While it’s true that I mostly read fiction, I decided to post a few non-fiction reviews.
In her book of essays titled You Must Go and Win, Alina Simone recounts her journey of self-discovery. Born in the former Soviet Union, she came to the U.S. with her parents as a baby. The lure of home and of the past is powerful: In 2001, Simone traveled to Ukraine and Siberia to uncover her roots. The trip was well worth it—she was then able to tie her heritage and her music together. I applaud her for her ability to bring character to her life. Some of Simone’s tales are so hilarious one can’t help but wonder if they are really true! The timeline was difficult to follow. All in all, I admired Simone’s quest for success in the indie music business.
I was utterly blown away by Brianna Karp’s memoir A Girl’s Guide to Homelessness. Even today, America’s homeless are ostracized, and Karp’s heroic account shows the ways in which she was treated not as a person who had slipped into an unlucky situation but as a disease that could be transmitted. No doubt she will raise the public’s awareness of those out there who live in their trailers in Wal-Mart parking lots or who sip their lattes in Starbucks while using the web hoping to find jobs to help propel them out of unemployment. What’s heartbreaking is that many homeless people have jobs, yet the jobs they have simply do not pay enough.
Emma Forrest bares her whole body and soul in Your Voice in My Head, yet it is unclear why she’s not so forthcoming about the true identity of her famous actor boyfriend, who she refers to as her Gypsy Husband (GH)—especially when a quick Google search easily reveals his true identify. Though it is appropriate to applaud Forrest for documenting her mental illness in such a frank manner, her style is too often manic and self-obsessed. This memoir is rough and fragmented, but I could feel Forrest’s pain and heartbreak permeating through the paper. Okay, I’ll tell you: it’s Colin Farrell!