Jungle skirt, panther brooch, and a Swamplandia! book review

Swamplandia! | eyreeffect.comSwamplandia! | eyreeffect.com


Welcome to December’s installment of the BBRBF Book Club! If you want to see past posts, click through here. This month, we read Swamplandia! by Karen Russell. Be sure to keep an eye on Sara, Kathleen, Noelle, and Helene for their reviews. And as always, before we dive in: the synopsis(via the back of the book).

“Thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree has lived her entire life at Swamplandia!, her family’s island home and gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades. But when illness fells Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, the family is plunged into chaos; her father withdraws, her sister falls in love with a spooky character know as the Dredgeman, and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, defects to a rival park called The World of Darkness. As Ava sets out on a mission through the magical swamps to save them all, we are drawn into a lush and bravely imagined debut that takes us to the shimmering edge of reality.” Swamplandia! | eyreeffect.com

Swamplandia! begins as a book full of quirky characters with a promising storyline.

After Hilola Bigtree, the headliner for a gator-wrestling park, dies of cancer (a banal death, Ava thinks, for such a big persona), her family spirals into a sad kind of chaos. Her husband Samuel — referred to as “The Chief” — cannot pull himself together to care for his three children and his aging father, the latter of whom sinks into dementia and is transferred to home care. The park loses its tourists just as it lost its main attraction, and is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Kiwi Bigtree, the oldest and only son, leaves his two sisters to work at a rival theme park titled The World of Darkness so that he might earn enough money to help save his beloved home. With him, he takes the last of his father’s cash, right down to the pennies. So The Chief, hoping to save the one life he knows, leaves his two daughters at Swamplandia to care for themselves so he can act on a series of plans that will save the theme park. In his wake, the elder of the two daughters, Osceola, begins to have stronger and stronger visions of ghosts that inhabit her and fall in love with her. Ava, the younger at the burgeoning age of 13, watches as her sister falls deeper and deeper into her visions. Ava is unsure whether Ossie’s visions are real or whether the ghosts are fallacy.

Swamplandia! | eyreeffect.comSwamplandia! | eyreeffect.com

Eventually, Ossie finds a ghost who becomes so real to her that she elopes with him. She plans to marry him and go to The Underworld, where they will… live happily ever after in death? This part of her plans are not revealed nor does anyone really question what exactly will go on after Ossie succeeds in her elopement with Louis, the ghost from the 1930’s who died dredging the swamps around the theme park.

She tells his story to Ava before leaving, and it is so clear and factual that Ava cannot tell whether her sister is suffering delusions, or whether what her sister experiences is real. Eventually, left alone, Ava decides to go after her sister with the assistance of a stranger who calls himself the Bird Man, and whom arrives at a perfectly opportune time to accompany Ava on her journey to The Underworld.

Swamplandia! | eyreeffect.com

This is the point of the story where the book began to lose me a little bit.

How does this mysterious Bird Man show up at the perfect time to help a pubescent girl run after her sister who has run away to marry a ghost in the underworld? Why does Ava trust him so immediately; this girl who has kept secrets from her own family and doesn’t trust them with the knowledge of her beautiful little red pet alligator?

I desperately wanted the Bird Man to be the man of magic that, in her young and impressionable mind, Ava believes him to be. He never gives up his story nor his real name, and possesses a kind of charismatic aura that holds power over Ava. He is her guide to finding her sister and, though weakly hoped for, her mother in The Underworld. He knows how to navigate the maze of swamplands, to find The Eye that will usher them into the shallows of Hell, to tell the difference between the living and the dead once they’ve arrived.

Everything in me wanted the author to go there. To confirm that Ossie really communed with ghosts, to paint the larger picture around this mysterious Bird Man who knew the way to The Underworld, to open up a shimmering darkness of magic in this quirky yet mundane life of Ava Bigtree. Swamplandia! | eyreeffect.com

But, disappointingly, she did not come through.

In the end, Osceola was just a sixteen year old whose mind was not all there. In the end, Kiwi Bigtree could not save the swamp with his traitorous move of working at The World of Darkness. In the end, the Chief’s big plan to save Swamplandia! ended up being nothing better than working at a seedy casino as a beauty pageant host for women past their prime. And in the end, the Bird Man was nothing more than a predator who had somehow caught wind of the fact that a young and trusting girl was alone in the world, and pounced at the right time to squander her away in the swamps and take advantage of her youth and innocence for his own twisted pleasure.

There was no Underworld, no Ghost Elopement, no Triumphant Saving Of The Park. Just a little girl raped in the swamps and fighting through the elements to save herself after a failed mission to save her delusional sister.   Swamplandia! | eyreeffect.comSwamplandia! | eyreeffect.com

And sure, in the end the family somehow finds themselves back together and realizing they cannot do anything without each other, but I was disappointed.

Because I wanted something to redeem this book. It has the kind of quirky narration that must be capitalized; the Quirky Characters that are all unique and special snowflakes; the Quirky Storyline that throws everything improbable into itself coupled with the Quirky Language that is adopted by so many tales of young impressionables coming into their own awareness of how the world works. There’s a dirty grit in Kiwi’s side of the story, as he works amongst people who only care about getting high and getting drunk and getting laid. Who have affairs, who take advantage of those below them, who don’t give a crap about humans on any level other than “what can this person do for me?”

And, to be frank, I dislike this type of book immensely. It is so devoid of any hope or happiness that even its eloquence and Quirkiness cannot dredge it up from that feeling of sadness in the end. Swamplandia! | eyreeffect.comSwamplandia! | eyreeffect.com

When I finished, I just felt sad.

It’s a story about people taking advantage of people. Ava is taken advantage of by the Bird Man; Ossie is taken advantage of by ghosts; Kiwi is taken advantage of by the rival park; the Chief is taken advantage of by his own child and the ways of the world. At one point, Kiwi has a run-in with his dementia-stricken grandfather and they nearly kill each other.

While I do believe the underlying message of the book is that family needs to stick together, as evidenced by the last chapter, it was overall a book full of disappointments for the cast of characters, all of whom go through their various trials to learn that the world is not a fairytale but a big bad place full of untrustworthy people (and ghosts), and disappointment for me as a reader because none of the promises of and hopes for the plot came through.Swamplandia! | eyreeffect.comSwamplandia! | eyreeffect.com

It was the type of book that I always hope will have a big finish. Those of you who do not enjoy fairytales and who like to read books that are riddled with the grime of lowlife reality might enjoy this book for its hyper-reality in the dirt of Loomis and the sweat of the swamps. It was well written in that respect, and I appreciated the language of the author even in her over-saturation of quirk.

But it wasn’t a book for me. I prefer stories with a touch of magic in them, a sense of hope in the end, or an all-out fairytale ending.Swamplandia! | eyreeffect.comSwamplandia! | eyreeffect.com

Did you read Swamplandia!? What did you think?

As for my outfit, I though this skirt that looked like a jungle would be apt. In its leaves are hidden an exotic cat, and it reminds me of the gators that Ava sees hidden everywhere in her beloved swamps. I wanted my outfit to have a little bit of exotic wildness too it, just like Swamplandia!’s promise of exotic shows with Hilola’s brave headliner acts. And, of course, green, for the gators and for the holiday season.

I hope you enjoyed this book review (and if you didn’t, I apologize! I didn’t much enjoy writing it as I had higher hopes for this novel!) and don’t forget to visit my fellow bloggers for their reviews. Join us next month as we read Stardust by Niel Gaiman (as chosen by me! I’m very excited for this one!)

Skirt, top, belt, and fur: all vintage and thrifted | brooch, gift/vintage | boots, Amazon | hairpiece, gift | earrings, vintage/gift

Swamplandia! | eyreeffect.com








The BBRBF Book Club: Frankenstein

Frankenstein | eyreeffect.comFrankenstein | eyreeffect.com

Frankenstein (or, The Modern Prometheus)

This month, for the BBRBF Book Club, we decided to go with a creepy classic. Don’t forget to check out Helene, Sara, Katherine, and Noelle‘s blogs for their reviews, and join us next month when we read Not Working by Lisa Owens.

I won’t bother with a synopsis this month, as I am sure nearly everyone at least knows what Frankenstein’s Monster is! Before I get into my review — if it really will be a review, as I have a hard time reviewing classics — I’ll explain my outfit.

When I first heard the group decision to read Frankenstein, I had grand ideas of myself playing Frankenstein’s Monster, and my husband playing Frankenstein. I wanted to do a whole scene of me coming to life, my husband portraying Frankenstein’s awe and then fear, the whole shebang. But as life goes, I didn’t realize that October was passing quite so fast as it did. Last week came upon me far too swiftly, I was sick for an entire week, it rained for an entire week, and suddenly it was Monday and we had to shoot something now.

So instead of playing part in my tableau, my husband manned behind the scenes and ran a fog machine and the camera instead, to give my photos that extra eerie quality I wanted.

Frankenstein | eyreeffect.com However, we only had a short hour or less to capture photos, as it was after my husband got off work, and we had an hour of light left.

So, while it may look like I’m portraying the Bride of Frankenstein, I was, in twenty minutes time, attempting to achieve a sort of… Pinup Monster mashup. Which sounds absolutely ridiculous, but I think I achieved it in a rudely fashioned sort of way. I combined the Monster’s trademark scarred forehead with the Bride’s striking white streak of hair with a patchwork cheek to symbolize the Monster’s own patchwork body. And here we are!  Frankenstein | eyreeffect.com

And the outfit is, as you can see, inspired by a dark pinup. I added my new Orchard Corset underneath to give myself a bit more structure, and decided that instead of adding a scarf to my hair as per usual, I would wear a scarf around my neck. Perhaps this pinup Monster is hiding the scar that binds her head to her body.

Frankenstein | eyreeffect.comFrankenstein | eyreeffect.com

As for my review, well.

I adore classic books for one reason: the language. The prose of older novels is so elegant, so beautiful; every word truly provokes thought (and, quite often, usage of my online dictionary for a definition) and creates rich scenery. I was slightly put off by how much backstory there is of Frankenstein’s parents and adopted sister, and how the book begins with a completely unrelated character.

It’s a common theme that I have noticed; Dracula is told through the eyes of various other characters, and I feel as though I’ve read several other classics whose tales begin with someone narrating the story as told to them by the main character. You can feel the difference in communication at the time. Letter writing was how you kept in touch with your loved ones, therefore letter writing plays a large part in so many plot points or storytelling ways.

Frankenstein | eyreeffect.com

Sara covered it adequately when she mentioned that things happen quite suddenly. Suddenly, Frankenstein made a monster. Suddenly, it’s alive. It runs away and somehow in the span of a year learns English and how people live. Of course the entire premise of the book is a bit ridiculous, but I find that to be the beauty of it.  It was an era when the fantastic could be believable; when fairytales were a possibility, when belief was not shot down by scientific reason.

I’ll be honest: I miss the days before the masses were so focused on getting realism. Before stories had to be absolutely scientifically accurate. Before movies had to be so gritty and anchored in what could really happen. I am a big fan of 80’s era movies and TV shows for that very reason: ET and Indiana Jones and The Goonies and MacGyver weren’t ridiculous, they were transportational. People weren’t worried about how unrealistic it was for a bunch of kids to discover a pirate ship on the Oregon coast, or how horrible of an archaeologist Jones was, or how ridiculous it was for three kids to hide an alien in their bedroom. Or how it really wasn’t possible to disarm a bomb with a paper clip.  Frankenstein | eyreeffect.com

Or, how absolutely unreal it was for a scientist to bring a body to life and then have that monster become intelligent to the max all by himself.

While the story might have some plot points that need explaining and overall the unrealistic methods could use some updating, what I love about classic novels is the language. The richness and the time that the authors take to thoroughly portray the background of the characters and the surroundings and the beauty of their time… I’m always blown away by that. I could get lost solely in the prose and the archaic terms. And that is why I will forever love Frankenstein.

Skirt and belt, vintage/thrifted | top, Amazon | corset, c/o Orchard Corsets | shoes, Amazon | Brooch, Circa AD

Frankenstein | eyreeffect.comFrankenstein | eyreeffect.comFrankenstein | eyreeffect.com






We Are Pirates | The BBRBF Book Club

We Are Pirates | eyreeffect.comWe Are Pirates | eyreeffect.com

Much like my day, this book was a disaster.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. In this sixth (?) installation of the BBRBF book club, don’t forget to read the reviews of Sara, Noelle, Lyndsey, Helene, and Katherine! Helene chose this month, although she had also suggested The Girl On the Train, but due to my library not having that in stock, We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler was on the board.

We Are Pirates | eyreeffect.com

As always, the synopsis, via Goodreads:

“A boat has gone missing. Goods have been stolen. There is blood in the water. It is the twenty-first century and a crew of pirates is terrorizing the San Francisco Bay.

Phil is a husband, a father, a struggling radio producer and the owner of a large condo with a view of the water. But he’d like to be a rebel and a fortune hunter.

Gwen is his daughter. She’s fourteen. She’s a student, a swimmer and a best friend. But she’d like to be an adventurer and an outlaw.

Phil teams up with his young, attractive assistant. They head for the open road, attending a conference to seal a deal.

Gwen teams up with a new, fierce friend and some restless souls. They head for the open sea, stealing a boat to hunt for treasure.

We Are Pirates! is a novel about our desperate searches for happiness and freedom, about our wild journeys beyond the boundaries of our ordinary lives.

Also, it’s about a teenage girl who pulls together a ragtag crew to commit mayhem in the San Francisco Bay, while her hapless father tries to get her home.”

We Are Pirates | eyreeffect.comWe Are Pirates | eyreeffect.com

I very much wanted to like this book. I desperately wanted to like this book.

The title seems clever, the premise is interesting, and it’s the same man who wrote as Lemony Snicket, which I love! And at first, it seemed that I would like it. Handler’s writing is dark and witty, two things I am usually drawn to. But the storyline… well. There is a sense of dirtiness to this book that makes it read like a teenage boy desperately trying to seem adult. As if Handler came away from writing A Series of Unfortunate Events and decided to force himself into the adult genre with references to naughty body parts and dirty secrets and blood. We Are Pirates | eyreeffect.comWe Are Pirates | eyreeffect.com And the more I read, the more I didn’t want to read.

Friends, reading a book that just makes me not want to read is a bad sign indeed. The grungy feel of the book intensified the further along it got, and once Gwen a fourteen year old girl accompanied by her teenage best friend, a shanghaied boy from her school, a senile old man, and a tired nurse from a nursing home actually steal a boat to terrorize the bay and then kill some people, it lost me entirely. Just read that sentence a few times and let it sink in. We Are Pirates | eyreeffect.com

On the other side of things is Phil Needle, Gwen’s dad, a man struggling to find his breakthrough in the industry, who takes a road trip with his assistant – whom he fantasizes about – and comes upon all sorts of mishaps as he tries to grasp at the strings of success. His story I could almost have gone along with, had he not been so… boring.

For someone who writes so wittily, Handler’s entire book just doesn’t happen. His prose is quite good. His storytelling? It’s a mess.

We Are Pirates | eyreeffect.com

This review almost didn’t happen.

After not enjoying the book, I found myself stumped for an outfit for two weeks. I wracked my brain for the perfect accompaniment to the cover, and found myself lacking. It wasn’t until last night that I finally settled on this skirt and top.

But then today, as life would have it: my kids had a rough two hours during which I spent 1.5 hours calming them alternatively, and only 30 minutes actually present at Bible Study. And then Asa removed his poopy diaper and sat on some things. And then a very large spider landed on my camera as I was shooting. And then Evie’s teething got worse and to top it all off  Lightroom updated and gives me a funky blue space in place of photo previews.

It is really a miracle that these photos came about at all. Thankfully, I have a preset that I can fall back on for sunlit photos, and I was able to just apply the preset, export the photos, and hope for the best.

We Are Pirates | eyreeffect.com

It’s fitting then that this post, and this book, were just a mess.

Instead of feeling entertained by witty writing that should have had me intrigued and inspired, I was bored and felt like nothing happened. They stole a boat, killed some people, she ran away, he had an affair, the grandpa is senile… and yet I could not force myself to be captivated.

And the storyline was a huge mess of not quite knowing how events and people were connected. I didn’t even realize that part of it was a flash forward until I read the other reviews and someone mentioned it. It was so discombobulated and attempting-to-add-plot-twists-all-the-time that I just got lost and tired of the story halfway through. We Are Pirates | eyreeffect.com At least I can say that I had one success today in getting dressed, yes?

When I started the day I thought I would have nothing to talk about in this post, yet here we are and I’ve written an entire review without trying. If you can call this a review, that is. It pains me to give such a bad review to an author that I loved so much for his other books, but such is life. You win some, you lose some. I feel bad as well to be so scathing towards a book that one of our wonderful BBRBF Book Club members chose, but she knows it’s not her fault the book was so bad!We Are Pirates | eyreeffect.comWe Are Pirates | eyreeffect.com

Perhaps the one good thing about this entire day, this post, and this book, was that I persisted and succeeded in putting together a post and a review and even a video. Things that, when I woke up, I did not think would happen.

Have you read We Are Pirates? What did you think?

Join us next month when we read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein! I can guarantee I’ll be posting something super fun and a little different than usual, it being October and all!

Skirt, thrifted | top, Amazon | Shoes, Amazon | headscarf and necklace, vintage

We Are Pirates | eyreeffect.com

We Are Pirates | eyreeffect.com


Fangirl: The BBRBF Book Club | outfit

Fangirl review and a Grace Karin Dress | eyreeffect.com


Welcome to another installment of the BBRBF Book Club! This month, we read Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl,  which in my opinion needed a girly, sweet outfit to go with it. Lucky for me, this gorgeous Grace Karin dress arrived just in time!

Don’t forget to check out Sara, Lyndsey, and Noelle as my fellow BBRBF members, and welcome Helene and Katherine as our two newest members!

Fangirl review and a Grace Karin Dress | eyreeffect.comAs always, here’s the synopsis via Goodreads:

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?” Fangirl review and a Grace Karin Dress | eyreeffect.comFangirl review and a Grace Karin Dress | eyreeffect.com I will start this out by saying I am not a big fan of YA novels. I get a bit tired of the problems and love stories and crushes in YA fiction, because when I was a teen and college-age girl, I didn’t act the way most YA heroines act. I was an old soul in most ways, less interested in boys and more interested in writing.

So in that way, I could connect with Cath. I appreciated that she was actually a sensible young woman, for once. I appreciated that her eventual love interest was not just the run-of-the-mill “he’s a really hot guy who broods.” Fangirl review and a Grace Karin Dress | eyreeffect.com But there is an overall tone with YA novels that just doesn’t appeal to me, so I had a hard time reading Fangirl. I skipped the insertion of Simon and Baz’s storyline completely. It didn’t interest me to learn more about the book within the book, and in my opinion the story would have been just fine without the excerpts from Cath’s fanfiction writing and the fictional author Gemma T. Leslie’s books about Simon and Baz. They didn’t really relate to the story for me, and were frivolous additions that I wish would have been cut out.

As well, I was a little annoyed that the Simon world seemed to be based loosely on Harry Potter and the whole book was loosely based on Harry Potter fans.

The relationship between Cath and Levi, though, was heartwarming and unexpected. I loved the way it built up, and I loved the way they worked together, and I enjoyed how they worked together as a couple. Perhaps because they remind me a bit of myself and my husband in some ways. She a writer, he always trying to make everyone happy and making everyone feel loved. She a bit lost in her internet world, he always bringing her back to earth. Fangirl review and a Grace Karin Dress | eyreeffect.com

I wish I had more to say about the book, but YA fiction is just not my thing. I love Rainbow Rowell and Landline sits on my mantle as one of my favorite books, and I look forward to reading more of her novels. But perhaps not any others that are meant for a younger audience. Fangirl review and a Grace Karin Dress | eyreeffect.comFangirl review and a Grace Karin Dress | eyreeffect.com

But can we talk about this Grace Karin dress?

Evie will be turning one in September, and I want to do a photoshoot with her. So I ordered a dress from Le Bomb Shop, thinking that it would match a dress I got for her perfectly, and it wasn’t until after I had ordered that I realized the dress I ordered was a junior’s cut. Their junior’s cuts are slimmer through the waist and bust, and have seaming beneath the chest that make the bodice sit higher. When I tried it on, it did not fit me correctly. Either the seams hit about two inches above where my breast naturally falls, or things were just busting out the top.

Sadly, I started a process to return it, and then realized that not only do you have to pay return shipping, but they also charge a $6 restocking fee. After unsuccessfully listing it on a BST page, I shipped it back to Le Bomb Shop and I’ll end up ten dollars short of what I paid.  Fangirl review and a Grace Karin Dress | eyreeffect.comLuckily, a girl in the BST group suggested this brand of dresses from Amazon. She owns another style from the same shop, and she loved the quality and fit. Since Amazon offers free returns, I quickly placed an order for this. It is perfect. It was a full $20 less than the Le Bomb Shop dress, plus the fit is absolutely spot on, and the quality is better. Le Bomb Shop dresses have good quality, but I found the one I ordered to be a bit too flimsy for my preferences and what I had paid.Fangirl review and a Grace Karin Dress | eyreeffect.com

I am so happy with this dress, and in the future I will definitely be grabbing a few more colors from this line!

And yesterday proved to be my lucky day, as I also found not only these beautiful unworn, tags-still-attached flats for $5, but a shoe rack that was half off!

Fangirl review and a Grace Karin Dress | eyreeffect.com Fangirl review and a Grace Karin Dress | eyreeffect.com

Have you read Fangirl? What did you think? I would recommend it if you are a YA fan; it was well written and the characters were all multifaceted and had endearing flaws. However, if you are not into YA, I would recommend checking out Landline or another of Rowell’s adult fiction books instead!

And if you’re looking for really great quality and affordable dresses, definitely check out the Grace Karin line on Amazon! I’ve got my eye on this lemon print next.

Happy Thursday!
Dress, Grace Karin on Amazon | shoes, thrifted (similar here) | flowers, thrifted | belt, thrifted Fangirl review and a Grace Karin Dress | eyreeffect.com



What Alice Forgot | The BBRBF Book Club + Outfit

What Alice Forgot | www.eccentricowl.comWhat Alice Forgot | www.eccentricowl.com Well, this book review is SUPER late in the day because it’s been a long crazy week and we have a million things to do this weekend and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. But Sara and Noelle and I are reviewing What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty this month, so on I go! As always, don’t forget to check Sara’s blog and Noelle’s blog for their reviews and outfits! We all had different covers this time, which makes it super interesting.

Side note, I will be making a BBRBF Book Club book review newsletter if you want to sign up for it, so keep your eye out for that! It will have news about future books, links to our past reviews, and who knows what else.

As always, here’s the summary via the back of the book:

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine her surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (She hates the gym!) and is whisked off to the hospital to find out the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually thirty-nine years old. Now Alice must reconstruct a lost decade — and try to reconstruct her life at the same time. Ultimately, she must discover if forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and if it’s possible to start over…

What Alice Forgot | www.eccentricowl.com

Somehow this novel was not quite what I expected, but not in a bad way. Most of the book is Alice trying to remember her life. She has a bad fall at the gym, and the concussion whisks away her memory of the last ten years, years in which her children were born, her life began to change, she and her husband separated, and events took place which seemed to drive a rift between her and the love of her life forever. And everything revolves around the mysterious Gina.

I wasn’t expecting to spend half the book in Alice’s head just trying to place people and waiting to meet Nick, her husband, who was once the center of her life and now despises her. As she speaks to more and more people in her life — her mother, her sister, her friends — she realizes that she somehow has changed from a young, sweet, slightly pudgy, unassuming girl into an in-charge, bossy, skinny, and sometimes hated woman. But she doesn’t know how. She is shocked to find that many people fear or hate her, that her once lovely husband can barely stand the sight of her, that her sister — with whom she had an amazing close relationship — barely shares anything of her life any more, and that all of the friends she has are women she can barely stand. And she has become one of them. What Alice Forgot | www.eccentricowl.comWhat Alice Forgot | www.eccentricowl.com As the book goes on and Alice works to remember what happened, what drove Nick away or her away, who her children are, how she and her sister drifted apart, and why she’s changed from her former silly and lovable self into a hard, cold person, the tragedy of it all really struck me. I loved how the author drew her ever nearer and nearer to understanding why she had become the person she had become; at first, it seems improbable that Alice of 1998 would ever become the Alice of 2008. She was too happy, too frivolous, too full of life and love and wonder for the world. The Alice of 2008 is bitter and harsh, angry, obsessive, and sometimes hateful. But as she remembers, it begins to make sense. I admired the reality that Moriarty injected into the story, how each thing that changed Alice was not some huge ridiculous event, but the little things. Her husband becoming too involved with work. Making a friend who changed her interests. Becoming obsessed with thinness. Falling in love with the feeling of control over her once chaotic — but lovely — life.

What Alice Forgot | www.eccentricowl.comWhat Alice Forgot | www.eccentricowl.com I enjoyed reading What Alice Forgot, but I also enjoyed that it was over quickly. The way it’s written is very intense, and also very akin to several other stories I’ve read in the voice the author uses. It feels very familiar, which was something I didn’t like, but it also reads very well. By the end, I felt emotionally drained — though I don’t know if that was the book, or this week — and satisfied by a good story. What Alice Forgot | www.eccentricowl.com

Entire outfit, thrifted or vintage

I don’t think What Alice Forgot is necessarily my type of story. It’s a great story, and it’s interesting and well written, but it was a little too real for me. I enjoy the fairytale types more; I want to escape life rather than feel like this could be my life one day (not in the literal sense, but you know what I mean.) I would recommend it if you enjoy reality type stories; you will be riveted. But if you’re like me, you might get a little too emotional over all of the “what if’s” presented. What if your life goes this way?

Yeah. I don’t like that feeling, and it’s a credit to the author that I’m glad the story is over — it was too real and raw for me!

I’m sorry if this month’s review sounds a bit rushed; obviously I am posting super late, and this week has been insane, and I’ve been feeling a bit down lately. I’m hoping this weekend — weddings and camping — will help a bit!

Did you read What Alice Forgot? What did you think?

Happy Thursday!


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