Rewind February style

I have no excuse for the title of this post, it just happened, and I don’t know if I like it, or hate it. I think both. So in February I didn’t really follow my TBR at all, because I was moving and I lived among boxes and I hated everything, so I just read what I wanted to. So there, I’m a child. Anyways, let’s look at that I read.

Matilda by Roald Dahl
This is one of my favorite books from when I was a kid. I really loved Roald Dahl, and I read a lot of his books. I read them in Norwegian, and I want to reread them in English, so I started with Matilda. Matilda is about a girl named Matilda who grows up in a quite unhappy home, for her, her family seem fine, but they don’t like Matilda, and they’re not shy about telling her. She is a very precocious child, she teaches herself to read when she’s like three. And then she starts school and she meets the most awful human being known to man. I had forgotten how creepy Matilda is. She devices this system where she punishes her dad when he misbehaves, because she’s a psychopath. If he treats her badly she will prank him. She superglues his hat to his head, she exchanges his shampoo for hair bleach, don’t get on the wrong side of this kid, is all I’m saying. It was fun, it was weird. I’d also not thought about how dark it is for a while. Matilda’s principal is cruel, insane and basically tortures her pupils, and no one does anything to help the kids, it’s weird. I still loved it, it was pretty much just as magical as I remembered.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
This was just… wow. I tried writing a review, but it just turned into incoherent babbling, so I’ll have to try again. Basically the book is about a 12-year-old black girl named Pecola Breedlove growing up in Ohio in 1941. She wants blue eyes and she wants to be a pretty white girl. Instead she gets raped by her dad and shunned by her family and community, because 12-year-olds deserve that (that was me being sarcastic, felt like I needed to point that out, because this is print). It was just so heartbreaking and so painful. Not a lot happens in the story, it’s more character study, and Morrison writes about what happened to Pecola’s parents, how they grew up and how they turned into the people they are and how that led them to mistreat Pecola. It was just so horrible to read about, just the things people did to black people before the civil right’s act, holy shit. I realize race relations are still fraught in the US, but oh my God.

At any price by Brenna Aubrey
So I got bored of all the books I was reading and thought, fuck it, let’s read some new adult sex book, because why the hell not? So I read this, it was free on amazon, which was helpful. So this is about a young lady named Mia Strong who is a 22-year-old gamer girl. She’s a virgin, she’s pre-med, and she has no money to pay for rent or med school, or food. So she decides to auction off her virginity to the highest bidder, as you do. The highest bidder is Adam Drake, a late-twenties gagillionare game developer. It was fun, it was fairly well written, both Mia and Adam were fairly well developed, and they had good back-stories. It didn’t shy away from the sex, and it was honest and it was, well a little angry. They didn’t have the most healthy relationship, because you know, she’s selling her virginity, which isn’t a great way to start a relationship. Although to be fair, Mia wasn’t planning on a relationship, and Adam manipulates her, so he’s great.

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
This is the companion novel/sequel to Ship Breaker. It’s about a young woman named Mahlia. She is the daughter of an American and a Chinese Peacekeeper, which makes people prejudiced against her. Because the Chinese were seen as invaders and as totalitarian, and then they just left America to its own devices and now the country is in chaos. So that’s nice. It’s set in the future when climate change (I had to google that because my brain froze and I forgot what the second word was, I don’t know why, it still looks wrong) has basically screwed up the whole world, the lower parts of America are under water, it’s warm, people are dying of starvation and plague and they’re under constant threat from war lords and their fun little armies. It was really dark, and creepy, and sometimes it felt like Bacigalupi couldn’t possibly throw anything else at this brave young woman, and he just threw more crap at her. She’s so tough, and pragmatic, and I felt so bad for her, I wanted to hug her and I wanted someone to be kind to her. It was so dark and awful, and so good.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
So this only took an eternity to read. I don’t know why, I think it’s the aforementioned childishness of not wanting to do what I’m supposed to do. It’s really good, duh. I wrote a very gushy, happy review about how much of a badass Jane is. So let’s not do that again. Jane Eyre is the autobiography of the fictional Jane Eyre. It tells the story of her life from she’s like 5 to she’s 25-30 (who knows?). She is an orphan, grows up with her evil aunt, and then when she’s 10 she’s sent off to Lowood, a school for girls. She then becomes a teacher at the school when she’s about 16, and when she’s 18 she becomes a governess for a little girl named Adele, the ward of Edward Fairfax Rochester. She and Rochester fall in love and there’s all this intrigue. I just made that sound really dull, but it was incredible. Jane is a feminist badass, it’s awesome. I’m going to stop saying that. No I’m not.

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
I also finally finished this. I am a lazy butt. This is a historical fiction book set in the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. It is also an autobiography of a fictional person, so that’s cool. It’s about a woman named Aminata Diallo. She was born in Bayo, a village which seems to be in Guinea-ish, in West Africa. She is taken by slavers when she’s 11, her mother and father are killed, and she is taken to the coast, put on a ship and sent to America, more specifically Charles Town (Charleston, South Carolina), where she becomes a slave. The book then tells her story. It was just so heartbreaking, and exhausting. Aminata becomes an educated woman, she does pretty well for herself, given her circumstances, but just. Wow. I feel like, towards the end, when the book goes into the abolitionist movement white people try to justify the slavery with Aminata being educated and able to speak lots of languages, and that wouldn’t be possible without slavery, and I just thought, who said Aminata wanted to be “educated” in a way that is acceptable to Europeans and Americans? Aminata wanted to be a good muslim, live with her family, be a midwife and story teller and marry and have kids, and everything is just taken from her. And maybe she is educated, but is it worth everything she went through? Being branded, beaten, sold, raped, terrorized, losing her husband, having both her kids taken from her. She never asked for the education she got, and who would want it under those circumstances? Obviously this is what they do to feel better about the horror of what they’re doing.

So yeah. I liked it, I got angry on her behalf, and it broke my heart. It’s not that I wanted to pity her, because she is a very capable, clever woman who takes every opportunity and finds the best way to deal with it, but oh god, so much is piled on her, jeesh.

The Wicked + the Divine: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen
This is the graphic novel I read this month. It’s about gods. Every 90 years this Pantheon of 12 gods are reincarnated and end up on earth, and they live for two years and then die again. They always become sort of famous to get the attention of the people, to get the attention they crave. I thought it was incredible, the art was amazing. I like mythology, so that really appealed to me. It was a bit sort of all over the place, I think they tried to get a lot of stuff introduced, so there was a lot of stuff. But it was crazy great, and I loved it, and I’m looking forward to volume 2. Lucy and the Morrigan are seriously my favorite people of all time. Wow.

So that’s what I read in February. The three books, yeah, three, I’m a dope, I didn’t finish I will finish in March. I hope. I will! Optimism engaged.