Tag: coming of age

The Poisonous Charm of White Oleander

White Oleander was written by Janet Fitch and published in 1999. While the novel itself is now over 20 years old, its story is both engaging and extremely provoking for its readers. I came across this novel back in high school and it was one of the books I had to read as part of my curriculum. I immediately found myself in love with this book, and I’m going to tell you why.

 

image via amazon

 

White Oleander starts off with Astrid Magnussen, a twelve year old girl living with her mom, Ingrid Magnussen, in Santa Ana, California. The opening pages introduce a world of ethereal description that, like Ingrid’s personality, tricks you into sense of calm security. However, that’s when the book startles you with its poison, like the white oleander flower that the book is named after.

 

While beautiful, this coming-of-age story has some darkness to it, and it’s nothing to casually look over. Astrid finds herself constantly switching foster homes due to unforeseen circumstances, either with herself or with the family that has taken her in. As a result, abuse and grief become center stage as themes in the book. Astrid has to deal with loss after leaving subsequent foster families, and she is forced to find her way through the world essentially alone as she transitions into an emerging young adult.

 

image via flickr

 

At the end of the book, we’ve been with Astrid long enough to know who she is, and the person she’s unfortunately become, due to the forced life of moving and the grief she’s experienced after just twelve years. We end with her being 18, and although she finds some comfort and stability, we still are left feeling a bit hollow. The future is uncertain, not only for Astrid, but for ourselves. This is one parallel that the book makes with its readers.

 

featured image via IMDB

 

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Books to Enjoy With Your Favorite Dessert

Desserts and books are arguably two of life’s greatest pleasures. Everybody seems to have a soft spot for desserts to a certain extent, whether you have a big sweet tooth or you’re more of a “special occasion” kind of person – who can resist a little bit of sweet?

To match your favorite dessert, here’s a book that will pair well with it. Enjoy!

Ice cream

Image Via How Sweet Eats

Ice cream is a frozen treat that never gets old. Although we traditionally indulge during the heat of the summer months, it’s really one of those desserts that can be enjoyed at any time during any season. If ice cream is your favorite dessert, grab a pint of your favorite flavor and indulge while reading Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man is perfect for anyone who loves ice cream because just like ice cream, it never gets old. You can read this book over and over and find something new each time you read.

'The Invisible Man'

Image Via Amazon

 

Chocolate Lava Cake

Image Via Baking a Moment

If you’re someone who loves chocolate lava cake, chances are you love a good surprise. The warm, gooey interior of chocolate lava cake offers a complete contrast from its outer crust. Books with twists and turns are exhilarating – they keep the pages turning while keeping you on your toes. Here’s one to enjoy with your chocolate lava cake! Gone for Good by Harlan Coben is perfect for you if you love a book that keeps you guessing. Coben tells this invigorating story with plot twists woven into every chapter and achieves the rare feat of writing a novel which is genuinely unpredictable in every aspect.

Image Via Goodreads

 

 

Tiramisu

Image Via Food Network

Ah, the traditional Italian dessert. Coffee-dipped and delicious, flavored with cocoa, it’s hard to go wrong with Tiramisu. If you’re in the mood for some Italian, why stop at food? Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman is set in Northern Italy and will give you a beautiful glimpse of the country while crafting a compelling coming-of-age story.

Image Via Barnes and Noble

 

 

French macarons

Image Via The Cake Merchant

If your favorite desserts are these delicious, little cookies, you might prefer your sweets in moderation. No need for a gigantic piece of cake or pie – a few of these mini French treats will do! Pair some French macarons with The Stranger by Albert Camus and indulge in a short, magnificent novel by one of the most renowned French writers of all time.

Image Via Barnes and Noble

 

Featured Image Via Britannica


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5 Memoirs That Will Change Your Life

Books have a way of shifting, molding, and changing the way in which we see the world. No genre does this quite as well as memoirs. There’s just something about reading the real-life experiences of another that not only elicits empathy and understanding, but also allows you to experience the world through the eyes of someone with whom you may have nothing in common.

Some of the best memoirs detail harrowing struggles in moving, viscerally honest prose. Others cover the author’s unique and interesting life experiences while offering the reader an intimate look into characteristics of different walks of life. All have the power to completely transform the way in which readers view the world. Without further ado, here are five memoirs which will rock your world.

 

 

1.) Lit by Mary Karr

Image via Amazon

 

Every sentence in this book is like a slap in the face. Karr writes with masterful, excruciating honesty about her lifelong struggle with addiction and the strain it puts on each relationship in her life. Her voice is compelling and strong – the voice of someone who goes through something agonizing and comes out alive on the other side. Her memoir will challenge and change the way you think about addiction, love, relationships, and religion. Lit is the kind of book that leaves you both satiated and starving for more.

 

2.) Boy Erased by Garrard Conley

Image via Amazon

 

Garrard Conley details his struggle with his sexuality and faith after being outed while in college to religious parents in Boy Erased. He attends a 12-step conversion therapy program with the initial goal of changing his sexuality and strengthening his faith. Through his journey, Conley closely examines the intricate ties between family, faith and forgiveness in this powerful memoir.

 

 

3.) Negroland by Margo Jefferson

Image via Amazon

 

Margo Jefferson’s memoir Negroland explores the tensions of growing up in an upper-middle class black household in Chicago. Jefferson boldly studies the crosses of race, wealth and class as she experiences them throughout her childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Negroland is written with sharp introspection and compelling prose, tackling huge issues with brilliance and bravery.

 

4.) Educated by Tara Westover

Image via Amazon

 

In this #1 New York Times Bestseller, Tara Westover tells the story of her pursuit of an education after growing up the child of dedicated survivalists in the Idaho mountains. Westover’s first experience in a classroom comes when she is 17 years old, and in Educated she frames how her own drive for knowledge presents struggles and triumphs as well as connection and isolation as she forges further away from home. Educated is a story of coming-of-age and identity detailing Westover’s navigation between family allegiance and individual passion and drive.

 

 

5.) Abandon Me by Melissa Febos

Image via Amazon

 

Abandon Me closely examines love, intimacy, and relationships with invigorating honesty and vulnerability. Melissa Febos weaves the story of the bonds which mark her life: the tumultuous relationship with the sea captain stepfather who raised her, the passionate and intense affair she has with a woman, and the mystery of her reconnection with her birth father. Febos writes with stunning honesty, crafting a memoir packed full with universal truths sure to strike a chord with any reader.

 

Featured Image Made Via Be Funky


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