Monthly Archives: October 2014

[Review] The Fragile World by Paula Treick DeBoard

Posted 28 October, 2014 by DLWhite in Reviews, Writers Read 0 Comments

The Fragile World Book Cover The Fragile World
Paula Treick DeBoard
Literary Fiction
October 28, 2014

From the author of publishing sensation The Mourning Hours comes a powerful new novel that explores every parent's worst nightmare… 

The Kaufmans have always considered themselves a normal, happy family. Curtis is a physics teacher at a local high school. His wife, Kathleen, restores furniture for upscale boutiques. Daniel is away at college on a prestigious music scholarship, and twelve-year-old Olivia is a happy-go-lucky kid whose biggest concern is passing her next math test. 

And then comes the middle-of-the-night phone call that changes everything. Daniel has been killed in what the police are calling a "freak" road accident, and the remaining Kaufmans are left to flounder in their grief. 

The anguish of Daniel's death is isolating, and it's not long before this once-perfect family finds itself falling apart. As time passes and the wound refuses to heal, Curtis becomes obsessed with the idea of revenge, a growing mania that leads him to pack up his life and his anxious teenage daughter and set out on a collision course to right a wrong. 

An emotionally charged novel, The Fragile World is a journey through America's heartland and a family's brightest and darkest moments, exploring the devastating pain of losing a child and the beauty of finding healing in unexpected ways. 

There’s so much to this book, I almost wanted to flip back to the beginning and read it cover to cover again. The Fragile World is beautifully written, so deep and emotive, with raw and real emotions. Paula Treick DeBoard never shies away from the gripping truth within and between her characters.

In 2008, our family lost my youngest brother. He was 22, funny and bright and the accident that took him was so senseless and ridiculous. I’ve so often wished I could go back in time and change the past so he could still be here with us. The tidal wave of emotion that comes after the earthquake of tragedy still ripple through our family. Each of us is forever changed by his sudden, heart wrenching loss. It is with this familiar feeling that I read while biting my fingernail to the nub, of the Kaufman family.

Daniel, child music prodigy and generally the most favorite family member is ripped from life in a freak accident. Almost immediately, I felt as if his mother, Kathleen, shied away from having to deal with the aftermath. She makes Curtis travel to retrieve the body, to deal with the arrangements, to talk to the police. Curtis, on his own, has to stifle his own feelings of grief to move forward. Deep within him, a rage begins to simmer.

By the time that rage explodes, so much has changed– Kathleen no longer lives with the family and younger Olivia suffers from debilitating anxiety, which is only temporarily abated by keeping a meticulous journal of things that scare her, random every day occurrences that could go terribly wrong and take her loved ones away from her.

When Curtis hears that Daniel’s killer– the drunk driver that drove the car that hit the stop sign that fell over onto Daniel– has been released from prison, he decides to mete out the form of justice that would be fair to Daniel. It’s the only way to make the world spin the right way again.

What I enjoyed about this story is how close Curtis and Olivia are– and become in the days leading up to the grim task. Following Curtis’ small mental break, the two set out on roadtrip to visit Kathleen in Oklahoma. The series of poignant and meaningful Daddy-Daughter moments were touching, even when they were cross with each other. Olivia didn’t like to be apart from him. He gave her comfort and made her feel safe and in Curtis’ eyes, he simply had ONE task that would make her feel eternally safe.

The events that close the book puzzle me, however. How Kathleen ends up being the one to take on the heavy burden and how Curtis let her do so… I didn’t see a justification for it. Was he punishing her for basically trying to push Daniel’s death under a rug? For making him deal with the details of life after death?  For leaving the family?

Or did Kathleen feel like it was her duty to take that burden from Curtis?

Wherever those answers lie,it doesn’t change my opinion that The Fragile World is an excellent read– deeply moving, paced well, poetically written. I truly enjoyed it!

[Review] XL Love: How the Obesity Crisis Is Complicating America’s Love Life

[Review] XL Love: How the Obesity Crisis Is Complicating America’s Love Life

Title: XL Love-How the Obesity Crisis Is Complicating America's Love Life Author: Sarah Varney Genre: Social Science Publisher: Rodale Books Release Date: August 19, 2014 Pages: 256 With two out of every three Americans overweight or obese, it’s all hands on deck—scientists are studying how excess fat changes physical and mental health, demographers are calculating how it’s shortening life spans, and economists are debating the impact it has on America’s productivity and global competitiveness. But how weight affects intimacy and sexuality is barely discussed. Yet it’s a question of high importance for the tens of millions of Americans who are overweight or obese and having difficulty sexually and romantically. It is changing and complicating the mating game and married life alike; stunting the ability of young people to find happiness; and tipping some heavy, but otherwise happy, couples into divorce. For many, a larger body has meant a more troubled mind: a decline in sexual quality, an increase in self-loathing, and a tendency to let these factors stand in the way of love. In XL Love, Varney travels the country and tells the personal stories of men and women who are experiencing what millions of others feel every day, along with the stories of those who are in the business of helping them: physicians, researchers, scientists, psychologists, sociologists, and more. Analytic and immersive, personal and eye-opening, XL Love tackles the question: How is sex changing in America as the shape of Americans changes? I’m not much for non fiction… if I read it, I have to sit down and read the entire book in one sitting. I’m never going back to it later. Doing that with XL Love was no problem. I have highlights on every page. I nodded and mmhmmm’d through every story, seeing myself and my life throughout the pages of this book. And I agree with a reviewer on Amazon that said reading this book was like reading the transcript of a really interesting episode of This […]

[Review] You by Caroline Kepnes

[Review] You by Caroline Kepnes

Title: You Author: Caroline Kepnes Genre: Fiction Publisher: Simon and Schuster Release Date: September 30, 2014 Pages: 432 Love hurts… When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe works, he’s instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: She’s gorgeous, tough, razor-smart, and as sexy as his wildest dreams. Beck doesn’t know it yet, but she’s perfect for him, and soon she can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom made for her. But there’s more to Joe than Beck realizes, and much more to Beck than her oh-so-perfect façade. Their mutual obsession quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences . . . A chilling account of unrelenting passion, Caroline Kepnes’s You is a perversely romantic thriller that’s more dangerously clever than any you’ve read before. This. Book. I can’t even.  This is going to be a rambly gushing review about this book because I am unable to CAN, with forming pithy quotes  and character analyzation. I got a message from Atria that this book was coming out last week and I thought ehhh, we’ll give it a shot. I settled in with it on Saturday afternoon and read it straight through, which happens infrequently, if you can believe it. First of all, there’s a TON of pop culture in this book.. a lot of musical references, HEAVY references to twitter and facebook, something I find abhorrent but it kind of works. It’s also in second person present tense, which I became accustomed to rather quickly. The first quarter of the book was a bit dry and ho hum…. knowing that things get awfully crazy later kept me hanging on so I’ll tell you the same. Just………just hang on, reader. I started out feeling kind of sorry for Joe. He seems like a nice guy– intelligent if a bit ‘trying to hard to show it’, what with mentioning all the time that he didn’t go to college. Endearing, kind of a […]

Heading into home stretch of the NetGalley Reading Challenge 2014

Heading into home stretch of the NetGalley Reading Challenge 2014

This year, I’ve been participating in a really fun reading challenge with Ariel Avalon. The NetGalley Reading Challenge was organized as a way to increase our reading, specifically of Advanced Reader Copies (or ARC) of novels that bloggers and readers receive from services like NetGalley and Edelweiss, etc. The books are furnished by the publisher. If you see a book you’d like to read before publication, you request said book. Upon approval from the publisher, you receive a review copy of the novel and are requested to read and post an unbiased, honest review before the book goes on sale. This helps to increase the hype for the upcoming novel. It also helps me read more! At NetGalley, the recommended ratio of approved books to feedback given is 80%. Mine was a dismal 42 at the beginning of the year, so in an effort to change that, I began requesting and reviewing everything I could get my hands on. Even if I didn’t like it (or finish it) I offered feedback. Then I found this challenge and I went from wanting to read ten books for NetGalley to wanting to read 20. Now I’m at 38 and aiming for 50. This has had a great impact on my Goodreads challenge, since all those books count toward my number of books read for the year. My goal was 50 and I hit that around midsummer. I raised it to 75 and now I am at 63. I doubt I can hit 100 for the year, considering I have some WRITINGGGG I need to be doing but if I can top 75, that will be the most books I’ve read in the last three years! So we are headed into the 4th quarter of the challenge and I am still chugging along. I have 12 books to read to hit my goal of reading 50 books for NetGalley this year. I’m still reading and requesting and we’re hitting the holiday season so […]