One to Watch

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book but I didn’t love it. The premise of the story is that a plus sized woman goes onto a reality tv show very much like The Bachelorette to find love (although at first it’s mostly to help her own career as an influencer/blogger). Also, she just had a rather painful encounter with a man she’s loved for years but who never seemed to love her back (friend zoned).
This is a pretty fluffy story that has a predictable plot and ending (although I really hated the ending. Why did she HAVE to get engaged after all of that? It goes against the idea that it’s ok to be different and happy at the same time.). I read this after I read Stamped from the Beginning so it was the light read I really needed.
The big issue I had with this is the CONSTANT fat shaming and then Bea having to CONSTANTLY disprove those ideas. It got a little annoying. It was also annoying that the author had Bea state a few times that obesity isn’t linked to ANY diseases (she did this a few times when some of the show contestants, who were personal trainers and a-holes anyways, talked to her about the benefits of losing weight). I’m absolutely into body positivity and spreading that message but I don’t think it’s a good thing to assert that being obese is also perfectly healthy. It can be in some people but it definitely taxes your body. (steps off of soap box)
Anyways, definitely recommend this to anyone who needs a light read. I think it took me all of 3 evenings to get through.

View all my reviews

Florence Adler Swims Forever

Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book was just kind of meh to me. The whole premise and biggest plot point occurs in the first chapter. Florence Adler is the youngest daughter of a Jewish couple. She loves to swim, she’s amazing at it, and she’s decided to try to swim the English channel (btw it’s in the 1930’s so that’s a pretty big deal). She goes out to train one day and drowns. The rest of the novel follows her parents, a Jewish girl they’ve taken in, her swim coach, her niece, and her brother in law as they decide and execute a plan to keep this tragedy from her very pregnant sister who is on bed rest in the hospital since she mad a very late term miscarriage the previous summer.
This is really just a character study in grief. It was incredibly predictable how events would pan out and what the characters’ reactions would be. The writing was ok. For this sort of narrative where the character development is the main driver of the work I like to see beautiful writing shine through and it just did not do that here.
Florence and her family are Jewish so that was interesting due to when the novel takes place. I wasn’t aware how Americans in general viewed the plight of European Jews at this point in history. Otherwise, though, this isn’t a novel I’d recommend to many people.

View all my reviews

Little Women – 2019 vs 1868/69

Hopefully by now everyone has had a chance to read Little Women and also see the new adaptation by Greta Gerwig. If you haven’t or if you really don’t care about this work of art then go away and find some cute dog pictures somewhere.

Here are some of my thoughts on the book (feel free to disagree, it’s still a free country at this moment):

  • The character development is straightforward and evident. Come at me if you don’t agree. Amy goes from being a little monster who’s responsible for burning Jo’s first strike at a novel to being a confident and self-aware woman willing to marry for money (to support her family – it was a different time so go easy on her) to an even more self-aware woman who decides to marry a slightly less amount of money because she loves the man. Don’t get me started on Jo and Meg. RIP Beth; she was always perfect.
  • I listened to a fairly cheap audio version of the book this last time I read it (via Chirp) and even that was enjoyable to listen to. Alcott’s way with language makes even the most mundane sentences and plots sound interesting and uniquely beautiful. If you’ve only read the book and have never listened to it read aloud, do yourself a favor and spend $5 to listen to it while you do your own mundane tasks.
  • The men in the novel seem to be atypical of the time. I’m not a huge historical fiction girl myself but I’m comfortable enough with the brief period of time from 25,000 BC to 2010 where the patriarchy was ripe and women’s rights were the thing of comedic cartoons. Every single man in this work is respectful of our little women’s dreams. Even when Jo is haggling with the newspaper guy he can clearly see through her ruse and knows she’s selling her own stories but he’s still respectful and doesn’t call her out on it. The chivalry! The gusto! I love it.

Obviously I have a lot more to say about the book but these are just some general thoughts on it. If you want to read something a bit more analytical then I highly suggest you check out a new website called “Google” and see what you find.

Thoughts on the 2019 adaptation:

  • 2 hours and 15 minutes isn’t enough
  • While I really enjoyed the movie (REALLY ENJOYED it), it simply couldn’t stand up to the book. I didn’t expect it to but I want to make sure any reader who goes in hoping for those same warm fuzzies obtained from reading the novel isn’t let down. This is a movie. The novel is a collection of individual stories with some underlying threads and relationships to follow. Most of those stories can’t make it into the movie so don’t be disappointed when Amy’s dinner/tea party isn’t on the big screen.
  • Those outfits are amazing. I have some patterns that I’ve been waiting to try (hardware issues) and now I just can’t wait. Ruffles for life!
  • There were 2 separate instances where I teared up. If you don’t know me intimately then just let me tell you that doesn’t happen often (rarely in public, almost always because of a dog if it does happen). The group of women next to us cried a regular monsoon.
  • Go see it. Take a friend if you have one. Sneak in your dog if you don’t.

That’s all I’ve got. Go see the movie. Reread the book or listen to the book. Check out Chirp if you haven’t yet. You’re welcome.