This is one of the most extraordinary books I have read in a long time. It stayed with me long after I had finished it. The writing is beautiful, the characters unusual. Wavy is an eight year old girl who is sorely neglected by the adults in her life, and has seen and experienced things that no young girl should have. She has a resilience and wisdom beyond her years because she has had to in order to survive. Kellen literally rides into her life on his Harley and their relationship begins. Wavy finally experiences what it is like to have a tender adult take care of her. Kellen makes sure she eats and goes to school. Then the novel takes a turn that potentially makes readers uncomfortable. Their relationship transforms from a parental/child role into a love affair. Is Wavy (now 13) old enough to make her own decisions? Should a 25 year old biker get involved with a teenager? Is this a crime or is it a love story in its purest form not colored by societal expectations? The subject matter of this story creates fierce discussion. Each reader will come away with their own conclusions. Sympathy or repulsion? Love or a crime? You decide.
This beautifully written book tracks the start of Islam when women not only had power in the religion, but were central to its tenets, customs and practices, to today, where modern Islam in some communities has stifled women’s voices, hidden their bodies and faces, and made them virtual prisoners in their own houses. Ms. Brooks presents a fair and balanced accounting of how this mutation happened, and leaves it up to the reader to decide where they stand on the issue. Full of facts but engagingly written, it is hard to look at veiled women afterwards without questioning how they got there.
I like to think of this book as a love story – though plenty would argue with that. Set in Chechnya, this book tells the story of Havaa, an eight year old hiding in the woods, watching as Russian soldiers abduct her father. Akhmed, their neighbor, finds her and takes them to relative safety at a hospital run by Sonya Rabina who resents their arrival. The novel is brutal, frightening, and searing. It juxtaposes the horrors of the worst human behavior in times of conflict against the ultimate triumph of love.
This huge book studies the bond between parents and children who all have unique challenges. They are children who require extraordinary patience, understanding, acceptance and love. This book studies parents who have offspring with, among others, dwarfism, deafness, mental illness as well as parents to children of rape. It looks at the stunning resilience of these parents as they navigate a path they never expected. An uplifting look into the love and endurance that can arise out of unthinkable circumstances.
This book was given to me when I first became pregnant with my daughter. Who hasn’t wondered why kids don’t come with instructions? This slim little book is at times funny, poignant, wrenching and profound. It is written with the unwavering honesty and unswerving faith that is Anne Lamott’s signature style. Musings about motherhood, friendships, as well as sadness at the prospect of her best friend’s death at the time of her son’s birth, Lamott writes about her journey for the first year as a single mother.