Though I haven’t been blogging as much, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing the things I normally do, including my get-togethers with the book club ladies. This time around, I decided to do a compilation of the books I’ve been reading this summer (aka my summer book report):
Movie vs Book: Where’d You Go Bernadette
The main storyline of the family planning a vacation trip to Antarctica and Bernadette disappearing to Antarctica early to avoid an intervention was the same. Like many book adaptations, the movie was less detailed in the storyline. But since it is a visual illustration of some of the scenes from the book, I was able to understand what had happened better when the scene of consequence caused by yard work and rain was shown in the movie. And of course the majestic beauty of the icebergs in Antartica were wonderfully captured in the movie too. Bernadette’s disappearance remains a mystery to the reader for a good portion of the novel, whereas in the movie the whole story does unfold in a chronological order with the exception of the opening scene. There’s also a longer time lapse between the events that take place in the novel than in the movie (the story in the novel takes place over the course of months whereas in the movie it’s over a few weeks).
Bottom line: If you want to enjoy uncovering a mystery, then read the book. If you want to enjoy a more straightforward story with the visual aspect of scenery, watch the movie.
Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
This one reminded me very much of the memoir Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance (which we read last year) as the author also beat the odds and decided to go to college (and to very prestigious universities, nonetheless) after never having been to school her whole childhood. But being brought up in a fanatically religious, survivalist household as a woman, there was clearly abuse she had to endure physically and verbally from family and was made to think that she was a “whore” for doing things like performing a dance with a group of girls at their church, while she was also pressured to get married and would have people wondering why she wouldn’t go out with any of the boys from church when asked on dates. That double standard placed on women is not lost even in modern society to a certain degree, of course. Personally, I felt so frustrated that she kept refusing to take scholarships and grants but also felt so badly for her that she was made to think she couldn’t.
Bottom line: It is a heartbreaking memoire and a reminder that many families are dysfunctional but that it is sometimes best to distance yourself from even those you love for your own good and be ready to change your beliefs that you were taught in the process.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
This is the first book I ended up reading in one sitting (I started early evening and kept reading into the night until about 2AM). This one is a murder mystery combined with a survival tale that flips back and forth between different time periods (when the murder takes place vs the main character Kya’s childhood). So I think that made me want to keep reading on in order to find out what happened/happens.
I was impressed to find out that this was the author’s first novel (which has become a #1 national best seller) and appreciated all the different animal facts that were presented in the book from her own knowledge/background as a longtime animal scientist working in Africa.
Bottom line: It became a #1 best-seller for a reason. If you want to read a book that you can’t put down, read it.
Moloka’i by Alan Brennert
This one was a heartbreaking novel about a woman’s life that is full of separation, starting with being separated as a little girl from her family for having leprosy and sent to live in a quarantined region on the island of Moloka’i. I didn’t know much about leprosy or the history of Hawaii until I read this book. WWII does happen in the novel later on as well which does bring on more heartbreak and history that I was slightly more familiar with.
Though I’ve never had leprosy or any medical condition that would have caused people to avoid me like the plague, it actually reminds me of how I’ve recently come to look at my own life and had the same thought as the protagonist Rachel about how even with the unfortunate situations I’ve encountered in my own life that it could have always been worse. And I think that’s one way you can find a way to cope with the lemons thrown your way.
Bottom line: If you are interested in learning more about the history of Hawaii (particularly on this region of Moloka’i and those who were sent to live there because of leprosy) this novel illustrates the lives of those who went through that. I think it’s just as important as learning about what the Native Americans had to go through on the mainland.
It is apparent that the books we’ve been reading have had strong female characters who endure, survive, and then thrive in life (It is a womens’ book club, after all!) I hope to continue to live out the story of my life in such a way as well.