Memoirs, Non-Fiction, We Chit Chat

We Chit Chat – You Got Anything Stronger? by Gabrielle Union

57988367. sy475

Leggy: I really enjoyed Gabrielle Union’s first book. I even named it one of my favorite books of the year, the year it came out and I listened to it 5 times! So I was very excited to listen to this one.

Taynement: I honestly am still always shocked when you mention that you listen to books multiple times. Like how?? But yes, I was in the same boat as you. We’re Going to Need More Wine was so good, I immediately got on the waiting list for this one.

Leggy: I was disappointed. I did not think this book was a worthy sequel. I for sure did not need more wine.

Taynement: Ha ha. Or something stronger. They were quite different. Quite frankly, this one was unnecessary.

Leggy: So unnecessary and quite repetitive. Why did she have to revisit Bring it On? She already had an essay about this movie in her first book, which was perfect? Why are we rehashing it all over again? I guess it’s because it’s her only mainstream movie.

Taynement: It’s funny you say that because that was my favorite story. Not sure what that says about the book itself but I didn’t find a lot of the stories compelling. It just didn’t grab me.

Leggy: The only story I found compelling was about her surrogate journey, the rest of the book was just not needed.

Taynement: I enjoyed the surrogate story as well, which is what she started with but it went downhill from there.

Leggy: I’m sure as a celebrity and a black one at that, Gabrielle Union has multiple stories from her life to pull from, so I don’t understand the essays she chose to publish. They didn’t make any sense to me at all. Also this entire book reads very performative. It did not seem genuine. It’s almost like she’s writing for a particular crowd.

Taynement: She unfortunately did the thing where the best part of the book is what she used as promo, so even if you didn’t read the book, you already read the best part. I have always thought Gabrielle Union was performative but she could pull it off in We’re Going to Need More Wine because it was personal stories. In this book, she suffered greatly from a lack of direction. She wasn’t sure if she wanted it to be about race or personal and even with the personal it wasn’t completely her story. I learned more about her stepdaughter in this book than her.

Leggy: Yup. It’s as if she went about collecting all the twitter hot topics and then wrote very impersonal and contrived stories about them. I was so bored. I kept waiting for her to turn the book back towards her and it just never got there. Also, do you believe her when she said the woman she is now would have left Dwyane?

Taynement: It wasn’t more so I didn’t believe her. It was more so it didn’t make sense to me? If in fact that is true, the woman you are now, can still leave? From the book and interviews she has done, I did not get the sense that she is over that whole situation.

Leggy: Exactly. That’s how I felt. So what’s stopping you from leaving now? I think she thinks the audience this book is for, would hate that she stayed. But it’s your decision, it’s your marriage. You have to own the fact that you stayed and recognize that you don’t owe anybody any explanation.

Taynement: Yep. You chose to stay so screw everybody else.

Leggy: She sounded so angry with Dwyane in this book, I was a bit taken aback by it. All while trying to convince us that she’s done the work to make the relationship stronger and better.

Taynement: When she said that people have accused her of not talking about the break baby, I looked around cos I was definitely one of them and then she described it as a trauma. I am ashamed to say I never thought about the angle that he had a baby while they were going through conception struggles. That’s deep.

Leggy: Yeah that’s insane. I can’t imagine how she felt about that.

Taynement: In summary, I don’t think this book was as sincere as the first and the sincerity is what made the first so great.

Leggy: Yes, this book was extremely performative. I wish she hadn’t written it. I did not enjoy it and it sucks because Gabrielle really is a good writer.

Taynement: It definitely was a struggle to read and I have told people I don’t recommend it.

Leggy: I wish she had written something totally different and personal.

Taynement: Last thing, if you do decide to read the book I think we should let people know that it is very heavy on racial topics.

Leggy: Very heavy. Almost all the stories veered into a commentary on race.

Taynement: And I think we need to mention because if you are mood readers like us, sometimes you have to prepare your mind to read certain topics and it’s easy to think this would be a light hearted book because of We’re Going to Need More Wine.

Leggy:If you think this is going to be a fun and compelling book like her first one, just skip it. It’s nothing like it.

Taynement: What she said.

Leggy: Go read her twitter threads instead. It’s just that but in long form.

Taynement & Leggy

Fiction, literary fiction, Mystery

Book Review: Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

56894456. sy475

“Every time she fell out of love with him, he saw it happen and waited it out. He never stopped loving her, even those times when he felt deeply hurt and betrayed by her, even in that bad year when they talked about separating, he’d just gone along with it, waiting for her to come back to him, thanking God and his dad up above each time she did.”

The Delaneys are a tennis fixture in their community. They ran a successful tennis academy for years. The parents, Stan and Joy, have such great chemistry and still beat all their friends in tennis even though they’re retired. After selling their academy, they’re bored and miserable. They’re not the type of couple to have fun doing nothing or to have fun traveling so they’re still trying to discover what getting old means for them.

Their adult children – Logan, Amy, Brooke and Troy, are also trying to figure out what life after tennis looks like for them as well, as they never quite made it to being professional. They’re all deeply affected in one way or another by their lives as tennis young stars and are trying to process their feelings towards the sport and having their parents as coaches.

“That was the secret of a happy marriage: step away from the rage.”

One night, a stranger who introduces herself as Savannah, comes knocking on their door completely bruised up and bleeding claiming her boyfriend hit her. Joy and Stan let her in and let her stay with them believing she is escaping a domestic violence situation to the complete dismay of their children.

Later, when Joy disappears out of the blue, and Savannah is nowhere to be found, the police question the only other person left in the house – Stan. His kids are divided on if he did it or not. Every single detail in their past is being called into question and reexamined in the light of their mother’s disappearance. Moriarty takes us through the history of this family, alternating between flashbacks and the present as we try to figure out what happened to Joy.

“Once you’ve hit a ball there’s no point watching to see where it’s going. You can’t change its flight path now. You have to think about your next move. Not what you should have done. What you do now.”

My first foray into Moriarty was What Alice Forgot – a book I absolutely loved and adored. Since then though, all her other insanely popular books have missed the mark for me, especially the last two. I wasn’t going to read anymore Moriarty because I was tired of chasing the high I got from What Alice Forgot and never finding it. But, I decided to pick this one up because the person who recommended it said they didn’t like her two previous books either. I think she was right. This book is funny, and even though it’s suspenseful it never feels heavy or overdone. It’s just plain good.

“There was nothing worse than having to feel sorry for people who had wronged you. You don’t want lottery wins for your enemies, but you don’t want tragedies for them either. Then they got the upper hand”

If you’re not a fan of alternating timelines then this book is not for you as Moriarty alternates the chapters between flashbacks and the present. I really enjoy stories about dysfunctional families where there’s no abuse or intent to do actual harm exists. I think sometimes just being a family filled with very different personalities and interpretations of your childhood, leads to dysfunction. It’s a fascinating premise to look back at your life and all the little events that shaped it, with a new eye because now you’re looking for if your father could have murdered your mother. Suddenly every single action or mistake they’ve ever made is suddenly seen in a sinister light.

Moriarty’s straightforward writing style serves this book well. The way she makes these astute observations about the Delaneys while peeling back the layers of their relationships to each other and injecting the right dose of humor is impeccable and sometimes makes you forget that you’re actually reading a murder suspense book.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I don’t know if I rated this highly because I was surprised that I was enjoying a Moriarty book after swearing off reading her, but I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.

Have you read this one? Let us know in the comments!

Leggy

Book Related Topics, Fiction, literary fiction, short story

Book Review: Evidence Of The Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I have mentioned on more than one occasion how Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favorite authors. I am up to date on her new titles but I am slowly making my way through all of her work and this does not exclude short stories which is what this is.

“Alone in love, really. With a man who claims he never loved me”

In 1976, Carrie Allsop writes a letter to a man she does not know, to let him know that their spouses are having an affair with each other. The man in question is David Mayer. She asks him for any information he might discover while not expecting a response from him. But she does. He writes back and so starts correspondence between the two as neither of them leave their respective spouses and go through the experience of being cheated on and wonder how they got here.

“I guess I find it pretty easy to look like nothing is happening when everything has changed.”

I do not like short stories because I feel like they leave me unsatisfied but TJR did it again and was able to feed me a short story that felt like a full blown novel. I should mention that the entire story is in letter format. Meaning, every single chapter is someone writing someone else a letter. Don’t let this deter you because TJR found a way to make you forget that what you are reading are letters. The story moves right along and you are able to get a sense of each character especially as things evolve.

“Lately, it feels like my whole life has a similar feeling to when you check the clock on a Saturday and realize it’s already half past four.”

A tiny thing that I usually enjoy about TJR books is how she drops characters from her other books, usually in passing not as central characters, and this was no different.

If you are wondering where you can find this book, it is an Amazon Original story which is part of the Kindle Unlimited Series and is free to all Amazon Prime members. I have recommended these stories in the past and it usually comes off like an ad (it isn’t, I promise!) but I highly recommend them as they come in audible and kindle versions. They have a wide variety that includes some of your favorite authors. It’s also a good way to jumpstart your reading if you are in a slump.

Back to this book! I highly recommend. It’s only 100 pages and about an hour on audio and it will be worth the read/listen. Let me know if you give it a chance.

Taynement

Fiction, literary fiction, romance

Book Review: Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney

56646958

“And we hate people for making mistakes so much more than we love them for doing good that the easiest way to live is to do nothing, say nothing, and love no one.”

This book revolves around Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon – four people who are trying to make sense of their lives as adults. Alice is an author who meets Felix online and goes on a date with him. Eileen goes through a tough break up and goes back to flirting with her childhood friend, Simon. They’re four individuals trying to make sense of their love lives and their mental health.

While reading this book. I tweeted that Sally Rooney’s style of writing is basically “angst erotica”. I know Rooney has stans who think she can do no wrong but she has basically written the same book three times over, just with different characters. Rooney has a formula that works for her – she brings broken people who have bad mental health together to find love and have really great but slightly disturbing sex. Are these well written books? Yes. Are they the same books? Also yes.

Sometimes I feel like Rooney wants to write a purely romance novel but thinks her writing is too elevated for the genre. She forgoes so many things as she chases down romantic dynamics between characters that are not that interesting. She discards whole character development in pursuit of romantic love. Eileen had a very fraught and complicated relationship with her mother and sister which was never explored. Rooney doesn’t bother giving her characters any backstory to give them depth and make us invested in their story. Everything was barely scratched and kept surface and promptly moved on to the next.

Felix is an awful, self absorbed, emotionally abusive man who is normalized in this book and made to seem as a good match for Alice. He watches porn that shows women being degraded, is cruel to Alice for no reason and he propositions Simon while in a “situationship” with Alice, even though Simon had made it clear that he’s heterosexual.

And oh, 80% of this book is epistolary. Alice and Eileen keep up with each other’s lives via email correspondence. They write each other these ridiculous letters where they muse about everything from 18th century empires to the price of fame. Alice is an author in this book and I get a feeling that a lot of the things Rooney writes via Alice is pretty biographical. Just like Rooney, Alice has written two books with one about to be adapted for TV and she goes on and on about fame and writers wanting to be private. It got so boring reading these long, self indulgence, pseudo-deep musings.

If you’re planning to read this book because of Normal People, you’ll be disappointed because it’s more like her first book Conversation With Friends (the long pretentious conversations) than Normal People but with the angst of Normal People.

There are so many beautiful sentences and quotables that I would have put in this review but decided against it. This book is filled with so many beautiful sentences, Rooney has never been short of that but beautiful sentences does not a good book make. I found this book to be Rooney sounding off about her personal beliefs and thoughts through pretentious, navel gazing white characters that pretend to be deep. There is nothing about this book that is believable – not the characters, not the plot (which btw practically doesn’t exist), not the long email diatribes. How many millenials are emailing each other constantly about literature and philosophy and the fall of empires and the bronze age? Who are these people?!

I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads. I’m sure I’m going to be in the minority with this review since this book is well over 4 stars on Goodreads and Bookstagram is raving about it. I do not recommend this book. I did not enjoy it. I think it is perfectly okay to write about sex, friendships and relationships but if Rooney is constantly going to write the same book over and over again with practically similar characters with similar backgrounds, then this is where I step back from her. And of course, this book has no quotation marks.

Leggy

african author, Nigerian Author, Non-Fiction, Self Help

We Chit Chat – Bamboozled by Jesus: How God Tricked Me into the Life of My Dreams by Yvonne Orji

51184296. sy475

Leggy: How did we end up with this title?

Taynement: I recommended it.

Leggy: Oh right. You did. We both did it on audio too. What were your preconceived notions of the book and was it what you thought it would be?

Taynement: As usual, I had no knowledge of what the book was about. I just assumed it was a memoir. I remember wondering why anyone would care about an Yvonne Orji memoir.

Leggy: Lmaoooo. Taynement! I didn’t know what it would be about either. I wondered why someone so young in the industry was writing memoir.

Taynement: I’m not a fan of hers per se, so I honestly can’t tell you what compelled me to read this. My FOMO spirit is strong.

Leggy: I only read it because you told me too. Would never have. Also, it’s literally called “Bamboozled by Jesus” and I was still shocked when it turned out to be a religious book.

Taynement: I will say that this was a pleasant surprise for me.

Leggy: Oh really? You liked it? I’m shocked!

Taynement: Haha! I’m shocked myself.

Leggy: At first I was going to DNF it. I remember complaining that I would have never finished it if we weren’t doing a chit chat on it but then I just kinda got into it.

Taynement: Here’s the thing, I think the premise was a good one. It was a self help book wrapped in religion that was not preachy with sprinkles of hip hop culture. It worked for me.

Leggy: I didn’t love it but I certainly enjoyed following her journey. It’s quite interesting how dogged she is because there were a lot of times I feel like I would have given up. Also, she’s quite trusting in God, a lot of the things she believed in would have never worked for me. Like giving up her rent because God said so.

Taynement: So, in the beginning when she is laying the premise of the book, she said something like even if you don’t believe in the Word don’t think this book isn’t for you and I think she was wrong about that. It worked for me because I like to consider myself a person of faith, albeit a weak one, but she’s on a level of faith I aspire to be on. If you aren’t religious at all, this book will make you break out in hives because you will be ready to prove why it was something else and not God.

Leggy: Definitely. You should not read this one if you’re not religious. I believe in God but even I was turned off by the many Bible passages so I can’t imagine how this book could possibly work for someone who doesn’t believe.

Taynement: I wasn’t. I actually complained to my husband that I need to do better in reading my Bible. I really liked how she wove Bible passages into every day scenarios.

Leggy: This is how you know you’re a better Christian than me

Taynement: I should also add that sometimes a book works for you depending on your headspace and I read this book at a time where I need crazy faith like hers and it encouraged me.

Leggy: Also, I thought she must be very familiar with the Bible to be able to tell these stories in this way. It was very well done if you know the Bible and that’s why I fully consider this book a religious book. I also liked the Insecure parts of the book which is what I was actually looking forward to. I wanted to hear how she booked the role.

Taynement: I would kill to know who the actress was that peaked at audition 1. Now, my gripe with the Insecure parts – which is where she addresses what I have always wondered with her, which is her choice as a person of faith with highly sexualized scenes. Her explanation didn’t answer my questions, AT ALL. I still can’t reconcile that she had a conversation with God and He told her she’s being used to send a message? I think that’s when she used the analogy that Denzel wasn’t a murderer but played one.

Leggy: Did you read where she said she started looking forward to the sex scenes? and enjoying them? I was like what?! And God had to be like this isn’t a loophole.

Taynement: I appreciated her honesty. Ha ha. Body no be firewood.

Leggy: I really hope her faith in regards to finding a life partner comes through because I felt quite weird reading all of that. I’m hoping it all works out for her but what if God doesn’t want her to have romantic love in her life? Would it affect her faith?

Taynement: I hope her faith will carry her through if that’s not the case for her. There’s something I wondered – Based on her comedy special, I could have sworn I saw her mum and dad but in the book there was barely a mention of her dad.

Leggy: I have a feeling she didn’t want to discuss her family directly. It was obvious they just came around when she became successful. Her mum and dad are still together though.

Taynement: I just thought it was odd that she didn’t mention her dad except jointly as parents but she definitely had a lot of mom stories.

Leggy: Oh, I didn’t notice at all. Just noticed that she limited giving concrete details of her family and their reactions to her decision and just generally mentioned that they wanted her to go get a Masters and a regular job. I got the feeling she was trying to spare them the embarrassment but I can only imagine – they are Nigerian parents after all.

Taynement: I think that makes sense given it wasn’t necessarily a memoir – more like a collection of essays. She gave just enough regarding upbringing and how it contributed to her career path. Did you have a favorite story of hers?

Leggy: I really enjoyed her Insecure journey since that was what I really wanted to read about. Second best was when she was raising money to make a pilot for the first gen show she had been shopping around.

Taynement: My favorite story was the one about finding her dream house. It truly resonated with me because it was a metaphor. Overall, I’d describe this book as the book I didn’t think I needed but I did. Trust me, I’m still surprised myself. I gave it 4 stars.

Leggy: Wow. It really resonated with you. I didn’t feel that strongly about it. I gave it 2 stars.

Let us know if you have read this one or you’re planning to!

Taynement & Leggy

Book Related Topics, Uncategorized

These Are A Few Of My DNF Titles…

I recently shared on our Instagram how I was struggling with two titles that I was looking forward to. Animal by Lisa Taddeo and One Two Three by Laurie Frankel. They recently joined my DNF list. Leggy helped me in stopping hate-read habit. I recognize that sometimes your response to a book is dependent on your headspace at the time but honestly sometimes despite all the hype by everyone, some books just don’t work for you…and that’s okay.

We are closer to the end of the year and I am still not sure how I would define my 2021 reading year. I have read 0-1 great books, a lot good books, a few meh books and books that I did not bother finishing. Those are the books that I will be sharing with you today. I think a part of why I am sharing is that I am curious to see what other people think of the books – if they liked it and why they liked it.

As Leggy always says, art is subjective so please remember that by no means am I saying that these books are terrible books, they are just books that I wasn’t into when I read them and I may or may not go back to. You can also find Leggy’s DNF titles here.

The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories - Kindle  edition by Evans, Danielle. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
  1. The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans: I know I don’t like short stories but every now and then I am surprised. I started this on audio and by the third or fourth story, I realized nothing was connecting with me. My friend tried to get me to keep reading but I tapped out.

2. The Best of Me by David Sedaris: Yes I know it’s another short story collection and you are probably wondering why I bother at all. Well David Sedaris is different. He has written a couple of memoirs in this format and I have enjoyed them in the past. They have been funny. I don’t know what it was but I couldn’t get into it and I didn’t chuckle two chapters in, so I let it go 😦

3. Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev: This is a popular one and I have seen nothing but good things about it. There have been many Pride and Prejudice retellings and this caught my eye because it had a gender swap and an Indian infusion and I was curious to see how it would be. I’ll admit that I didn’t give this enough time to marinate. I have an idea of what the story will be but as soon as I started getting to the will they/won’t they parts my interest waned and I did not proceed with it. I will say that this is a book that I think I plan to revisit some day.

The Dragonfly Sea

4. The Dragonfly Sea by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor: Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I had confused it with another premise but I hadn’t. I dropped the book because it was so tedious. I like to get lost in a book and enjoy it but I felt like I was having to concentrate really hard and do homework and I didn’t want that reading experience.

What do you think? Are there any of these books (including Animal and One Two Three) that you liked and think I should give another chance? Let me know in the comments.

Taynement

Book Related Topics, Chick-Lit, Fiction, romance

Book Review: The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

50056075. sy475

Violinist, Anna Sun explodes into fame when one of her performances goes viral on YouTube. She’s suddenly unable to play any piece from beginning to end because she’s crippled with anxiety and the need to make it perfect. Her boyfriend also picks this time to ask for a break in their relationship because he wants to explore what’s out there for him before he makes a formal commitment to her. Angry and hurt, Anna decides to have a series of one night stands to get back at him and the very first person she matches with? – tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep.

Quan has been out of the dating market for a few years while he was fighting cancer. His cousin and business partner convinces him to get back out there and try a few casual dates to get back in the swing of things. Anna is the perfect candidate for that, as she’s only interested in one night stands anyway. They meet up and have more than one unsuccessful one night stands that just leads to more and more dates.

They develop a relationship that has Anna questioning if she even wants her boyfriend back and has Quan hoping it turns into something serious. When tragedy strikes Anna’s family and has her thrust in a caregiver role to her father, she has to confront the role her family and especially her older sister has played in her mental health.

Helen Hoang writes romance that is both sweet and deep. I think we’ve reviewed all of Hoang’s books on this blog and I think we’re probably going to continue to read them. I got this book as my August Book of the Month pick and read it one day. Hoang writes about different facets of Asian culture in her books coupled with issues surrounding autism. The main character gets into therapy to help cope with her sudden inability to play a piece through and is given the diagnosis of being on the autistic spectrum.

Watching her deal with the diagnosis and make sense of so many things in her life was very enlightening. The book takes on more serious topics than her other books – caregiving of a terminally ill parent, autism, depression, family dynamics, death etc . Seeing the family dynamics Anna had to deal with was very infuriating but very real. This is Hoang’s strongest book with the most character development. It’s sexy and hot but also deeply sad.

Hoang revealed in the author’s note that this is a very personal story for her and it showed in the way it was written – it’s written in the first person instead of the third person. It’s also not a book that ties up in a pretty bow. They don’t fall in love and everything doesn’t get better like a typical romance novel. The emotions are raw and intense, I was completely immersed in the story and their chemistry was off the charts. Also, both characters are perfect and I think everyone can see why they would be attracted to each other. Quan is kind, vulnerable and everything a leading man should be. He committed from the start and stuck with it even when things got rough.

This is my favorite Hoang book, I genuinely hope you give this book a chance. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.

Leggy

african author, african stories, Book Related Topics, Fiction, LGBT, literary fiction, Nigerian Author

Book Review: Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi

Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi

Life is an ambivalent lover. One moment, you are everything and life wants to consume entirely. The next moment, you are an insignificant speck of nothing. Meaningless.

Kambirinachi is an ogbanje. She is a spirit that keeps getting born as a human, but she never lives long enough and always dies and returns to the spirit world. Then she makes the decision to live and lives in fear of a retaliation from the gods for not returning. She lives a full life and experiences love, loss and gets married. She has twin girls – Taiye and Kehinde. The three of them become estranged when Kehinde suffers a traumatic experience and the three end up in different countries. Kambirinachi remains in Nigeria, Taiye moves to the UK and Kehinde is in Canada.

A long time has passed and the three reunite in Lagos as Taiye has moved back and Kehinde is visiting with her husband. The three have to come together and relearn each other and the book tells us their life stories from each of their perspectives and how each, in their own way, dealt with the fallout from what happened to Kehinde.

I finally gave a book 5 stars y’all.

It’s so hard to believe that this is a debut effort because it was so beautifully written. It had all the elements of things I enjoy in a book – complex/flawed characters, family sagas that span generations and beautiful writing that draws you in. Over the years when the sisters were estranged, Taiye wrote letters to Kehinde that she never sent. Taiye’s ex sends the letters without her knowledge and Kehinde reads them when she is in Lagos. Ekwuyasi’s choice to narrate their stories and go back in time, through these letters was such a fantastic choice. We go through the past and the present so seamlessly.

“Our relationship has always struggled against our twinness.”

The friction between the twins were the focal point but Taiye read like the main character. And boy was she a fully fleshed out character. Queerness is still not embraced in the Nigerian culture and I enjoyed how Ekwusayi didn’t make it an issue or a big deal. It was just Taiye’s sexuality, nothing to make a big deal about. Taiye was hella flawed but I am so glad that it had nothing to do with her being gay. Oh and even as flawed as she was, Taiye was the character that you were rooting for.

Taiye loves food and cooking and wants to be a chef and this was made clear throughout the book. Ekwuyasi gave us recipes for every thing Taiye cooked. When I say we were given recipes, I don’t mean in the typical way of listing ingredients and steps. We were given those but I don’t know the magic Ekwuyasi performed but it was written so beautifully and woven into the story. She made it clear thatcooking was a love language of Taiye’s.

The one gripe I had is there seem to be an influx of Nigerian writers who are writing about ogbanjes. As a Nigerian, I am familiar with it and I know it is part of the culture but it now seems like a lazy trope that is being infused for a western audience that isn’t as familiar with it. I often wondered why the author chose to make Kambiri’s issue her ogbanje-ness vs. what seemed like a mental illness or depression.

I honestly could go on and on forever as I remember various parts of the book. Even though it details the unpacking of a trauma. It still goes through a lovely friendship, a loving marriage, a loving yet toxic relationship. I don’t think it matters what the topic was, the best thing about this book was the writing, you’d be willing to go on the journey. I highly recommend this book, if you couldn’t already tell!

Taynement

Uncategorized

We Chit Chat – The Wreckage of my Presence by Casey Wilson

56247885. sy475

Taynement: Hi, Leggy. Why does it always take us this long to do this? We really should do this more often.

Leggy: I know! We’re just always reading different things.

Taynement: Our book of choice for this Chit Chat is different from our past choices. What made you read this?

Leggy: I really like Casey Wilson. I listen to her Bitch Sesh podcast, that’s why I read it. I didn’t know it was a collection of essays, thought it was a memoir.

Taynement: Same here. I’ve listened to her podcast for years now and for those who don’t know, it’s a podcast that talks about the Housewives franchise. She did heavy promo on there and my curiosity was piqued enough to want to read it. I thought it was a memoir too and the essays were an interesting way to talk about her life. What did you think of the book?

Leggy: I loved it. I’ve listened to it in its entirety, 4 times. I loved Casey’s narration. The first time I listened to it, I gave it 3 stars but upon subsequent listens, I upgraded it to 4 stars.

Taynement: Wow, 4 times? That’s impressive. I liked it enough but I don’t know that I loved it. Mostly because I don’t know that I learned many new things. It felt like listening to a collection of the intro stories from her podcast.

Leggy: I just really enjoyed her narration. I also quite enjoyed hearing a celebrity have a normal home life where they actually like their family. I can also see the intro stories part. I quite enjoy the intro stories so maybe this book was especially made for me.

Taynement: As a former SNL cast member, I fully expected her narration to be top notch. Also, I meant the intro stories she has shared before on her podcast.

Leggy: I didn’t know she used to be on SNL.

Taynement: Yep, she was. She talks a lot about her one season before getting fired. What were your favorite stories?

Leggy: The one about how she loves her husband more (My Husband’s Just Not that into Me; or, Afrin: A Love Story) and the one about her child’s gluten allergy (What Dis). You?

Taynement: Ah, I remember her child’s allergy issues – that was another story that I had followed via the podcast. I can’t think of one particular story but what I enjoyed the most was hearing about her mum when she was alive. To explain, she started the podcast after her mom passed so most of what we hear of her is as of her as a dead person. Hearing stories of her alive as a living breathing person was refreshing and I thought it was a pretty cool way to remember her mom. It will always be in print (or audio).

Leggy: That makes sense. I could still feel her pain that she lost her mom at the point where they were transitioning from mother-daughter to friends. Also, hearing all the things her mother fought for in regards to women’s rights was very inspiring.

Taynement: Yes, agreed. Another thing I enjoyed about the book were the transitions. For example, connecting her depression when her mom died to discovering the Housewives, which is now a huge part of her life. Was there anything you didn’t particularly enjoy?

Leggy: Yes, that was very well done. I didn’t enjoy all the white guilt. All the acknowledgement of white privilege was too much for me. I was like girl, please. That’s why I gave her 3 stars the first time. I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes but the second time I listened to it, I guess I knew they were coming so they just kind of rolled off me.

Taynement: I agree. It was very heavy handed. I feel like I’ve always known she was cooky or a little lost but this book confirmed it with all the things she spends her money on. Example – the flywheel stories and comparing it to a cult. But I will say, the stories of her parents provide context as to her kookiness.

Leggy: Lmaooo. All the things she believes in and spends money on, I was like girl, you’re a scammer’s dream.

Taynement: Absolutely. Even though I didn’t love it as much as you do, I think it was interesting enough but I do wonder if anyone who has no prior knowledge of Casey Wilson would be interested?

Leggy: I don’t know how they would be, to be honest. I do follow someone on bookstagram who loved the book even though she had never listened to her podcast, so who knows?

Taynement: To be fair, she does have a niche following especially if you loved Happy Endings or her current show Black Monday.

Leggy: Happy Endings was my introduction to her. You’re the one who introduced me to Bitch Sesh!

Taynement: I know!

Leggy: Would you recommend this to someone who knows Casey?

Taynement: I’m honestly not sure. I don’t think I found it riveting. I have a friend who knows her, listens to her podcast but has no interest in the book and she is an avid reader. Gun to my head, I’ll probably say no. There was nothing extraordinary about it.

Leggy: Oh wow. I feel like my enjoyment of this book is pretty personal. If I was asked why I loved it so much I think a big part would be the performance of it. It’s very well read. Would I have had the same experience if I had read this one on paper? I don’t know.

Taynement: If anyone who has no Casey Wilson background reads this or has read this let us know your thoughts on the book!

Leggy & Taynement.

Book Related Topics, christmas, Fiction, LGBT, romance

Book Review: The Guncle by Steven Rowley

56292974. sy475

“Grief orbits the heart. Some days the circle is greater. Those are the good days. You have room to move and dance and breathe. Some days the circle is tighter. Those are the hard ones.”

Patrick’s sister-in-law and friend, Sara, dies and his brother has to go to rehab for addiction and convinces Patrick to take the children back with him from the funeral to Palm Springs for 3 months while he takes care of his addiction. At first Patrick is very hesitant. Yes, he loves his niece and nephew but in short bursts. He’s fine handling them for weekend long visits with their mother or when he flies back to Connecticut to see his family but being their primary guardian for 90 days alone seems nuts to him.

Patrick has no idea what to expect – he’s been dealing with the loss of the love of his life in a car accident for years and doesn’t think he’s the right person to guide his niece and nephew through their grief when he hasn’t even handled his yet. With humor and a lot of heart, Rowley leads his readers through a journey of grief and family.

I really enjoyed this one. I think most of the characters were very likeable (except Patrick’s sister, yeesh, talk about overreacting to things). I especially liked GUP (Gay Uncle Patrick). I like that they made Patrick a super likable person whose vices and excesses never came before his own niece and nephew. It was easy to find his shenanigans cute and funny because you knew he would never do anything purposely to endanger the kids’ lives. Patrick used to be a famous movie star who was in a popular TV show that made lots of money (a la Friends) and after it ended, he moved out of LA to Palm Springs and stopped socializing with anyone but his gay throuple neighbors.

Even though this book is light hearted and funny, it deals with grief and death in a very real way. Rowley does not at all shy away from the hard parts of losing someone you love. Patrick is very determined to make sure the kids mourn and are able to talk about their mother in an open way, without pressuring them to snap out of it. Patrick even hopes that their kid resilience will be a way for him to mourn Sara too but he soon finds out that he would have to be the adult in this situation and show them a way to grieve in a healthy way. To do that, Patrick is forced to deal with the loss of the love of his life in a tangible way instead of the avoidance game he’s been playing with himself for years.

At some point while reading this book, I had to google – “Is Steven Rowley gay?” because this character would seem super stereotypical and offensive if it wasn’t another gay man writing this. Thankfully, he is gay and all my apprehensions vanished. This is my first Rowley book and I definitely will be picking up his backlist titles especially when I am going through one+ of my reading slumps. This book was utterly delightful and funny and I recommend it. I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads.

Leggy