The Shore by Sara Taylor

The ShoreThe Shore by Sara Taylor
Published by Hogarth

From the publisher:

Welcome to The Shore: a collection of small islands sticking out from the coast of Virginia into the Atlantic Ocean. Where clumps of evergreens meet wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, storm-making and dark magic in the marshes. . .

Situated off the coast of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay, the group of islands known as the Shore has been home to generations of fierce and resilient women. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it’s a place they’ve inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years. From a half-Shawnee Indian’s bold choice to flee an abusive home only to find herself with a man who will one day try to kill her to a brave young girl’s determination to protect her younger sister as methamphetamine ravages their family, to a lesson in summoning storm clouds to help end a drought, these women struggle against domestic violence, savage wilderness, and the corrosive effects of poverty and addiction to secure a sense of well-being for themselves and for those they love.

Together their stories form a deeply affecting legacy of two barrier island families, illuminating 150 years of their many freedoms and constraints, heartbreaks, and pleasures. Conjuring a wisdom and beauty all its own, The Shore is a richly unique, stunning novel that will resonate with readers long after turning its final pages, establishing Sara Taylor as a promising new voice in fiction.

This is one of those books that I expected to love and thought it was just okay to good. Reasons I expected to love it: everyone else has (duh), interconnected short stories, beautiful writing. Those three things are true, and they were the reasons I didn’t dislike it, but The Shore didn’t wow me like I had expected it would.

The stories here are mostly quiet. The characters are mostly sad, a bit desperate, the town they live in gradually goes to shit over the years and the inhabitants suffer because of that. There is a lot of poverty, abuse, and heartache in these stories and honestly I felt depressed while reading the book. I kept hoping for someone in these stories to have a happy life, to grow up and get the hell out of this crumbling town and soul-crushing life that most of these people led, and with few exceptions that didn’t happen.

The last three stories in the book were my favorite and redeemed the book for me – definitely taking it from a solid two-star read to a three-star one. I loved how Taylor brought the first story back full-circle and completed that particular character’s story arc. I really needed to read that after having my heart broken with that character’s situation in the first story. And I found it incredibly interesting and exciting how the story jumps forward to a post-apocalyptic future in two of the final stories.

Overall, I liked the book but it wasn’t as great as I was hoping it would be. I am a fan of this author’s writing, though, and would definitely be open to picking up books or stories she writes in the future.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

11/22/6311/22/63 by Stephen King
Published by Scribner

From the publisher:

Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

I continue to be shocked at myself by the fact that I hadn’t read a book by Stephen King until I was over the age of thirty. WHAT the hell had I been waiting for all this time? And while this is only my third experience with King, I’m still in awe of his incredible talent as a writer as well as the variety of his work – the three books of his I’ve read at this point have each been so different from one another, yet each contain elements of a signature style that I’m beginning to recognize as uniquely King.

But let’s talk about 11/22/63, shall we? I’ll start with the obvious: the length of this thing overwhelmed me for quite some time, which is why it’s been on my TBR for years. It intimidated me as I began reading it, too, because it did take me a good fifty or so pages to really be into the story and wanting to know what happens next. BUT once it gets going, it is really going. And I quickly forgot about the fact that the book was more than 800 pages as I immersed myself in the story, in this world, and got to know and care about these characters.

There’s a lot going on in this sprawling, mind-bending journey of a novel, and I loved just about every minute of the journey. To talk much about plot would ruin some key points that I believe would be spoilery, but let’s just say that even though there is a LOT of plot, and also a lot of not too terribly much happening, the book never for one second felt too long for me. There’s a lot of preparation for things that will happen, a lot of nervous anticipation that said things might not (will probably not) go as planned, but all that build-up is quite worth the several major BOOMs throughout the book. One thing that made the length of the book more of a positive than a negative was the depth of character development King was able to do within those eight hundred pages. I truly got to know and understand Jake – his motivations, his hopes, dreams, plans for the future, his biggest fears – everything about him. The minor characters were less interesting, mostly because I think everything and everyone was supposed to pale in comparison to what Jake was trying to accomplish, but I enjoyed getting to know them even so.

I’ve heard some readers complaining about the love story, saying it wasn’t necessary to the plot, but I have to disagree. If anything, I feel it enhanced the plot because it gave Jake an additional sense of urgency to do what he came to do. Also, it added another element of suspense to the story, as there were several times where his journey and goals were thwarted because of his relationship. There were moments when it seemed like he might give up the entire goal of why he came there simply because he found love instead. I liked that aspect of the book quite a bit.

11/22/63 was so much fun and I’m incredibly glad I finally picked it up. I really, truly understand why Stephen King has so many die-hard fans. If you’re one of them – which Stephen King should I pick up next? Which of his novels is your absolute favorite?

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rimes

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own PersonYear of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rimes
Published by Simon & Schuster

From the publisher:

The mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder chronicles how saying YES for one year changed her life―and how it can change yours, too.

With three hit shows on television and three children at home, the uber-talented Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.

And there was the side-benefit of saying No for an introvert like Shonda: nothing new to fear.

Then Shonda’s sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the unexpected invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed―and the result was nothing short of transformative. In Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes chronicles the powerful impact saying yes had on every aspect of her life―and how we can all change our lives with one little word. Yes.

I loved this book. I loved it and cherished it and marveled at it the way that I did with Lean In and Tiny Beautiful Things – two books that inspired me and caused me to look at myself differently, to question if the way I was doing things and living my life was the BEST way, the most authentic way. That’s how I feel about Year of Yes – like a changed, more inspired, challenged person.

Shonda Rimes did something so brave, and that is that she challenged herself to say yes to every single thing that scared her in one year. If I did that … I can’t even fathom that. I am scared of a lot of things. So to say that her journey was inspiring to me is a huge understatement. I can’t even begin to go into detail about all the things that she did, but broadly speaking – she gave speeches, did a lot more publicity than she had ever done before, became more confident as a leader, eliminated friendships with toxic people, made a huge decision about her personal life, oh and also lost over 100 pounds and embarked on a completely new healthy lifestyle. The weight loss is SO not the point of the book, just one of many things that she said yes to, but it becomes a physical manifestation, a metaphor if you will, for all the other amazingly positive things that happened in Rimes’ life because of saying yes.

To get into how much I gleaned from the book personally would be too much to share here. Let’s just say that Shonda gave me a LOT to think about. A lot a lot a lot. I’ve been doing tons of thinking since the first chapter of the book, and I just finished it today, and let’s just say I’ll continue to do a lot of thinking for a long time. And doing. I want to do some doing, too.

I am a huge fan of Shondaland shows. I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder from the beginning of each show. But I don’t think you need to be a fan of Shonda’s shows, or even understand what she’s all about as a TV writer, to appreciate the book. I think a book this inspiring has the power to positively influence just about anyone to make some kind of positive change. I just had to put that out there in case you’re saying – but I don’t watch her shows, there won’t be anything here for me. Not true.

However. If you ARE a fan of Shonda’s shows, you will love this book that much more. The book is written how the characters on her show talk – the essence of Shonda Rimes just pours out of the page (and poured right into my heart and mind). It is a fantastic experience. And I listened to the audio, which she narrates herself. SO SO GOOD. I definitely recommend that choice if you’re an audio person.

So very very highly recommended. I wanted to hug the book when I was done with it. And find Shonda and hug her, too. And become her best friend. Love love love.

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

Maybe Someday (Maybe, #1)Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
Published by Atria Books

From the publisher:

Sydney is living in an idyllic bubble – she’s a dedicated student with a steady job on the side. She lives with her best friend, has a great boyfriend, and the music coming from the balcony opposite hers is fast becoming the soundtrack to her life. But when Sydney finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her, the bubble bursts. The mysterious and attractive man behind the music, Ridge, gives Sydney hope that she can move on and they begin to write songs together. But moving on is harder than she expects, Sydney can only hope…. Maybe someday…

Rhapsody Jill strikes again with another great recommendation! I suppose this would be classified as New Adult – basically YA for late teens and early twenty-somethings. The characters in this particular book are twenty-two, just beginning lives and careers and some getting involved in truly serious relationships. I am not sure if all New Adult novels are mostly romance but this one definitely was and it was AWESOME. I need to read more of these kinds of books because I really, really enjoyed it.

Basically, the story here is that Sydney is living with her best friend when she discovers that her boyfriend has been cheating on her … with said best friend. The person who alerted her to this terrible fact is the guy across the way, Ridge, a guy who she’s been listening to play guitar for a few weeks now and developing a little mini-crush on. With nowhere to go after leaving her apartment and not wanting to move back home with her parents, Sydney moves into the extra bedroom in the apartment Ridge shares with two other roommates. Sydney’s mini-crush on Ridge quickly morphs into a massive one, complete with one huge issue – he has a girlfriend, and Sydney has promised herself she will NEVER EVER get involved with a guy who has a girlfriend, after going through the betrayal of her own best friend and boyfriend.

I loved everything about this book. I loved the incredible chemistry between Sydney and Ridge. I loved the complicated friendships between Sydney, Ridge and their other two roommates (who happen to be sort of dating). I loved the huge part music played in the book. Oh, and Ridge is deaf – which is a huge thing in the book because of how he and Sydney communicate and how he experiences the world, and how he plays music differently from someone who can hear, but it’s also not a huge thing because oh my gosh he is just like everyone else! (insert sarcastic surprised face here.) Have I mentioned the chemistry between Sydney and Ridge? HOT. Yes, he has a girlfriend, and yes that whole issue needs to get sorted out but I’m telling you … super hot.

So much love for this book! Rhapsody Jill … keep the recs coming, please.

The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride

The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White MotherThe Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride
Published by Riverhead Trade

From the publisher:

The Color of Water tells the remarkable story of Ruth McBride Jordan, the two good men she married, and the 12 good children she raised. Jordan, born Rachel Shilsky, a Polish Jew, immigrated to America soon after birth; as an adult she moved to New York City, leaving her family and faith behind in Virginia. Jordan met and married a black man, making her isolation even more profound. The book is a success story, a testament to one woman’s true heart, solid values, and indomitable will. Ruth Jordan battled not only racism but also poverty to raise her children and, despite being sorely tested, never wavered. In telling her story–along with her son’s–The Color of Water addresses racial identity with compassion, insight, and realism. It is, in a word, inspiring, and you will finish it with unalloyed admiration for a flawed but remarkable individual. And, perhaps, a little more faith in us all.

I’ve had The Color of Water on my TBR shelves FOREVER so I was happy to use the excuse of #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks to finally read the damn thing. It was really good – why did I wait so long?

Ruth McBride’s story is inspiring and fascinating. That she had the courage to go her own way, to leave her family and religion of origin in the name of true love and being authentically herself is inspiring. That she felt more at home among her husband’s family and friends and culture than her own is fascinating and a true testament to the fact that how a person is raised does not have to be how a person chooses to be as an adult in the world. Reading her story of how she grew up among fear and intolerance and a religious tradition that was not very favorable towards women sheds a lot of light on why she made the choice to leave that culture, but I’m sure many people grew up in a similar fashion and did not make the same choice. It was so fascinating reading about the circumstances and the series of events that led to her making the choices she did.

This book is as much about family as it is about Ruth McBride. It’s about how family can be whatever a person decides it to be – family can be created, family can become something different from what a person always anticipated they’d want as a child – family consists of many complex and nuanced relationships, there is a love/hate relationship among many members within a family. James McBride’s interactions and relationships with all of his brothers and sisters and of course, his mother, show how complex and complicated and interesting and sometimes, frankly, weird, family can be. But there is so much love in this book, love for his mother, love for his brothers and sisters, for his father he never knew and his stepfather who raised him, and pride for the woman his mother is and for the man she raised him to become.

The Color of Water is really a beautiful book, such a gorgeous tribute to an incredible woman who lived an ordinary and also extraordinary life. Highly recommended.

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

The Night WatchThe Night Watch by Sarah Waters
Published by Riverhead Books

From the publisher:

Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked-out streets, illicit partying, and sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch tells the story of four Londoners—three women and a young man with a past—whose lives, and those of their friends and lovers, connect in tragedy, stunning surprise and exquisite turns, only to change irreversibly in the shadow of a grand historical event.

This was my second time reading a Sarah Waters novel – The Little Stranger was the first – and while the two books of hers I’ve read are nothing like one another, there’s a certain style to her writing that came through in both novels that I really, really loved.

Waters is a master at developing her characters in subtle, simple ways that over the course of the book, lead the reader to feeling super close and connected to them. These characters are flawed, miserable at times, smart, witty, inspiring at times, and just trying to live decent, happyish lives despite the horrors of war around them. These characters were unique in that many of them were gay, in a time when being so was socially unacceptable. The way Waters handles this aspect of her story is to never explicitly handle it at all – which I loved. They are just people, women living ordinary lives in the 1940’s, who happen to also like other women, and this is an important aspect of their lives because in this time in history it had to be hidden, but at the same time, it’s just a small aspect of their personalities and who they are overall. I don’t think I’m explaining it well at all, but I just loved so much how while the sexuality of these characters played a part in the book, it was so far from the point of the book as to almost be a non-issue. AS IT IS FOR ALL STRAIGHT CHARACTERS IN ALL BOOKS. Does that make sense?

Waters jumps around in time throughout the book, starting from two years after the war, and ending the book just as the war is beginning. This was an extremely clever way to tell the stories of these characters, but I’ll admit that it was pretty confusing at first. And when I got to the end, I had to go back to a few parts of the beginning of the book to re-read them to remind myself how these characters ended up, five years later. I liked that aspect of the book, a lot honestly, but it did make me have to sit up and pay attention a little more than I may have had to otherwise.

The Night Watch is a mostly quiet novel, but Waters does such an incredible job of showing the disastrous aspects of war right alongside the ordinary aspects of living through a war. It is a beautifully written novel with characters I loved getting to know. I’ll definitely be reading the rest of Waters’ backlist soon.

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and ScientologyTroublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini
Published by Ballantine Books

From the publisher:

Leah Remini has never been the type to hold her tongue. That willingness to speak her mind, stand her ground, and rattle the occasional cage has enabled this tough-talking girl from Brooklyn to forge an enduring and successful career in Hollywood. But being a troublemaker has come at a cost.

That was never more evident than in 2013, when Remini loudly and publicly broke with the Church of Scientology. Now, in this frank, funny, poignant memoir, the former King of Queens star opens up about that experience for the first time, revealing the in-depth details of her painful split with the church and its controversial practices.

Indoctrinated into the church as a child while living with her mother and sister in New York, Remini eventually moved to Los Angeles, where her dreams of becoming an actress and advancing Scientology’s causes grew increasingly intertwined. As an adult, she found the success she’d worked so hard for, and with it a prominent place in the hierarchy of celebrity Scientologists alongside people such as Tom Cruise, Scientology’s most high-profile adherent. Remini spent time directly with Cruise and was included among the guests at his 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes.

But when she began to raise questions about some of the church’s actions, she found herself a target. In the end, she was declared by the church to be a threat to their organization and therefore a “Suppressive Person,” and as a result, all of her fellow parishioners—including members of her own family—were told to disconnect from her. Forever.

Bold, brash, and bravely confessional, Troublemaker chronicles Leah Remini’s remarkable journey toward emotional and spiritual freedom, both for herself and for her family. This is a memoir designed to reveal the hard-won truths of a life lived honestly—from an author unafraid of the consequences.

I have to admit that Scientology fascinates me to no end. All religious cult-ish things fascinate me, but Scientology in particular because it’s such a big thing among celebrities. I feel like people who are swayed by cults would typically be people who are needing/wanting for something tangible, and the cult promises to deliver that – disenfranchised people, basically. But celebrities are anything but disenfranchised, they’re some of the most privileged among us, so why on earth would they be attracted to this “religion”? For everything I’d read in the past about Scientology, I couldn’t understand that specific aspect of the religion, so for that reason it was absolutely enlightening to read Leah Remini’s story.

Remini does a good job telling the story of how her family came to be Scientologists, what life was like for her growing up in the church, and then spent a good chunk of the book on how Scientology was in the fiber of every single aspect of her life throughout her adulthood. She talks a lot about how being a celebrity in the church comes with tons of special perks, how the church actively recruits celebrities because the belief is that if more celebrities are public Scientologists, more “regular” people will also join the church.

Being a celebrity Scientologist, one could assume that Remini was friendly with Tom Cruise. She is very clear in the book on exactly what type of friendship the two of them had (knew each other and spent some time together, but they weren’t exactly friends) and how her association with Cruise was a part of why and how she ended up leaving the church. It’s a pretty jaw-dropping story and definitely one you have to read to believe. But I loved this part of the book – yes, it’s juicy celebrity gossip, but on another level it is beyond fascinating to see how the inner workings of Scientology are just so freaking weird. There is no other way to put it. This shit is weird.

I enjoyed the hell out of the ride that Remini took me on with this book. It’s no joke that Scientologists are extremely calculating and cruel, especially when a person leaves the church, so I do believe she took a risk in writing her truth for the world to see. Her bravery and honesty in the face of this cult-like organization are inspiring and honestly, the book is just incredibly entertaining. Also, she reads the audio herself – and she’s a pretty good actress, so she does a great job. I really enjoyed Troublemaker. If you are at all interested in Scientology and/or celebrity memoirs, this is a great one to pick up.

Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter

Blindsighted (Grant County, #1)Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter
Published by HarperTorch

From the publisher:

A small Georgia town erupts in panic when a young college professor is found brutally mutilated in the local diner. But it’s only when town pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton does the autopsy that the full extent of the killer’s twisted work becomes clear.

Sara’s ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, leads the investigation — a trail of terror that grows increasingly macabre when another local woman is found crucified a few days later. But he’s got more than a sadistic serial killer on his hands, for the county’s sole female detective, Lena Adams — the first victim’s sister — want to serve her own justice.

But it is Sara who holds the key to finding the killer. A secret from her past could unmask the brilliantly malevolent psychopath… or mean her death.

After being impressed with Slaughter’s newest thriller, Pretty Girls, I decided to go back and read some of her older titles, and since this is the first book in a substantial series, it made sense to start here. I’m glad I did, because I plan to continue reading these books and the characters really started to grow on me in just the first book.

While Blindsighted wasn’t the best thriller ever, it was definitely engaging, kept me on the edge of my seat, and was pretty brutal in terms of the murder/gory stuff. I’m getting better at handling that stuff in fiction, because I really do like these kinds of books, and I hope to continue reading more like it.

The main thing I liked about the book was getting to know the characters and watch the relationships begin to take shape. The mystery part was good, but I’m thinking her books get better because I definitely felt Pretty Girls was much stronger in terms of the writing and pacing of the book. I am looking forward to reading more of the series to continue to get to know the characters and see Slaughter’s writing and storytelling continue to grow.

We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge

We Love You, Charlie FreemanWe Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge
Published by Algonquin Books
Review copy provided by Netgalley

From the publisher:

The Freeman family–Charles, Laurel, and their daughters, teenage Charlotte and nine-year-old Callie–have been invited to the Toneybee Institute in rural Massachusetts to participate in a research experiment. They will live in an apartment on campus with Charlie, a young chimp abandoned by his mother. The Freemans were selected for the experiment because they know sign language; they are supposed to teach it to Charlie and welcome him as a member of their family.

Isolated in their new, nearly all-white community not just by their race but by their strange living situation, the Freemans come undone. And when Charlotte discovers the truth about the Institute’s history of questionable studies, the secrets of the past begin to invade the present.

The power of this novel resides in Kaitlyn Greenidge’s undeniable storytelling talents. What appears to be a story of mothers and daughters, of sisterhood put to the test, of adolescent love and grown-up misconduct, and of history’s long reach, becomes a provocative and compelling exploration of America’s failure to find a language to talk about race.

This is a tough one for me. The ideas presented in We Love You, Charlie Freeman are ones that don’t get explored much in fiction and definitely need to – we need to see more novels explore race in complex ways, to look at how racism has, and continues to be, such a huge part of the culture, but a part that we don’t want to talk about, we don’t want to examine, especially within our own hearts and minds. I love that this book does that. I love that this book takes racism and throws it in the readers’ faces – and the characters’ faces – and says, “look at me! I’m here! I’m a problem! You must figure out a way to talk about and address and maybe attempt to resolve me!”. While I love all of that, I didn’t love how the novel itself came together in a lot of ways.

Part of the issue for me was the chimp stuff was really, truly dark. I was expecting the family/chimp dynamic to be similar to a few other novels I’ve read on the subject, novels that portray this relationship as that of a family – perhaps the chimp becomes like a sibling to the kids in the family, or at the very least like a beloved family dog, part of the family in a very concrete way. That didn’t happen here. I get why it couldn’t happen, not just for the animal research part of the story but also for the greater arc of the story Greenidge was telling about this family, but it just was not fun to read about. This chimp, Charlie, did not like anyone in the family except for the mother, who he was of course obsessed with. This led to there being this level of tension just under the surface, in every single interaction between any two members of this family. It just felt so uncomfortable, and dangerous, because who knows what Charlie was capable of. I can also say that this feeling shows how talented of a writer Greenidge is, but in my case I just didn’t enjoy feeling that way throughout almost the entire book.

I did like how we saw this story from multiple points of view, and multiple time periods. I also liked how Charlotte’s sexuality was explored, but not in a showy way or like the author was trying to make a point, it was just part of her coming of age and growing up and figuring out who she is, what she likes, etc.

Like I said, We Love You Charlie Freeman is really a difficult one for me to “review”. Greenidge tried to do a lot with the book and I think she was successful in some areas, in others, not so much. I do plan to keep an eye out for her as an author, because I think she’s got excellent ideas and will continue to write smart, interesting books that push the envelope.

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

My Life on the RoadMy Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
Published by Random House

From the publisher:

Gloria Steinem—writer, activist, organizer, and one of the most inspiring leaders in the world—now tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of how her early years led her to live an on-the-road kind of life, traveling, listening to people, learning, and creating change. She reveals the story of her own growth in tandem with the growth of an ongoing movement for equality. This is the story at the heart of My Life on the Road.

I probably would have read this book at some point on my own, but what propelled me into reading it sooner than later was Emma Watson choosing it for the first pick of her Goodreads book club. I haven’t kept up with Watson’s book club, but I am happy that the idea of such a thing inspired me to read My Life on the Road because I really loved reading this book and getting to know Steinem on a personal level.

Steinem shares a lot with the reader about how and why she became the woman she did. She delves deep into her past, discussing how both of her parents’ personalities and life choices shaped Steinem’s own personality and life choices. She then gets into details about her own travels as an activist and feminist writer and organizer, and how each new place she visited inspired and changed her ways of thinking and being in the world. Honestly, I just enjoyed going on this journey with her. I loved learning more about her as a person, getting to understand how the individuals that crossed her path over the years influenced her in various ways, and learning more about the activism that was so central to her life.

Something that I particularly loved was getting to know some of the specific women Steinem worked with and spent time with throughout her life. Many of them were people I was ashamed to have never heard of, and I was inspired to do some research on a few of them. She talks quite a bit about race and the civil rights movement, and how feminism and women’s rights are – or at least, should be – tied into civil rights. This is one aspect of feminism that particularly interests me, something I want to keep reading more about, so I was pleased to see how much it is important to Steinem, too. More of this in feminist books, please.

My Life on the Road was a fantastic journey that I loved taking with Gloria Steinem. Highly recommended.

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