Thursday, March 5, 2020

Book Reviews- By Women and About Women

As if I planned it (and I assure you I didn't), for the start of Women's History Month, I've got four books by women that are about women/girls! 

The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead is a middle-grade novel about Bea who is navigating life after her parent's divorce. One of the ways she works through this is the lists in her notebook. In these lists, she focuses on that even though her life is changing, there are some aspects that are unchangeable to document. Much of what Bea is navigating is changing relationships. Her dad is getting remarried, and Bea is excited that his fiance Jesse will have a new role in her life and also that he has a daughter. Bea has always wanted a sister. However, as you can imagine, this doesn't go exactly as Bea imagines. Bea also decides she's going to work through some other family situations, and that creates another interesting layer to this one. The piece I most appreciated about this story is Bea has a therapist, Miriam, she regularly sees. I liked the normalization of therapy to navigate changing family dynamics. This was a quick read, yet it also packed so many feels into the pages. Thanks to Wendy Lamb Books for the early look at this April 2020 release.

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates is an absolutely beautiful reflection on the power of women. The book is inspired by the women Melinda has worked with through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and it's so wonderfully done. Rather than explaining her foundation's work, she shows his work through the issues she discusses. Each chapter focuses on a different issue, and with that issue she explains how educating, equipping and improving the lives of women is the key to solving that issue. With this, she also humanizes each issue as she talks about people. There is such power as she describes not just the what is happening, but the who it is happening to, and most importantly why this is happening. As I read, I couldn't stop thinking to myself, "Why aren't we talking about issues in this way more?!" because y'all, this was such an important, powerful and needed (re)focus. I was so inspired by the work Melinda was doing. I also appreciated that she also interspersed her own story in what she was writing. She was honest about her own career, marriage and personal life. She was vulnerable and authentic as she shared about her own growth as a woman. I liked this dimension in that she showed the importance of empowering self, as well as others. This is one I'm still thinking about, and I'm looking forward to discussing it with my online book club next week!

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech was a book I last read a literal quarter century ago. I wanted to re-read it as part of my 2020 Reading Challenge as it's a book I remember being quite popular when I was in sixth grade. First of all, let me just say I do not remember this one being so emotionally intense. That seems to be an ongoing theme when I revisit! Anyway. In case you've never read this one (or you're also a thirtysomething who read this once upon a time and need the refresher), the book focuses on 13 year old Sal. She's road tripping with her grandparents, and as they drive, they ask her to share a story. She decides to focus on her friend Phoebe. However, as she tells Phoebe's story, she's really telling her own story. Also at the core of Sal's story is wanting to find her mother who has gone on her own journey. She's sent Sal postcards along the way, and what Sal wants more than anything is just to know where she is now. The road trip is about revisiting where Sal's mom has been to get answers and hopefully reconnect. Y'all, I did not remember how this one played out, and when that moment came, it hit me in the feels so hard. I can remember now why this book had the buzz I did, and I love when middle grade books acknowledge the emotions that kids can and do feel. 

The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz is a book I've highlighted as a part of a blog tour. I rave all about it HERE!

Onto the next ones!