Review: The Vegetarian

Title: The Vegetarian

Author: Han Kang

Publisher: Hogarth Press

Publication Date: February 02, 2016

Genre: Literary Fiction

Rating: 4.5 Stars

The Vegetarian by Han Kang is a “kafkaesque”story of one woman’s ordinary life and how the onset of her mental illness leads to her becoming a societal outcast. It is a cerebral work of literary fiction that explores one woman’s suffering from the perspective of those that watch her suffer, sympathize with her, but who fail to understand her.

Yeong-hye and her husband were a very basic, middle class couple who expected nothing of the world but the bare necessities. Neither had hopes, nor dreams of achieving the unreachable. This was all before the nightmare: the bizarre, twisted dream that would change Yeong-hye’s life. The nightmare is dark, but splitting; mysterious, yet intriguing. We, nor the characters ever find out what the dream actually is. All we know is that it  leads to Yeong-hye cutting animal products from her diet. What follows is a horrific chain of events that manifests itself into a plague driven by eroticism, emotional and physical abuse, and self-starvation.

Yeong-hyes new way of life shocks her husband, her family, and all those who come across her decaying body. Desperate for her to snap out of this bizarre new fetish, Yeong-hye’s husband attempts multiple methods to get his wife to eat meat and even goes as far as literally raping her. Her father’s disaproval comes in the form of force feeding meat down her throat, to which Yeong-hye resists by getting a hold a knife and slitting her own wrist. This is the turning point of the novel away from Yeon-hye’s lifestyle being simply a concept of food. It has now grown into an obsessive disorder that damages and kills her inside out as the nightmare continues to invade and feed upon every aspect of her life.

The story is told from the perspective of Yeong-Hye’s husband, up to the point that he divorces her, to which the perspective changes to her sister, In-Hye’s husband. He is a deeply disturbed artist whose strange obsession with Yeong-Hye and her “Mongolian mark” leads to his own form of self-destruction. His artistic vision for Yeong-Hye recreates Yeong-Hye’s body into a work of art, and temporarily becomes a reprieve for Yeong-Hye from her nightmares. With a series of flowers painted over her naked body, she feels protected and stronger. The artwork’s pornographic turn is drastic and compelling. In-Hye’s husband’s part of the novel left me feeling deeply unsettled and conscious, more than ever of my own body, its limits, and the control that I have over it.

I found the last third of the novel to be the most bitter and hearbreaking. It is told in In-Hye’s voice, who, despite the utmost care she has for her sister, still fails to understand and soothe her. In-Hye desperately tries to hold onto Yeong-Hye’s life. She begins having her own form of nightmares, and often finds herself carried years back to her childhood with her sister. She is reminded of all of Yeong-Hye’s quirks and strange tendencies, only then coming to the realization that all of these little things Yeong-Hye had did or said, if they could have been addressed, or prevented, Yeong-Hye may have been saved.

The readers nor the three major characters are ever able to get inside of Yeong-Hye’s mind. All that is certain is that there was a dream and this dream grew into a monster having a life of it’s own, infecting each and every aspect of the lives of Yeong-Hye and those around her. The Vegetarian is doubtlessly an alienating novel that managed to leave a lasting impression on me.

Yours Truly,

(Book image credits go to Goodreads)

 

 

Review: All the Lives We Never Lived

Title: All the Lives We Never Lived

Author: Anuradha Roy

Publisher: MacLehose Press

Publication Date: June 14, 2018

Genre: Adult Fiction

Rating: 4.5 Stars

All the Lives We Never Lived is a stunning achievement of Anuradha Roy, being his fourth novel. It is a beautiful overlapping history that explores love, secrecy and the definition of family. This book, about halfway through began to remind me of Donna Tartt’s, The Goldfinch in the way that the story of a mother who is really only briefly actually present in either of the books is told by their sons, sick with longing ofr their presence and their maternal love.  Continue reading “Review: All the Lives We Never Lived”

ARC Review: The Museum of Us

Title: The Museum of Us

Author: Tara Wilson Redd

Publisher: Random House/Wendy Lamb Books

Expected Publication Date: June 26, 2018

Genre: YA, Mental Illness

Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received an ARC copy of The Museum of Us by Tara Wilson Redd in exchange for an honest review. Thanks goes to NetGalley, as well as Random House/Wendy Lamb Books for this advanced copy which is expected to be released on June 26, 2018.

Dear fellow Babblers,

Sometimes, well, often I find myself sitting at my kitchen table, walking down the street, lying in bed, or riding in an airplane without really being “there.” I slip away from reality for moments on end. I dream about far off places, worlds, and possibilities. I get a sort of idea in my head and just like that I become obsessed with dreaming it to life. A lot of my time is spent in these fantasies that it is very easy for me to lose my grasp of reality. That being said, The Museum of Us by Tara Wilson Redd is a book that instantly speaks to dreamers like me. It is a spell binding story of the dangers of becoming so absorbed in the world of fiction that life outside of it appears almost meaningless by comparison.  Continue reading “ARC Review: The Museum of Us”

Review: Me Before You | And Everything In Between

Title: Me Before You

Author: Jojo Moyes

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Publishing/Viking

Publication Date: December 31, 2012

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Series (Me Before You #1)

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Dear fellow Babblers,

Just bury me with Will please. I am feeling everything I never thought I could feel: heartbroken, in love, confused, hopeful, hopeless – everything is so beautiful and everything hurts. I havee cried tremendous bouts of tears reading this love story, both happy and sad. This book is one you will never forget, taking readers on a journey through a closed off world where pain is so real that death is something to look forward to. Love, not even love sometimes is just not enough. Me Before You, set aside the promise that it will break your heart, will also change your perspective on the little things – walking, eating, the sunshine, taking chances, taking risks, having choices. It calls into question our everyday life and where we choose to go and who we choose to become from this moment.  Continue reading “Review: Me Before You | And Everything In Between”

Review: P.S. I Still Love You | P.S. I Still Love You Lara Jean!

Title: P.S. I Still Love You

Author: Jenny Han

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Series

Rating: 4.5 Stars

 

Dear fellow Babblers,

I love this series. Okay. There. I’ve said it, happy? Any reader out there who has a heart, soul, and ability to cry agrees with me, it has to be a given. I’ve never been a fan of reading series because I always feel compelled to continue through them even if I don’t like the way it’s going. But this? To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a magnificent series and I wasn’t expecting the second to be so charming. It wasn’t as humorous and downright adorable as the first, but it was nonetheless a delight to read and therefore, despite it being released over two years ago, I will still review it. I just really have to commend all the characters, humorous happenings, and fun dialogue that goes on in this book. Everyone needs to know that it is worth the hype and the corny compliments.  Continue reading “Review: P.S. I Still Love You | P.S. I Still Love You Lara Jean!”

ARC Review: The Goblins of Bellwater | A Nuanced Portrayal of Reality and Fantasy

Title: The Goblins of Bellwater

Author: Molly Ringle

Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing

Expected Publication Date: October 1, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 4.5 Stars

 

I received an ARC copy of The Goblins of Bellwater in exchange for an honest review. Thanks goes to NetGalley as well as Central Avenue Publishing for this advanced copy which is expected to be released October 1, 2017.

Dear fellow Babblers,

I’m giving The Goblins of Bellwater by author, Molly Ringle 4.5 stars. But wanna know a fun fact? About 35% through the book I was contemplating putting it down and walking away! But then I said to myself, “well I haven’t written a negative review in quite a while, so I’ll just read on and pick and choose why I don’t like this book and discuss it. But here I am telling y’all that I am rating it 4.5 stars. I am so glad I followed through a finished because this has been one of the greatest realistic fantasy (contradiction? Absolutely not!) titles I have read yet this year! This book is a fusion of realism and fantasy with a twist of romance and mental illness. This book is raw, real and somehow brings to the surface all the spirits and monsters that could be living in our very own world, but we will never be sure of it. Confused? Read on.  Continue reading “ARC Review: The Goblins of Bellwater | A Nuanced Portrayal of Reality and Fantasy”

Review: The Bear and the Nightingale | Fear the Fairytale

Title: The Bear and the Nightingale

Author: Katherine Arden

Publisher: Del Rey Books

Publication Date: January 10, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

 

“But the rip in her blouse was large, her hunger vast, and her patience negligible even under better circumstances.”

Dear fellow Babblers,

The Bear and the Nightingale tells the story of a fairy tale come true. So we expect a beautiful maiden riding out to her castle in the sunset with her prince charming – happily ever after, right? Not in the least bit correct. This novel cradles the dangers that lurk behind old time Russian fairytales. This book is at once suspenseful and surreal. I was carried away by Arden’s lyrical prose from the very first page. Arden shows us the dark hidden secrets behind the folktales we grow up with through a young girls fight both for the peace and harmony of her people, and against the fierce winds of evil lurking around it at midwinter.  Continue reading “Review: The Bear and the Nightingale | Fear the Fairytale”

Review: Sublime Karma

sublime karmaTitle: Sublime Karma

Author: Peyton Garver

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Publication Date: November 30, 2016

Genre: YA, Mental Illness

Rating: 4.5 Stars

 

“Crimson Color
You are falling under
You replace the hurt with pain
No, you’re not insane
You replace the hurt with pain
To rein in your thoughts again
And why you’re all alone
It seems there’s no escape
unless you can find another way
You can lean on me
You are not alone
I’ll be there for you
I’ll help pull you through
There is another way
Open up your eyes and see
I’ll take you there with me”

Dear fellow Babblers,

I was recently sent Sublime Karma by the author, Peyton Garver in exchange for an honest review. If y’all think you have had enough of teenage drams – prissy cheerleaders, narcissistic jocks, mysterious emos – welcome to Sublime Karma. In this novel issues of teenage depression, self-harm, domestic abuse, peer bullying are all brought to the forefront as Garver brings together two distinctly different high schoolers into a romantic and potentially fatal romance. This book has touched my heart, feelings, thoughts in a way that no story – not even Go Ask Alice or our favorite psychological classic, The Bell Jar has ever done before. Continue reading “Review: Sublime Karma”