Tag: Nonfiction

Review: Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories.

Posted September 2, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Rowena’s review of Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories.

You are not alone

Discover how Lauren Kate transformed the feeling of that one mean girl getting under her skin into her first novel, how Lauren Oliver learned to celebrate ambiguity in her classmates and in herself, and how R.L. Stine turned being the “funny guy” into the best defense against the bullies in his class.

Today’s top authors for teens come together to share their stories about bullying—as silent observers on the sidelines of high school, as victims, and as perpetrators—in a collection at turns moving and self-effacing, but always deeply personal.

It’s really hard for me to review this book because this isn’t a work of fiction. Each of the stories told throughout this book are real stories that happened to real people. In this book, seventy authors come forward and talk about their different stories with bullies.

Each story is told in a way that will have you reflecting back to your teenage years and it’ll have your heart breaking because of what each author went through and how each story helped shape the people they all grew up to be. I know that immediately after finishing the last story, I gave the book to my daughter to read because as much as I talk about standing up for those that are being bullied at school, to see what’s going through people’s heads while they were being bullied helps paint a clearer picture of how devastating being bullied is and I want them to understand that it’s never okay.
I can’t say that I connected with one story more than the others because I took away something from each and every single story. I reflected on the kid that I was and the adult that I’ve grown up to be. My past has helped to shape me into the person that I am today and as strong as I think I am, I’m no where near as strong as each of the authors with stories in this book.
This book is very enlightening at the same time that it’s not preachy. There’s nothing in this book that will have you thinking that these people think that they’re better than everyone because of the things that they went through as kids. No, this book is a mouth piece for seventy authors who were harassed as children and want the kids that are going through this now to know that they’re not alone. There is help out there for those that need it and they’re urging kids to stand up for each other and to stop bullying.
I’m so glad that I picked this book up to read for review. I’m grateful that we were offered a review copy of this book because it’s something that parents of children in their tweens and teenage years should read…together. It’s something that needs to be talked about and awareness needs to be raised to help those kids that need the help. I definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
A portion of the sales from this book will be going to the anti-bullying campaign so please go out and get a copy of this book for yourself and heck, buy a copy for your friends- you’d be helping out a very worthy cause.
Grade: 5 out of 5

This book is available from Harper Collins. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Bossypants by Tina Fey

Posted June 23, 2011 by Ames in Reviews | 3 Comments

Ames’ review of Bossypants by Tina Fey.

Before Liz Lemmon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.
She has seen both these dreams come true.
At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on
Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon-from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.
Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.
(Includes Special, Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breast-feeding, Princesses, Photoshop, the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum Cake!)

I have been a fan of Saturday Night Live since the 90s.  But my favorite seasons were with Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph in the cast.  So it’s a no brainer for me to read Bossypants.

If you’re familiar at all with Tina Fey, you will be pleased to know that her humor transfers to the page.  Bossypants was a quick, funny read with some oddly touching moments.  She pens a love letter to Amy Poehler, her partner in wit.  She describes a scenario where Amy was telling a joke that someone else at SNL took exception too (it was raunchy and definitely not ladylike) and when someone told Amy that they didn’t like it, she promptly told them “I don’t give a f*** if you like it.”  Ballsy woman!  And this also highlights a theme throughout Bossypants.  Female comedians are treated differently (and not in a better way) than their male counterparts.  If a man was telling the same joke Amy was, you KNOW that the other male SNL staffer would not have made an issue of it.  But this theme isn’t bashed over the reader’s head while enjoying Bossypants.  In Tina’s sly writing, it’s just something that’s interwoven among her various stories.  But one has to laugh when male comedians were worried about more female comedians joining their improv troop because there wouldn’t be enough parts to go around.  In improv?  Ridiculous!

One touching (but still funny) chapter that I’m still thinking about is the chapter about her father.  He’s a rock-solid guy and you can tell he definitely had a lasting effect on his daughter.  She also, in a backhanded way, claims he’s partially responsible for raising an adult virgin.  LOL

And she also discusses the whole Sarah Palin thing.  I liked seeing what was going on behind the scenes there.

I’m not going to grade Bossypants because it’s comedy, either you like it or you don’t but it’s all in your own taste.  I really enjoyed Bossypants because I like Tina Fey’s sense of humor.  If you enjoy it too, there’s a good chance you just might enjoy reading this book as much as I did.

And I will leave you with a Tina Fey pearl of wisdom that I also follow:

12) The Most Important Rule of Beauty
If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important Rule of Beauty. “Who cares?”

This book is available from Little, Brown & Co. You can buy it here.

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Guest Review: Notorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carrol

Posted January 28, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith‘s review of Notorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carrol.

Since time immemorial, royal marriages have had little to do with love00and almost everything to do with the d istinctly unromantic concepts of diplomacy and dynasty. Clashing personalities have joined in unholy matrimony to form such infamous couples as Russia’s Petter II and Catherine the Great, and France’s henri II and Catherine de Medici—all with the purpose of begetting a male heir. But with tensions high and silverware flying, kings like england’s Henry II have fled to the beds of their nubile mistresses, while queens such as Eleanor of acquitaine have plotted their revenge. Full of the juicy gossip and bad behavior that characterized “Royal Affairs”, this book chronicles the love-hate marriages of the crowned heads of Europe—from the angevins to Prince Charles and Lady Di—and ponders how dynasties ever survived at all.

My thoughts: Ms Carroll has exhibited a great love for history and a remarkable talent for taking her research and putting it all together in a more than readable form. Her evident delight in the comings and goings of royalty have served her well, and she has given us a volume full of the missing tidbits that, had we had them when we were in school, would have made history and social studies far more interesting. I am impressed with the scope of this volume and took great delight in visiting old “friends” about which I had read much while discovering historical figures about whom I knew very little. For instance: I would have never really considered Mary Rose Tudor to have been of much interest (younger sister of England’s Henry VIII), but I was fascinated with her story. I think I realized anew while reading of her marriages that she was deemed a proper human mannequin upon which to hand the wealth of England and France (her wardrobe at the time of her first marriage would have cost $30 million in today’s money). I was disappointed that Ms Carroll did not include one of the true royal love stories of the 20th century, that of Princess Elizabeth of England and Prince Philip Mountbatten of Greece. Perhaps their relationship was far too pedantic for this book. Nevertheless, this romp through nine centuries of royal wedding and bedding was delightful and beautifully written. Even though it is a book of relational history, it reads like a novel and is a testimony to the talent of Leslie Carroll in helping to affirm that truth and reality can often be just as interesting as fiction, if not more so.

I really like this book, but then, again, I love history. For those who are not drawn to historical narratives, this may be a very good introduction to the genre. For others who crave more salacious reading, this may be somewhat disappointing. I am afraid that it will not appeal to everyone and that is unfortunate. But this book accomplishes what many others set out to do and fail: it makes history fascinating. There’s lots to be said for that !

I would give this book a 4.75 out of 5 rating.
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from NAL. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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