« I wanted what we all want: everything. We want a mate who feels like family and a lover who is exotic, surprising. We want to be youthful adventurers and middle-aged mothers. We want intimacy and autonomy, safety and stimulation, reassurance and novelty, coziness and thrills. But we can’t have it all. »
Ariel Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she lived believing that conventional rules no longer applied – that marriage doesn’t have to mean monogamy, that aging doesn’t have to mean infertility, that she could be ‘the kind of woman who is free to do whatever she chooses’. But all of her assumptions about what she can control are undone after a string of overwhelming losses.
« I thought I had harnessed the power of my own strength and greed and love in a life that could contain it. But it has exploded. »
Levy’s own story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed – and what never can.
Ariel Levy is way too cool.
She made me think of this friend, sort of crazy (not in a clinical sense, crazy in a good way! most of times at least), that is also a little « too much ». The kind that dies her hair pink a Tuesday on the spur of the moment because she cried in front of the perfection of a sunset and she realized that « Pink is a psychedelic color, I swear hun, you were not there you can’t get it! » (The girl is 30. Everything is fiiiine. Thanks to her, I’m the one that seems to be « all together » for once. So refreshing.) My friend also speaks with a flow so high that it defies imagination. She’s always way way too happy about the little things of life. I love people like that, for whom everything is so intense, people that don’t follow the rules and that, contrary to most people (contrary to me), allow themselves to say fuck to conventions.
.« Daring to think that the rules do not apply is the mark of a visionary. It’s also a symptom of narcissism. »
Still, it’s nice to read the story of an imperfect person that is trying (shouldn’t we all?) to be honest with herself. She’s really self-conscious about who she is and what she wants and she manages to get it. Fake it until you make it. This might be another definition of bravery, I guess. It’s allowing oneself to be happy even though we don’t think we deserve it because, let’s face it, we haven’t always been « perfect ».
« I didn’t want her girlfriend to suffer. But I didn’t feel particularly guilty, either. They seemed so far from love, I even thought (stupidly) that the girlfriend might be happy to have Lucy taken off her hand. They had become strangers. Maybe they always had been. And we were magic. »
For instance when she cheats on her girlfriend and she justifies it with this nebulous theory that love dedicated to only ONE person is not contradictory to sleeping from time to time with random people, if there is attraction etc… Well, well, well. Let’s test this theory. I’m not sure my boyfriend would be that tolerant! But, to be perfectly honest, I kind of agree with Ariel about this « cheating issue ». This is quite ridiculous and childish when you think about it. Mariage is a social construction that hasn’t been existing for so long regarding the story of mankind. And being physically attracted to sb else doesn’t take anything from your loved one. Of course, the advantage to submit to social pressure/the norm is to be « part of the group » (i feel like I’m talking about animals… weird). ANYWAY. You sort of have to get married, have children, a long-term contract (I wish!) to check the boxes of a « successful life » (says who?) but… Is that really what we want? Is that really what we should do?
« One day you are very young and the suddenly you are thirty-five and it is Time. You have to reproduce, or else. »
The mere thought of having to stay stuck with the same person till the end of my life is terribly scary… It’s like, voluntarily, getting on a highway to hell, direction death, without any fun on the way. But since divorce is an option, and so a real possibility, all is not necessarily lost dixit Ariel.
I also really liked all the moments where she talks about her job as a journalist, as a writer, about the fact that she needs to tell stories and live things twice (live them and then write them). I think she tried (unconsciously maybe) to turn her life into something « novel material » so she could write about it. Isn’t it what we all secretly want? To have a crazy destiny? Because we always believe that we are invulnerable (obviously since we are the main character of our story) but we get back from it. No, no. We are the main character of absolutely nothing at all. Nada. Niet. Rien du tout. First disillusionment of life when you realize that, actually, you don’t control anything and in face of hard ordeals, you’re not this hero you thought you would be. You’re just that pathetic little thing, crying over your terrible fate. The thing is, I guess, at least to try to become the best version of yourself. Fake it until you make it. Always and forever. And maybe someday, it will become true…
I could talk about this book forever. I’ll have my pink-haired friend read it, maybe she’ll get inspired and dye them green who knows!
Plus, Ariel liked my tweet. Ariel. I know, right ??? Like we’re already on first-name basis, like we’re kind of best friends now. God, I’m so delusional. Anyway, if you want to have a long talk with a friend just dive in, dive in this book, take a breath and enjoy the journey because man, it’s worth it ! AND READ IT IN ENGLISH PLEASE (way better this way, french fellows <3).
Nota Bene : I read it on my first day to work, heading to a job I’m passionate about and this book really comforted me that life is too short for compromise. Life is made to be lived 100%. Don’t waste your time with things you « kind of » like. Dream and live Big. Dare to be « too much ». And READ THIS BOOK!
My grade :
Editeur : RANDOM HOUSE
Date parution : 03/17
ISBN : 9780812996937
Nb de pages : 224 pages
The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now, Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of (extremely) personal and observational essays.
In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is – a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh.
Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friends – an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she’s experiencing lust-at-first-sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor’s secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a bighearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably – but only because it’s over.
I have wanted to read this book for a loooooong time. I have always been fond of Amy Schumer ever since I discovered her. There is just something about her. She’s brutally honest and relatable in so many ways. I didn’t really know what to expect with this book because I only read one « celebrity » book before and it was really bad. Still, I took a chance here and it was worth it. Good job Amy! (as if you needed my approval… and as If she were reading this^^)
I felt like I just got out of one long talk with a friend. She just states things as they are, standing in her truth. I laughed a lot, looked up for her sometimes, and I cried… A little. Well, this is not just a funny book about her crazy sex &love experiences (of course there are some of those which are hilarious!), or about her weight issues (by the way why does people always feel the need to talk about her weight when there is so much more to say about her than that?).
« We took off and I pretended to be really scared of flying. There was zero turbulence, yet I still found reasons to grab his arm and bury my face in his shoulder, inhaling his scent. I was blatantly throwing myself at him and we both laughed at how aggressive I was being. » – The only one-night stand
This book is not just a bunch of funny stories. It’s her story, who she is. She’s not that super hero funny and happy all the time. She had her hard times, she fought to get where she is. She has her flaws, of course she’s far from perfect (and she constantly repeats it) but she’s come a long way and somehow, now she knows who she is and wants to be.
I know my worth. I embrace my power. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story. I will. I’ll speak and share and fuck and love, and I will never apologize for it. I am amazing for you, not because of you. I am not who I sleep with. I am not my weight. I am not my mother. I am myself. And I am all of you.
There are so many things to say about this book actually : how she made it in the business, the stories of her childhood, her strong opinion (which I share) about gun control, her lists (I love lists!), her references (either books, series or movies – We girls can relate). But if I had to share the strongest moment of the book it would be this one. Because it is true and I think that we should share it to girls and women. (this was my #feminist moment).
« (…) There are lots of « firsts » like this in life, little flashpoint here and there when you’re unknowingly becoming a woman. And it’s not cliché shit, like when you have your first kiss or drive your first car. You become a woman the first time you stand up for yourself when they get your order wrong at a dinner, or when you first realize your parents are full of shit. (…) The first time your heart breaks. The first time you break someone else’s heart. The first time someone you love dies. The first time you lie and make yourself look bad so a friend you love can look better. And less dramatic things are meaningful too, like the first time a guy tries to put a finger in your ass. The first time you express the reality that you don’t want that finger in your ass. That you really don’t want anything in your ass at all. (…) You will remember all these moments later as the moments that made you the woman you are. Everyone tells you it happens when you get your first period, but really it happens when you insert your first tampon and teach your best friend to do the same ».
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Share the word ladies.
She’s a woman I really would love to meet, with strong opinions and that is not afraid anymore to stand up for what she believes in. I must say I’m impressed and I respect her all the more. I strongly advise you to read this book. 🙂
Nota Bene : To read in your private jet on your way to Amy Schumer’s show!
My grade :
Editeur : GALLERY BOOKS
Date parution : 16/08/16
ISBN : 9781501139888
Nb de pages : 336 pages
Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same. Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead. In the aftermath, everyone—police, family, Zoe’s former solicitor, and Zoe herself—tries to piece together what happened. But as Zoe knows all too well, the truth is rarely straightforward, and the closer we are to someone, the less we may see.
Here we are, second review in English after The cursed child. I don’t know if you guys remember but back then I was wondering what if. What if magic existed? I must confess that I was a little nervous before reading this book because I loved the first novel of G. MacMillan (Burnt Paper Sky) and I wondered if the lightning would strike twice in the same spot and if magic would happen once again… and it DID! It freaking DID!
The initial title for this novel was “Butterfly in the dark” and I feel like this image really fits Zoe. She’s a butterfly dancing out of thin air. A small flutter of her wings ultimately caused a typhoon around her world. 3 years before the action occurs, 14-year old Zoe got convicted for murder because of a car accident where she caused the death of three classmates. She has served her time and is now looking for redemption to move on with her new family. Indeed her mother remarried and she has now a stepbrother of her age (Lucas) and a brand new half-sister (Grace). Sunday night after a concert that she gives in a church in front of her family and her aunt Tessa, her mother is found dead. What happened ?
The author depicts with talent the portraits of this damaged family, struggling in silence to display the picture of perfection. Why with talent? Because her characters are smart, real and authentic and last but not least, her secondary characters have backstories of their own which is nice! The writing is cinematographic, focusing on the different protagonists from diverse perspectives (Zoe, Tessa and Sam (Zoe’s former solicitor)). Each one of them is explaining their truth with their own personal baggage and awareness.
Through flashbacks G. MacMillan puts the pieces of the puzzle together and paints a family portrait without concession. She displays a sharp and accurate understanding of human nature. Somehow she makes us ask ourselves: Should we be defined for the rest of our lives by one stupid mistake? Can we give anyone a chance for redemption? Is there such a thing as a second chance?
At the beginning of the story, Zoe seems to be overcautious with her image. This is her second chance and she can’t mess it up. Her mother won’t let her forget that she has to be the perfect girl. See Maria didn’t tell her “new family” about her daughter’s past and lying by omission isn’t really lying right? Zoe’s mother makes it her daily mission not to pop this delicious bubble of illusion. After all this is her second chance too. She is determined to make everything fit perfectly into what she pictures as the perfect life. Doing so she builds fences at the expense of her daughter’s wellbeing so that her world made of pretty lies won’t fall apart. Denial can be a strong shelter to hide into.
But Zoe struggles with her mother’s coldness and denial. She’s lucid and strong about this whole situation yet she’s fragile like a butterfly. Her stillness is screaming « Please mother, listen to me, talk to me, hug me ». It crushed my heart to see the vulnerability that pulses through her veins. Her guilt eats her up but she somehow finds it in her to fight back and give herself a second chance. A second chance. This letmotif appears throughout the book. She has to be the perfect girl, because it’s her second chance. Period.
Piano playing is like an addiction for me. It’s a path I have to walk down, water I have to drink, food I must consume, air I need to breathe. It’s the only thing that can take my head somewhere safe and everybody tells me its going to give me a ‘bright future’
I don’t consider myself a pianist even if I played the piano for a few years but I get what Zoe means, her desperate need for a safe place, an escape from the life she’s stuck into. This need for a passion that would transcend her and make her feel more alive than anything else in the world. Music is her salvation like writing his script was for Lucas.
G.MacMillan brought this cinematographic angle to a whole new level with the parts of Lucas’ script. Zoe’s stepbrother wrote in a script the secret he would never dare to say in a million years. It was so powerful yet so delicate. It reminded me of this quote from Pascal Quignard which says in substance that one can write what he isn’t able to say. One can write even though he cries. But what one can’t do while writing is sing. This was IT. I honestly could relate to this and feel for Lucas. In their own ways, Lucas and Zoe found their path to resilience through music and writing. Art, always and forever. Take your broken heart, make it into art Meryl Streep said once.
I didn’t know what to expect when I opened this book, I wanted to love it for sure but I didn’t want to be disappointed. I wasn’t. I so wasn’t. It’s definitely a must-read. This book is intense, deep and powerful. It has music that still resonates within. Trust me just read it. I mean really. This is as good as it should be!
Nota Bene : To read before a family dinner while listening to « Nocturne » by Chopin or « Bird set free » by Sia.
My grade :
Editeur : PIATKUS
Date parution : 06/09/16
ISBN : 9780349406411
Nb de pages : 341 pages
« The eighth story. Nineteen years later »
Let’s ride the Hogwart Express one more time!
Potter and I go way back! The mere fact of touching the cover of this new volume gave me the chills. True story. I used to have a whole ritual around the release of each HP book you know? My mom would get up at dawn and wait in front of the bookshop so I could get my copy as soon as I woke up. I would manage to “fortunately” get sick so I would miss school and read in my bed the new Harry Potter’s adventures. Best sick-days ever. Well, now I’m a grown-up and I don’t get to miss school to read a book but for Harry, I sure would make an exception.
Needless to say that I was insanely happy (and it’s an understatement) when I heard about The cursed child, the script of a play that takes place 19 years after and makes Albus Severus Potter, Harry’s son, the new protagonist of the story. Some (haters much??) would argue that this volume is not a “real Harry Potter” since it’s a play but even if it needs some adjusting for the reader at the beginning; the story quickly carries us away. I will only pitch the book and genuinely won’t say much because it would just be mean to spoil you the secrets JK Rowling revealed in this book (and trust me there are a bunch of them!).
We happen to find our heroes right where we left them, on the platform of King’s cross, Albus worried-sick about getting sent to Slytherin and his father reassuring him. All was well.
And then all was not. Indeed, it’s not easy to be one’s father’s son, all the more when one’s father is “the boy who lived”. Through his first years at Hogwarts, Albus suffers from the constant comparison with his father and wishes his peers wouldn’t consider him as a failure. Somehow, he blames Harry, this hero that won’t seem to understand him.
Until one day, a 14-year old Albus overhears a conversation between Amos Diggory and Harry. Amos had been begging for an interview with Harry for a few months because he had heard about a rumour that the Ministry of Magic possesses one last time turner (they were supposed to have been all destroyed after the war) and he begs Harry to use it to bring back Cedric, his son, his everything. Because Cedric was not supposed to die, he was just a spare after all. Harry refuses since he knows the risks of messing with the timeline.
Albus, outraged by the disinterest of his father in this matter decides with his best friend, Scorpius Malfoy, to find the last remaining Time Turner and save Cedric but everything won’t go as planned (the least we can say)…
This is not a secret. I am crazy about Harry Potter in a way that might respond to medication. Always have been, always will be. Though, it’s the good kind of crazy. It’s the kind that makes me believe that in the darkest times one can find the light. It’s the kind that makes my imagination go wild and my dreams become so full of magic. It’s the kind that makes my eyes go from a lighter to a streetlamp and think … What if ?
Thank you Mrs Rowling for making us muggles, believe.
« After all this time ? – Always », to read while listening to « Arrival of the birds »
My appreciation :
Editeur : LITTLE BROWN
Date parution : 31/07/16
ISBN : 9781338099133
Nb de pages : 352 pages