I picked this book when I was looking for another book of Marieke Nijkamp and I could not find it on the store. I read the blurb, which I rarely do, and got ready to dig into the mystery set in the obscure town near Alaska. Let us see how Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp turned into, alright?
About Before I let go
Book Name: Before I let go
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Genre: Fiction – Drama, Young Adult
Characters: Corey, Kyra
Setting: Alaska, The USA
Plot summary of Before I let go
The story begins with Corey returning to her small town called Lost Creek,
Alaska after she heard her best friend Kyra is dead. As she tries to understand what happened to Kyra, Corey is pushed away from the very town she grew up in and lived for sixteen years.
Kyra and Corey have been best friends since childhood. They have stood together through thick and thin, especially when Kyra was diagnosed as bipolar and the villagers started treating her differently.
But now everything appears to have changed. Everyone speaks of Kyra lovingly and treats her like someone special, now that she has gone. What happened in the past few months and how did Kyra even die? You need to read Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp to know more.
Book review of Before I let go
For starters, I don’t think it was meant to be a mystery novel, thanks for nothing, Goodreads!, because there was no suspense, like at all. Somewhere in the middle of the book, we already know the ‘what, when, why and how’. The plot had a lot of things going on, but the storyline became so predictable and lacked pace.
Well, the book talks about mental illness and the kids are sexually diverse (a pansexual and an asexual) but I can not be the judge of the realness of the representation. The atmosphere was creepy and sinister until the end, which I liked.
Things that worked for me
- The friendship between Kyra and Corey was strong. The whole story revolved around that instead of romance. for a change.
- I liked the writing style and it kept me invested until the end despite the other flaws.
- I liked the eerie setting and frankly just reading about this small town in a remote place.
Things that didn’t work for me
- I felt the pace was so slow and it became kinda repetitive after a while.
- I didn’t particularly relate to any of the characters, which were bland and flat.
- The non-lead characters seemed under developed as well.
Before I let go talks a lot about strong friendship in an eerie and hostile environment. If you like reading about mental health with diverse characters you might like Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp.
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Let us chat:
Have you read Before I let go by Marieke Nijkamp? Would pace of the book make you like or dislike it? Have you read this one? Let us talk.
Every superhero needs his/her own sidekick. More often than not, these sidekicks have their role cut out for them, being funny, helpful and just be a sidekick when the leads have everything going on for them. But once in a while, we have all come across quite a few of these subplots that steal our hearts away. Sometimes, more than the lead even.
My top favorite Sidekicks who deserve a shoutout
Here are few of my best literary sidekicks, in no particular order, that made us fall for them time and again.
1) Bess Marvin, Nancy Drew series
As someone who spent most of her lunch breaks in the school library, I can vouch for Nancy Drew’s sleuth skills. Be it chasing a phantom in an opera or finding out who drugged her friend’s racehorse, sure Nancy will be able to crack the case. But I am sure none of us can forget that her best friends Bess Marvin and her cousin George Fayne are always there for her, even when Nancy wants them to be safer elsewhere.
What makes Bess a great friend is that she is not as athletic as the other two, she is not tomboyish or looking for adventures like George or Nancy. She is often described as a girlie-girl, pretty and maybe on the heavier side. But she is always there for them, even when she doesn’t want or have to be there. She has always put her friends’ interests first and is definitely an underrated, loyal sidekick.
2) Ford Prefect, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series
Ford Prefect is far from perfect and him choosing a car’s name to blend in on Earth shows how much of a screw up he really is. He planned to stay on the Earth for a week but ends up stranded for 15 years. He is not heroic, he does not jump in front of a bullet to protect his human, Arthur.
In fact, he gets ready to die calmly when they are shot out of the airlock. But he is not good at his role of being a guide as well. While Arthur might be the least heroic person, Prefect actively shies away from danger and even hums getting ready to float dead in the space.
But what makes him the coolest sidekick is that he is always ready to party, constantly searching for alcoholic drinks and can be extremely intelligent and resourceful, once in a while. He is the one goof up we all want to hang out with and will be the life of the party wherever he is.
3) Dr. Watson, The Complete Sherlock Holmes
One cannot imagine Sherlock Holmes without Dr. Watson. He is probably the most patient sidekick ever, as he has to put up with Sherlock’s eccentricities and arrogance. He is the quintessential British gentleman, who is intelligent of his own accord, he is a doctor and a war veteran after all. Yet he is constantly overshadowed by Sherlock and gets to be the butt of his jokes and ridicules.
What makes Dr. Watson a great sidekick is that he complements Sherlock’s intellectual prowess with his normalcy and adds a humane touch to his life. He is dependable and more than once has assisted physically. Dr. Watson was the best of Sherlock’s fan and is one of the best uncomplaining sidekicks.
4) Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings series
LOTR is as much Sam’s story as much as it is Frodo’s. Frodo’s sidekick Samwise literally follows him everywhere, what more can you expect out of him. He is loyal, humble and brave as any sidekick should be, and more than even Frodo himself. I have lost count of times he has saved Frodo when he gets hold of the Ring.
I rest my case.
5) Ron Weasley, Harry Potter Series
Any list of sidekicks would be incomplete without our dear Ron Weasley. The ginger-haired goofy friend who supports Harry at every step. He explains things that Harry failed to understand. He is the normal friend to the heroic one and the know-it-all, Hermione.
Of course, he may not be the sharpest, not even the strongest but he is courageous and loyal. His awesome family makes him all the more special.
6) Rudy Steiner, The Book Thief
If the book thief is my favorite of books, I owe it to Rudy Steiner, the sweetest of lemon haired boys. He is a loyal companion to the book thief, he goes to dive into the river to retrieve a book for her. He is the one who named her the book thief. They call each other names and they are generally always together as friends right from childhood. He is cheeky and is always asking for a kiss from Liesel.
The best part of Rudy as a sidekick is that he has own role in the story, just not as a sidekick to Liesel. Even when he was seven years old he had a clear sense of right and wrong. He admired Jesse Owens, and his athleticism (much to the Fuhrer’s irk) so much that he painted himself black, despite the growing Nazi propaganda.
His stance against the Nazi movement is strong and gets himself kicked out of the Nazi training programme. He offers bread to Jewish prisoners during one of those long marches. He saves Liesel and her Jewish fugitive, Max, by diverting the Nazi guards’ attention. Okay, call this personal bias, Rudy Steiner is the best.
7) Hobbes, Calvin and Hobbes
Hobbes might be just a stuffed tiger in everyone else’s eyes, but he is Calvin’s best friend and is a mighty tiger for him. Hobbes takes part in all Calvin’s adventure and crazy schemes, without judgment. He used to hate girls as much Calvin did but then started to like Susie’s tea parties. He can explain serious philosophies, fight zombies and even do homework for Calvin.
There are times when Hobbes has crazier schemes than Calvin and we forget who is the sidekick. Hobbes has made me wish that we could be stuck at the age of 6 forever.
Do you think these sidekicks are cooler than the leads? Do you ever wonder how are they even called sidekicks? Give them a shout out. Did I include your favorite fictional sidekick? Let me know if I had missed anyone.
What happens if you lose a few of your memories, that you wanted to forget anyway? Is it worth knowing a few that have left you, all over again? Would it be worth it this time? Bragadeesh Prasanna tries to help us answer these questions through his new novel Waterboarding.
Waterboarding is personally close to me as does its author. I have read the book about three times even before it hit the editor’s desk, as a beta reader. This review is not gonna be biased in any sense, so here we go.
How often do you find people who are gonna travel all the way through your life?
I have a set of friends whom I have known for a decade and a half now. We may not be physically close, but when we meet or talk to each other from different parts of the world, it has always been like we are back to our primary classes, mostly. We know each other’s heartbreak stories, the crushes, and the family issues.
Most of my friends are people with whom I have been for more than four years now. That is quite a huge thing, especially for someone like me, who jumps from one shiny thing to another frequently. Thankfully my friendships have not taken that route.
Why am I converting a book review into a sappy old story of yours truthfully? Nothing much other than sheer narcissism and the fact that Second Acts is a book about the friendship between grown ass adult women.
About the book
Book Name: Second Acts
Author: Teri Emory
Genre: Fiction – Drama
Characters: Sarah, Miriam, Beth
Setting: The USA
Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author and Edelweiss for the Advance Review Copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
The story takes through the lives of Sarah, Miriam, and Beth right from their college days. They have spent their lives together for decades, all through their happiness, heartbreaks, the ups and the downs, even when they had lived physically far from each other.
Now the ladies are in their fifties, and their careers and domestic lives are changing. Would their friendship sustain through these storms?
The book alternates between the voices of Sarah, Miriam, and Beth in the first person throughout. Sarah lives with her boyfriend Kevin who wouldn’t commit or even let her in on his life, which seemed convenient for her. She finds out something huge about Kevin and his son and Kevin did not even feel it was important to inform her. And the changes at work makes it impossible for her continue shying away from commitments.
Miriam has had her heart broken once, and she wonders about all the men that she had turned down. She is more than settled with the idea that she is never going to meet the right one. Beth seemingly has it all, until she finds her husband cheated on her. To make her life more fragile the love of her life, the one that got away is back. The group has a second chance in life. Should they trade their old lives?
My initial thoughts
The idea that college friends can stay together well into their fifties is highly romantic. The dynamics among them does not change and if anything, it has become better with age. Though the ladies are all at different points of their life and have chosen different paths, there is no judging and an unwavering support through it all.
Second Acts makes it a point to let us know that 50s are not something to be dreaded about. Lives still go on and about, and exciting things do happen.
Things that worked for me
- The characters were well developed, and even the minor characters had depth.
- I found a part of myself among all the three leads, and I kept rooting for Miriam the most. She was just too cool.
- Several themes like grief over death, lost love, hurt by a loved one, despair over unrequited love, unexpected changes were all dealt with such flair that the reader would feel them.
Things that could have been better
- Though there were too many details and the book as such was tad bit lengthy, I continued through it.
- I would not call the book an un-put-down-able, and it took a lot more than usual to complete the book.
- On the whole, I was not disappointed at all, thanks to the realistic plot and engaging writing.
Bottom – line
Second Acts could be your summer read, the one that you wanna read when you miss your friends in real life or the one you read during your daily commute. If you are up to reading a woman’s fiction with realistic writing this weekend, you should watch out for Second Acts.
Let us chat
What are your favorite women fiction? Do you like books that are character oriented with slow moving plots? Let us talk.
Never ask a lady about her age, goes the adage. So what is it between a woman and her age? Why can’t they just get over it and go on living their lives? Isn’t age just a number? ‘It isn’t!’ says Alice. Go ahead read her life’s story in Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran.
Book Name: Younger
Author: Pamela Redmond Satran
Genre: Fiction – Drama
Setting: Brooklyn, New Jersey, The USA
Plot Summary of Younger
Alice, a recently divorced mother of a 20 something Diana, is looking to restart her career and her life – except that she is 44 years old and job market isn’t looking for someone of that age group. She starts her New Year in a dull note with her friend Maggie, who stumbles on a brilliant plan – passing Alice as a younger woman. With a few wardrobe changes and hair coloring – voila, Alice seemingly becomes a new younger persona.
A new life awaited her – job at marketing in a publishing house, a new boyfriend (a much younger and fun game developer) Josh, new friend (Lindsay at the publishing house) and a new place to live (Maggie’s apartment). With her daughter who took Alice for granted, moving to Africa, she goes deep diving into her new life. She reports to Terri, a single mother of three and a tough boss, who despises stay at home moms. Lindsay assumes Alice to be of her age, late twenties, helps her to handle Teri as well as keep her afloat socially.
Do her secrets get outted? How does her daughter take her mom to dating younger guy and much worse pretending to be as young as her? What happens to her relationship with Josh? Reader Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran to know more.
Book review of Younger
I picked the book after watching the season 1 of the TV show of the same name. I kept visualizing the actors while I read it. Though there are few minor differences between the show and the book, I somehow liked the show better.
The novel goes to view the issues related to ageism and sexism apparently. It is a light read and definitely dated, but not your normal chicklit.
But I felt the characters were not developed to their fullest and that is where I liked the show better. I should accept I did not put the book down till I finished it (thankfully it was mere 300 odd pages), though more for waiting it to end than for the story.
You should definitely pick Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran up if you are looking for an easy read for your book club. Perfect for a beach read on breezy summer days.
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Have you read Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran? What about the TV series adaptation of Younger, have you watched it? What other less known book to screen adaptation you enjoyed? Let us talk.