Book Review: Such a Fun Age

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Title: Such a Fun Age

Author: Kiley Reid

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Adult Fiction

Pages: 301 pages

Level of difficulty: 3/5 Dictionaries

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Brief Introduction:

Emira is a twenty-five year old who isn’t sure of what she wants to do in life nor is she fond of the fact that she is depending on babysitting to pay her bills. Nevertheless, she loves spending time with Briar, the four year white girl who she babysits. Unfortunately, an emergency babysitting session one night in a nearby grocery store leads to questioning by a security guard and a kidnapping accusation. This incident leads to a chain of events that has Emira questioning what used to be.

Favourite Quote:

N/A

Review:

Such a Fun Age is a beautiful piece of work that accurately portrays how racism creeps into the everyday lives of Black women in the United States in direct, indirect and unknowing manners. It also touches on themes such as purpose and belonging. It is a short yet gripping read, I highly recommend it!

Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 389

Level of difficulty: 3/5 Dictionaries

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Brief Introduction:

Evelyn Hugo, is a big time Hollywood actress who has not been in the spotlight for a long time. Now that she is older, she is about to do a tell-all (especially about her 7 marriages) alongside an auction of 7 of her most famous gowns to charity. However, she has chosen an unknown journalist Monique Grant to do the interview.

Favourite Quote:

“When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give things, you take things.”

Pg. 41

Review:

Why this journalist? Why did she get married 7 times? Did she love all her husbands? These are all the burning questions that push readers to pick up the book. The author does a good job of explaining the dynamics between Hugo and her husband: why she felt compelled to get married and how the marriages came to their end. Yet at the same time, while we are learning all of these and trying to understand the complex individual that Hugo is, the author ignites our curiosity on why Monique Grant is the reporter for the interview. Furthermore, there were many interesting twists and turns in the book (even though I was able to guess most of them).

child

it’s saddening to see that
time and time again
females fall victim to modelling the standards
and behaviours that society has foolishly inked
as necessary to find a male partner
of which
does nothing but slowly burn a hole in their souls
and feed toxic masculinity

Waterfront Station

The fact that you were late
and the way you dressed were a disappointment

I didn’t want you to hold my hand at all
The idea made me feel an uneasiness like never before
Your hands brushing against mine
Caused me to put my hand in my pocket the whole time

My innocent demeanour made you call yourself a ‘rebel’ but your attempt to impress cracked your act
Your insecurity was like a giant shadow that towered you
Your inability to talk about yourself removed the maturity from your years
Your questions were bullets I used my laughter to dodge

The fact that you had no plan made me want to cry
The accent you tried to pull off made me want to turn back around
The constant attack at yourself and your values made me feel sorry for you
The mere thought back to the moment makes me sick in the stomach and I wonder if I shall ever laugh at the experience

However, this was a two player game
I wonder if you saw a reflection of yourself in me
I wonder if your awkward attempt at saying hi when our eyes locked was a reflection of your disappointment
I wonder if you heard the frustration in my voice and shot questions as a shield
I wonder if you mistook my laughter as encouragement

I can’t lie and say I don’t feel guilty
There is a little part of me that feels bad for giving you hope, but
There is a bigger part of me that knows you can’t see the full picture of a jigsaw puzzle by just picking up two of its pieces

Mist

I’m on the bus now wondering to myself who I could call if I have an emotional breakdown this very moment

One name comes to mind, but I don’t know what to say

I don’t know if she shall deal with my fragile state with the same amount of care i would hers or anybody else’s

I know that she wouldn’t know what words to say, when to say them and thus I shall have to do the bandaging myself, only to have her watching at the corner

I hate being vulnerable, I know that very well,
and maybe it is because I have learnt that when you put expectations on people, they always disappoint,
so I have learnt to compress my emotions like recycled can drinks before they become new soft drinks

And I know very well, that I have been lucky that there hasn’t been an eruption right deep in my being, however my luck is running out

I begin to see it crystal clear, I have allowed people to treat me as their emotional garbage

Always there to hear their problems, to sit with them to find solutions, yet always tossed to the side when life is going great for them

And my ice cube justification better me than people who shall hurt them is slowly but surely turning into mist

Every point in my life, I relearn the lesson, you only have yourself at the end of the day

Times Like These

Today,
for the first time in 3 years,
I feel the breeze in my hair;
on my scalp,
freedom reaching into my soul.

It is times like these that you wonder
why you could not feel hope under the rubble
why you could not feel empowered after a heartbreak.

It is times like these that you wonder
what exactly makes life so hard
what makes your bone crack like grounded cocoa, bitter sweet.

Deeper Than A Lifetime

In response to “The Knife” by Keith Douglas

Keith Douglas describes his poems as “extrospective” meaning that they are focused on external impressions rather than inner emotions. I believe, “The Knife” does not fall into that category and thus intrigues me the most out of all his poems. I would describe “The Knife” as a love poem; a love poem written in the midst of war at the point where dead was most evident. Hence, I believe it is one of the most sincere love poems that could be written. Although it is a love poem, its title is a word associated with danger, hurt and death for which I believe the poem was written for Ying Cheng. Ying Cheng also known as Betty Sze was an elegant Chinese lady who dated Keith during his university days. Unfortunately, her love for Keith was not as deep as his and thus the refusal of his proposal which lead to her being the unrequited love in Keith’s life. “Deeper than a Lifetime” aims to give Keith a second chance at a love that seemed so pure, to tell Betty all the things he wished he did and how differently he would have done things.

 

Dear Betty,

To turn back time and make my choices again,

I wish I could say that I would do everything exactly the same,

But unrequited love is only less painful when compared to once-requited love.

I wouldn’t have loved you as hard.

I wouldn’t have dived into the deep end of the pool just like that.

I would have tried much harder, with more suave to make you fall at your knees for me and my love.

I would have made you shed the sophisticated coat you wore whenever you met me,

The one I knew you wore to mask your true form.

I would not have hid the romantic that I was.

I would not have pretended not to be the simple guy who just wanted you to love him, who took this to be more than just a fling.

I would have took you to feel the breeze in your hair more often, and to take long walks in the parks arm in arm, so that you understood the small yet important things in life.

I would have brought you to rooftops to watch the sunsets and sunrises that although were beautiful, weren’t as beautiful as you.

I would have brought you to water bodies to swim so that you could wash away all the uncertainties that you carried on your shoulders, so that you stopped calculating every move before you made them.

I would have ensured that you knew that time stopped when I looked at you, when I was with you.

I would have made sure that my ‘I love you’  s were loud and seductive, but could only be heard in the wind as your long black waterfalls danced to its melody.

I would have made sure you thought of me every day without fail, the same way that not thinking of you each day felt like a bad day.

I would have made sure you understood that such selfless, aching love only came once in a lifetime, to make you more courageous to follow the tune of your beating heart.

I would have made sure that you cried when I had gone to the army, that you sent letters – a short remedy, and a reminder that you hadn’t forgotten me.

I would have made sure that the next time I saw you, would be as I, with you boldly held in my arms.

I would have made sure that I hadn’t die in a war when I had much more I wanted to say to you, to scream at you, to show you as Keith Douglas.

Don’t say that I am full of regret, because I am not.

It would be easier to forget you entirely,

But I guess I can’t.

My love for you runs deeper than just a lifetime, and I can’t

Say goodbye until I have achieved what I truly believe is

Worth living for.

Heartbreaks

She broke up with him today.

I’ve never seen her so distraught,
So vulnerable like ever before today.
For the very first time, her stubbornness had dissolved into water droplets.

It’s been said time and again
that love is a complicated thing.
There is a certain amount of courage, almost foolishness that makes you put your heart on your sleeves, each time.
Yet, almost like an addiction, I see them throw themselves at the risk.
Repeating the process that has now come to be normal with growing up – heartbreaks.

The thrill of a companion is what drives them most times.
I wish it wasn’t.
It’s a downhill fall if the solution to the hole within was to fill it with the sweet words of a companion.
For why would teeth be plucked out from excessive intake of sugar?

As ladies of a new generation,
I wish we wouldn’t be so vulnerable to societal norms.
I wish we would learn to see that self-worth is the best filling.
I wish we would learn to throw away the items society has thrown in our face to hide our flaws.
I wish we would learn to be comfortable in our own skin.
I wish we would learn to eat and dress for ourselves.
I wish we would learn to never be afraid to let out the warriors in us.
I wish we would learn to see how much more we could be,
if the strength came from within.