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November 11, 2014 / Melanie Rosson

Wasted by Marya Hornbacher

hornbacher, marya - wasted( thumbs_up ) Hornbacher is a brilliant writer and has gone through hell with her mental illness. Wasted is what I believe is her first memoir on one of her dual diagnoses – a NOS eating disorder. Her second memoir is a chronicle of her struggle with bipolar disorder, Madness: A Bipolar Life.

This was written when she was only 23 years old. It begins by describing problems in her youth and warning signs of the disease to develop. First, she becomes extremely bulimic. Then, out of desire to have more restraint and more substantial weight loss, she devotes herself to anorexia.

At a very young age she develops habits and ways of thinking that obsess over food and her own body. She sees no limit on how thin she needs to be. She desires to wither away to nothing.

She becomes emaciated to the point where she is told she has one week left to live. Only this, did she see as a turning point to change her behavior. Now, she is living, but still in a continuous struggle with the disease.

I love this book for how much detail it provides, the plentiful research and observation it contains, and how much great analyses the author has put into to trying to understand her condition and circumstances. It’s intense and honest, and made me cringe the whole time I was reading it because I’m disgusted by the idea of someone starving to death – especially by their own will. It’s great – but like I said –  an intense read.

November 4, 2014 / Melanie Rosson

Beautiful Boy by David Sheff

sheff, david - beautiful boy ( thumbs_up ) Meth is a hell of a drug. As this book will tell you, probably the worst and most far-reaching drug to have hit America yet. Now, imagine loving someone who is deathly addicted to it. The worry and stress would would eat away at you in more ways than one.

The author of this book is the father of a severe meth addict. He tells the story from a unique point of view. Usually I read from the addict’s perspective which is extremely intense. However, this proved to be just as gripping. The emotional turmoil that comes with trying to help and care for someone so sick is debilitating in a way.

This book tells us how those around addicts feel, and why groups like Al-Anon are so beneficial. Also, he does thorough research. He educates his audience on facts and studies behind addiction and treatment.

If you’re into stories about the disease of addiction, this is a good book.

Also, check out his son’s book “Tweak” by Nic Sheff.

September 25, 2014 / Melanie Rosson

Daughter of the Queen of Sheba by Jacki Lyden

lyden, jacki - daughter of the queen of sheba( thumbs_side ) The idea of this story is intriguing. It follows the daughter of a manic depressive woman – also known as bipolar. It examines how she grows up, what she’s exposed to, and the abuse she suffers.

It also tells of how her and her sisters came through such dark times with her mother, but still managed to grow up fairly normal. None of them inherited the “crazy” gene.

In fact, in the “Introduction” (at the back of the book, for some reason) it mentions that destructive marriages and stressful events in Dolores’ (the mother’s) life may to be to blame for the onset of severe mental illness. So maybe it wasn’t in her gene pool.

The girls grew up being forced to be a parent to their own parent, which is never a way any child should grow up. Unfortunately, it happens, as it does here.

The story itself is compelling, however the way it is told throws me. It is almost poetic in it’s descriptions and has many abstractive narratives. I prefer straight-forward story-telling. This had me analyzing what the author was telling me too much. And some of the time, I couldn’t even follow her train of thought. It was all over the place. I wouldn’t recommend this book, but I don’t regret reading it.

September 20, 2014 / Melanie Rosson

Looking For Alaska by John Green

green, john - looking for alaska ( thumbs_side ) Miles wants to go to boarding school, and so he does. There, he becomes close with a particularly rowdy group of people. He also develops a huge crush on a girl, Alaska. However, she’s the most moody person he’s ever met.

Teenage rebellion, drinking, smoking, and pranks ensue. On the night Miles, nicknamed Pudge by his new friends, finally gets to first base with Alaska, a huge “accident” happens.

The second part of the book is spent with the group experiencing the aftermath of the accident. They analyze it to death, but finally realize they will never know exactly what happened.

It’s not a bad read, but there’s not anything particularly new or interesting about it. Just another teenage trauma story.

September 12, 2014 / Melanie Rosson

Never Tell Our Business to Strangers by Jennifer Mascia

mascia, jennifer - never tell our business to strangers( thumbs_side ) Jennifer Mascia was born into a criminal family. She had no knowledge of it until she was well into her adulthood. Sure, she saw her father get arrested, but she never knew what for until she did a google search years later and found it was for murder.

With active connections to the mob and drug cartels, her father was not what you’d call a law abiding citizen. And her mother knew everything he did, but still stayed with him despite his transgressions.

It wasn’t until her father died of cancer, and her mother was also on her deathbed, did she hear the worst about her father and her past. So, as she was a journalist, she dug deeper. She researched, and eventually wrote this book about her growing up and her life after.

Unfortunately, I think the majority of the content of this book is analyses and speculation I could have done without. I like emotions and a story – not over-thinking the way situations panned out.

July 31, 2014 / Melanie Rosson

Cum Laude by Cecily Von Ziegesar

ziegesar, cecily von - cum laude( thumbs_side ) I expected more from the author of the Gossip Girl series, but I mainly gravitated towards this book because it is based on a college campus. It’s so hard to find books based around people in my age range.

All the main characters are freshman, except for one 15-year-old and one guy who dropped out. Most of the characters meet on the day of orientation. Between 5 individuals, love connections spark. But soon other difficulties of dealing with school and family stress come into play.

There’s drug use, crime, and sex. But it’s mildly entertaining at best.

July 28, 2014 / Melanie Rosson

Starbird Murphy and The World Outside by Karen Finneyfrock

finneyfrock, karen - starbird murphy and the world outside( thumbs_up ) It’s always interesting hearing about the different ways different cultures and people with different belief systems live. It’s even more interesting when that different lifestyle is a cult.

Starbird was born into a free love, nature-loving, farm-dwelling group who follows their leader, EARTH. EARTH receives messages from the Cosmos that he translates to members of the Family. Everyone is devoted to him. But Starbird has a “calling” to join the outside world with a few other members and waitress at the Family’s organic cafe. She enrolls in school and is exposed to different ways of thinking. Soon, she learns what “brainwashing” is. She reevaluates her whole life – everything she’s ever known.

I got sucked into this novel, and started and finished it all within a day. It’s a tad predictable, but pretty good despite this.

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