I have somewhere, lost in the abyss of my computer, of a similar looking light that existed in the Campus Center of my university’s academic help offices.Β 

  • Photo credits from above: Le Klint light from p. 11 of the hygge book and an online version of the lighting that I found from my university on Nadeaucorp (I wish I could find my own photo but it’s proving difficult, sorry!!)
  • I loved the idea that photography means painting with light and that Danes aren’t the only ones in love with lighting, that photographers are too. (p. 13)! There was also a lighting tip called “The Golden Hour” that the best lighting happens 1 hour after sunrise and 1 hour before sunset! (p. 13)
  • The “hominess” definition from Canadians reminded me of how much Recovery Home (my recovery art project) holds some of the same ideals: in that it’s symbolic for how homey things can be when real and authentic and physical in terms of bringing into reality feelings of being sheltered, safe and shutting out the world (Wiking p. 24).
  • Hygge 2

  • “The Hygge Manifesto: 1. Atmosphere: Turn down the lights (this is more hyggelig), 2. Presence: Be here now, turn off the phones. 3. Pleasure: Coffee, chocolate, cookies, cakes, candy. 4. Equality: We over me, share the tasks and the airtime (conversation). 5. Gratitude: Take it in, this might be as good as it gets. 6. Harmony: It’s not a competition, we already like you, there is no need to brag about your achievements. 7. Comfort: Get comfy, take a care, it’s all about relaxation. 8. Truce: No drama, let’s discuss politics another day. 9. Togetherness: Build relationships and narratives, ‘do you remember the time we…’ 10. Shelter: This is your tribe, this is a place of peace and security” — Wiking (2017) p. 30-31

  • This book made me think a lot about my own living situations and the people in my life and places I can learn to make more hyggelig. πŸ™‚ (p. 39)
  • Being comforted/cuddling with pets is equivalent to receiving cuddles/comfort by humans! (p. 41)
  • “There is something comforting about having a warm cup of coffee in your hands. It is definitely conducive to hygge”– p.61 I think that a frozen coffee does this for me too but I can definitely attest that hot coffee with caramel in it most definitely heightens the hygge for me. πŸ™‚

  • I like the idea on p. 87 to link purchases in life with good experiences, waiting to purchase an item so as to better pair it with an accomplishment so that whenever you see that object you link it back with that memory. This seems like something super interesting to do and I want to start with the bean bag chair I wanna get and the fluffy pillow with arms thing I also want too. πŸ™‚
  • On p. 96, Wiking talks about creating a hyggekrog (pronounced hoogacrow) in your house, and it gave me the inspiration to transform my bedroom’s closet into my own hyggekrog. I share the space with my Mom so some of the closet will still have her things there but I’m hoping that a corner/space can be placed for my own soothing stuff. πŸ™‚ I am making it a summer project for myself! Here are the hyggekrog essentials that I will incorporate (as I noted in my journal):
  • My hyggekrog closet essentials: 1. Bean bag chair 2. Storage box with multiple shelves (for coping materials) including: A. Zen garden. B. Books C. Thinking Putty D. Squishies. 3. Soft fluffy pillow with arms 4. Wall decals 5. Canvas art 6. Bookshelf with books 7. Mom’s side 8. Dresses 9. Fairy lights/lanterns 10. White noise machine 11. Stationery/letters 12. Coloring books/designated art supplies. 13. No Internet (unless for noise/comfort)

  • “Hygge is about giving your responsible, stressed out achiever adult a break. Relax. Just for a little while. It is about experiencing happiness in simple pleasures and knowing that everything is going to be okay” – (Wiking, 2017, p. 105).

  • The quote above really makes me think of Comfort Rooms in the psych hospital so I really love and have loved the idea of creating little nooks in my household of similar comfort things/places I can go to to self-soothe. I’m really excited to work on this this summer! πŸ™‚ One of my friends from program has often used her closet as a safety nook so I like the idea of doing something similar in my own. ❀ It’s like a new space in and of itself since I don’t go through my closet very much, so I’m really looking forward to it!
  • For a hygge emergency kit on p.108: one of the suggestions is having a favorite film or TV series to re-watch. For this point, it reminds me of one of my recent therapy sessions where my therapist was telling me that I like to make projects out of things and that while I can still do that, it’s best to balance these projects with things I just do for FUN. I.e. Some things pleasure, some things projects. So like, if I wanted to color I get stuck a lot because I feel like I should make a video out of it for content but then because of that extra step I just never wind up doing it. Instead, if I wanted to just color because I wanted to color, I could just do that, for me, for myself, not for anyone else. It’s a work in progress to challenge for sure!
  • Another ingredient (p. 108) is having physical letters from friends or loved ones available in your hygge emergency kit, which also can include print outs of typed/online responses, which I really like, too. πŸ™‚
  • Hygge 4

    Having a hygge related notebook is also a great idea as mentioned on p. 109! For this, I want to use my recent Valentine’s day related notebook, a little spiral bound with a doggo on it, lined paper on the front and blank on the back. I think it’d be an excellent place to categorize and exemplify (as Wiking suggests) my past hygge experienced and my future hygge experiences. πŸ˜€ (excuse the page flags in the background! XD)

  • Hygge 3

    Page flag notes: A good depiction of how simplistic art can be and still be beautiful. Credit: p. 110, Wiking (2017)

  • About the artwork above and in general within this book and in the world: I think I still struggle at times with the “good” or “bad” traditional viewpoints of art, however, these images are a good challenge to what “art” really is. Like, it can be breathtaking and incredibly hard work, making things pale with light, shadow, three-dimensions, and that doesn’t detract from that type of serious artwork, AND it can still be not that, like, art can be just lines or more simplistic, run down types of art and STILL be artsy. I think I’ve been quietly assessing my own art creation as lesser when it’s merely different. I like the mindfulness approach to art, where it’s about the process rather than the product. I suppose I have to remind myself why I create and how to do so to my own satisfaction rather than others’ opinions. Especially true for creative writing. It’s like struggling to balance one’s own ideas with the opinions of everyone else’s. At the end of the day, I have to go with my own gut and be appreciative and welcoming of that. ❀ xxx Like, not everyone is going to like what I create but am I creating it for THEM or for ME? :3
  • On p. 120 Wiking mentions how when a co-worker brought their doggo into work, he would set aside a goal that if he accomplished something on his to-do list, he could then go pet the doggo and how that greatly increased his productivity–I think this is a great idea even for myself at home to be able and go pet my Mokeys. πŸ™‚
  • “One of our issues as adults is that we become too focused on the results of an activity. We work to earn money. We spend time with people to network and further our careers. What happened to doing something just because it’s fun?” — Wiking (2017) p. 151

  • Again, the above quote reminds me of how often I make projects out of activities that were once only done for fun. Videos, reviews, blog posts, etc. How I put off doing some things or ingesting some content because I want to review it or put something together because of it. I think lately I forget that I can do something JUST for fun, without making some form of content out of it thereafter. It’s a rule of mine I’m still learning to challenge. It’s definitely the difference between work and play. πŸ˜› Maybe one day….

Hygge 5

I used some small scrapbooking paper and fucked it up because I thought we weren’t supposed to do the flaps on the folded part whereas it was just meant to not cut along the folded line straight across. So this one was a fail! Overall, they are called as you can see: “Woven hearts” I’m hoping to find some videos of them soon, hell, I should probably even do it now to help you and help myself! Let’s see….

Hygge 6

Here we go! I’m pretty sure the second heart is meant to go through BOTH rows of the first one, but for the purposes of this review, I left that out (okay, so I didn’t realize that I did but I’m not fixing it now, ahaha). Pretty cool though, nice little activity! πŸ™‚ Also, I realized now that I fucked up another section BUT if you watch the video, it’ll make more sense (the third flap should be OVER but it was also thicker so, bleh) I think you get the idea though πŸ™‚

  • p. 187 has inspired me to try and read those gardening/cookbook books out there and try to make little treats myself without my Mom’s guidance, help or hovering, which I’d like to try doing each Sunday. I didn’t yesterday but today maybe I will go through with it and make some brownies from the box. They may not turn out “all right” but hey, we all gotta start somewhere!! πŸ™‚ The idea of cooking or baking sounds pretty hyggelig to me!
  • p. 188 suggests a picnic by the beach/by the sea which I think is a FABULOUS idea to embark on this summer. Preferably with my friends David and Madeline, but even on my own, too. I think it’d be so hyggelig! πŸ™‚
  • “The gross national product does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials…it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile” — Robert Kennedy, p. 206

  • I really like the ending of this quote especially, because I think it’s very true and very important to be reminded of. What makes life worthwhile? What makes all the trudging through hard times worth it in the end? I definitely wanted to share this quote with you all, maybe to get you thinking of what soothes you and what experiences you’d like to have more of in the future to get through the hard times. ❀
  • “Studies show that when individuals experience social isolation many of the same brain regions become active that are active in the experience of physical pain” — Wiking (2017) p. 213

  • I thought the above quote and information was very interesting and might be something I include as a tidbit in my ED related fanfic. :3
  • “While happiness and hygge are definitely about appreciating the now, both may be planned and preserved. Hygge and happiness have a past and a future as well as a present” — Wiking (2017) p. 217

  • I loved this quote so much I had to include it in my review. It’s nice to think that happiness and hygge can be planned, held and experienced. ❀

What Drew Me to this Book and What Kept Me Reading:

I was drawn towards hygge after about October or November 2019 when I was browsing Coloring Books for Adults on Amazon. I was looking at fairies, dogs, and home/interior design ones (because I find the latter to be so comforting and nice!). That is when I came across the hygge coloring book by Creative Haven. I instantly fell in love with it and popped it into my Mom’s Amazon shopping cart.

I wound up getting the doggo one by Creative Haven and the hygge one for Christmas. I even have a page from the hygge coloring book that I colored on camera here (if you’d like the check that out!!):

When I went to the library up by my psychiatrist’s one time, around February this year, I was looking at the self-help/psychology section and I came across this hygge book. I was instantly drawn towards it, and thought it would make an excellent collection in my book reviews. I skimmed through some pages and I really loved the illustrations with artwork sprinkled throughout the words. It looked easy to read, easy to digest and something I was definitely intrigued by.

Funnily enough, when I went to the library again in March I found ANOTHER hygge book but I didn’t get it out that time, but for sure, next time! What made me love and continuously fall in love with this book was the illustrations, the artwork woven into easy to digest words and research. It was something I very much enjoyed and kept me hooked and made the reading experience so much more soothing and enticing. I love books that incorporate art and words and I really, really hope to one day publish one of my one. ❀ xxx

I also managed to find another book by the same author on happiness at my local library and greedily took that one out too. Can’t wait to read it! (And with this quarantine, it’ll be more likely that I can read it soon, phew!)Β 

Reminders or Wandering Thoughts I had While Reading:

  1. I should educate myself more on culture
  2. I should totes take out that Norse mythology book by Neil Gaiman and actually read it this time πŸ™‚
  3. P. 29: How prevalent are mental health conditions/trauma in the Danish culture? It’s said on this page and throughout the book that the Danes are the top ranked happiest people in the world so what besides hygge makes them such and do they still struggle with other issues that the rest of us do? :3
  4. Remembering happy experiences/moments on p. 34 is a lot like guided imagery to my mind–soaking in the positivity among sometimes darker skies. A lot of the time they are memories involving moments with others. ❀ Neat!
  5. There’s a nice clock illustration on p. 37 which also made me wonder if the color choices in this book’s illustrations may be significant? (Blues, oranges, dirty greens, etc.)
  6. On how touch that we are comforted and loved by releases oxytocin for us: I wondered how this applies or changes when it comes to trauma and forced touch/assaulting touch. (p. 41)
  7. I should really work on the books I want to create and publish myself!
  8. I believe I’ve mentioned this in another blog post before, but I find that when I read books nowadays I read in 3 different personas: 1. The Writer: Studying word choices or thematic details or flow of words that I can utilize in my own writings. 2. The Reader: Following along with the story, keeping track of the details etc. 3. The Analyzer: Trying to guess what’s ahead, playing with the characters and the book/like kneading dough, analyzing what is happening and getting ready to review the book later. These personas have made reading books more of a project than it ever used to be, and that can be really difficult to manage now. I have come to the conclusion that I can read a fiction book alongside a nonfiction book as I only have to keep track of two separate types of story lines. So that is nice! I have to work on challenging these “rules” of mine since they are only my own rules and I can override them at any time. It just doesn’t always feel that way! πŸ˜› (These thoughts came to mind for me on p. 107 when Wiking (2017) suggests having a favorite book in a hygge emergency kit. πŸ™‚ )
  9. Although I wouldn’t be the one to leave a chocolate on a co-worker’s desk, I’d be more apt to leave a little note, a coloring page, a card, etc. :3 (p.120)
  10. I wondered on p. 159 how the illustrations were created for this book, who made them, what program did they use, etc. If you decide to read this book for yourself, a lot of them use white space/absence of space to create the image all together, which I thought was especially neat. πŸ™‚ (For instance: books have white lines on the spines to create the presence of word blocks interrupting the blocks of color. Bread and bottles have the same effect on the top or surrounding them. πŸ™‚ Just a fun aside!)
  11. Next nonfiction books I would love to pursue (once covid-19 gets more under control as they are all closed at the moment): A. Homes/Interior design/Architecture/Decorations B. Cooking C. Gardening D. Crafts
  12. In particular knitting books (p. 177 mentioned) or blogs about it might be really cool and finding blogs about those crafts or even Youtube channels will probably be a great starting point for being quarantined at the moment!

Dates I Read This Book:

3/5/20, 3/6, 3/7, 3/8, 3/10, 3/11, 3/12.

Dates I wrote this post:

3/22/20, 3/23.

Music listened to in posting/crafting this review:

I Love Me/Anyone by Demi Lovato.

Thank you so much for reading and taking the time!!! Do you have any book suggestions? Something you wrote that you’d like me to review? Leave it in the comments!!! ❀ Stay safe and stay healthy, folks! ❀ xxx

“Hurting Girls” (2014) | Book Analysis (June – July 2019)

Book Analysis - THUMB - 7.3.19


“Hurting Girls” (2014) by Kim A Mac Innis



Justice in the hands of civilians, negative shade on how some police officers do their job (some rightly justified, some not), a LOT of telling versus little to NO showing, no descriptions of the characters, ethics, statistics about who tends to get assaulted more (gender biases) with some flavoring of disregarding male survivors.


Rape, sexual assault, bullying, homicide (specific methods), suicide (specific methods), vigilante, alcohol/substance use, glorification of dangerous acts, “crazy”, child abuse, trauma, stalking.



Happy killers


This fiction novel unveils a story using an often back and forth from first person anonymous identity of a vigilante who is out killing rapists for their crimes before they are placed into the judicial system and with a third person narration from a prestigious Sociology professor at a university, named Theresa Lane. Theresa lives with her husband, Jake an English professor also at the same university, and their two children, son Micah and daughter Harper.

As news breaks out and as Theresa covers in her class, more and more rapists are found to be in the area and a killer is out there taking them down one by one.

The novel covers several areas including homicidality, suicidality, vigilantism, how fucked up the American justice system is (which it is), bullying, gang rape and more. As the countdown begins for who the killer is and uncovering their identity, we are introduced to Detective Blades who later becomes an integral part of Theresa’s and her sister’s lives (a love interest in particular forming between the sister and the detective).

Along with the sub-plots of anti-bullying campaigns and information about female survivors of sexual assault, there’s a plot about a student named Emily who gets involved with an Officer Randall who is a bit of an asshole to put it lightly and we see Theresa, whom is close to Emily, get involved in doing everything in her power to keep Randall away from Emily (going to extreme lengths, even).

As more people die, the stakes run ever higher. Some of the rapists killed are teenage boys, both from the killer’s past and the killer’s present. In the end, karma comes back. It’s with the last death of the novel that the killer’s identity is revealed. And you wouldn’t guess who it was, the happiest of them all… A certain someone named —


Okay, so honestly, this post is a little out of order and I’ve been procrastinating having to complete this entry since I finished the book back in July 2019. So, there’s that. Finally though, I am fed up with getting charged overdue fees and I’m ready to just jump blindly into this, having long forgotten all the intricate details of this book, attending a ‘Meet the Author’ for a different book she wrote at my local library and having over 150+ page flags in this ONE book alone. So, let’s see how this goes, shall we? I will be going backwards in writing this section first and all my commentary of it, and then writing the summary, trigger warnings, recommendation score and themes. As of this moment in this paragraph, I am writing this Oct. 9th 2019. Let’s begin!

Beginning with my notes from June 23.2019:

1. On the Acknowledgments section before the novel begins in which the character Dana Blades is inspired by a student the in real life author had who has since passed away: Tis a testament to the reach we have onto those around us.

2. The topic of this novel (rape, sexual assault, suicide, homicide etc.) is introduced RIGHT AWAY and it’s heavy and very sad. 😦

3. On p. 2 the later to become vigilante of the novel (who is going out and killing rapists) is explained as having had a sister who was raped, who killed herself a year after the rape after being severely bullied in person and online, is why they are going out and actively killing similar perpetrators of these crimes (–so think an avenging death so to speak), I wrote that it was heartbreaking and so sad, disgusting and how I really felt for her (the sister’s) character and I can see why/for what reasoning the narrator wound up avenging her death.

4. We find out the sister had been drugged by her perpetrators (p. 3)

5. “The video (of the sister’s rape) remained online long enough for many people to see it. My sister was called names online (and at school). Names like slut and whore. She eventually left the high school” – p. 3

The problem I have with this portion here, and for which I had problems with THROUGHOUT the book for a number of reasons that I will later get into–is that sick thought that someone the people in her generation and above failed her to show her how the action–the CRIME–committed against her was NOT her fault. It wouldn’t be her fault if she were wearing “revealing” clothing, it wouldn’t be her fault if she were drugged (as she was in this case), it wouldn’t be her fault if she was sober, it wouldn’t be her fault even if she had otherwise “asked” for it. It wasn’t her fault, period. The sole responsibility for these crimes falls and should always fall upon the perpetrator–never the victim. It sucks. It’s horrible and awful and it’s a delicate and intricate and complicated subject matter. Just, ugh. This book made me very UGH. 😐

6. The classic question to a suicide that I without fail have (and I’m sure many others have and I’m sure which the lack of awareness on these subject matters contributes to the deaths of these people both in real life and in fiction, for warning signs aren’t as popular as could be, some people will show different signs and others none or very few if at all, and for which suicide prevention practices and the like just aren’t well documented and discussed openly. Long rant is long): Why didn’t she go to the hospital? 😦

7. P. 4 still totally feeling for the Narrator here. Brings up a lot of ethics this book does. Indeed, indeed.

8. Will we ever get a N description? (No) Is it always in first person? (No) Can feel the anger in the text. :O

9. How am I supposed to feel about this ethically? Who is the narrator? Same as in Chp 1? Someone else? Vigilante? Main character?

10. Who is Todd and what does he look like? — Me p. 9

11. “‘There are not necessarily any clear signs because as a society, we are not taught to suspect family members of abuse. Children are warned about strangers, not dads or grandpas or uncles'” — p. 9 (Our main character, Theresa Lane) TRUTH.

12. P. 9 commentary: I think this scene would have been stronger with more creative writing. More showing with body language and observations, etc. It’s a little disappointing so far.

13. 1st: Survivors not victims. 2nd: Are the statistics presented in this book accurate and true for real life? 3rd: Research done on subject? References? 4th: Is there information on sexual assault in this book? Also: telling not showing. Poor writing thus far.

14. P. 10 Do boys ever lie though? If girls don’t lie when hurt, is that to say boys do? Again, I feel this universe has some gender biases. Not everyone fits in this description.

15. Very telling section here (because the N tends to view the subject matter as an outsider), I think this is probably a male N.

16. P. 11 Was N reading the body language correctly though? (After seeing one of the perpetrators of his sister’s trauma smirking). Does N have Antisocial Personality Disorder?

17. Kinda sad how the kid dies. But also amazing–I LOVE narrator’s that are the murderers. Reminds me of “A Pleasure and A Calling” by Phil Hogan, one of my all time favorite novels. πŸ™‚ ❀

18. End of p. 11: chilling.

June 24th:

19. “Violence doesn’t solve violence” — p. 12 –> This is the crux of this story.

20. Observation on p. 13: Telling not showing. Just because you can write nonfiction does NOT mean you can write fiction, as evidenced by this particular book’s existence but I’m sure is also representative in other ways. What kept me engaged in this book was giving it a chance and wanting to find out who the killer was. I really, really loved the plot of this story, it had SO MUCH potential, it was just pooooorly written. You could tell that creative writing wasn’t the author’s natural niche. I always thought that because my experience with writing was fiction/creative based from the start and that I can adapt to nonfiction pieces like essays, lab reports, etc. because I have this strong base, that the same would be true for the opposite. Apparently not. At least not in this case. :/ I have another one of her books, and she has written others it seems since 2014, that I will review and read and give a chance to, because maybe this was just her first debut into fiction writing. Again, just too much telling and no showing. We get insight into the working characters through dialogue more than through any descriptive writing. :/

21. P. 15: Still telling like it’s a shopping list. (Example: “Sometimes Theresa’s expectations were too high and unrealistic. She wanted a clean home at all times and wanted everyone to pitch in. She wanted the kids to do well in school.” — p. 14 To me it just reads like “Today I went shopping for milk. Then I got nuts and then I got candy. Then the cashier messed up my order. I said to them, G. Now I have to put away the dishes. Then I have to do the laundry. Then I’ll go to sleep and do it all over again” I don’t know it’s hard to describe other than bland and novice-level writing. I also felt that this novel read more as the author’s own truths/how she lives her life. Like, I feel the lines are blurred to how much is truth in how she relates to T–which I mean is fine because all writing has bits and pieces of the author in it, whether subtle or a lot. It was just something else I noticed. πŸ˜›

22. I wonder if T has OCD or OCPD and her view of the world is a little faulty. Not inaccurate but faulty for sure.

23. P. 15 I also, like T, wish for everyone to live a happy and healthy life, even though we know it won’t happen. It’s still relatable. Also, where will she stand with the vigilante? On the back flap it implies she secretly likes what they’re doing, and unfortunately the novel ends on the identity reveal of who the vigilante is (shocking, to me, they were so positive and sweet!!) and never on what happens next: how does it impact the other characters? What does T think? How does the society within their limited environment react? How does the family involved get split apart or do they remain together? etc. Sigh, no answers. No recovery either. :/

24. P. 16: For the N to call the perpetrator “the rapist” puts distance between N and the guy in question. It’s a dehumanizing tactic. To make the murder more placating and understandable, so to speak.

25. P. 19: There’s somewhat of a cruelty to take pride in another man’s death–no matter what heinous acts they’ve committed. (Personal opinion: When the Taliban rejoiced in the deaths of 9/11 I view it as just as fucked up as the rejoicing Americans after finding out Osama Bin Laden had been killed. I don’t think either way is “right”. I think both are fucked up, and it’s a slippery slope to fall down because we feel above or below another human being. It gets into some really shady situations, that’s for sure. I also think it’s like when in war we as Americans only seem to care about how many of US (the whole “us” versus “them” thing too) were killed and don’t care to know of all the other civilians from the “other side” were killed and slaughtered too. It’s cruel and selfish, I think. We should care for both sides, equally. Especially when we take into account that spawning more torture and violence only adds more incentive for homicidal individuals to have the ammunition to continue killing and finding higher kill counts (especially for how the media glorifies death, which surely doesn’t help) It’s easy to be kind to caring individuals, it’s far more telling to be kind to the ones who’ve hurt you. Buuuut…Sorry, tangent there.)

26. P. 20: Although N’s Mom didn’t know it, her peaceful smile was reinforcement for N to continue the killing

27. P. 22: “T was one of those ‘what you see is what you get’ people. She was the same person at home, at work, with her friends and with her family. That’s probably why she was such a good teacher” Commentary: Is this really healthy boundaries though? It makes sense to be different in different roles. This sounds more and more like a Mary Sue and nonfiction like it’s a masked memoir. Sigh.

28. P. 23: What gives N the right to make these judgment calls on who lives and who dies?

29. P 24: Good awareness, N! But “sociopath” and “psychopath” aren’t the terminology anymore, you’re looking for ASPD

30. P. 24: So much to unpack! Who decides who lives and dies? Who deserves to?

31. P 26: N is talking about prisoners and the prison system. Why do I feel N doesn’t consider themselves to be within this group of people? Radical viewpoints.

32. “I would never trust the system to protect us and that’s why I decided to rid society of the vermin it created” — p. 26 —> I feel like this is a dangerous point of view. Could others get ideas from the explicit nature of this book? Does that happen like with other forms of media (or do any other forms of media have this type of influence to begin with?)?

33. Who CAN be rehabilitated if anyone? This idea of rehabilitation reminds me of Loki fanfic. :3 And my all-time favorite fic “Drown” by Ordis. God, I love that fic. Also, lots and lots of “deserve” stuff here.

34. P. 27: T is a good parent and person wanting the best for her kids.

35. P. 28: Will T change her POV/perspective when the vigilante arrives and kills? The rapist has family that suffers too.

36. P. 31: N chapter again, the wife of a doctor/rapist speaks out about her daughter’s trauma. I thought it was sad, sweet and very brave of her.

37. “This woman needed to tell her story, not for herself but for all the families out there that might have an abuser in them” — p. 31 –> Selfless to try and help another family out there suffering.

38. P. 31: The concept that survivors don’t always necessarily avoid their abusers but would be kind and sweet in hopes to be spared further trauma is both sad and educational and if it’s true, it definitely provides some great insight into an otherwise unspoken predicament. I think education through creative writing is really important–especially as it relates to mental health, recovery and trauma. I aim to do this in my own writings too. What is similar? What is different?

June 29th:

39. P. 33: T is one moment understanding and the next it’s ‘my way or no way’. I can’t stand this writing lol.

40. P. 34: I can’t exactly pinpoint what annoys me most about her writing. Like it’s her talking and a shopping list. Foreign and with no emotion. No showing.

41. P. 34: T cannot protect her kids from life or everything out in the world. She has to build their resiliency not shelter them.

42. P. 34: T’s husband Jake sounds more like a pushover with no compromises than a ‘peacekeeper’ πŸ˜›

43. P. 35: This actually sounds wicked controlling of T to her kids and toxic. Almost like the author is reflecting herself not creating a whole new character in fiction. :/

44. P. 35: This is essentially the part where T became increasingly off-putting of a character and I started to dislike her. She sounds unbearably overbearing. Like, calm down. WAY too controlling. Very off putting. Always her beliefs.

45. P. 36: (Classic, did you hear about…? in T’s class–her students are speaking about the latest rapist murder) No shit, we were already there to read this. Fuck’s sake.

46. P. 36: (The class is super happy about the doctor’s/rapist’s death) Should they be though? Is this not disturbing to anyone else? I feel alone in these opinions!

47. P. 37: (Emily, a character integral to the story says that the prison system doesn’t always work and that it was likely the rapist would have gotten out and tried to be in his daughter’s life afterwards. :/) But does this give us the right to take things into our own hands?

48. P. 37: There’s some sub-plot involving Emily and an Officer Randall (some of the shade tossed here to Randall, although he is a bit of an ass) buuuut I find T overbearing and selfish, stuck up and bitchy. Also again author’s possible projection here. And for the whole Randall thing: Ew!

49. P. 39: To N, these are a lot of judgments with no potential basis in fact.

50. P. 39: Where does this person (N) see themselves in the world? High and mighty for murder? Aren’t they a part of this? (Male heavy worldview) Male or female?

51. So is this a female? Or is it a male? I assumed male before but maybe female?

52. P. 42: Observation: Typography error: Instead of I ‘ (pointed inwards to I) it’s I ‘ (pointed outwards to next letter). Also, maybe this nurse is going to be a suspect?

53. P. 47: Toddlers and Tiaras rant from N. Seems like more of a personal vendetta. Like, more projection by the author. XD Or maybe it just fits with the idea of the N?

54. P. 49: “R is controlling and a self-centered know-it-all” —> T would know because she is too. πŸ˜€

55. P. 50: The backstory between T and Emily’s relationship, how T worked at a shelter for women who’ve been abused and she took Emily and her mother into her home for a while. —> That’s some reallllly bad boundaries. Not something to be proud over. I mean, yeah it’s kind and compassionate but it’s still fucked up for a few thirty degrees or so. Just poor boundaries work. That is all.

Okay, to be fair, that’s all I’m going to do today. I got my way up to 51 pages into the novel so I think that’s a good stopping point for today. I’m going to try and do 50 more pages next time (Th) and 50+ on Fri and finish up if I can manage to, it’s a 300 p. book, on Sat. We’ll see for sure though. Thanks for reading thus far!!! ❀ ❀ ❀

Hello again! And we’re back, it’s Oct. 10th 2019 so here we go!!

56. P. 54: Is T going to get involved with R and E? Is R going to hurt E? (Yes, kinda)

57. P. 55: Will something happen to T’s family where N will get involved? :O

58. P. 57: About R’s wife – sounds like R was gaslighting and manipulative. Maybe he will be killed next? πŸ˜€

From 6/30:

59. “Blades immediately went to the nurse’s desk and asked to speak with the head of the department. The head surgeon was Dr. Kelly Lehman. She was a brilliant surgeon and spunky as hell” — p. 58 —> Honestly if this doesn’t sound like a shopping list than I don’t know what swell writing is. XD It’s just so rigid and this, then that, then this, then that. Very like brute in a way. It’s disappointing.

60. “T let R finish his brilliant analysis (sarcasm), at least he thought it was brilliant and then she said what she usually said to students when they make uninteresting statements. ‘That’s very interesting, R.’ ” — p. 63. —-> Aaagggghhh! Yeah, she’s soooo “professional”. God, she’s annoying. Again, I’m disliking her. >:[

61. P. 63: About R leaving the room angrily and T saying how she understands why police officers are called “pigs” and how she wasn’t finished screwing with R yet for what he did to E. —> This is really fucked up. Very off putting. What a bitch (T). So judgmental. Ugh.

62. P. 64: Yeah, SUPER “professional” Grrrr.

63. P. 65: Straight up cunt levels. Fuck me.

64. P. 66: T wants to fuck up R’s life for what he did to E. (E and R had sex and R’s a dick about it.) –> But it’s not up to you (T) and your personal life to make these decisions to fuck up someone else’s life. (She wants to block him from going to get a master’s at the uni she’s at and of which E is also a part of the program)

65. P. 66: This is super vindictive of T and out of line (going to the next higher up to block R from being enrolled (granted for his OWN behavior and actions)). Cunt.

66. P. 68: T tells J about R and E but leaves out how she’s getting the dean involved. Thinks he would think she’s going too far. –> Oh really? It’s probably because you are, you dumb ass. If you knew your spouse wouldn’t agree with you it’s because you’re wrong.

67. P. 69: T writes an anonymous letter to R’s police department about his transgressions. –> That is fucked up. She’s changing and not who I thought she was. It’s not their business.

68. P. 69: This retaliating behavior seems WAY too extreme.

69. P. 70: I can see where she’s turning into agreeing with the vigilante. Shit.

70. P. 72: About the doctor rapist and his daughter (he was killed by N earlier) and Detective Blades is doing his research on questioning people etc. One of the doctor’s who worked with the rapist says that his death will bring the daughter closure. —> But maybe she’ll never have closure? Because he’s dead now? But maybe it’s for the best still too because he won’t have time to fake like he didn’t do his heinous acts, etc.

71. P. 74: Sounds like paying favorites (T) because an unknown girl (as opposed to E) wouldn’t get this advantage of personally vindictive professors.

72. P. 75: About T thinking how survivors would never be the same after their traumas and they’ll be scarred for life —> I think she’s underestimating their ability to recover and get better. She’s underestimating their resiliency.

73. P. 76: For T and J’s conversation —> That is fucked up. I’ll give her that.

74. P. 77: Not to worry, our favorite killer is out there.

75. P. 79: N is having physical symptoms of their wondering why the world is so fucked up —> Kind of like T here with the physical symptoms out of emotional news. πŸ˜‰

From July 1st:

76. P. 80: I mean R is not far off with T being the one to send in the anonymous letter about him. And T has good reason to dislike men. Men especially like R.

77. P. 81: R saying that E probably has the crush on him and it was her fault for exaggerating their “friendship” –> Yeah, okay there, buddy. *eye roll*

78. P. 85: Again, very vindictive and blackmailing here. Shit.

79. P. 87: N’s speech about women versus men being survivors –> Definitely an oversimplification. Also men do this too. (Get pressure from society to look a certain way, be a certain way, etc.). What the fuck? Aggravating.

80. P. 88: Finally we’re at the part where these same old tropes from N are getting old and predictable. Sigh. Also, N is a part of that culture too, dimwit.

81. P. 102: Hooray we’re at 100 pages now! Whoooo!! Also, this is the scene where R gets killed. It escalated very quickly. Will T be happy now? E? Others? He kinda got what he deserved though, actually. πŸ˜›

82. P. 104: T was “shocked” and says how she never wanted R to die —> Bitch please! You totally did. I have it flagged and everything. *eye roll*

83. P. 105: EXPLICIT SUICIDE METHOD WARNING. Also this suicide sounded way too similar to N’s sister so I got confused and thought we went back in time for a minute there. Also, the terminology “committed” suicide was used and we all know how much I like to correct that (people commit crimes, not suicide. Suicide is a public health emergency not a criminal one).

84. P. 106: When T has a conversation about bullying and social media and all that jazz with her kids, it reminded me of the Cyberbu//y movie and sounded a bit like a double agenda out of this book. Understandable, though.

85. “People were not born evil. They learned to be evil” — p. 108 —> Learned versus born concept. Made versus born. Was N made, too?

86. P. 110: T wasn’t happy R was dead then she was? What? Double standard. She should just admit she’s happy instead of flopping back and forth. Asshole.

87. P. 116: For the bullies having been a large factor in causing a death by suicide –> Accurate. They played a major role that wouldn’t have been present otherwise.

88. P. 117: For N and his next victim: (specific method warning) Trust me, that’s not gonna kill him unless he gets in a car accident.

89. P. 120: “‘Two wrongs don’t make a right'” bullshit coming from T. See this was her original stance but she acts opposite to it. UGH.

90. P. 121: Yeahhhh okay, they still bullied too. But whatever lie you want to tell yourselves that they did the right thing even if from the other side it didn’t feel like it.

91. P. 121: More anti-bullying agenda is being pushed here. :3 (It’s its own sub-plot)

92. P. 129: N is about as cocky as the rapist here.

93. “(T) never ignored students who were brave enough to write about their traumas. She always included a comment on their assignments that if they wanted to talk, she was available” — p. 131 —-> This is dangerous. She should point them to local resources instead of her being there for them. I speak from experience, with what happened between me and Luna. Just a bad idea overall. Attachments, issues, liabilities, etc. To name but a few.

94. P. 133: About how T’s kids would always reassure her that they were safe and okay —> This kind of reassurance seeking can be problematic, actually. Think OCD behaviors and such (where you’ll need more and more reassurance in a never ending cycle, and being reassured only further perpetuates the cycle. It’s actually best to sit in the uncomfortable emotions and the uncertainty.

95. P. 133: Again with the trope that females are more likely to be hurt (which honestly may be true) but Jesus! Women are not helpless! How many times will T say the same thing?

96. P. 140: T not trusting the criminal justice system for violence against females —> But violence against males is perfectly fine! Ughhhhh.

97. “(The kids) really believed they would make a difference in (anti-bullying campaigns) people’s attitudes. That’s all that mattered; the fact that they believed” — p. 141 —> I think that this does matter a lot ❀

98. P. 145: We have to be reminded here that this N is killing those who’ve committed crimes. They are not innocent victims.

99. P. 147: Detective Blades on how some serial killers want to be caught reminds me of the crying serial killer on 911 tapes. I forget his name but you can find it on Youtube.

100. P. 152: E isn’t the killer, right? Right?

101. P. 154: N saying they were enjoying themselves —> Oh, hot damn. That’s fucked.

Okay, I’m running a little short on time so I’m going to be finishing up and getting ready for work tonight so I’ll end this post here for today. Tomorrow I should be able to finish completely because I’m on page 160 now. πŸ™‚ Will probably drop off another book Sat too and I have to watch a film tomorrow for review. Yep, this weekend is a long one so maybe I’ll be able to get some fanfic writing and book reading and filming/editing done. Hooray! See ya next time!

Hello! I am back again. Let’s hope I can accomplish everything I want this analysis to be about, largely the rest of the quotes/commentary and then the fill in of the rest of the sections. πŸ™‚ It’s almost 6p on Oct. 11th so we shall see how this goes, listening to music on my iPod and maybe having some time to edit a video and upload it if not tonight than tomorrow/over the weekend. πŸ™‚ Let’s go!!

102. P. 159: About how the principal of a school didn’t listen to a survivor and was absent in doing anything to stop the bullying that was happening to her. —> To be fair, he probably didn’t know what to do. Ignorance doesn’t excuse a lack of mandated reporting though.

103. P. 161: Legit though, they’re (rapists) dropping like flies!

104. P. 161: About how T doesn’t want to encourage this type of vigilante justice —> But she does like it deep down? Like in what’s been said in previous sections? Why is she so fickle?

105. P. 162: T wishing the news focused more on campaigns and advocacy against bullying and making positive changes in the world –> Very true, I wish she would say more on this.

106. P. 163: About how the media should focus on problems within society and not glorifying and glamorizing violence —> Accurate, but isn’t this book doing the same thing?

107. P. 167: About how J and T’s son recognized a rapist boy on TV from the school assembly when they presented about anti-bullying —> I love how they did nothing with this information. Fuck.

108. P. 171: About how a teacher was having sex with a teenage boy and did nothing to stop the bullying of his rape survivor, still thinking the boy was in love with her and they were meant to be together —> Yeah, that was messed up. Damn.

109. P. 177: Detective Blades on not appreciating vigilantism –> Yep! I can understand this POV.

110. P. 179: On Harper (the daughter of T and J) wondering why the survivors don’t speak out/up, and T telling her that they probably blame themselves and are afraid of being bullied to death –> Educational and very sad. Reminds me a little of my fic “Distorted and Disordered”

111. P. 180: About how rape survivors are dissected and the judicial system is unfair to their stories —> Is this the best message to send with the power of a book? What if this makes other survivors out there not wish to share their trauma and have their perpetrators face “justice”? Is twisted justice still justice or should survivors find other ways of advocating and speaking out?

112. P. 181: About how the next (gang rape) rapists bragged about the girl’s rape and how she had “offed” herself —> That’s fucked up. Kill away, N!

113. P. 185: About how the teacher supposedly knew about the gang rape and did nothing to help the survivor before she ended her life –> Yeah that (being silent) doesn’t look so good for the teacher. Would she get in trouble, too?

114. P. 187: Especially since the teacher really DID know, I’d like to know too!

July 2nd:

115. P. 194: There’s an argument here that after reading through the entire book is very, very telling. I found it to be unexpected. The clues were there all along, I just didn’t want to see it! Or I didn’t think it would be what I thought. ❀

116. P. 197: The N hears one of the gang rapers brag that the victim got everything she wanted and that it was “too bad” she wouldn’t remember how she had sex for the first time. 😦 —> Kill him, N, kill him now.

117. P. 203: How the rapist would never change and N was about to kill him –> Nice description, first off then yessss, he’s an asshole. Kill him! Kill him!

118. There are some jokes/laughs I’ve had throughout this book. This one detail on p. 204 made me wonder if N was a kid/teenager themselves.

119. P. 206: On how T flip flops again with her opinion saying that some people don’t deserve to live and that the girl’s parents could get some peace now. And how ‘whoever’ killed the rapist did the family a favor —> Maybe T is really the killer? It’s so annoying how she changes her stance every other page. Her words and her actions do not line up at all. Ugh. -__-

120. P. 217: About how one of the gang rapists confesses to the crime and asks to be punished for his part —> I think that’s pretty remarkable that he confessed, yes, late, like very late, and he still repented for his sins and that’s more than what the others did for theirs.

121. P. 218: N believes (as do I) that the boy’s admission was genuine and he was remorseful about his actions (and inactions)

122. “Jake agreed that there were awful things going on (in the world) but there were good things, too. There were kind people in the world. There were people trying to make a difference” — p. 220 —> Oh, sigh. Heavy, heavy sigh. I do agree though. There’s a lot of shit in the world AND there is still good, still innocents and still loving, caring, empathetic individuals out there. ❀ πŸ™‚

123. The last gang rapist takes full responsibility for his actions without making excuses, which I find amazing in and of itself.

124. “(The girl’s) parents wanted to stay angry but they couldn’t anymore. The anger and hatred was killing them. [Shelley] wouldn’t want them to live like that anymore” — p. 224 –> This is still so sad, emotional, sweet and heartbreaking all in one moment.

125. “[Shelley’s mother] hugged the two boys who confessed their part in the rape and their parents wept for them. The parents wept for their sons, for Shelley’s parents and for Shelley. Shelley’s mother told the boys they would be okay. She touched their cheeks” — p. 224 —> This honestly made me cry! Very emotional and the show of kindness even when undeserved was very heartwarming. ❀

126. “T felt no sorrow for the boys. She would never hug a rapist. She would never forgive a rapist” — p. 225 —> T has a stick up her ass. And it’s very interesting what happened after this novel itself ended, I wish there was a further conclusion to it. If this ever happened to her she would never recover. Of course, something else happened to her but we never find out what happens next.

July 3rd:

127. About how J worried T would be a mess once the kids flew from the next —> Yes, she has to prepare for this reality.

128. “When I kill people, I don’t blink an eye. It’s like business to me. I am completing necessary chores.” — p. 240 –> This personally reminds me of the look I get when I’ve been suicidal. Interesting parallels.

129. “I think both sides (within N) are completely balanced. The good side really is good and leads its own life. It volunteers, it gives and is kind. The bad side isn’t bad; it is determined. The bad side ironically thinks it is doing some good” — p. 240 —> I felt this was a very good and interesting insight into the N character.

130. P. 245: Another example here of how controlling T is in her household (her emotions run the house and no one else’s does).

131. “T felt responsible for taking care of the family. She didn’t like the job but she wouldn’t let anyone else do it” — p. 246 –> So why complain? Ugh.

132. P. 250 The idea that the system is only reactive rather than protective/preventative is pretty darn accurate

133. P. 253: There’s some romance budding between T’s sister and Detective Blades. It’s too bad we don’t see more of it come into play.

134. P. 256: T presents on the subject of sexual assault and it is said how her presentation was powerful —> I would have liked to determine how powerful it was myself but unfortunately we are not shown the speech. -_- (Or, descriptive of it, as it were). Of course.

135. P. 264: How a character was so nice, optimistic and kind. It’s chilling.

136. Ohhhhh shiiiiiiiit. Shit hits the fan! The detective uncovers who is the vigilante and I thought the sister reference from how the beginning of the book began was really important and a nice touch. I couldn’t believe who it turned out to be the killer.

137. I really, really wanted to know what happened after. How did they react? Everyone else? Wow.


I think ultimately that if telling versus showing is a book you’d like to read than this is the book for you. It is VERY heavy material and once I got into it I kinda liked it but as you saw throughout the commentary portion, if you read that portion, it was very off putting and way too controlling and ugh, anger making than I would have liked it to be. I had a lot to say about it and it really ground my gears–hard.

I’m glad I finally got through this analysis though. Now I can wipe my hands clean of it and try to get back into another book, hopefully better written and better equipped to toil with all of my emotions, ahaha.

Overall, thanks so much for reading!!! I hope that it was enjoyable and I’m only lightly combing back through it before I upload it as I have a few other things I want to try and do next.

See you in the next one!! πŸ™‚ ❀ ❀ ❀ xxx

PS I know very little about abuse, sexual assault, rape and the like and have no personal experience with it. So, I apologize if anything is a little off or I seem to be portraying myself as a rape apologist or the like (for not rejoicing at first with the idea of killing off rapists and other bad people). I don’t think rape is okay in any way. I know that vigilantism is a difficult and complicated topic. My thoughts on this BOOK is for the moment where I stand with these topics. That’s not to say they won’t change in the future as I become more educated and understanding of these complex issues.

“Stravaganza: City of Masks” (2002) |Book Analysis (June-July 2019)

Book Analysis - THUMB - 7.3.19


“Stravaganza: City of Masks” (2002) by Mary Hoffman

Book #1 of 3; but with popularity became a six part story, hooray!! πŸ˜€ (I just learned this online)

**BEWARE: SPOILERS AHEAD (Summ.) w/ My Commentary**


Politics, fantasy, thwarted assassination attempts, foster parents, magic/science, travel to different time dimensions, friendship, budding romance, masquerade masks, Duchessa’s, good and evil, historical fiction, spies


Substance use (alcohol) and murder


4/5 Italians


Lucien Mulholland is a fifteen year old living in twenty-first century England when he is diagnosed with brain cancer. He lives with his parents, Vicky and David, and upon his Dad giving him a marbled purple and red journal that he sticks into his pocket one evening, he discovers and is thrust into a world of a different time. He begins his quests into what is known then as Bellezza, the sixteenth century version of present-day Italy, where he meets a young, rebellious teen, Arianna. Arianna is not as mystified with the ruler of Bellezza, the Duchessa named Silvia, as all her other citizens in the lagoon. Arianna has some radical, feminist perspectives (that women should also be able to be the mandoliers rather than only men) about the Duchessa and has a plan to attack her before this plan is thwarted. You see, Arianna has two older brothers and has entered the city of Bellezza during one of the most restricted times (a citizen not of Bellezza cannot be roaming the streets on this day or otherwise will face death) when she bumps into a black, curly haired Lucien (whom she names Luciano).

What Lucien additionally discovers in Bellezza is that he is healthy and with his hair, strong and passionate. Their friendship blossoms over the time where Lucien arrives in Bellezza every night in his world and every day in Bellezza’s time. He meets the Senator Rodolfo who is a scientist by today’s standards and a magic wielder by Bellezza’s. He helps bring Luciano into his wing to teach him about how he is one of the brethren of the Stravanganti: a person who, with a talisman from the other dimension, can travel between worlds. Because he is a guest in Bellezza, Luciano does not have a shadow (this is important later). He learns of another Englishman who traveled to Bellezza from Rodolfo and they are successful in finding out where he is.

During this entire time, Arianna is punished by her parents to spend time away from her hometown and in the city of Bellezza with her aunt to take care of her. This works out all right because Luciano and her often hang out and she teaches him about her world and the hotspots around it. Also, the Duchessa at this time is in a committed relationship with Rodolfo, and we are introduced to their enemies Rinaldo di Chimici (who wishes for Bellezza to join under his rule of Remora). It turns out that during celebratory events, that the Duchessa uses a body double. One such body double, Giuliana whose fiance is Enrico, is sworn to secrecy and given silver for her performance as payment. Except, of course, she does not keep quiet about the Duchessa’s body doubles and tells her fiance Enrico about it, who works as his profession as a spy. As such, Enrico decides to work with Rinaldo to uncover what is so special about Luciano and Arianna, following them around as they go from island to island and upon their many adventures.

At the same moment, the Duchessa is curious about Arianna and has her own spy follow the two teenagers around as well.

Later, there is an assassination attempt on the Duchessa’s life during one of the fireworks showings and Luciano has stayed the night there in Bellezza and happens to save the Duchessa from death. He is rewarded for his endeavors in silver and becomes closer to Arianna as they muddle through the uncertainties ahead of them. Meanwhile, Rodolfo and Luciano are able to find Doctor Dethridge who escaped from being burned alive in England for practicing magic and regained his shadow in Bellezza when his physical body died back in his own world. Dethridge helps to support Luciano and Rodolfo in their quest to understanding who is after the Duchessa and how to keep themselves safe and alive despite the risks.

With Rinaldo and Enrico working hard to thwart the Duchessa, Giuliana incidentally goes to the Duchessa’s mother to help make her wedding dress out of the impressive lace she makes. Being particularly talkative, Giuliana talks of Enrico’s mission to kill the Duchessa and her mother makes a secret, hidden message within her lace to send to her daughter and warn her of what was transpiring. Because of Giuliana’s fickleness and because of how greedy she is, the Duchessa asks her to come in to impersonate her again and turns her into the Glass Room where Enrico comes to kill the Duchessa (not realizing it’s his finace). While Giuliana gets taken care of, the real Duchessa seeks comfort and assistance from Rodolfo, Dethridge, Luciano and Arianna.

Annoyed that another assassination is thwarted, Rinaldo works with Enrico to come up with a new plan. They find out, from the Duchessa’s own spy and a bartender that both Luciano and Arianna had been in the city during the forbidden day. With this knowledge, Enrico makes a case against the two teens. Also during this time, Lucien’s parents in the present take him on vacation to Venice where he is able to cross the boundaries lightly (although getting physically ill because of it) into Bellezza and where he realizes with a dreadful feeling that something is going wrong in the city where he ventures to at night. Because he’s on vacation, he’s unable to Stravagate to Bellezza for a week in his time and a few days in their time. When he does arrive back home, he gets the bad news that his cancer has begun to grow back and he faces an unfortunate reality that he will not survive past it.

Back in Bellezzza, Arianna is sent a warrant for her arrest and placed into the dungeons. However, the Duchessa by this point has learned that Arianna is her very own daughter. Because of this, she was born on Bellezza then sent to one of the nearby islands to live with the Duchessa’s sister. She was brought up as though she were her mother’s sister’s daughter. She is shocked to find out this news and has many mixed emotions. She isn’t told right away who her father is.

When Luciano returns to Bellezza and informs Rodolfo and Dethridge of his very real, potential demise in his world, he is hugged and comforted by the two elder gentlemen. He finds out that Arianna is the Duchessa’s daughter and that the Duchessa has chosen to step down from her role of ruler of Bellezza after the second assassination attempt and has elected for Arianna to take her place instead. She plans to live her life as an ordinary citizen in a town called Padavia.

Then, Luciano is captured by Enrico as a new plan has surfaced for Rinaldo and his spy. They want to claim that Arianna cannot possibly be from Bellezza (to question her ability to rule Bellezza after she’s elected) and to show how Luciano isn’t from Bellezza either and is actually a witch (upon which the sentencing for Remora individuals would be death and which the citizens of Bellezza would be afraid of).

While he is captured within Rinaldo’s dungeons, his physical form in his world slips into a three week long coma. Arianna is brought into the courtroom to face the judgments of her new people, that question the legitimacy of her birth–which is where she finds out, among her citizens, that Rodolfo is her true father. The case is then dismissed.

But Luciano’s isn’t, not yet. Luciano is brought before the courtroom to see his lack of a shadow, however, in his world he has just been pronounced dead and because of this, he DOES have a shadow in Bellezza, so that Enrico’s and Rinaldo’s claims are immediately dismissed as irrational.

With time, Arianna steps up to be the ruler of her people, Luciano comes to terms with his death in the present world and how he is meant to live his life anew in Bellezza, he is able, with help from Rodolfo, to find some ways in which to say goodbye to his parents, and a romance begins between Arianna and Luciano, while Dethridge and Arianna’s aunt begin a romance as well. Rodolfo and Silvia also further their relationship and the story ends on a high note.

Everything up to this point was written June 8th 2019


1. “Lanterns swung gently between the trees, illuminating the flowers and leaves, bleached of their vivid daytime colours” – p. 14-15

MT: I thought this was a particularly beautiful description. ❀

2. ” ‘What a waste,’ thought Arianna” – p. 23

MT: I found this book initially very difficult to get through and I thought more than once about abandoning my efforts (although I’m glad now that I stuck with it!). In particular, I found it confusing that the author used single quotation marks for the thoughts rather than Italicizing the phrases and while also using half a quotation for whenever a person spoke. I don’t know if it was a stylistic choice to represent the time period this book covers or if the author is unfamiliar with this notion. By this I mean not using: ” ” and instead using: ‘ ‘ . I also just don’t think it makes sense to use the same symbols for dialogue as for thoughts, as it’s difficult to read at first. Also, towards the end of the book I found a few other grammar and misspelling moments. :/ They were a little distracting for me, and sometimes when I read certain sentences I had to double back and read it again as it didn’t make sense to me the first time. Sigh.

3. “The lessons were hard. There was a lot about matter and geology but that was as close to what Lucien might have described as science as they got. Mostly it was more like meditation. Rodolfo was very keen to develop Lucien’s power of concentration. ‘Empty your mind,’ (Rodolfo) would say, which Lucien found impossible. ‘Now focus on a point in the city. Visualize it. Describe it to me. Colours, smells, sounds, textures'” – p. 86

MT: I honestly do find this whole world building thing to be pretty amazing. For right now (6/11/19) I found it to be very reminiscent of the MCU’s “Doctor Strange” and also “Captain Marvel” for the whole Skrulls and Kree thing. I guess because it was dabbling with emotions and not expressing them as the Kree population was about. I have reviews on CM and eventually DS that I want to do soon, too. πŸ™‚

4. “[Lucien] knew that however fascinating he found the city, he was a tourist, in time and space” – p. 87

MT: For now, he was a tourist. But yes, he wasn’t fully participating and living his complete life in Bellezza, rather sharing it with his time in 21st century England. It’s too bad he couldn’t bring others with him to Bellezza, that would have been cool.

But for today, this is where I’m stopping. Since I took out a few of the flags and skipped some, I’m at least happy to say we’re 100 pages in now, hooray! Until the next paragraph, tomorrow! ❀

Soooo, there’s no real way to get back into this analysis/what started off as a review but will probably be renamed an analysis from this point on, but it’s been over a month since I worked on this post and I reaaaaaaaally need to get it completed and finished so that I can get this book BACK to the library without getting charged for having to replace it. SO! That said, let’s jump back in! (It’s currently July 9th)

**EDIT: I’ve also completely changed around and revamped this post, adding sections and rearranging them, hopefully it makes more sense and covers as much as I’d like without also being too long and complicated**

5. “What was he doing here, hundreds of miles away in space and hundreds of years in time, and who knew how distant from his own family?” – p. 117

MT: I think this is a great example of how even if he’d had a choice to continue living his life in B versus his own world, that it would come at a great cost, even still. He would miss his own family and although he has friends and family in B, it wouldn’t quite be the same. He obviously misses them and it’s sad how things turn out for his present day life. But there are things to rejoice in his B life.

6. “[The canal was filling with flowers at the funeral] some landed in the mandola, so that its severe black lines were now blurred into a mass of color. But most fell unheeded into the water, where they floated along in the wake of the cortege, alongside cheap golden ornaments representing the goddess” – p. 262

MT: This passage honestly reminded me of Frigga’s death in The Dark World and Tony’s in Avengers: Endgame ❀ ❀ ❀

7. “(R to crowd) ‘We have all lost someone we loved. Some might say that this loss of ours is not capable of restoration. And in some ways I would agree. But out of despair has come forth hope. In the darkness there is a gleam of a new dawn’ ” – p. 283

MT: I feel that this quote is especially necessary to highlight and showcase in this analysis because it’s heartwarming and truthful for most other situations as well. πŸ™‚

8. “[The doctors to L’s parents in his world] ‘I’m afraid, as we told you, there are signs that Lucien must have undergone some brain damage. I must repeat there is no sign of any brain activity at all. To all intents and purposes, he is dead already.’ … ‘So, you’re saying there’s no hope? No alternative to turning off the machines?’ … Both consultants remained silent. The two parents clasped hands beside their son’s body” – p. 308

MT: I thought this was a very sad scene and I actually teared up a little because of how sad it was and that the parents had to lose L in this way when he is so vibrantly alive in another world and time dimension. This is tied up somewhat nicely at the very last chapter, however.

9. “(L’s Mom to his Dad) ‘I never thought it would be like this, without any time to say goodbye.’ She thought she had cried all the tears she had in her but still more seemed to come when L’s father said, ‘At least we had that holiday with him in Venice'” – p. 311

MT: I really feel for this parents here and it’s such a blow to the gut that we really don’t ever know when the last time we see someone will be the last time. It sucks and it hurts, a lot. Sad. 😦 ❀

10. “(R to L’s parents in present day) ‘Your son still lives, you know, only in another place. And he will never forget you. He will think of you all the time as you think of him. He will grow up strong and happy and one day you will see him again'” – p. 325

MT: I thought this was extremely heartfelt and sweet. πŸ™‚ ❀

11. “L had made lists both mental and real of all the things he would never experience again. They were so small but seemed suddenly so important. He would never go to a football match, or see a film or eat a pizza or take a hot shower again. Never watch TV or eat popcorn or travel by Tube or swim in a swimming pool. Never sleep under a duvet or buy a lottery ticket or use a GameBoy or chew gum. Never fly in an aeroplane or ride on a rollercoaster or wear jeans. … But gradually, with the help of R and his new foster-parents, Luciano had begun to see that there were pluses to spending the rest of his life as a citizen of Bellezza” – p. 337

MT: Although this is mostly just the start of this analysis for you, it is the end for me and I think it’s important and a nice reminder of all the things we can have gratitude over and of course, the obvious (if you continue to read all the way to the end) relation to the novel I wish to write. It’s important to see both sides of life and death–the good and the bad. It’s not all of one or the other, rather a blended mixture. There are reasons to stay alive and life will get better, no matter what it is you’re struggling with.

Stay safe, my friends. ❀ And thank you for reading!!!! This was a LONG time coming and quite a bit of work, ahaha. See you on Thursday! πŸ™‚

Unanswerable questions from my reading/Re-working of the plot for my own understanding (as I read this in chunks spread out over multiple days):

  • If Luciano gets drunk in Bellezza, does he also get drunk in present day? (because he is gaining weight in present day from what he eats in B)
  • So when L leaves B his body goes with him? And when he’s out of B his body is resting in PD?
  • Β “…And what would happen to the other Lucien if he were killed here in B?” – p. 74
  • MT: Yeah, this is never officially explained. Most things with how Stravaganti’s worked weren’t. 😦 But I know that him dying in his own world gave him back his shadow in Bellezza, and what he did and ate in Bellezza effected him in his world. I think it was assumed that if he got hurt in Bellezza he would be injured in his own world as well. But my main question here was whether or not there were two Lucien’s or just one (and it seems like there was just one albeit a different one since he had hair and was cancer-free)? It’s a bit confusing, I’ll admit. When he would be alive in Bellezza in his world’s nighttime, he would be in a coma-like stance, not quite sleeping because it was deeper than that. I guess that makes a little more sense, even though it still doesn’t, completely? Sigh.
  • So if B effects him in PD wouldn’t he be able to sustain injury? And hangovers? Is not resting effecting him in PD (as I found out later, yes).
  • RECAP so far: Duchessa vs Chimci, assassination attempts, spy plans, Stravagantis, rules over Strav. night/day in worlds (If night in B it’s day in PD), people following A & L (from D’s ruling and C). Fireworks soon and maybe complicated assassination because of Enrico and Giuliana
  • On p. 147 it is explained that Dethridge now has a shadow in B world because he died in his PD world (which is significant later in the story for L)
  • From p. 168: Does L wear his normal real life clothing in B under his B clothing? How would his boxers be gone in RL if he didn’t have them on in B? Why are his boxers gone in RL? Why did company laugh when he took off his B clothing and he had the boxers on? Sooooo confused.
  • “Lucien wondered what would have happened to his body here in his own world if he had been stabbed in Bellezza” – p. 179

  • So this is EXACTLY what I’d been wondering for the duration of this entire S. business
  • On p. 185m why didn’t A and L notice the spies following them? There are spies everywhere, after all. What will the rest of the series cover (plot-wise)?
  • (So I can’t actually remember the plot line for this next notation but… on p. 198) Why didn’t R and Dethridge think of this option sooner? I believe the option is to go back into L’s PD world. Will A & L have to do this to escape being punished for witchcraft?

Things I found noteworthy:

1. The book begins with a Contents page where each chapter is titled individually

My Thoughts: Each chapter rounded up to about 15 pages in length and they all started with a small drawing at the top of which the chapter itself and the title corresponded to. I thought this was a really nice detail and I wonder if it was maintained throughout the entire series. πŸ™‚ Additionally I’m from the perspective that chapter titling is like extra level shit, so I found that especially impressive πŸ˜€

2. “[Lucien] was as out of place as a dog in the Council chamber. And yet he seemed totally oblivious of danger, warming himself in the sunshine and wearing an idiotic expression like a sleepwalker. Perhaps he was touched in the head?” – p. 36

MT: I thought this was a fairly mild phrasing of describing another person as “crazy” so, er, thanks for that, author! XD

3. Simply an observation at page 103

MT: For some reason, and I can’t remember why now, but this little paragraph about Enrico being a spy and having information to tell the Ambassador reminded me of Dr. Strange, The 100 and The Girl at Midnight series. *shrugs* Okay!

From May 7th 2019:

4. “There were turreted castles, fully rigged ships, winged rams, peacocks and whole gardens of glass trees and flowers, with delicate spider webs, accurate right down to the dewdrops (decorative glass in a museum)” – p. 107

MT: It’s interesting how things change and evolve in terms, yes of life in general, but also in terms of art. Fascinating what can be showcased in museums and the life and how that is different everywhere (yet also the same).

From May 26th:

5. “Lucien had a hunch that if Arianna’s grandfather had lived on Merlino, where all the houses were white, he would have painted his bright pink. He was that sort of a person” – p. 115

MT: I am that sort of person!!

6. How jumps in time are noted with an asterisk (*) and open journals signify jumping dimensions (from B to PD or PD to B)

7. “(R to L) ‘I didn’t bring you here. I merely left the talisman. I did not know who would find it. The talismans have a way of finding the right person’ ” – p. 129

MT: *small forming grin* You can guess what this reminds me of!!! (Dr. Strange)

8. Each chapter begins with the title and a corresponding image/sketch of what that chapter will be about (often a representation of that chapter’s title)

From June 4th:

9. On p. 146, D knows more about A than she is saying. I thought at this point that A would become her replacement

10. “(About Dethridge) and the man who had created the whole process more than four centuries ago and was now stranded for the rest of his life in another world” – p. 148

MT: The reason I’ve kept this notation is I really think L is over-reacting here. I think he’s catastrophizing and not realizing that with acceptance he’d be able to find peace and come to terms with the life he lost and the one he’s now gained. I think L is not accounting properly for the manner in which so many humans adapt to worst case scenarios and that we’re often terrible at judging how well (or not so well) we would cope with life-altering changes. Just saying!

11. By p. 155 we get a nice glimpse into the budding romance between L and A that I hope is explored in future stories!!

12. From page 163, gloating before realizing the outcome of your assassination attempt is no good. Poor form, Chimici!

13. On p. 171 I complain about how I wished the author would stop introducing new characters into the ongoing plots as it meant I had to remember more people when I was struggling with all the current ones XD

Noteworthy quote marked on June 5th:

14. “‘(D to the boy who was sent to kill her) ‘Then it’s high time (his age) you had a respectable trade. You can’t go round knifing people for a living’ ” – p. 178

MT: I honestly just laughed and enjoyed this part! XD

15. “(R to everyone) ‘But for now, you have nothing to be afraid of’ ” – p. 200

MT: Okay, so the Chimici would use Stravagation as a means to reveal secrets and ban magic and punish anyone who practices it to death. Sooooo, there is actually MUCH to be afraid of, Rodolfo!

16. “Arianna could not bear it–she screamed out loud. But there was no one to hear her” – p. 213

MT: Not gonna lie, this reminds me of how I’ve written Loki in my fanfic D&D

17. “Valeria and Gianfranco not her parents? That was like saying that Bellezza wasn’t a city. It just didn’t make sense. And the Duchessa her mother? Everything Ariannna had known about herself until today seemed to be untrue” – p. 224

MT: I cannot imagine the woes of being adopted or fostered but this scene again reminds me very much of Loki in Thor. 😦

Interesting development was that Dethridge and Leonora became a couple πŸ™‚

Chimici by page 252 isn’t all evil but Enrico is. He does come up with excuses why he can’t back out of his conniving assassination attempts on the Duchessa though.

18. “[That Arianna’s grandparents were her grandparents] That was a rock to cling to in a sea of swirling uncertainties” – p. 241

MT: Nice description!

19. “The two [R and D] seemed to stand in the dark tunnel for a long time, until their heartbeats returned to normal and they walked slowly back to R’s side of the passage” – p. 257

MT: See my cardiophile post to get this little reference!

Also, may I just note that G wasn’t nearly as “innocent” of a woman as L thought her to be! She had what was coming to her!

20. “Lucien thought again that [the Duchessa] was the most ruthless person he had ever met. He thanked his good fortune that he was on her side in the dangerous and violent world of Talian politics” – p. 259

AIwFF#1 **MT: As of June 6th, I thought this might make for an interesting Thor/Loki fanfic to explore Loki’s ruthlessness and just play around with the characters. πŸ™‚ (AIwFF = Art Idea, writing, fanfic)

21. “(R to L) ‘You are a Bellezzan now, by night and by day. Your life in the other world is over. It is a bitter ending and I shall never forgive myself for it.’ Lucien blinked hard to keep back the tears. This was it then; he was dead” – p. 317

**MT: This reminds me so much of my fiction novel I wish to one day write more consistently for and publish tentatively called “The Cards We’re Dealt” where the entirety of the novel actually begins in the afterlife. So, all the characters we’re introduced to have already passed on yet that is where the story begins rather than ends which is so typically done. πŸ™‚

22. “(L to everyone) ‘Even if I hadn’t been kidnapped, I was going to die in my world anyway. But I can’t bear it that I didn’t say goodbye to my parents’ ” – p. 318

**MT: Once again, this also reminds me of TCWD because it’s the matter of saying goodbye (or not) and accepting that and grieving with it for all that has been lost (and yet what is also yet to come!).

23. “Bellezzan from now on he might be, but he would find a way back to his own world. He had unfinished business there” – p. 329

**MT: Unfinished business theme to exactly you know what. πŸ˜‰

Thanks for stopping by!!! xxx

“Pet Sematary” (1983) | Book Review (April 2019)

Book Review THUMB


Pet Sematary (1983) by Stephen King


Death, paranormal, Wendigos, horror, suspense, thriller

**Also, beware, spoilers ahead!!**


Substance use (alcohol mainly), suicidality (methods/attempt), pet death, sex, trauma, mental health references (“asylums”, psych hospitals and “crazy”)


4/5 Resurrected Beings


Louis Creed, a medical doctor moving his family (wife, Rachel; 5 year old daughter, Ellie; 2 year old son, Gage; and pet cat Church) from Chicago to Maine meets Jud Crandall and his wife Norma across the street of their new home who later inform him about a Pet Sematary a ways behind his house. The Pet Sematary is where kids of the past have buried their pets, often being killed on the busy street (Rt. 15) separating their houses. Rachel has been traumatized by her older sister’s (Zelda) death when she was young which colors her vision by wanting to shield Ellie from the concepts of death and how brutal it can be.

On Louis’s first day at work, a young man named Victor Pascow warns him about the Pet Sematary before he dies. Later, Louis has a “dream” in which Pascow warns him of what’s beyond the deadfall by the Pet Sematary, saying that Louis is not to cross the boundary, that some doors must not be opened and that terrible things were yet to happen. It turns out, amusingly to me and with dismay to Louis, that this “dream” wasn’t a dream, rather he had actually followed Pascow’s ghost into the woods and mud and pine needles as he discovers the next morning.

When everyone but Louis is away in Chicago for Thanksgiving, their cat Church is sadly killed. Jud, then, shows Louis the Micmac burial ground beyond the deadfall which has the power to resurrect the dead although whatever comes back is changed from how they were before.

Later, when Gage is unfortunately killed on Rt. 15, Louis has the compulsion to bury him in the Micmac. Jud warns him of a tale where a human was buried and how they were more like an evil zombie when resurrected than a human being. Still, Louis is desperate to have Gage back that he sets out to rob him from his coffin.

Rachel and Ellie being in Chicago as this takes place, have bad feelings and Rachel makes the trek back to Maine.

Once Gage is resurrected, he goes to Jud to taunt and then kill him.

Rachel arrives at Jud’s house and Gage mocks her in the voice of Zelda, before also murdering her.

Louis wakes up to the aftermath at Jud’s home, killing both Church and Gage then bringing Rachel’s body back to the Micmac, thinking his problem was that he waited too long to resurrect Gage.

A coworker named Steve finds Louis crossing the deadfall where monsters like the Wendigos are and Louis’s hair is all white and he’s under a trance. Steve leaves.

The novel ends with Louis in the kitchen and Rachel approaching him from behind.


My personal thoughts and take on this (which you’ll also read more of later in the Quotes section):

I wondered what happened to Ellie after, her life beyond the events, how Louis explained anything, if at all, before he was also killed.

The trance from the burial ground had managed to discourage Rachel and Jud from interfering even though they try to anyways. I don’t get why Louis aged a lot with the white hair at the end and what significance that particularly had, maybe I’m just missing something. I felt conflicting emotions over this book–I wanted a happy ending for them, a resolution, something, and I really fell in love with them early on. I wanted the best for them ultimately while also wanting to see the shit hit the fan and everything that would come out of that. But, it’s Stephen King, so, what else can we truly expect? XD

The part that really freaked me out in particular was the long paragraph of Death towards the end. All the different methods of dying really freaked me out lmao.

I found the book to be suspenseful in bursts, dragging out the details then a lot happening then dragging it out again.

It was a struggle for me to read this book but when I got into it it was good, my concentration abilities were limited often, but I could read a lot for an extended period of time and really got sucked into it, which is awesome.

I was also often reminded of the novel I wish to write and how creative one can be in fiction. It was very inspiring in that way and the resurrection idea with things not being the same after was fascinating.

I would recommend this story for anyone who enjoys thrillers and not so happy endings.

I also look forward to completing this review, the first two movies and the remake. πŸ™‚


First portion from 3/21/19:

  1. The contents page which was split into three parts.

My Thoughts here: I begin to ponder my struggles with creativity these days post-mental health conditions. My struggles with creating places with new rules and the balance between imagination and researched/education. The free range of creativity versus the exactness and accuracy. Even just creating fully dimensional characters, plot and OC’s (original characters).

2. “Death is a mystery and burial is a secret” – p. 1

MT: A few things here:

How life is preserved in books–how you can find something new in old familiar pages at different points in your life, how experiences are still new and unique and variable no matter what. How life is unpredictable, essentially.

What this book can say on death and dying and how some of these messages are timeless. And spooky of course. Says a lot about philosophy and life and having gratitude for what we do have.

Also, my own novel “The Cards We’re Dealt” and what I want to publish one day. Thoughts on what I and what I want to create, how to do it, how to write it, where to start, etc. Probably starting with writing the manuscript, knowing the steps to take throughout and finding a publishing agency and such. I’d also like to create something with my artwork and projects. πŸ™‚ Actually reading this novel at the start spurred creativity for my own novel (that I since haven’t worked on but still) which is interesting and fun. πŸ™‚ ❀

3. By page 3–and I should preface this here to say that reading books for me and slightly in general has become very difficult to do with my attention span and you may be able to see that through how rocky the start of these selected quotes (or reminders as it tends to also be) are. I don’t know, I think I lost my discreteness over time, or maybe I’ve just ballooned up the process into a lengthy and hardworking notion. I feel that now I read as three distinct characters: The Reader who is getting lost in the make believe world; The Writer who notes word choices, metaphors, descriptions and such to involve in my own writings; and The Analyzer which tries to see the foreshadowing elements and understand the plot and what is happening and what it all means. It’s definitely not the same as watching a Youtube video and being able to skip ahead to the juicy bits. It really requires me to have to manually get through the information with my fading memory and attention span. Probably why I haven’t done it nearly as much as I’d love to, these days. Having the extra layer of reviewing the works probably adds to this stress and surmountable problem, actually. But for the foreseeable future, I will continue with this work, because I do enjoy it and in some ways, I’m not yet ready to give it up–but by this page I had thoughts about my own fanfiction plots and OC’s and wanting to write a romance AU fic which I’ve since written down in my notes as something to balance out all the heavy, hard hitting plots of mine these days. πŸ™‚

4. “…Louis savored the silence.” – p. 5

MT: I’ve read not many actually Stephen King novels before, I know we had to read “The Shining” in high school and I didn’t fancy it too much, but with this novel I actually really grew to enjoy it (and I read the graphic novel of “The Dark Man” actually before this which helped in many ways, I believe) and the way that King writes and portrays information. Particularly with this description, I enjoy how simple yet impactful it is. It’s a nice word, too “savoring”. πŸ™‚

5. (Gage saying his first word) – p. 5

MT: This is where I began to fall in love with the characters and it churned thoughts of my own characters and plots.

6. “(Louis to Ellie) ‘There. (cleaning a wound) And it really didn’t hurt a bit. Fess up, Ellie'” – p. 7

MT: I thought this was a little abrasive and insensitive, which is a manner that Louis has at times. He’s human after all and sometimes we can be invalidating even when we are not intending to be.

7. “(Jud to Louis) ‘I’ve seen a lot of life right here in Ludlow.'” – p. 11

MT: This reminds me that I should check in soon with an old neighbor. Also, interesting to be reminded of how neighborhoods grow old and change too with the passage of time.

8. “One the road a semi roared by, its running lights twinkling like earthstars” – p. 15

MT: I’m a sucker for stars, planets, galaxies and universe quotes and metaphors and aesthetic. πŸ™‚

9. “(L to J): ‘I’ll take it under advisement'” – p. 17

MT: I think this is a nice phrase, something I’d like to use in a deflection or a way to end an opposing opinion. It’s concise and still polite.

10. “(L’s thoughts about Jud staying up late on his porch) Perhaps they stand watch. Against what?” – p. 18

MT: I thought this would be nice to include as the foreboding nature was present even so early on in the story. So much later build up happens and there were hints all along the way.

11. “(about Norma’s arthritis) She would not surrender to the pain; there would be no white flags. Let it take her if it could” – p. 19

MT: I just really loved this visual. It’s so strong, poetic, and inspiring in some ways. The idea of not letting pain win, in this case physical but also emotionally. It says a lot about resiliency and perseverance, I think.

12. “You learned to accept or you ended up in a small room writing letters home with Crayolas” – p. 19

MT: I’m pretty sure this is a dig at psych hospitals. It’s also not the last. I was slightly offended but forgave it time and time again. That’s why my score settles on a 4 and not a 5, also. I mean, it’s a fair criticism in some ways, but I hate how intertwined mental health and art/storytelling can be because it’s so often stigmatizing rather than educational. It’s so often damaging and ridiculous, especially in the horror genre, which is far too bad. It’s also not rebutted or cleared up either, just passing judgment then moving on as though nothing significant had occurred. It’s a fine line, I think. Choosing to use mental health in an artistic conversation while also being fair and not passing on cruel remarks or lasting damage. If nothing else, it’s disappointing to repeatedly rehash old tropes and persistent myths. It’s also probably a good indicator on personal responsibility within the field itself. (Knowing when to use content warnings if something explicit is described, those who choose to be explicit rather than implicit, talking about the issue with words rather than skittering on the topic but never naming it, etc.)

13. “(L’s thoughts about Ellie going off to school) We’re really going to get old. It’s really true. No one’s going to make an exception for us. She’s on her way…and so are we” – p. 21

MT: I feel like in retrospect this quote is especially sad knowing everything that winds up happening later. Also, as the time I’m writing this review portion is happening (last Friday of April) my headache is returning and I still am struggling to read the notes I have on this particular page flag. I think it says something along the lines of an existential awareness and finality’s.

14. “…They looked over the river, its lush hem of trees, the roads, the fields…” – p. 24

MT: Some of these I’m going to skip and use my own opinion of what’s relevant and what I can probably do without for the sake of time and having your attention. πŸ™‚ You’re welcome! XD But this description of the area reminded me of my Recovery Home ideas/project and TCWD (my novel) and wanting to write for that story at the time, too. That’s all πŸ˜‰

15. “(L to R) (it was true that he was fine), although his hart was larruping along at a good speed in his chest. He was more used to prescribing physical exercise than he was to doing it” – p. 27

MT: Thought that was an interesting word choice, something different than I’ve seen before. Also, I’m squeamish yet beyond fascinated by hearts. I just think they’re really cool, they make sounds and everything. So along with galaxies, I’m also a sucker for anything heart related. XD Maybe one day I’ll even just talk about this at length in a separate blog post… that would be interesting and cool. I know I’ve briefly mentioned it a few times before but yeah. Especially anatomically correct human hearts. Damn son. That’s my shit. XD ANY WHO! (Also, it shouldn’t come too much as a surprise from my fanfic “A Little Unsteady” which if you don’t know you should totes check out my first part of all about my fanfics here on my blog through the Search button! :D)

16. “(They’re all walking towards the Pet Sematary which is a bit of a hike) ‘I’m fine,’ he called back a little aggressively. Pride probably would have led him to say the same thing even if he had felt the onset of a coronary” – p. 28

MT: Why do men do this (what is the origin of these matters, of thinking admitting to health problems (both mental and physical) is weak rather than life-saving at times)? Also, this is a detail I probably ought to include in my own fics and OC’s. Since it is so common for men. And I’m often writing in the perspective of one. Or, at least, a demigod for fanfics but also prevalent in my own writings. Just interesting, to me, I think. It also reminds me of how if I get lost I’ll just ask someone for directions but even this form of asking for help can be difficult for men. I guess I’m wondering about the societal and cultural factors involved with these issues. Interesting….

17. “He and Rachel exchanged an amused glance and stepped under the arch, instinctively reaching out and grasping each other’s hands as they did so” – p. 28

MT: I like this description and it reminds me of how I’ve initially begun my own novel. πŸ™‚

18. “(Rachel) had never been easy around the appearances of death (not, he supposed, that anyone really was), probably because of her sister. Rachel’s sister had died very young and it had left a scar which Louis had learned early in their marriage not to touch. Her name had been Zelda…” – p. 29

MT: This is a continued quote but for here, I pondered (thinking it was Ellie who died and not Gage based on the trailers I had seen of the remake) how grief would impact Rachel and Louis’s relationship, the matters of Ellie’s (presumed) death as it were and my own characters dealing with the news of death and grief. And I quote my note: “Sad.”

19. “…Zelda had died from spinal meningitis. Her mortal illness had probably been long and painful and ugly, and Rachel would have been at an impressionable age. If she wanted to forget it, he thought there could be no harm in that” – p. 30

MT: At the time of reading this I felt that this may not be the best of approaches as it opened up more issues than addressing the situation could cause. Which, in some respects, was accurate for how things later played out. So, you know, maybe not avoiding things all the time matters? They always have a way of being brought out into the open again, anyhow, those nefarious little bastards.

Second portion from 4/13/19:

20. “(L to E about death) ‘God or Somebody. Clocks run down–that’s all I know. There are no guarantees, babe’ ” – p. 36

MT: I didn’t mention this in another quote but around this section I began to wonder how the process of grief of a child while having another child in existence would be. Here, I was struggling to get back into the book and I found this concept baffling. It reminded me of how we learn and grow with books. Also makes me think and wonder if it’s possible to read all the books in a library, and to ponder how many bookstores and libraries there are all over the world in existence today. Food for thought, that’s for sure.

21. “Now, even if (death) could not be changed, it could at least be wept over” – p. 37

MT: Death is a tricky thing to come to terms with, and I think as humans we come to accept it in differing waves. I don’t necessarily know when I started to become aware of death and dying but it’s always been a fear of mine and something that spooks me out. It’s been something I’ve been so laser focused on over time which probably shouldn’t come as any surprise as to why I later developed Harm OCD. (As you may remember, I only developed mental health conditions as a young adult, not before).

I think it still predominantly freaks me out. I don’t think about it consciously nearly as much as I used to and I barely write as much about it as I used to too. But the idea that life will one day cease to exist for me is so bizarre and unnerving. When I’m not symptomatic (which is most days these days) it’s devastating and hard to swallow whereas when I am symptomatic it … feels like freedom (but not freedom at the same time). Because there’s still so much I want to do and achieve and create and manage in my life. And the end of life is the end of all experiences, something I’m really not ready for.

You know it always kind of freaked me out that death could happen suddenly at any point in time. It still does. For years I didn’t drive much as I was afraid to get into a car accident. I still don’t, not all the way. But I’ve gotten tired of being limited by it. I think the biggest thing I wonder about is whether or not my online presence would be notified if I passed on. And how exactly people would find out and such. I don’t know, that’s just something that came to my mind even now, right this minute, on the last Friday (4/26) of April. Just thought I’d share that with you, too. This also probably explains why I got so freaked out at the dying page-long paragraph at the very end of this book. XD

Third portion from 4/14/19:

*22. “He held her and rocked her, believing, rightly or wrongly, that Ellie wept for the very intractability of death, its imperviousness to argument or to a little girl’s tears; that she wept over its cruel unpredictability; and that she wept because of the human being’s wonderful, deadly ability to translate symbols into conclusions that were either fine and noble or blackly terrifying. If all those animals had died and been buried, then Church could die and be buried; and if that could happen to Church, it could happen to her mother, her father, her baby brother. To herself. Death was a vague idea; the Pet Sematary was real” – p. 37

*MT: At the heart of this story, it’s about death and dealing with it, successfully or unsuccessfully. I feel like this is what I often grappled with in my writings and nowadays I try to grapple more with living lives worth living and overcoming adversity and triumph and hardships to enjoying the pleasantries about life (because they do exist) while we can because we really don’t know when our time will be up.

Do you ever think about what would have happened if things in history had been even just slightly different? If someone who tragically died had survived instead and what larger differences they could have made in people’s lives because of that? I think about that at times. I also think about all the stuff I’m going to leave behind when I poof too (like material things) but I hope that some of it, like my blog here and my Youtube channel and my Twittery-ness will be left behind as I move onwards.

In fact, I don’t necessarily believe in an afterlife which I always found amusing as I write about it a lot. Which is pretty much the basis for my own future novel, actually, too. But besides material things, I hope that I’ve been able to positively impact people in this world, online and off, so that they have a little piece of me to remember me by. Until they inevitably perish as well. Oh boy, this is getting morbid!! Definitely a lot of existential awareness happenings from this book. XD

But lastly, this basically reminded me of my fanfics ALU, S and D&D. And a few others, too, for what I said about life and meaning-making and triumphs. πŸ™‚

Also, the *here on this quote and future ones will be to remind myself of which quotes I’d like to record in my book review blogging journal as I’m largely typing up the majority of this review rather than handwriting it and killing my wrists. Gotta be nice to my aging body!! I will also be noting when I complete this review over multiple days (the summary, recomm. score, title, etc. began April 25th; everything else up to this point was written April 26th) in my MT portions purely for tracking purposes. Okay, that’s enough from me. πŸ™‚

23. “Eventually her tears would stop. It was a necessary first step on the way to making an uneasy peace with a truth that was never going to go away” – p. 37

MT: Death surrounds us just as life does. There will always be people behind and people before. We’re just having to make sense of this unmistakably difficult path in life. We’re only giving one life, which always boggled my mind, as I’d often be able to write and create other individuals and know them more than sometimes my own self. Sorta like living vicariously through other people, ahaha. I’m also wounding down for the evening as I have to wake up early Saturday morning and go see Avengers: Endgame with my Mom. I’m getting tired too and want to do some new reading before the night is over, so a few more quotes for now and then I’ll be jumping off.

24. “All at once he’s my friend” — p. 38

MT: This is a stylistic note, I’ve had someone critique me before on a fanfic for how much I use Italics and Bold font and how they can be the opposite of emphasis, and this was particularly interesting to see how other authors use it. I’ve always used Italics for thoughts and then bold for emphasis and such. Sometimes I’ve used it more creatively for speech patterns, but yeah, this was the first time I saw something de-emphasized by using regular font types (not Italics) within an Italics portion, and is something I may begin to adapt more into my own style, but also maybe not completely. I should probably learn the usages of them and when to use versus not. (Then again, some rules are meant to be broken) πŸ˜›

25. “(about marriages and finding out differing opinions about the other)…And then you trod lightly, if you valued your marriage and your peace of mind; you tried to remember that anger at such a discovery was the province of fools who really believed it was possible for one mind to know another” – p. 39

MT: The biggest observation I have with this particular thought pattern is how alone we really can be even when together. And how, maybe that matters, too. I think the idea of romantic relationships being a together thing versus separate is odd and interesting, all right. Sorry, my brain is becoming mush, but I guess it’s just fascinating how single people are like one man parties facing the world whereas couples are a team facing it together. Not that I have much experience in the latter arena however. That’s a whole other bag of worms that I’m not ready to open yet. (Even if I want to be).

Okay, for today, I’m taking a break! That’s all I’m going to do. I’m not even far into this review and I may have to push it out for a few days longer than I would like. I’m just under a time pressure because this book was due back almost a week ago and I still have it in my possession. But I have a life to live and lead so it is what it is. I need to go take something for this nasty headache. But I’ll see you all later, which for you will be in a few paragraphs from now and for me will be about a series of a few days. πŸ™‚ ❀

Hey guys! Welcome back!!

It’s currently a few days later, April 28th 2019, after I was emotionally wrecked from seeing Avengers: Endgame the day before, I’m still grieving somewhat but not nearly as much yet. I have to still take down some notes for things (2 new fic ideas) and try to get on writing them while also re-watching the movie with a friend from program on Monday evening. I really want to get through this review as soon as I can, even though I know it’s going to be a long journey (and my haste is that the book is overdue but I’m behind in this reviewing process) not to mention I have 3 other books almost due back. Sigh. I guess we’ll see how it all goes, that’s for sure. Any who, I’m going to get back into the review now with that out of the way. πŸ™‚ Enjoy!!

Cont… from 4/14/19:

26. “(Rachel talking to Louis) Rachel cried at him, and what her eyes said to him was Talk about the parallels all night and all day, if you want to…” – p. 41

MT: What stood out about this description to me was the manner in which not only do we hear Rachel’s dialogue but it’s paired together with her body language, which I felt was a really nice and special touch. It’s something I’d like to include more explicitly within my own writings too. πŸ™‚

27. “(L to R) ‘Let me ask you something. Because I know that anything–literally anything–can happen to physical beings. As a doctor I know that…'” – p. 41

MT: This part I found as unsettling realizations of death. It reminded me of when I took that Population Biology course last semester in school and we had to learn about all the different diseases and I remembered asking in class whether it was normal to feel like never wanting to leave my house again. XD The fact is that, there are a lot of diseases and things we can die from out there, but we never grew up in a bubble, we always grew with them, and yes, something may–and anything might–one day kill us, but we’ve always lived our lives with that risk known to us and we can’t allow ourselves to be sectioned into a stupor because of that fear of dying. We have to live, after all. So we take the risks, weigh the benefits over the costs, and we, well, we live. Because of life’s fragility and the strength of the human body. Death will one day take us all, but probably not from that asteroid landing on your house or that piano crushing you from an eight foot high drop. It’ll be okay. Even in the end, it’ll be okay. (And here is where I think of Avengers: Endgame again and am left to ruminate about the circumstances left at the end of that movie. *sobs* “You can rest now.”)

28. “As he swept, he reflected on the last thing (Rachel) had said and on the enormity of this difference of opinion, which had gone undiscovered for so long. Because, as a doctor, he knew that death was, except for childbirth, the most natural thing in the world. Taxes were not so sure; human conflicts were not; the conflicts of society were not. In the end there was only the clock, and the markers, which became eroded and nameless in the passage of time” – p. 42

*MT: I found myself agreeing with this perspective of Louis’. I also feel that death is a natural part of the circle of life and that Rachel is incorrect in thinking otherwise. Reminds me of that quote from Mumford & Sons “After the Storm”:

You must know life to see decay

Death and the end of journeys is a part of the journey, no matter how much we wish it weren’t so. There’s a sense of heavy acceptance in that, when you can find the time to accept it. Gosh, this review is somewhat more difficult to complete after the Avengers movie than I was anticipating. I don’t think I was prepared to get so emotionally wrecked after it, but I suppose I wouldn’t want it to be any other way (at least I can continue to process it while I wait for time to come and pass and for me to re-watch the movie and finish this review at the same time). Any who. Yeah, that’s what this part reminded me of and no matter how much we hate the passage of time and death itself, the harder we’re sorta making the process for ourselves. Life begins; Life ends. Whether we like it or not. Getting there is half the battle. Getting through it and accepting it, is the other half. At least we have things like art and self-expression to help us cope and move through the inevitable. Finding light in the darkness, meaning in the meaninglessness. Togetherness in what feels so irrevocably alone. Be good to yourselves and good unto others. We never know when it’ll be the last time to do so. ❀ xxx

*(starred because I can refer back to this particular sense of thought in my own fanfics, stories and art. πŸ™‚ )

**29. “(J to L) ‘He mourned his dog and finished his mourning and got on. Which is what we all do, I guess'” – p. 45

**MT: Another message brought to you by me after finishing this book and processing it in this review and then after having watched and processed through Avengers: Endgame. Mourning and grief are a part of life. And even when we’re not ready to, we mourn and continue grieving as we live on with our lives. Because even in grief we can’t stand still. Time continues to move on despite us not wanting it to or feeling as though it shouldn’t. Time and Death don’t care. They will do as they please. And we just have to pick up the pieces and decide who we are going to be. Will we remain frozen or will we move on? And it’s an ongoing process. It hurts and it’s painful and we move on anyways because life keeps going, the world keeps turning, and we don’t ever forget those we lost. We carry them with us every day. And the reminders of them, the memories of them, they get a little dusty and they get a little harder to remember and we still love them just as much as we did before they passed and maybe even a little more after their passing. We make meaning out of what cannot be explained to us. We make them proud. And we go on until we one day are reunited. Very poignant, indeed.

30. “So they had gotten down on their knees in the kitchen, he and his mother, and they prayed, and it was the praying that finally brought it home to him; if his mother was praying for Ruthie Creed’s soul, then it meant that her body was gone” – p. 48

MT: So, my attention span is waning again so I’ll be wrapping this up here to switch over to writing fanfic instead. I thought this was an interesting quote to include because of the whole soul vs body idea. How we are all just visitors within our human skin, and when we leave this world our bodies are left behind but our spirits float freely back into the universe. πŸ™‚ Also this is some inspiration for me for some of my fics: D&D, S, ALU, SWC.

I think I will keep this book around for the rest of the week, working on the review a little each day or so. Sigh. I think I have to get somewhat offline now though. You’ll probably see me in a review or a blog post within this week on this blog before you ever actually see this completed post. Just FYI. πŸ™‚

Hello again.

I’ve been Deep Diving heavily today (5/2) and so I feel pretty shitty but I’m actually gonna try and make this day somewhat okay rather than how horrid it’s been in terms of Deep Dives thus far. So, I’m going to be continuing this review now. Hope I can make a good dent in it and continue that tomorrow and over the weekend so I can finally bring it back to the library. That, and move on with a few other books and watch the next movies so I can review them and get those all set and done. Without further ado, let’s get back into this!

Fourth portion from 4/15/19

31. Word choice: lingeringly

32. “(Nurse to L) ‘Your basic college hypochondriac. We’ll see her two dozen times this year. Her visits will be more frequent before each round of perlims…” – p. 54

MT: Personally, I feel this is a little dismissive of an approach for those living with this type of mental health condition and also attempts to place them within the category of manipulative rather than anxious and health conscious (even if it’s sometimes overly health conscious). I don’t know enough about this disorder or malingering disorders, but that’s the impression I got from this little quote.

33. “She went but not before he caught her deeply sympathetic glance and interpreted it. This young man, who was deeply tanned and well-muscled…was going to die no matter what they did. He would be just as dead even if their ambulance had been parked out front” – p. 57

MT: This is Pascow, just as an FYI. I thought this particular body language cue and interpretation for us readers was intriguing and something I’d like to also include in more of my own stories and fanfics. πŸ™‚

34. “Horror rolled through Louis, gripping his warm heart in its cold hands, squeezing. It reduced him, made him less and less, until he felt like taking to his heels and running from this bloody, twisted, speaking head” – p. 58

MT: I also just really liked this description for reasons you can probably guess πŸ˜‰ Horror is an interesting genre for sure… I don’t know if I could write it well necessarily but I know comedy tends to be a harder thing for me (I can include humor in my fics, of course, it’s just a full comedic piece I find is difficult for me, then again, I’ve never really tried it out either. :P)

35. “Louis sat back, vaguely aware that all his clothes were sticking to him; he was drenched with sweat. Darkness bloomed, spreading a wing softly over his eyes, and the world began to swing sickeningly sideways” – p. 59

MT: In this scene, Louis is actually about to pass out before he changes his position and lets the feeling wash over and through him. It kinda helps to remind me of ALU (the fanfic I’m writing where Loki repeatedly passes out) and also TCWD, for things that I want to include in that novel as well. πŸ™‚ Just fun to read about similar descriptions from someone else’s mind.

36. “You could go to school for twenty years and you still couldn’t do a thing when they brought a guy in who had been rammed into a tree hard enough to open a window in his skull. They might as well have called a plumber, a rainmaker, or the Man from Glad” – p. 68

MT: I thought this description was also interesting and it highlights some of the dark humor that is so necessary for some professions to deal with all the shit that they see and go through. I think it also enhances the feeling of helplessness that some cases are just not going to work out the way you’d hope them to, and how at times, those events can be inevitable. (*shudder* Now I sound like Thanos D:) Not everyone can be saved, after all. Whether they don’t want you to or they just can’t be. It sucks, and life is a fickle creature. That’s probably what makes it and death so terrifying for many in it. :/ Let’s move on before I start getting more existential awareness. XD

37. “Louis pushed back the blankets and swung his feet out onto the nubs of the hooked rug, ready to tell her he’d skip the eggs, just a bowl of cereal and he’d run…and the words died in his throat” – p. 72

MT: I actually giggled like an evil giggle at this part since this is where Louis realizes his “dream” of Pascow the night before WASN’T one and that there’s all sorts of dirt and pine needles from his feet because he had actually been through the murky woods and towards the deadfall when he was supposed to be asleep. Hahahaha. I loved the reveal of it. πŸ™‚

38. This is more of a reminder to myself but I read this really great book a couple years ago, I think, called “You Came Back” by who I forget and it was before I started to do Book Reviews but yeah, I’d love to take it back out and review it sometime πŸ™‚

39. “But for those to whom Pascow was only a casualty, he had already been dimmed” – p. 85

MT: I felt this particular quote is very poignant and important. So many faceless people die in the world every day and it’s just not possible for us to connect and relate and mourn for all of them otherwise that’d be a terrible existence to live in (being constantly upset for the loss of others). Instead, we mourn for those we know and knew of the most because we believe we knew all the facets and corners of them and when they’re gone they leave behind noticeable holes. And we’re left to piece together the broken halves that are left and find a life worth living and meaning in that life thereafter. We hurt deeply for the people we think we really knew. And it doesn’t mean that we’re heartless to those faceless people, we just take a few moments fewer to remember them by. The people closest to the individual grieve the most, those who weren’t move on as though nothing spectacular really happened because for them, it didn’t. But we are also connected on a human level to that of grief because we will ALL experience it one day, whether it’s us or those we know or those we look up to, etc. Death comes for all of us, after all. And I think this quote can also apply to the people in this life who go on to do such amazing work in terms of activism and advocacy and art, becoming and leaving behind legacies sometimes greater than their very souls.

Fifth portion from 4/16:

40. “Crossing the lawn and feeling the frost crunching under his shoes, he heard the telephone begin to ring” – p. 100

MT: Gaaaaaaah, I really just like this frost description, tis the only reason I’m including it XD It’s just such a nice, small detail to add in one’s writing.

*41. “Just like your family’s supposed to be different, he thought now. Church wasn’t supposed to get killed because he was inside the magic circle of the family…You could stand up in front of a medical colloquium and cite leukemia figures in children until you were blue in the face and still not believe it if one of your own kids got a call on the phone” – p. 102

*MT: This concept reminds me of what I’m writing in my fanfic “Distorted & Disordered” a mental health based story. It’s that idea that until it happens to you, you don’t realize–you can’t comprehend–what’s happening as thoroughly as you could if it was happening outside of your circle. So like, when the signs are there of any physical or mental illness, you’re more likely to disregard them than to think it’s happening to you. Or even how teenagers think that terrible things won’t happen to them because they’re “invincible” until it does or it happens to someone they know. 😦 It’s harder to see the signs sometimes when it’s playing out in front of you, that’s why they say hindsight is 20/20. That’s also probably why it’s so difficult to predict who is going to be the next murderer or plans get thwarted before they ever began. Sometimes fantasies play out differently than reality. Can we really ever say we knew something would happen before it ever did? It’s easier for us to realize what could have happened differently after the main event has played out, it’s harder and less tangible to have this easy map of understanding if the idea was stopped before it ever began (think terrorist attacks, mass murders, serial killers, the severity of natural disasters, etc.)

I think denial and other emotions can play a hefty role in these circumstances too, thinking it can’t happen to you because you’re a good person or whatever. It’s sad, it sucks, and sometimes it DOES happen to you, for seemingly no reason at all. Life’s hard, peeps. Be kind to yourself and those around you.

42. “(Norma) had recovered nicely from her heart attack, and on that evening less than ten weeks before a cerebral accident would kill her, he thought that she looked less haggard and actually younger. On that evening he could see the girl she had been” – p. 133

MT: I find this quote to remind me of how we age and change in that age and how we can get these glimpses into ourselves and others from how they used to look or even just imagining what they used to look like which is often different than how they are appearing to us now. Like, imagining that bald guy being twenty years younger and how things in his face have changed (wrinkles, moles etc.). How his appearance today isn’t what he always was. If that makes sense? I don’t know, that’s just something that fascinates me these days. Also kinda like how you can’t tell someone is suffering from a mental health condition by looking at them, as how they present today may be different than at their worst years ago. Just my thoughts. πŸ™‚

43. “(J to L) ‘Maybe I did it because kids need to know that sometimes dead is better'” – p. 144

MT: Just got off from another Deep Dive as the lighting where I’m sitting has faded and it’s a little harder to read my notes from these flags. I think I’ll be wrapping up for tonight soon though, maybe try to get to 180. Any who, I think this quote here is important, a giant crux for what this novel is all about. Sometimes when we try to mess with the effects of death, mostly fictionally based to be honest, it doesn’t work in the way we wanted it to and it comes back to bite us in the ass. Like Tony Stark said in Avengers: Endgame — “You mess with time, it tends to mess back.” Messing with the laws of death and life also tend to get a bit grumpy, as is the case for what happens in this book, as well!

Heyyyy guys!! So, I’m back–another day, another chance to continue working and plugging away at this very long book review! Hope your attention span has been keeping up with all my nonsense πŸ˜‰ Let’s jump back in shall we? Oh, it’s also currently 5/3/19! I’ll be eating dinner soon but I hope to get out another 100 pages this evening (I already Deep Dove earlier :P) I’m also excited and revitalized to do more reading soon! And getting the DVDs of “Pet Sematary” again so I can actually watch and review them all on here too πŸ™‚

44. “(J to L) ‘A little dead. Like they had been…somewhere…and came back…but not all the way'” – p. 145

MT: So, this is another good quote to summarize up this entire novel lol. When placing animals (or sometimes people as it were) into the Micmac burial ground, they don’t return the same as they were before, rather instead muddled and dark and inhuman. That’s probably a good way to describe it: inhuman. They know things that others in life couldn’t know and it’s creepy and critter crawly, if that makes sense. Yeah, those are my thoughts here. πŸ™‚

45. “(J) ‘Maybe [Ellie] will learn something about what death really is, which is where the pain stops and the good memories begin. Not the end of life, but the end of pain. You don’t tell her those things; she will figure them out on her own'” – p. 145

MT: I thought this quote was very interesting, showing us another differing opinion on death and its process as Jud can understand it from all his years of living and as a nice juxtaposition from Rachel’s fearful approach of it. Again, I think death and its concept comes and goes in waves. Sometimes it’s really overly suffocating and terrifying and other times it’s relieving and poetic, even. It all depends on where you’re at and where you’re going and what you believe comes after or doesn’t, as it is in some cases. I think it’s also interesting that Jud suggests not to tell Ellie directly, rather that she will come to these conclusions herself as maybe all of us humans do. As though it’s something only which Ellie can understand and come to approach on her own, by herself. Which, in some ways, is how it is for all of us. Death is fascinating, basically. And cruel. Or maybe it just “is”. *shrugs*

46. (Jud) “‘That place…all at once it gets hold of you…and you make up the sweetest-smelling reasons in the world..but I could be wrong, Louis…. Bringing the dead back to life…that’s about as close to playing god as you can get'” – p. 146

MT: So, even here I found that Jud spoke with dismay and panic, as he’s not sure why he brought Louis to the Micmac burial ground for his cat.Β  He realizes it was probably the power of the burial ground working into him in order to get the chance and opportunity to capture a new victim. Jud is also realizing that the burial ground once its claimed a new victim, will put thoughts into them later to come back and return to it with another new body (someone had showed Jud the burial ground and so when the opportunity presented itself, Jud showed Louis). Powerful shit, man. This is also relevant for how it gets in the way of everyone (Jud and Rachel) from getting to Louis and stopping him from resurrecting Gage.

47. “(Jud in response to Louis’ question about burying a person in the Micmac burial ground) ‘Christ on his throne! No! And who ever would? You don’t even want to talk about such things, Louis!’ (L) ‘I was just curious.'” – p. 147

MT: Honestly, I just thumbed this quote because it reminded me so much of Tom Riddle AKA Voldemort from the Harry Potter franchise when he goes to one of his professors and asks about horcruxes and plays it off as merely being curious when instead he’s planning to cut his soul into multiple pieces to gain more power down the line. Also, in some ways, I find this similar to asking someone “You’re okay, right?” Like it just offers them an answer (yes) without completely asking them and letting them say yay or nay–as opposed to simply asking “Are you okay?” which allows them to say either yes or no and explain or not. Just my thoughts, clearly, πŸ˜‰

48. “And later, at home, something else occurred to him about how Jud had looked at that moment. He had looked like he was lying” – p. 147

MT: Dun dun dunnnn. Of course, I’ve told you how this all plays out later from earlier portions of this review but man this definitely got me more invested in the story and wanting to know what happens next!!

*49. “(Louis remembering how he thought he looked like shit after Pascow died but he actually was all right) It was enough to make you wonder how many people were going around with dreadful secrets bottled up inside” – p. 154 – 155

*MT: I thought this was also of particular interest because it really highlights what I said earlier about age in some respects and also how we can’t tell someone’s medical (physical/mental) diagnosis by simply looking at them. A lot of us can appear as “normal” while hiding difficult and dark perceptions of ourselves and our lives internally. Sometimes the way we present ourselves to strangers is different than how we present to those we know (like how a stranger may not recognize that you’re being quiet is a symptom of your thinking whereas a great friend could notice and point it out/ask you what’s wrong etc.) Just something to keep in mind, I think. :3 Also, fanfic inspiration can come from this too. (Note to self!)

50. “(Rachel after Gage was choking) ‘But he was close [to dying]. Louis, he was so close.’ Suddenly he remembered her shouting at him in the sunny kitchen: He’s not going to die, no one is going to die around here… ‘Honey, we’re all close. All the time'” – p. 159

MT: I felt this quote from Louis was so hard hitting, like a punch to the gut, because it’s so true. We’re all close to dying all the time and we have to be somewhat conscious of that to try and be nicer to ourselves and those around us while also balancing out the need to buy milk or get pads or get gas for the car etc. Like, even with that knowledge that death can come at any moment–external or internal–we still have to wash the dishes, do the laundry, clean the house etc. Those little mundane things we don’t always want to do, they still often need to get done even if we’re in the throes of an existential crisis. It’s one of the bane mentalities of life, I suppose. The little things we sometimes take for granted that will still be there when we’re dying, when we die and when we live. Even with advancements in technology, we’re still gonna need to see the medical doctor or put gas into our vehicles etc.

This actually kind of reminds me of a story I wanted to write following some characters as they do their normal everyday routine–as a nice break from all the death and dying and obstacle making that I tend to write about on the daily. Maybe I will include some of these factors into my fanfics, like D&D and ALU and S. That might be nice. πŸ™‚ I can also introduce some stories that haven’t quite made it to pen and paper yet too! (IFIC) Anyways….

51. “He didn’t know if it was over or not, but it felt over; perhaps that would be enough. And for a while, at least, it was” – p. 160

MT: This is my last entry for tonight as I fell into another Deep Dive, whooops. What stuck out to me in this quote is the inclusion of the author knowing ahead of time what is bound to happen to its characters. I’ve used this in my own fanfic writing when it comes to foreshadowing and even inserting myself into the story (D&D this has happened a few times: when I mentioned the options of alternate universes where Loki asked for help and when the voice of recovery speaks to Loki) and I thought this was also a nice exchange to be mentioned in this novel. It’s just a little tug at the end of the bed, you know, by something you cannot see. It grips you and taunts you and it seems like there’s nothing there and then, poof, someone had been there all along! :O Okay, I will write more of this tomorrow… Until then!

Hi again! It’s currently far into the afternoon on Sat 5/4 as I’ve had a pretty lazy and unmotivated day thus far. I’m hoping to salvage the rest of the evening with some new reading, this review and staying offline and maybe even go through some of my journaling and 5 year journaling, if I’m lucky. And my resume. That too. Any who, back to the review!!

52. “(Louis about Jud crying from Norma’s death) ‘That’s good, Jud, she would want you to cry a little, I think. Probably be pissed off if you didn’t'” – p. 171

MT: I thought this was so sad and touching. Grief affects us all in many ways and it’s absolutely okay to express that mourning and repair the holes that we are left behind to tend. I also really fell in love with them so as a reader I go through these emotions with them as well. 😦

*53. “Louis was aware that it was not uncommon for two old married people to go almost hand-in-hand, a month, a week, even a day apart. The shock, he supposed, or maybe even some deep inner urge to catch up with the one gone” – p. 171

*MT: I marked this quote mainly because I felt it could relate to some of my own stories and fanfics, although I don’t think so actually but hey, it’s still nice so I’ll include it here. It might be something I can explore in the future with another story or poem or something. :3

54. “(L to E) ‘Faith is a great thing, and really religious people would like us to believe that faith and knowing are the same thing, but I don’t believe that myself. Because there are too many different ideas on the subject. What we know is this: When we die, one of two things happens. Either our souls and thoughts somehow survive the experience of dying or they don’t. If they do, that opens up every possibility youΒ  could think of. If we don’t, the end'” – p. 175

MT: I thought this premise was pretty interesting particularly for TCWD and some of my fanfics. I personally, as I believe I’ve mentioned earlier, don’t believe in an afterlife even though I write about it all the time XD I was raised Christian but I identified more as Atheist in my teens and beyond; I haven’t really sat down to think about where I fall into things now though. Probably between atheism and agnostic. I like thinking of the Universe as a thinking and creating being as for my version of “god”. Hence why I also make it a point not to capitalize ‘god’. Maybe I even believe more in Norse mythology, I don’t know, I’m not super educated on the topic and I’ve not explored much of it either. I’m like that with cultures too, it’s too mind boggling for me to really open my mind to at the moment. Probably one day though. πŸ™‚

55. “(L to E cont.) ‘I believe that we go on. But as to what it’s like, I have no opinion….I believe that Mrs. Crandall is probably someplace where she can be happy'” – p. 176

MT: Legit marked this as a good question, what do I believe in? lol Maybe one day I will choose to sit back and think about it. I feel I’d relate more to spirituality than religion myself though. Then again, I’m not super educated on spirituality either. πŸ˜› Boy, oh boy. XD

56. (page 179 **Trigger Warning for suicide methods**)

57. “(R to L) ‘I had started to think [Zelda with spinal meningitis at age 10] hated me because my back was straight, because I didn’t have the constant pain, because I could walk, because I was going to live'” – p. 180

MT: Honestly, I can really relate to Zelda here not because of spinal meningitis but from scoliosis. Back in high school I used to relate to other people like that, actually until I realized one of my classmates also had scoliosis and they weren’t letting it take over their lives and their identity. That was the day I stopped letting my condition control me and what I did and didn’t do. It really helped actually because it got me to question that if OTHER people weren’t so hung up on it, why was I? Then I got the surgery and all that jazz and it became history. πŸ˜› You can actually find this post here. If you’re curious, that is πŸ˜‰ Even I haven’t read it but hey, whatevs. XD Next quote!!

*58. “…that grief which the psychologists say begins about three days after the death of a loved one and holds hard from four to six weeks in most cases. But time passes, and time welds one state of human feeling into another until they become something like a rainbow. Strong grief becomes a softer, more mellow grief; mellow grief becomes mourning; mourning at last becomes remembrance–a process that may take from six months to three years and still be considered normal'” – p. 193

*MT: I don’t know how well this depiction of grief has aged, so if any of YOU happen to know, I’d love to hear about it in the comments! I reallllly have to get back into blogging and the blogosphere as I haven’t done that in a few years actually. It would be very nice, wouldn’t it? Sigh. It’d be a better use of my time rather than Deep Dives that’s for sure! But any who, yeah, I wonder about this layer and multi-faceted approach to the grieving process. It actually reminds me of a book on grief that I have that is illustrated. Haven’t finished it yet though πŸ˜› Like most things, honestly XD

I like that idea of mourning turning into remembrance, I’ve written similarly about this in my fic “Somebody Who Cares” which also has a prequel that I have yet to write called “It’s You, I Breathe” both inspired from Michelle Branch songs. πŸ™‚ And probably even this newer fic I’ve started in the last week “Not this Mind and Not this Heart, I Won’t Rot” also has some grief aspects within it as well. I think finding meaning out of the depths of death can be very healing and helps us to move forwards the best that we can. What do you think? Also, we’re almost 200/374 pages in! Woohoo!

59. “Okay, that’s out of the way and it might even do some good, Louis thought, not knowing that marbles were really not the problem, and chills were really not the problem, that a large Orinco truck was going to be the problem, that the road was going to be the problem…as Jud Crandall had warned them it might be on that first day of August” – p. 199

MT: Cue this is when I realize that it’s Gage who dies and not Ellie as I had been led to believe from the remake’s movie trailer. Whooops. I also thought it was some sad foreshadowing, similar to what I include in my fics at times too. πŸ˜›

Sixth portion from 4/17/19:

60. “Louis was unable to see the condition of either his wife or his daughter; he ate his breakfast and his mind replayed the accident over and over and over, except in this mind-movie the conclusion was different. In the mind-movie he was quicker, and all that happened was that Gage got a spanking for not stopping when they yelled” – p. 204 – 205

MT: I think those of us with mental health conditions especially and also those not in that category can relate to this a lot. I know that’s how I get to be when the OCD is acting up and I’m a lot more symptomatic. So yeah, I think this is a good depiction of it. :/ (Since we’re so absorbed in what our mind is showing us that we can’t function or relate to the world around us as well)

61. “(L to his co-worker) ‘Right!’ Louis said. More force in reply seemed to be indicated here. He wasn’t sure why” – p. 206

MT: Louis here is still in shock after what happened a few days previous to his son Gage so much so that he’s finding any sort of social interaction abysmal and uninteresting. He’s incapable of being there for his family that has survived this loss and exhibits some of the depressive spectrum symptoms like being numb and indifferent and disconnected from reality and what he is being left with. Sucks. There’s also a pretty good layer of denial and apathy here as well.

62. “And suddenly Louis knew what she was going to say next, and for some reason he dreaded it; yet it was coming, unavoidable, like a black bullet of a large caliber from a killer’s gun, and he knew that he would be struck over and over by this bullet in the next interminable ninety minutes, and then again in the afternoon, while the wounds of the morning were still trickling blood: ‘Thank god he didn’t suffer, Louis. At least it was quick'” – p. 211 – 212

MT: I thought this was a very incredible and interesting description. It’s just so detailed and so rich in language and I really appreciated that and I felt that I could feel Louis’ dismay at hearing these words and how cynical and worn from time and life he feels at this point in time. At least, that’s what I thought reading it and now reviewing it! πŸ™‚

63. “He sat with his face in his hands, not wanting them to see [Gage] anymore, his tear-stained face, his loss, his guilt, his pain, his shame, most of all his cowardly wish to be dead and out of this blackness” – p. 221

MT: I actually don’t agree with this depiction of thinking that suicide is a cowardly act (it’s neither cowardly nor courageous) as it is more about escaping the deep and often scathing pains of life when it seems as though there is no other way out of the darknessΒ  that is life and pain (and often symptomatic experiences of mental health conditions). I don’t know, that’s just some of my thoughts, although I’m not intrigued enough to try and debate it further than that. I think life can come with a lot of pain and we learn in varying degrees how to tolerate that pain and some of us are more equipped to handle this pain than others. Whether that’s from how we were raised, our biology, our ins and outs and all the intricacies of life, it’s complicated and there’s no one set reason. I think putting down the people who’ve tragically taken their own lives as “cowards” or implying that those who have thought about, planned or attempted are also “cowards” is just twelve steps backwards. Like, that’s not going to cheer up or inspire anyone to choose to keep living, and it may even just set another person off the edge.

64. “When it started not to hurt, it started not to matter” – p. 224

MT: Thought this was also rather poignant. This and the next quote.

65. “‘Ellie, don’t cry anymore. This isn’t forever'” – p. 224

MT: I felt that it’s so sad and heart-wrenching that Louis knows this grief won’t last forever. That Gage will fade away into a single set of memories, and that they’ll forget what he sounded like and how he smelt and all that goes into life and then the absence of it.

I think the first quote is also interesting in terms of grief, because does it really not matter anymore when it no longer hurts? Or does it just change into a different relationship? Because maybe it doesn’t hurt and it still matters, rather than shifting into not mattering at all.

66. “That’s when Gage will drop off whatever Hot One Hundred there is that exists in little girls’ hearts and starts to become Something That Happened in 1984. A blast from the past” – p. 224

MT: So, see? Louis knows what’s up. Grief, as it happens, comes and goes. Maybe not fully and completely but it does lessen into a dull ache. Louis knows that Ellie will eventually move on and experience life without Gage as though in some respects he hadn’t been there to start with. He’ll become a distant memory of something that once was but no longer is. 😦 More a passing thought than a deep rooted presence in her life as time and her own life move forwards.

Seventh portion from 4/18/19:

67. “[The Zombie of Timmy had mentioned all the bad things about a bunch of men and Jud is telling Louis] ‘But there was good in those men too. That’s what I mean; that’s what folks always find it so hard to remember” – p. 244

MT: This reminds me of a very good video that “Of Herbs and Altars” did about this concept that human beings are multi-faceted with both good parts and bad parts, that we are a mixture of the two rather than purely one or the other, that it’s okay to like parts of a person even when they’ve committed horrendous acts against humanity. I really recommend her video here

68. “‘The thing we saw that night, lookin up into that red sun…that was a monster'” – p. 245

MT: TCWD reminder as well as other fics because what really is a monster? What makes a thing or a human a monster rather than just ordinary? I don’t know, I need to read more about monsters before I can figure that out for myself XD

Eighth portion from 4/22:

69. “(J to E) ‘And he may be dead now, Ellie, but you can keep your memories of him'” – p. 252

MT: A bit frank manner of placing grief but realistic and true all the same. It also reminds me of a quote that your learning is yours alone and that nothing will ever truly erode it (unless you get amnesia or something :/) Your memories, then, are also yours alone. ❀

70. “Louis looked away. There was nothing he could do for [Ellie], not yet. She would have to swim in her grief as best as she could. His thoughts were too full of his son” – p. 253

MT: I think this part really highlights how difficult it must be to have had other children while also dealing with the loss of a different child. As a parent, I imagine that must be so difficult, because the children are not the only ones grieving, you are too. It sucks. 😦 Even when it’s a parent and such. Damn.

Gah, my wrist is starting to protest, I might have to set this aside for the evening soon. :/

71. “And if Louis’s eyes seemed distant, his manner a little cold, people supposed he was thinking of the past, of the accident, of the Gageless life ahead; none would have suspected that Louis had begun to think about the strategies of grave robbing…only in an academic way, of course; it was not that he intended to do anything” – p. 254

MT: I thought the idea of a ‘Gageless’ life was an interesting way of putting it and gah, oh how Louis was lying to himself! At this point there was still 100 pages left and I wanted the shit to hit the fan while also wanting the best for everyone in the end! Which we didn’t really get 😦 I also think I’ll be finishing up very soon, I think my attention span is waning and my hand brace is a little too bulky for my liking πŸ˜›

72. “The day we were out with the kite. You remember how Gage was that day? How vibrant and alive he was, reacting to everything? Wouldn’t it be better to remember him that way? Do you want to resurrect a zombie from a grade-B horror picture?” – p. 259

MT: It comes up later, and I think I tabbed it, that Louis start to think and feel that letting Gage rest in the afterlife was more of a dishonor than trying to resurrect him and get some of his boy back, which is of course flawed logic that is stilted to one side and is probably the Micmac burial ground getting inside his head. Sigh.

Also apparently I wrote that this part reminds me of creativity and imagination in fiction. You’re welcome πŸ˜‰

73. “All the textbooks he’d read on the subject of death told him that the bereaved’s first strong impulse is to get away from the place where it happened…and that to succumb to such an impulse may turn out to be the most harmful course of action because it allows the bereaved the dubious luxury of refusing to come to terms with the new reality. The books said it was best to remain where you were, to battle grief on its home ground until it subsided into remembrance. But Louis did not dare make the experiment with his family at home (resurrecting Gage)” – p. 262

MT: Thought this was particularly interesting about grief, not sure if it’s outdated now or not, but I thought it was worth mentioning! Of course, Louis is trying to get Rachel and Ellie to leave so he can bring back Gage but things don’t wind up working out as planned. It’s also sad to know that this is where everything was pointing for towards Louis and that this is one of the last encounters Ellie winds up having with both of her parents. 😦 Gosh darn it, to no happy endings!

74. “[Louis having second thoughts on his plan to free Gage] Instead of trying to reopen a door that had swung shut, he would latch it and double-bolt it and throw away the key” – p. 268

MT: I thought this was a nice throwback metaphor to what Pascow had warned him about earlier – not opening closed doors and all. πŸ™‚

75. There’s a book I read two years ago called “The House of Small Shadows” by Adam Nevill that I, well, in part don’t remember where I wrote the review, but also that I want to review and share with you guys here. But yeah, I remembered it at this tab.

76. “But would that not be the same as murdering his son? Killing him a second time?” – p. 268

MT: Louis knows that this isn’t true but he decides to ignore this train of thought and resurrect his son anyways. Which really doesn’t make much sense because if Gage comes back as a monster (which he does) he’ll have to actually kill him a second time anyways. Zombie Gage will inevitably be killed again rather than Metaphorical Gage being saved and welcomed back with open arms. πŸ˜›

77. “(R to L) ‘[Dreams of Zelda] The last few nights since Gage died, when I go to sleep, Zelda’s there. She says she’s coming for me, and this time she’ll get me. That both she and Gage will get me. For letting them die'” – p. 270

MT: I thought this might be foreshadowing for when Gage comes back to be like Zelda, which, is kinda what happens in fact. Man, this sucks. I’m pretty sure Gage talks like Zelda at first before being ‘Gage-like’ and ultimately killing Rachel. :S

78. “God was saving [Gage] for Rt. 15” – p. 272

MT: I don’t think it was god, actually. I think it was those cosmic shifts in the Micmac burial ground. They’re the real culprit here, as predicted by Pascow and Jud (since Jud is the one who showed him the grounds and therefore planted the seedling into Louis’ mind).

*79. “[Rachel responding to Louis about whether they would have institutionalized Gage if he had mental deficits like with Zelda] ‘It wouldn’t have been the same. Gage was…. well, Gage was Gage. He was our son. That would have made all the difference'” – p. 272

*MT: D’ohhh, also this reminds me of some fanfic stuff I can use this concept in. Particularly Odin with Loki in D&D, ALU, CtP. I like this idea that it’s a different relationship from parent to child than as sibling to sibling. Like, the dynamic there is inherently different. πŸ˜› I would hope that Odin would share this same sentiment for Loki.

80. “Ellie seemed distant and a trifle odd. Several times that morning Louis had looked up and seen an expression of peculiar speculation on her face” – p. 273

MT: I mean, Ellie was right about Church being dead so is it much of a leap for her to feel the same about Louis? She knows something is up and she’s a pretty smart six year old (children are often more perceptive than we realize). But this will be further explored later.

81. “‘Ellie, come on. You’ll be fine.’ ‘I’ll be fine, but what about you? Daddy, what about you?'” – p. 276

MT: See, she knows something is wrong and her ability to know these things is never fully explored or explained. But it’s still sad all the same.

82. “Ellie’s lips trembled and grew white. Then she allowed herself to be led into the jetway. She looked back at him, and he saw naked terror in her face” – p. 276

MT: So sad and sickening, honestly. This is the last time she sees her father too. 😦 Gwah, why couldn’t he just not have tried to resurrect Gage?! D:

83. “And if the loss is too great–or if he comes back as Timmy apparently came back, as a thing of evil–I will kill him” – p. 279

MT: I don’t understand the point of trying to resurrect your son if you were planning to kill him again if he wasn’t as sweet and innocent as he once was in life. I mean, you can’t really be that picky, you know? Also, this reminded me of Thor: The Dark World with the whole “betray him and I will kill you” idea. XD

Also also, I wish Louis could have been aware of everything he was bound to lose by going through with this plan. Gah, Louis, whhhhyyyy?! “Did you do it? – Yes What did it cost? – Everything” (That’s an Infinity War reference if you couldn’t tell πŸ˜‰ )

Okay, so I made it to page 280 and that is where I’m stopping for tonight! Thanks for reading again and until tomorrow where I will hopefully finish and finally PUBLISH this review. πŸ™‚ Now I have to wash the dishes and maybe try to read then play some games. Sigh. Lots of work. Lots of it. PS I only have about 20 flags left, so we are almost in fact finished!

Hey guys! I’m back again! It’s currently 5/5 in the later afternoon and I am almost completely finished with this review, so let’s get this going until the end and with my coffee in hand, it should go well! Hooray! This took a LOT of work over multiple days so I hope it’s been an enjoyably long read and that we’ll all be able to sit back and catch up on several old book reviews that are both current (2019) and old (2017). YAY! Here we go!!! ❀ ❀ ❀

84. “(E to R) ‘[Paxcow as Ellie thinks of him] said that he was sent to warn but that he couldn’t interfere. He said that he was… I don’t know… that he was near Daddy because they were together when his soul was dis…'” – p. 283

MT: So what’s happening here is that Ellie had a nightmare on the plane with Rachel back to her parents in Chicago and can only recall Pascow as Paxcow and Rachel can’t place the reason why that name is so familiar. (She eventually does but hot damn). I thought this was so hard on Ellie because she’s still just a little girl and can’t begin to fathom all that is about to happen. She’s smart though, for whatever reason, she knows shit is gonna hit the fan soon. :/

85. “He ate at a corner table, watching people come and go, wondering if he might not see someone he knew. In a vague way, he rather hoped that would happen. It would lead to questions–where’s Rachel, what are you doing here, how’s it going?–and perhaps the questions would lead to complications and maybe complications were what he really wanted. A way out” – p. 290

MT: I thought this was also telling of how he is having doubts about his plans that are being heavily influenced by the power and magic of the burial ground and he’s wondering if this has to happen the way it appears like it will. It’s kinda heartbreaking because you know that he’s going to make the wrong decision with how much is still left in the novel. 😦 He’s kinda doomed to do the wrong thing, pretty much, and as a reader you can’t do anything to stop it from happening. Sucks. He was a good guy, too. He just lost his way a bit. Sigh.

86. “As he started the Honda’s engine, he thought that perhaps Jud was right about the growing power of that place, for surely he felt it around him now, leading (or pushing) him on, and he wondered: Could I stop? Could I stop even if I wanted to?” – p. 291

MT: There was another couple of quotes in this book that reminded me of my own relationship in regards mostly to suicidality but I skipped a few of those and am only highlighting this one here. I feel that this is like the crux of my own experiences with suicidality and in fact also with mental health conditions. The doubts of what if’s, of better days ahead, of wanting to be found out, of an awareness of how others could thwart my plans, of wondering if stopping were still possible. I found this relatable even if different. It’s like the doubts are there and I wonder if I’m in too deep that I feel obligated to hurt myself by that point. As if it wasn’t enough to talk the talk but to walk the walk, too. But, maybe that’s just me. πŸ˜›

87. “Just above his head, the tree forked. He suppose he could–Without allowing himself to think about it further, he reached into the fork and pulled himself up” – p. 298

MT: Again, another pretty relatable approach to me here. I felt that whenever I just pushed aside my doubts and wavering thoughts and just committed to acts of harm to myself that I could go a lot further than if I just took another moment to pause and really think about my decision. Which I suppose is something I utilize more in recovery these days, that I take those extra moments to really do a mental pros/cons of the situation rather than acting impulsively. πŸ™‚

88. “Have you ever thought, Louis, that you may notΒ  be doing your son any good service? Perhaps he’s happy where he is…maybe all that isn’t the bullshit you always thought it was. Maybe he’s with the angels or maybe he’s just sleeping. And if he’s sleeping, do you really know what it is you might wake up? Oh Gage, where are you? I want you home with us” – p. 302

MT: See, the sound of logic was approaching Louis, it was calling for him and everything but the power of the burial ground was too strong. Which is so, so tragic. Because even when he’s using his logical, rational mind he still is a hurting man who wants his future to be so much like his past with his son alive and well again. Sucks x1000.

89. Word choice: galloping.

90. “‘Gage,’ he said and began to rock the boy in his arms. Gage’s hair lay against Louis’s wrist, as lifeless as wire. ‘Gage, it will be all right, I swear, Gage, it will be all right, this will end, this is just the night, please, Gage, I love you, Daddy loves you'” – p. 310

MT: Shit man, that’s still just a sad and heartbreaking scene. Fuck me running. The mark of a great piece is how much you can connect with its characters so much so that their heart and pain becomes your own. T_T 😦

91. “[Rachel’s thoughts] But [Louis] was lying about something. It was in his eyes…oh shit, it was all over his face, almost as if he wanted me to see the lie…see it and put a stop to it…because part of him was scared” – p. 324

MT: Gosh darn it, Rachel, why didn’t you push for the answer more! *cries* You poor, poor fool. 😦 I wonder if there was an alternate universe where Louis did crack and let Rachel in and didn’t follow through with resurrecting Gage. Hmmmm..

92. “[Oz] was in the water you drank, the food you ate. Who’s out there? you howled into the dark when you were frightened and all alone, and it was his answer that came back: Don’t be afraid, it’s just me. Hi, howaya? You got cancer of the bowel, what a bummer, so solly, Cholly! Septicemia! Leukemia! Atherosclerosis! Coronary thrombosis! Encephalitis! Osteomyelitis!” – p. 339

MT: Okay, we’re almost done now! My left wrist is starting to bother me now though, gwah. But this is that page long paragraph I was telling you about which is the part that really started to get under my skin and freak me the fuck out. Lmao What do you think? It kept going but hot damn. XD

93. “He understood everything. The leash…the leash was going into the darkness… he was moving fast along it no, hand over hand. Ah, if he could drop it before he saw what was at the end! But it was his leash. He had bought it” – p. 355

MT: This is actually a theme from earlier in the novel which I don’t recall if I had mentioned but Louis takes these responsibilities onto himself by owning what shit had happened. So, for this case, he’s owning up to the fact that killer Gage was his responsibility to handle with care and reprimand the outcomes. Just like Church was originally his responsibility as well (which he kills again anyways). He may even suspect that killer Gage has struck gold across the street where Rachel’s rental car is.

94. “What you bought, you owned, and what you owned eventually came home to you” – p. 358

MT: See, more of that theme here, even. I don’t think I completely understand it myself, actually. I guess it’s talking about responsibility and owning up to the shit that comes after your decisions. That if you bought something it was yours and yours only to take care of. It was your decisions and your responsibility, your essence that trailed back to you, not anyone else. That’s my best guess, at least. πŸ˜›

ANNNNND… that is officially it!

That’s all I have for you peeps for this book review. Man, it took a while and it was largely because I had SO MANY tabs in this book that I decided handwriting it would kill my wrist which is why I typed up the majority of this review in this new post so as to save my wrists just a little more. I have PLENTY of other reviews to get out to you guys, largely old ones in various journal piles, so I’m actually quite looking forward to that!

Not to mention, I have other new books to read through and then ultimately review for you guys as well. I’m also thinking of launching my House MD reviews (probably covering every 3-4 episodes), TED talk reviews, documentary reviews, potentially music video reviews, interview reviews etc. Lots of reviews, that’s for sure! I also have old film reviews I can dust off and then get up soon!

I know the most of this is coming out in May but I did read and begin this post in April, which is why it’s titled the way that it is. I also have fanfics to work on and other non-review blog posts as well as Youtube videos for my channel to work on too.

Plus I have to officially send out my resume to jobs and hopefully land something soon for a way to provide further structure and monetary output into my life. My parents are currently out of the house but I’m probably gonna curl up with a book now and start the next review’s process!

Additionally, since we now have Netflix, I will be reviewing “Bird Box” and “The Ritual” as I’ve read both those books and want to review the movies themselves. “Demolition” is a movie I want to find again to help me review it because I have a personal link with that movie from a few years ago.

Any who, that’s all from me for now! Hope you guys liked this review! It was longer than usual and my reading attention span is shotty at best but hopefully it was interesting and I can’t wait to get the movies and review them soon, too! πŸ™‚

I’ll try not to be too long in getting out my next post!



Leave me your comments down below. ❀

Later, I’ll have to notate my stars in my journal (let alone get back on track with all of that!)

See you all next time! πŸ™‚


The Shade of the Moon | [OLD] Book Review

The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Beware, spoilers!! Book 4 of 4

Also, beware, this is an old review and apparently I didn’t summarize it here either, so this is based on the quotes and what I can remember.


Book four of this series by Susan Beth Pfeffer follows the youngest sibling, Jon, in his survival in the segregated lavish safety town vs his older siblings being in the run down working life. He’s kind of an asshole at the beginning but he’s still also blaming himself for his love’s death, which in reality was caused by Miranda (who only tells him later in the book). Jon deals with spats with his family and a new love budding from a girl at school and trying to fit in with the cool crowd even as that crowd despise the girl he cares about. He has to find out who he really is versus who he’s expected to be.

With loss of life that comes in this book, naturally so, Miranda by all unlikelihood becomes pregnant and a scandal breaks out that requires all of them to band together to help each other.

I believe it was this story where Jon does manage to get out and is with a girl who is a twin but the wrong twin and she has an accent and they don’t really get along but they have an appreciation for one another and they wind up finding their way out.

That’s all I can recall.


4/5 series endings.


  1. “‘You’re old enough, Jon, to see the world as it really is, not the way you want it to be‘” – p. 44

A poignant quote, I believe.

2. “‘She’d want you to have the chance she couldn’t have‘” – p. 82

Said to Jon for him to take the opportunity presented of him at the safe town.

3. “He’d be all right. He’d survived hunger, disease, the loss of his home, the loss of his father. He’d survive this as well” – p. 97

Survival, man. It’s all about survival and while we struggle in our lives, we still make it through the largest bullshit around, and THAT’s an accomplishment, hands down.

4. “He stared at her. All their friendship, all their love, had died along with Julie’s arms and legs. She’d run into the storm and the storm and killed her, and still she feared what Jon would do to her” – p. 108

Ah yes, we’re led to believe that Jon had raped Julie before she ran away from him into the storm (which then paralyzed her) but it turns out to be a misunderstanding and no action like that occurred. We’re just meant to hate him, be appalled and sickened, and then reassured later. Kinda makes it difficult to like him a bit, though.

5. “The rain fell on him, but it couldn’t wash away his sins. Nothing could” – p. 109

I felt this bit was relatable and poignant. :3 So I kept it and left it in here.

6. “But Carlos had said yes, allowing Alex to marry his sister’s killer. And Jon spent three years feeling responsible for something that had never truly been his fault” – p. 119

I kind want to say boo-hoo to Jon, but I mean, that’s a pretty hard thing to go through and for it to have been wasted time…yeah. That sucks. 😦

What’s unsaid and is a MAJOR SPOILER is that…

Alex had kept sleeping pills with him when he left with his sister to go on their own, remember their family was gone and Brianna died alone in the elevator and their older brother was in the army or navy or something, because if it came to it, he wanted them to go peacefully, all of them. So, basically Alex had the idea to kill them if need be, that he told Miranda about and so because he was still lost in the storm, she did his job for him. Which he doesn’t forgive her for and is angry that he wasn’t there to do it himself. But they get married and Miranda gets pregnant.

7. “Miranda had done that to him. Miranda had murdered Julie, and she had murdered everything that was good in him” – p. 121

This sounds, what’s in bold, a tad magnified–if we think of those top cognitive distortions.

8. “‘I don’t want to lose you,’ Sarah said. ‘But I don’t know that I’ve ever had you. How can I love you when I don’t think I like you?'” – p. 135

9. “He’d had her and he lost her. He could blame whoever he wanted, whatever he wanted–Tyler, his family, the moon itself–but none of that mattered. He was alone. He would always be alone. That was all he deserved” – p. 135

Again, just a little over the top here. Poor Jon. (And what bollocks, too!)

10. “‘People kill for no reason whatsoever. That’s never going to change” – p. 148

11. “They were safe. They were protected. Whatever had happened, whatever would happen, for this night at least, they were safe” – p. 151

12. “Everything else–the earthquakes, the diseases, all of it-no one’s been at fault. We’ve suffered together. But what’s happening, what’s going to happen, is man-made” – p. 154

13. “‘I’ve wanted things to be different. Like they were before, back home'” – p. 155

14. “‘We’ll never have that again. It’s gone, not just for us, but for everybody. We’re the lucky ones, Jon'” – p. 155

I particularly like quotes 13 and 14 because 14 is emotionally validating while also putting things into perspective. It’s not just their family affected by the moon’s change, but everybody’s on the planet. This can also be applicable to our real world ailments, things like mental health, physical health, etc. Maybe not all 8 billion people, but definitely good chunks of them!

15. “‘I love you, Mom. And I need you. Promise me you’ll be all right.’ ‘All I can promise is that I’ll try’” – p. 155


How their Mom dies is so tragic and heartwrenching. I’m pretty sure I cried. 😦 It was definitely cruel.

16. “‘We’ll make it through this. I promise‘” – p. 155

We always make it through shit life hands us. Remember that, peeps. ❀

17. “I’ll be good, he promised them all, he promised himself. I’ll make you proud” – p. 156

18. “‘Do you know how to scrub a floor?’ ‘No. But it’s about time I learned’ ” – p. 161

19. “‘We’ll work something out,’ he said instead, and kissed her with a promise of a different world, a different life, where people in love could work things out” – p. 197

20. ‘I have a responsibility to all of them, Jon. I have to protect them'” – p 219

21. “‘But sometimes things happen that can’t be helped‘” – p. 275

22. “‘What if I fall?’ ‘I’ll be falling, too. We’ll fall together‘” – p. 284

23. “Nothing was going to come easy. Nothing had for four years. But the sun was visible behind the ash clouds, and with its light, Jon could see a future worth fighting for. We’ll make it work, he told himself. Together, we’ll make it work” – p. 288


End le book review! I know it’s a bit jumbled with my responses and sometimes lack thereof, but this has been in the works for a LONNNNNG time. That’s all I can really repair of it today for today’s post. πŸ™‚ And so marks week 1 complete of daily blogging. πŸ™‚ I look forward to our next week together!


More book reviews to come!!! πŸ˜€

“Blood Wounds” | [OLD] Book Review

Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer

So, this is an OLD DRAFT of a book review I literally was meant to put up in August 2016. Therefore because I don’t seem to have any notes on this subject matter, I’m going based off my memory and what quotes I chose from this novel. Bear with me and watch out, probably some spoilers ahead!


*TRIGGER WARNING* Cutting mentioned in this book.

Our main character is Willow in this fictional story. A girl who has two step-sisters and a step-father, who soon learns that her biological father has murdered his wife and two young girls and that he is on the run to find Willow and kill her too. It’s never explained what caused him to do these murders or what happened in him to have led to them, but I thought this was a pretty excellent book about finding one’s family ties, learning about one’s self and their identity, Willow expressing her need for help by the end of the book (she’s been cutting to self-soothe), and an interesting take on what it must be like for family members of people who are murderers.


4/5 Father killers


  1. “I was alone, as I was so many nights, surrounded by my family but alone with my thoughts” – p. 18

Relatable quote here, and I feel this could apply to other fanfic ideas I have about characters going through shit in life. πŸ™‚ (Nicely said, Raquel, nicely said)

2. “‘I’ll ask my mother,’ I said, knowing that I wouldn’t. I’d learned a long time ago not to ask for the things I couldn’t have” 0 p.21

I definitely thought that was weird and sigh worthy when I read this book.

Also, there was no trigger warning about the cutting in this book, which kind of irritated me. I mean a little bit could be expected from the title, but I distinctly remember the scene where she first cuts herself, she goes to the basement (and I’m thinking okay, maybe it’s a nice basement), goes to the radiator (that’s a little odd) and then cuts herself with something she hid there (and I was like Well THAT escalated quickly!). So yeah. I didn’t want to quote it here for obvious reasons but uh, I pretty much did anyways. πŸ˜› I was also telling Elisa about this book not long ago so the details are still a bit fresh in my mind. Still a good book though! But that’s why it’s only 4/5.

3. “I felt as though the whole house had been picked up by a tornado, that it and everything I’d ever known was twisting out of the solar system” 0 p. 34

4. “Because that’s the kind of family I come from. We’re very polite. Even when people die on our doorsteps, we remember to say please and thank you and excuse me” – p. 69

5. “‘Don’t tell me what means nothing!’ I shouted. ‘You don’t know. You just ask me to pretend all the time. Well, I won’t. I’m through pretending. They were my family. They’re a part of me'” 0 p. 76

This is when Willow wants to go visit her biological father’s home state to learn more about him and what happened and if she’s anything like the monster he was. Essentially.


6. “‘And whose fault is that? Who kept me from them?'” – p. 77

7. “‘You got me away. I’m alive because you got me away. Let me say goodbye to my sisters. They didn’t have you. They didn’t get away'” – p, 78


8. “If I didn’t know him, if I didn’t know what had become of him, would I have stared into those eyes and thought about the pain they could inflict? Would I have said ‘those are the eyes of a killer,’ or would I simply have thought he was squinting, uncomfortable posing for a picture?” – p, 91

Willow is looking at her biological father’s yearbook photo.

9. “‘I guess I don’t belong here any more than I belong at home'” – p. 94

Oh, Willow….

10. “‘Without rules, we’d run around fighting each other, not caring what anybody thinks. Sometimes rules can seem arbitrary, and sometimes unfair, but they give us our boundaries, and we need to respect them'” 0 p. 102

11. “I couldn’t bring myself to define Budge, to put a label on him. Because whatever he was, I was his daughter, and whether I loved him or not, whether I even knew him or not, he was a part of me, so entwined with my body and my soul that he could never be disentangled” – p. 106

12. “We’re a happy family, I said to myself, closing the yearbook and piling it on top of the others. We have to be. Because if I didn’t have that to believe in, then I had nothing left at all” – p. 107

13. “I’d spent so much of my life claiming things were fine when they weren’t that it surprised me to hear the truth come from my mouth” – p. 108

Remember what FINE stands for right? Fucked up, insecure, neurotic and emotional. You’re welcome.

14. “We were a family of secrets. I’d kept my share. One more wouldn’t hurt” – p. 135

15. “‘I do what I need to. I made it through yesterday and I’m alive today'” – p. 170-171

One of Willow’s siblings saying how they make it through living on their own, relatively homeless, from what I can vaguely remember.

16. “‘But I’m not ready for you to be my sister. I’m sorry, Willa, but I’m not.’ ‘I’m not Sweetbriar. You can’t just discard me'” 0 p. 193

Oh yes! From one of her step-sisters, and Willow stands up for herself and it was a great moment! πŸ™‚

17. “‘This razorblade is my friend, my family. It’s what I turn to when I’m scared you won’t love me anymore'” – p. 240

18. “‘I couldn’t ask! I cut because I couldn’t ask for anything'” – p. 240

19. “‘They didn’t know anything. That’s why I cut. So no one would know anything'” 0 p. 241

This is when Willow comes clean to her parents and asks for help to see a therapist to stop her cutting.

20. “‘Mom? Not for Budge. For me.’ ‘For you. For me. For all of us” – p. 245

*Sniffle* This reminds me of MCU Loki. XD

And yeah, that’s about all!!

Don’t be to surprised if my future writing style for book reviews changes. Maybe it’s because I had nothing written down for this one but I feel a change may be in order…maybe I can even make a logo for them! Oooo. πŸ™‚

Any who, I hope you enjoyed. I have about 10 other ones to keep putting out…. Oh vie.