Reading has sort of slowed down the last two-ish months. Life has been busy plus the fact that some of these books weren’t the greatest made it hard to get motivated to read. I also cleaned up my hold list at the library because I had four books come up almost all at the same time & couldn’t get to them in time. Anywho, this is what I read in February & March!
Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult
Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?
Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.
I loved this book. Emotionally, this was a tough book to read. It left me angry, frustrated, and sad all at the same time because unfortunately, this is happening in some parts of our country. (While I was reading this book, we watched an episode of Viceland that was all about white supremacists). I am excited to see the movie whenever it comes out.
The Girls – Emma Cline
Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.
I picked up this book shortly after reading about it on Chelsea’s blog. Basically, it is a fiction version of the Charles Manson murders. I’ve always found him fascinating so I thought this would be an interesting book. Unfortunately, I struggled to get through it. I didn’t care for the author’s writing style and honestly, I was bored the entire time. I pushed through it because I wanted to find out what happened to Evie but I probably wouldn’t ever read this again.
All Is Not Forgotten – Wendy Walker
In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut everything seems picture perfect. Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.
As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town – or perhaps lives among them – drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.
Nearly the entire book is written through the psychiatrist’s perspective with snippets of the character’s narrative. Basically, he is telling the story of everything that happened to Jenny, the families, the suspect, and himself. I really enjoyed this book overall despite finding it difficult to follow along with which character he is talking about. I wish they would have elaborated more about the drug they used to erase her memory though as they only briefly mentioned it. I was also pretty pissed at the psychiatrist about halfway through it. Overall, I felt like the author was able to bring the story all together by the end. Also– I saw that this book is being made into a movie which I definitely want to see!
Dark Town – Thomas Mullen
Responding from pressure on high, the Atlanta police department is forced to hire its first black officers in 1948. The newly minted policemen are met with deep hostility by their white peers and their authority is limited: They can’t arrest white suspects; they can’t drive a squad car; they can’t even use the police headquarters and must instead operate out of the basement of a gym.
When a black woman who was last seen in a car driven by a white man turns up fatally beaten, no one seems to care except for Boggs and Smith, two black cops from vastly different backgrounds. Pressured from all sides, they will risk their jobs, the trust the community has put in them, and even their own safety to investigate her death. Their efforts bring them up against an old-school cop, Dunlow, who has long run the neighborhood like his own, and Dunlow’s young partner, Rakestraw, a young progressive who may or may not be willing to make allies across color lines.
This book was a little different from what I normally read. I saw that it had really positive reviews on Goodreads so I decided to give it a shot. I found it to be slow at times with LOTS of different characters, story lines, etc. However, I found that the historical part of it to be very interesting with how the cops were treated compared to their white counterparts.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Any suggestions for what to read next?