In a Dark Dark Wood: A Book Review

At the beginning of the year, I curated a Slanted Spines reading list for 2020, designating a book for each month. The June pick is In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, and this is my book review!

In a Dark Dark Wood is a story about a young woman named Nora who attends a bachelorette party in a cabin in—you guessed it!—a dark, dark wood. However, the bachelorette party is for her ex-best friend Clare, who she hasn’t spoken to in ten years. Unsure why she was invited because she wasn’t invited to the actual wedding, yet curious all the same, Nora accepts the invite. But during the weekend, various bizarre conversations and events occur, and if I say much more, it may ruin the suspense of reading the book! This is Ruth Ware’s debut novel, and she’s gone on to write many other thrillers such as The Turn of the Key and The Death of Mrs. Westaway.

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Life of Trees: A Book Review of The Overstory

Have you ever read a book that speaks directly to the essence of your soul? A book that rips you apart and leaves you wondering how you can continue on with your life in the same way?

The Overstory by Richard Powers did that to me. Maybe it was the peculiar timing of the book in my life, or maybe it was destined, but this novel both wounded and healed me, and perhaps redirected my entire future.

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The Night Watchman: A Book Review

Note: This book review contains plot spoilers, but I will denote **SPOILERS** for any section containing secret plot info!

For the month of May, the Slanted Spines Book List reading is The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich, which is about a handful of characters who live within a Native American reservation in North Dakota in the early 1950’s. In this story, Thomas, one of the main characters, receives word of a new bill that would terminate their reservation and effectively ruin an entire Chippewa community’s lives. Many of the residents are poor as it is, but the government—and one senator in particular—is determined to seize their land. While also working a job as a night watchman, Thomas goes to work writing letters and organizing the community in hopes that they can put a stop to this bill.

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Carrie Pilby: A Book Review

This book review is intended for readers who have already read Carrie Pilby or for people who haven’t read Carrie Pilby but would rather just read my book review about it! Which is all to say that there are spoilers ahead!

Carrie Pilby, by Caren Lissner, is a novel about a 19-year-old young woman living in New York City. Having skipped three grades and graduated Harvard at age eighteen, she is now a lonely genius living by herself, as afforded by her father who works abroad; although she is financially well-off and intellectually gifted, Carrie has no friends and a slew of self-imposed morally rigid rules. In an attempt to improve her social capabilities, her therapist Dr. Petrov gives Carrie a list of five things to do, including go on a date and celebrate New Year’s Eve. Throughout the novel, Carrie acquires a few strange friends from her part-time legal proofreading job, and another few from local spots. Ultimately, Carrie begins to realize her own hypocrisies as life reveals its complexities, moral ambiguities, and hidden pleasures.

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Recent Reads: Four Brief Book Reviews

Are you searching for the next book to read? Looking to read about something different? This week, I’ve written brief book reviews about my four latest reads! Keep reading to discover something new:

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An American Marriage: A Book Review

This book review contains plot details and spoilers from An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. It is intended for readers who have already read this book. You have been warned!!

The Slanted Spines 2020 Booklist reading for March was An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, a 2018 selection for Oprah’s Book Club. In this novel, Celestial and Roy are living out their childhood dreams of success. They’ve been married for just a year when a Roy is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, and due to a faulty justice system, he spends five years in prison despite his innocence. However, during Roy’s absence from free life, Celestial forms a relationship with their mutual friend, Andre. When Roy is finally released, Roy, Celestial, and Andre find themselves in a complicated love triangle. What is love, and to whom do we owe what?

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Everything I Never Told You: A Book Review

This book review is intended for readers who have already finished Everything I Never Told You! My analysis contains several spoilers.

The Slanted Spines February book was Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng! In this haunting portrait of the Lee family, Ng illustrates a web of complicated relationships and unspoken emotional turmoil between the five members of a Chinese American household in smalltown Ohio during the 1970’s. Everything I Never Told You is a novel that begins with the death of Marilyn and James’ middle (and favorite) child Lydia, and as her mom and older brother Nath swear to discover the root of her senseless death—her body having been discovered in the nearby lake—and as her dad and younger sister Hannah struggle to cope with her absence, a myriad of secrets within her family are unveiled.

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Where the Crawdads Sing: A Book Review

Note: This book review is intended for readers who have already read Where the Crawdads Sing, and so this contains several significant spoilers!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is a delectable debut novel written by a woman who has a BS in Zoology, a PhD in Animal Behavior, and has spent time as a wildlife scientist in Africa. Currently she lives in North Carolina, where this book takes place.

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