Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
*Disclaimer*I want to be honest here-I have always been someone who hates having any sort of negative opinion about someone else’s work because I know that in order to have felt confident enough to publish their book they must have liked it. But I also want this to be an open space where I am honest about my feelings and so I just wanted to preface this by saying all my thoughts and opinions are in no way trying to take a jab at anyone, I just think books are very subjective and everyone has a different experience reading them. 🙂
You might be able to guess that because I felt the need to have that disclaimer this book wasn’t my favorite, and that is true. I mentioned this a little on my instagram page, but I just think I was a bit too optimistic because of the title of the book. You see, I am an absolute sucker for mythology/magic anything of that sort. So when I saw the title, my brain automatically went to that realm, and was a bit disappointed when there really wasn’t any magic to be found. (Which I totally get was just me not really knowing what I was about to read) I also saw that the book was a New York Times Bestseller, and a National Book Award Finalist, so when I had a hard time getting into the book I honestly thought that I just hadn’t gotten to the “sweet spot” of a book when a book hooks you in and you just have to finish to find out what happens next. But the problem with this book and my experience with it, is I never really got to that point. These are the reasons why I think that might be the case. First, in all honesty the characters just did not do it for me. There is usually at least one character in a book that I can either relate to, or find interest in but in this book I was a tad indifferent. I also think the way in which she introduced the characters was a bit overwhelming, as there was a section where there was a good 10 names thrown at you and I found myself having to read and then re-read sections just to have a grasp as who the character was later on in the novel. I also think that from a readers point of view the level of detail at times was a tad tedious- it just was a lot and then would randomly jump to a different part of the story or a different perspective with very little lead into a shift. Even though this might have been intentional, I also feel like the longer the book went on the less I liked the characters. I think that was partly due to the fact that the story seemed to want to reveal that the characters were not what they originally seemed- but I think their choices, and the level of deceit just made the pages before seem almost like a let down as you spent so much time reading about characters just for them to disappoint you/you also feel like you were lied to. I also feel like there could have been about 50 pages cut out of the book, and the general idea of the story would have remained the same. I guess I am just wondering if the length of the story was in the favor of the story itself as it was just under 400 pages.
With that being said, I am going to move onto things that I did enjoy about the book. Even though the amount of detail was a bit tedious as a reader, I will say that it is very impressive for the author. I think that she is a brilliant writer and I do plan on reading another work of hers as I think that this was more a matter of me not liking this particular story rather than me not liking the writer. I also found myself adding a bunch of quotes from the story into my journal as I found the complexity of them to be beautiful. I will share a few of them after this section. I also really liked the many references to playwrights as having read a lot of the works it gave me something to relate to in the book. I also liked the fact that there was not a box that she put the characters in- in terms of sexuality. She seemed to touch on the fact that for a lot of people sexuality is not just black and white but instead there is fluidity that can come with love if you are open to it.
Quotes in particular that stood out to me:
“[The noble feel the same strong feelings as the rest of us; the difference is how they choose to act]”(171)
“Tragedy, comedy, it’s all a matter of vision”(197)
“It comes over us that we shall never again hear the laughter of our friend. That this garden is forever locked against us. And at that moment begins our true grief”. (212)
“Still there are untruths of words and untruths of silences.”(326)
Overall I can say that I am glad I checked this book off my list, and while I won’t read it again I do think that I can still appreciate aspects of it.
The light we lost by Jill Santopolo:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I feel like my experience with this book was the very opposite of the previous book, in the sense that I was not even 50 pages in when I was already attached to the characters and my emotion for them I could feel in my chest. It was such a palpable feeling that by the time I finished it felt like I had gone through a similar life experience as Lucy. It just had a remarkable way of making you feel as though you were in on both the highs and lows of the story. Another thing that I really liked was located in the back of the book the author has a reference to both songs that related to the book, as well as references that were made. So there is both a song list and a list of books referenced throughout, which is something that I think is just really unique and helps you dive further into the characters world and likes if you choose to do so. I started the book really late at night, and had to finish it in the morning- it was just one of those books that was a really easy fast read, but still had substance to it. I also think that part of the reason I liked the book so much is due to the fact that the lives of the characters from the book felt genuine and honest. It felt like versions of most problems young adults face. Especially when it comes to living with the safety of your head or taking a risk for love and living by what your heart wants. I see a lot of similarities between this book and the novel “Before we were strangers”. So if you have read and enjoyed that book, I think that this book will be right up your alley as well.
With that being said- I will say that I do wish there had been a different ending to the story, but I also see why there wasn’t. Even though the book was long, I still somehow longed for more. I don’t overall think I have much to contribute to what I do not like about the book, but instead directions I wish the story had gone instead.
Quotes in particular that stood out to me:
“And that I’m sorry his demons became yours because they did didn’t they? You’ve lived so much of your life in response to his, trying not to become him, that you ended up battling both his demons and your own.” (29)
“As soon as you started keeping secrets we had no chance.”(69)
“Because we only show our true selves to the people we care about the most.”(73)
“When we ran together I felt like I was always reining you in when you wanted to fly.”(103)
“The way people interpret a situation often says more about them than it does about the situation.”(262)
“We see everything through the filter of our own desires, regrets, hopes and fears.”(262)
“There is an element of peace in believing that we’re only players on a stage, acting out stories directed by someone else.” (299)
Overall, I think that it says a lot that I still have more quotes written down in my journal. I think that just speaks volumes as to the kinds of topics that were covered- topics that you do not even necessarily have to have gone through to connect to. Without spoiling anything this story touched on the complexity of growing up and becoming ones own individual, making sacrifices in life and for love, touched on the subject of fate, complicated relationships both romantic and familial, and overall was just a good book. I probably won’t read this again, at least for awhile only because of the fact that I have a fairly good memory so I have to wait for a good chunk of time to pass so that the story can be a bit new to me again.
More than Words by Jill Santopolo:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
First I just wanted to mention that I pull a stack of books on my reading shelf and simply go in order from left to right on that shelf. So believe it or not- the fact that I read two of her books back to back was a complete coincidence and honestly I am not mad at it. Something I will say is because I read the books back to back I did notice a lot of similarities between her characters. To me it felt like in a light we lost, the main character was stuck in her head and did what she thought she was meant to do, whereas in this book it was more about what this character actually wanted for herself and her life which was refreshing. There even was a crossover with one of the male characters that I just thought was a cool little inclusion.I especially loved the character development in this story- the characters weren’t perfect and they did not necessarily handle situations perfectly but I do think that they grew and started being more active participants in their life rather than just letting life happen to them. I liked the fact that there was a breakaway from societal and even sexual expectations. There was an obvious message that it is okay to be curious and figure out who you are and what you want no matter who you are, and I just think that is rad. I also think that the topic of loss, and the fact that family can also be made-up of people who aren’t necessarily related to you by blood is a subject that might be helpful to those who are grieving or have experience loss in any variation of the word.Again I think that the authors addition of suggested songs/references in the back is a cool feature.
I will say that I would have liked a bit more of her life post election- but I also think that could be something that could be continued if the author chooses to make a second book (but I am not too sure she will). I think there was just a bit left unresolved at the end that I would like to know more about. I just would love to see the further development of Nina in this 2.0 version of herself, and how her relationships grow in change while she is in this discovery period. I also would have liked to hear more about Caro’s point of view, as I think that in a lot of ways she was a stand-in mom so it would be interesting to hear her point of view not only about the present day but also the events of the past as well. I think this author does a great job of building her girl friendships in the books, and so if there were a second book I would also like more of Nina with her friends and her life outside of work and relationships. But overall I think this is just a matter of me just wanting more of the story.
Quotes in particular that stood out to me:
“I think of people like poems… maybe someones a haiku, or a villanelle, or a cinquain, a sonnet- our length and form are predestined but our content isn’t. And each form has its own challenges, its own difficulties, and it’s own beauty.” (51)
“Lo soledad es el hecho más profundo de la condición humana [translation: solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone.]”(102)
“It was a place where memories lived. Where they’d been stored up waiting for her, but she never knew. And now that she’d fond them, the only person who’d been keeping them from her was the only person she’d wanted to share them with.”(161)
“He had a glamour she realized, just liker her father. The confidence, the charm, the megawatt smile. Inside he was just as broken as everyone else. Maybe even more so. “(313)
“To be afraid of failure; not because you wouldn’t recover, but because of what everyone else would say.”(313)
“It made life on display easier when you were trying to hide anything, when you were simply being yourself.”(333)
Overall I think that this book touches on so many topics that so many people face. One being the pressure we place on ourselves to not disappoint those we love, and in doing so sometimes we are sacrificing getting to know ourselves. I also think that it touches on the fact that a lot of times we put those we idolize or look up to on pedestals that have a habit of crashing down if we are unable to accept the fact that they are just as human as we are. I think that this book does a great job of touching on the delicate balances of relationships and having the courage to pick a different path for yourself. I just think that a lot of times we are so afraid of heart break that we end up unknowingly breaking our own heart and spirit by our actions and this book is a perfect book to read if you need the courage to take a chance on yourself and leap.
The correlation between the three books:
All three books had a lot of literary references sprinkled throughout the stories. The first two books especially put a special emphasis on Shakespeare and his work that ended up having an influence on the characters both of the stories in their own ways. All three touched on love and loss and the tragedy that comes with losing someone. But they also touch on what can be the redeeming qualities that can come after, and how you are essentially the keeper of your memories so it is important to actively think about memories you wish to keep alive. There is also this theme about fates that could be found in each of the stories. In the first one it was more related to decisions and their plays, in the second book it was more tied to life choices and whether or not they were pre-destined, and the third it was more or less in relation to whether or not there was a sense to death or if it was in fact random and senseless. I think that there was a stark difference between the first book and the other two however. I feel as though the first one was hard to be seen as a convincing genuine love story. I think the first was more so a story of the lies that remained in the words left unspoken, and that lust and sexual need was confused for love. While the second book was more about the love that remained in the words unspoken and the regret that can come from not saying what you are truly feeling. While the last book was I almost want to say the healthiest in terms of the character actually being in touch with their emotions and sharing it with others. There is also the common location of NYC, so it was interesting to see the city in different perspective and also in different financial brackets throughout the characters lives. I think that all three of the books also emphasizes the difference between relationships that accept you for all versions versus the ones that only accept you as long as you remain the same or perfectly conform to the idea they have of you in their head. Lastly I think that there is this common theme of human ego, and how fragile and ever-changing our ego is and how it can truly be constricting it can be if you let it get too big.
So before I let this get any longer, I think that this is a good place to finish off. Like always I would love if you comment/share/interact with me. I love talking to y’all and can also be found on instagram @ReadandRamble as well. Feel free to dm me there if you want to talk/have any suggestions. Please let me know what you think!! I’ll be rambling again next Sunday🖤📚