Another month, another round of diverse books that I read. Today is all about the THREE books I read in the month of March. One I must have been living under a rock to never have read it before (WOW!), one that just didn’t match the hype, and one that has stuck with me since I finished the last page.
Let’s get to it…the March Book Review!
Taylor Jenkins Reid is quickly becoming my newest Colleen Hoover. I wasn’t a fan of Malibu Rising, but I’ve deeply loved everything since. I’m currently getting sucked into her book One True Loves that I’ll review next month. She always surprises me with her clever way of writing, and Daisy Jones and the Six was just that. One of the most clever stories I’ve read in quite some time!
This book is a work of fiction, but you’ll truly believe that this story, this band, and these characters are real people. It’s written interview style. No “normal” chapters. It’s written much like a VH1 Behind the Music interview with a band. A little tricky to get used to at first, but I promise, once you get the hang of it, you’ll get completely sucked in.
It’s the 1970s and this book follows how the band came to be, how they came together, their way to the top and the way they crash down. It’s about how their lives were intertwined, how they built each other up and tore each other down. It’s a book about a fictional rock band, but it’s got such real stories and connections that you’ll think every stitch of it is real.
Now mock me all you want, but I genuinely believed that this book had to have been a true story. It was so thorough, so character-detailed, so unbelievably written that I felt like she had to have been actually writing the words of the band members from an interview. At the end of the book, I actually Googled to see if this band was a real thing in the 70s. How she was able to create such a dialogue from her own imagination was something to marvel. Even down to the point that she had song lyrics to their most popular songs. I’ve never read anything like this before, and I wish there was a sequel because I feel like I wasn’t quite done with the characters yet. I could have read about them for a whole book more. This one is different, it’s engaging, and it’s just so well done!
Boy, this one is a tricky one for me. I liked the book, but didn’t love this book. I felt like it had such a strong concept and plot; yet, the author brought in other characters that took away from that said plot and the characters that I loved so much. Things went unresolved and I felt like I ended the book with so many more questions about the characters than I should have.
So let me explain: The Vanishing Half begins in an extremely small town called Mallard, Louisiana, where everyone is part black, but the whiter you are, the better. A set of twins are born that are so light-skinned, they appear white. So white that they’ve pretended to be so on occasion to experience a separate side of the deeply segregated south. After their father was brutally murdered, the twins escape the town overnight and move to New Orleans as minors. There, they begin to forge a life all their own. They find jobs, they begin to experience life outside the small town, and even set themselves up on a course in other cities. One marries an extremely dark-skinned man and has an equally dark-skinned daughter, while the other twin runs away and is living her life as if she is white, escaping from the family and the town that she once knew.
It’s a fascinating premise about race and the idea of skin tones having power. I was drawn in, fascinated, and engaged. I could have read about their upbringing and the lives of the Vignes twins for three more books. However, Bennett then took the story to the second generation and followed the twin’s daughters more than the twins. And that’s where I got lost. I felt as if the story became very plainly written at that point, and ended somewhat abruptly with so many unanswered questions. There was also so much mention of ‘breath taking plot twists.’ Was I missing a chapter or two? I didn’t ever have those moments. It was an engaging read, but I really feel like it failed to deliver in the final third of the book. It just felt really unresolved.
I feel like the last 5-6 books I’ve read, I have been fascinated and in awe of how creative the premise of the story is. This is no different. Alice is in the middle of a spin class in 2008 when she falls from her bike and hits her head. When she regains consciousness, she has no memory of the last 10 years of her life. She went from being pregnant with her first child in 1998 to having three children, a failing marriage, and a fit body and fine clothing that are nothing like what she once had. She was in a spin class? She hated gyms! She has no memory of the last 10 years of her life and now she has to slowly unravel how her life that she once led changed so dramatically over the last decade. Is she happy with who she became? And are things turning out the way she would want them to all over again?
What a thought-provoking novel. What if you woke up 10 years later and you are a completely different person without knowing how and why you became what you are. Your relationships are different (and not always for the best) than when you left them. Your personality and goals are changed. Do you need to put a little bit more of your old self into your new?
I loved this story from beginning to end. I was constantly putting the book down and thinking about myself in this situation, reflecting on how I’ve changed and maybe needing a little bit more of the Rachel from a decade ago back. And maybe we all need a little bump on the head to get a different, “outsider” perspective of our lives. 🙂
It’s a supposed soon to be motion picture with Jennifer Anniston playing the role of Alice (perfect casting there!) and I’m excited to see this one play out in a movie form…if it ever gets made. Last I saw, Jennifer was casted in 2015. Let’s get this one filmed! The book is an easy read and an engaging one that will have you guessing right through to the end.
Now I’m off to read another Taylor Jenkins Reid! Any other recommendations for this month? Always drop your comments and suggestions below!