Book Reviews

March 2021 Book Review

It’s Book Review Day! March brought me three very different books…a tear-jerker, a Scripture-based self-help book, and a coming-of-age, racially charged read that has gotten some rave reviews. So let’s get to it! Here’s what I was reading this past month…

The Secrets We Keep

Don’t you love the algorithms Amazon has in place to find just the thing you’re looking for without you having to put in an ounce of work? Sometimes, right? 🙂 After finishing one of my last Colleen Hoover reads last month, my Kindle recommended the story The Secrets We Keep by Kate Hewitt. A story about two separate women and their children who rent homes in the Finger Lakes for a summer, each to escape issues at home and somehow bring peace to their uneasy lives. Quickly, the families meet and latch onto one another, slowly opening up about their problems and forming friendships. The characters come from very different lives, socioeconomically being the most obvious, and are dealing with problems that they couldn’t imagine the other understanding. Problems in their marriages, their children, and themselves. As their bond grows stronger, they seem to help each other and hurt one another all at the same time. The very first chapter begins with a parent sitting in a hospital room waiting for a doctor to tell her if her child is going to recover from their injuries. The rest of the book is finding out who it happens to and just how these two women could end up like this.

Boy, this one was emotional for so many reasons. It broaches on the pressures of being a woman and a mom, of keeping marriages together, of raising kids, and then hits you hard when you see what happens for things to go so, so wrong to one of their own.

This story was gripping, it was sad, and it was powerful. You’re going to cry over this one. You’re going to come away looking a little more at yourself and how you view those around you. And you’re going to be completely shocked at how things unfold. But guys, it was really worth it. I really liked this one and truly, sometimes we just need to read a book that pulls out some real good tears from us. This book did just that.

Get Out of Your Head

Going from that emotional rocker to reading about getting negative thoughts out of your head, I may have some girlfriends reaching out to see if I’m okay. 🙂 Really guys, I’m fine!!

One of my favorite bloggers, Lauren Kay Sims, recently shared a new podcast called Made for This with Jennie Allen that she has really been enjoying lately. When I was working in the yard I gave it a shot and was instantly hooked. She has real conversations about trials in life and how Scripture can lead us to the right answer, to the right way of life, and to lead a life of positivity and purpose through God. On one particular podcast, she talked about negative thoughts and referenced her book called Get Out of Your Head. Although I’m a very positive person and try to keep my thoughts much the same, I was interested in her take on this.

Get Out of Your Head was good, but I wouldn’t rank it near as highly as I would Jennie’s podcast. I felt like she spent 1/3 of the book preparing me to learn something by just telling me it was coming. The meat of the information and the teachings didn’t happen until I had already invested hours of my time. I didn’t need the lead-in for it. I was ready and I feel that most that would reach for this book are ready, as well.

When I got into her teachings, I did find some thought-provoking and one exercise did open my eyes to possibly more negative thoughts that I didn’t even realize I was having. I took away ideas and a great outlook using Scripture to guide me, but I feel like there just could have been more to this one. It didn’t land with me like I had hoped it would.

Such a Fun Age

My final book this month was Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. A coming-of-age story that dives into the social issues of race, socioeconomics, employee-employer relationships, and does so in a relatable and timely way. It follows Alix, a white, wealthy blogger and public speaker who hires Emria, a mid-20s black girl, to babysit her two daughters each week. On a night when Emira was out with friends celebrating a birthday, she gets a frantic call from Alix to come watch her daughter, Briar, so they can handle a situation that came up at home. Emira steps in, takes Briar to a local grocery store to keep her away from the “situation,” and ends up being accused of stealing the young girl by the grocer’s security guard. The guard won’t believe that she’s the babysitter and instead forces Emira to be held, while being videotaped, until Briar’s parents can come get her. This issue further stretches the awkward relationship between Alix and Emira and exacerbates the “good intentions” that Alix seems to have…that almost come across as more harmful than being overtly racist. She becomes nearly obsessed with hiding her awareness of their differences and makes for one bad decision after another as she tries to be a “friend.”

It’s a shockingly easy read considering the themes that are brought up throughout this book. I found myself thinking about the characters while going about my day and was always eager to pick this one back up. There are parts that are so cringe-worthy, others that have my laughing out loud, and yet there was so much that I felt was just good to sit back and think over. Most importantly, why do we treat people a certain way? Is it about them or is it about us?

Great read that will stick with you for awhile after you finish!

Happy April, everyone! Let’s read a little more outside this month!

xx Rachel

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