Review: The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

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This was an interesting nonfiction book. There are many different things going on, many instances of social injustice.

It’s the story of Sasha who doesn’t identify as either a boy or girl. As a teenager, this has got to be incredibly difficult. However, Sasha is lucky to have the complete support of both parents and support systems at school. It’s also the story of Richard, a black teen who lives a completely different life than Sasha. Their paths cross one afternoon on the 57 bus, and things will never be the same for either of them.

You’ll feel so bad for what Sasha has to go through, but you’ll also feel bad for Richard and his circumstances. Go into this one with an open mind, and be ready to honestly examine your preconceived ideas.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The 57 Bus

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Review ~ The Price of Salt, or Carol, by Patricia Highsmith. 

When someone asks if you’ve read anything by Patricia Highsmith, you would usually think they were referring to her famous psychological crime novels, such as, The Talented Mr Ripley series, or Strangers on a Train. Well those are what Highsmith is most famous for, but she also wrote a little gem in 1952. This book is different as it was a complete move in genres – a romance. However, this was a forbidden (and actually illegal at the time) romance as it centered around two women. Now, obviously there was lesbian underground pulp fiction being produced at the time, but this novel broke a lot stereotypes of the time. Usually lesbian characters of the time were one dimensional; characters that needed psychological intervention to get them “over their phase”, or mentally ill, suicidal hysterical women. Highsmith broke against this convention and created characters that any one of us can relate to and understand. 

The novel focuses on Therese who is a 19 year old aspiring set designer  who is taking on a Christmas job at a department store, when she meets an older, confidant woman named Carol. They start talking, and they begin a romantic relationship. 

This is one of those novels that you’ll end up reading more than once and probably coming away with a different perspective. Set from the point of view of Therese, we only get to see her side, her view, of Carol. Both of these characters have their issues, but they are so complex due to several reasons, that we are constantly re-evaluating how we think of them and their actions. 

One of the aspects that I really love about this novel is that being gay really isn’t the issue for these women. It’s the age old issue of not really knowing who we are, or what we can do in order to achieve some kind of murky life goal.  This novel was written in the early 50’s, a time in which these kinds of complexities and truths weren’t always explored, especially with two female protagonists. 

I know this a book review, but I have to briefly mention the recent film adaptation. This is how I came to read the book, and I’m glad I read it before seeing the adaption. I have to admit though, the film version is very good, different in some respects, but very good. 

I know some people are adverse to shelling out money for older books, but I have some good news for you – the kindle version is currently only $0.99! So please take a chance, and give this wonderfully complex novel a read! 

‘Till next time, 

Pegasus 

The Price of Salt, or Carol

Review: Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

5982474Oh how very angry this book made me. And it did so in varying shades, slowly at first and then by the end I was basically running to my computer to write this review so there was no lag in my reaction time. I basically went from a slow simmer in the beginning to a burning rage at the end. Which really rarely happens to me with books because I almost never finish books I don’t like. I’ve been making a better effort to finish these kinds of books so I can review them for this blog. Because I would never review a book I didn’t read fully. So I am glad I finished this book so I could fully express my distaste!!

Logan Witherspoon was recently dumped by his girlfriend Brenda of 3 years. He found out she cheated on him and she then dumped him. Logan spends the first portion of the book lamenting this loss, but not really lamenting the loss of Brenda, much more so the loss of the possibility of getting laid. While he was angry at being dumped he seems much more angry at the idea that Brenda never allowed him to get past “second base” but cheated on him fully with another guy. Logan is extremely bitter about this. Which starts my slow simmer.  Being angry at being cheated on is completely understandable but Logan goes on and on and on about what a wonderful, amazing guy he was for not pushing Brenda to have sex with him.  When in reality that’s what a decent human being is supposed to be like.

Logan meets Sage Hendricks when she moves to his school that year and is in his lab with his friend Tim. Which brings me to point 2 of my anger level rising. Logan describes TIm as this disgusting slob. Every single time Tim is mentioned he is talked about as eating more food, as being grossly huge and just fat. At first I figured he was going to turn into a bad guy in the book and that was the reason for the description but nope, Tim is nothing but a good guy and a great friend. So basically Logan is an ass that describes his friends in very negative terms for no reason even though they’re good people.

Sage, meanwhile, is a cute girl that Logan is attracted to but who is not allowed to date. Logan finds this odd and they get closer and closer. Sage finally discloses her biggest secret – she is actually a boy. Her parents hate that she dresses like a girl and this is the first year she has been allowed to go to school in a very long time. She sneaks hormone pills in order to grow breasts and is hoping to get a sex change operation in the future.

This obviously gives Logan a completely good reason to freak out. They had kissed right before this revelation and he was understandably freaked out. I totally got this part of Logan, and his reactions in this part of the book made sense to me. However, as the book goes on Logan’s reactions no longer made sense to me at all. He knows this about Sage from a relatively early point in the book yet things still progress between the two so it felt like a yo yo for most of the book.  Which led to more of my hatred of Logan. I really wanted to smack him. His reactions for most of the book were extremely superficial and felt like we never got to go much past that. When for the briefest of moments we would get there he would pull back immediately.

I was left frustrated by this book. I thought Sage was believable, as was Logan and unfortunately the whole book probably was too.  I, however, did not enjoy it. Logan was an ass an not someone I want to read about.

2 Stars

~Clio

Almost Perfect