Even after I came back from the vacation I couldn’t shake the feeling off (does this happen to anyone else?) and I ended up not posting much this week.
Don’t you need my update about my 2018?
I enjoyed reading a lot of y’all’s yearly round up posts and loved a lot. I even found a few new bloggers in the process. So I thought I will couple this post with my 2018 challenge updates. Cuz why not, RIGHT?
I am looking for a monthly group read / discussion to join, so if you know one let me know.
2018 Book Blog Discussion Challenge
You all know how much I adore Nicole and her monthly discussion challenge pushed me to write more and have more open discussions. Though I have not been regular in adding my posts to her link up, I am planning to change that in 2019.
I will be participating in this again and I plan to participate more in the discussion.
365 commenting challenge
Status: Epic failure
I loved this idea of meeting new bloggers all through the year and I was so pumped to start on this one. But I failed to complete it. I am so disappointed in myself.
Y’all know how I successfully completed the A-Z reading challenge of 2018! I know I know, I surprised myself and I am definitely signing up for the next year too. And that is how I heard of the highly rated Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin as I was on the lookout for the letter ‘Y’.
To be fair I would have been okay with just a decent read because my aim was more to tick that letter off. Did that happen with Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin? Let us see, shall we?
Loosely based on the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal from the yesteryears, Zevin talks about the other side of the story in her book, Young Jane Young.
Taking place in Florid, Aviva Grossman, a new intern has an affair with the handsome Congressman Aaron Levin. When it comes out in the open, the congressman’s life stays impact, despite the negative news and Aviva’s life is turned upside down. But all that is the past.
Now, she has moved states and reinvented herself as Jane Young, an event planner, and lives with her headstrong daughter Ruby. When she is convinced to run for the mayor of her small town, her past catches up.
Ruby realizes her mother is not who she believed to be and takes things up in her own hands. Did that end well? Did the Grossman family have a chance to reconcile? You will have to read Young Jane Young to know more.
My initial thoughts
In Young Jane Young, we read about the present life and the aftermath of the scandal through the eyes of five female involved Rachel Grossman (Aviva’s mother), Jane Young (Aviva’s new life), Embeth Levin (the congressman’s wife), Ruby (Jane’s daughter) and Aviva herself (in a Choose Your Adventure style narration).
I generally like books that have different POVs. I know they usually are either hit or miss and there is no in between. And Zevin nails this down.
As much as I understood the actions of the 13 year old Ruby, they still irritated me, especially when she is portrayed as a rational and feminist kinda kid. I didn’t feel related to any of the characters but that, surprisingly didn’t seem a negative in Young Jane Young.
Apart from the story as much, Young Jane Young brings out the double standard and misogynist society we live in, especially because IT REALLY HAPPENED.
Though I was kinda young and living in a different continent altogether to know all the details, I remember how we joked about the seductress and tore her apart while Clinton’s political life and marriage survived. And we went on to diss about Hillary Clinton about deciding to stay with him. I think this is a powerful feminist story in its own way.
Things that worked for me
The plot is definitely interesting and is worth talking about. I didn’t quite expect Young Jane Young to turn out to be a feminist tale.
The writing is fast and engaging. I never felt even a moment’s lag in the pace of the story.
I loved reading different point of views of five strong women.
Things that didn’t work for me
I didn’t relate to any of the characters and the actions of few of these characters really irked me.
It takes a while for the story to pick and for the reader to understand what really happened in the past.
Choose Your Adventure style narration for the last part felt too gimmicky for my liking.
If you are ready to face the misogynistic side of the yesteryear’s scandal, Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin is for you. I liked Gabrielle Zevin’s engaging style of writing and I will definitely be reading more from her.
Let us talk
Have you read Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin or anything else from the author? What do you think happened to the real life character? Let us talk.
Christmas is one of my favorite festival, even though I don’t celebrate it. Especially since moving to Dubai I am doubly excited just looking at the huge ass displays they have at the malls and other central places.
And we are going on a three holiday starting tomorrow (read again: we don’t celebrate Christmas) to Fujairah. There are technically very few places to visit (or that is what Google says) so we will be enjoying our stay at the resort. I will be sharing the photos in my next Sunday post.
On the other news, I am all geared up for the New year and I am well equipped with plans for the blog. Yes that is plural and you know I tend to go overboard with the scheduling bit. Of course, the real problem comes with the execution, but that is a topic for another day. So yes, I have planned it all for January and I will keep planning.
Did you know that I am accepting guest posts from indie authors and people related to the indie publishing world for Elgee Writes? So if you are one, do sign up. If you know someone, please share this news with them!
And speaking of signing up, you can still up for my ‘Comment 4 Comment’ challenge right here! The more the merrier, I suppose.
On my blog
In case you missed my posts this week, here is a quick recap.
Blog engagement is crucial to making us motivated to keep blogging. It is that kind of validation we all love from our peers. Otherwise I might be just shouting at the void, right?
Well, we all need a community.
Last year I joined the 365 days commenting hosted by Read Write Love 28 and failed at it miserably. Obviously it was too much for me and I dropped out fairly early of the game. Apparently I need some encouragement and a lot of support to get to doing what I am supposed to do anyway.
Do you ever feel so disappointed in yourself when you don’t fall in love with a book? I did as I read The Forty rules of love. When I was in a reading slump a while ago, a friend of mine nudged (read as: pushed) me towards this one as this was one of her favorite books.
I had had few others recommending this book earlier, and the time had finally come for me to pick The Forty rules of love. So let us see how that turned out for me right?
The Forty rules of love is a story within a story. Ella, a married woman is going through a mid life crisis with a loveless marriage, a husband who is cheating on her and kids who don’t need her anymore.
When her young daughter announces that she is getting married to her boyfriend, Ella finds it hard to believe that people (i.e. her daughter) wanted to marry for love.
Ella is a beta reader who receives a manuscript from an author with whom she begins email conversation. She realizes that Aziz was so different from her and his beliefs and faith shock her as much as they enthuse her.
She continues to read his manuscript about two friends, Rumi and Sham and learns about their Dervish ways of life, which a part of Islam. Does the relationship between Ella and Aziz go any further? Does Ella’s perception of life change at all? Read The Forty rules of love to know further.
Book review of The Forty rules of love
As I was telling earlier, I tried so hard to like The Forty rules of love but I was left disappointed. And for once it was not because of my high expectations or the hype. I just failed to understand the whole point of the rules of love and completely disliked the preachy tone and wonder if it had anything to do with the translation or it was just the writing itself.
I wish it had a little bit lightheartedness in it to make it more fun to read. There were too many small characters to remember but I can understand why they were needed, to educate every rule. I still wish the characters had more depth, while they were all card board cut – the non religious were all evil and the religious ones were all love and simple.
The ideology behind the rules for the love to God and one another was novel and interesting (to a point).
Reading this story has increased my interest in reading the poems of Rumi which are well known.
Things that didn’t work for me
I wish the characters were more complex and deeper.
I didn’t like the moral, preachy tones that made it difficult to like the characters.
To be fair I have never had a thing for magical realism. Maybe I don’t get it well enough to appreciate it.
I am happy for all those for whom this book worked. But it didn’t for me, I understand why didn’t work for me. I might give the author another try, in a few years and maybe it will work then. Keeping my fingers crossed.