In a first for me, I watched the uber-popular Netflix series before downloading Atwood’s popular book, The Handmaid’s Tale. I consumed the TV series voraciously and was anxious to see if the original novel was just as good. I’m not sure whether seeing the series first enhanced or detracted from my experience, but it did provide visuals for what the characters looked like, how rigid the society functioned, and how brutal and unforgiving Gilead was. Watching the TV series also armed me with sufficient background on what life was like in Gilead and how rapid society went from what we recognize as normal now to what became normal under Gileadean rule, providing a much more robust view than I would have likely imagined on my own.
Tips for Living was my January selection from the Amazon First program and I delved into this light, quick-reading book with no hefty expectations, armed only the knowledge that it is a murder-mystery by a new novelist (although Shafransky has a background in screenwriting and therapy).
The premise of the book: Nora is a divorcee who moves to a small summer town outside the city post-divorce. The end of her marriage wasn’t pretty–her ex cheated on her and got the other (younger) woman pregnant and then left her to marry the former mistress. But she’s moved on and is determined not to be “the bitter ex.” She finds work and a comfortable rhythm of life in this small waterfront community until her ex and his new wife buy the largest house in town right down the road from her. And then get themselves killed in that house in a particularly brutal and seemingly-intentional way. All signs point to Nora and even she can’t convince herself that she is 100% innocent due to her history of sleepwalking (among other indications of her guilt). Most of the book is about Nora’s self-directed journey to find the killer and clear her name (and maybe find a little new love….).
“The Hate U Give” is a ‘stop-what-you’re-reading-and-read-this‘ debut novel by Angie Thomas (and if the National Book Award Longlist accolade is any indication, others agree!)
Thomas tells the story of Starr, a sixteen year old girl from “the ghetto” (her words, not mine) who is living in two very distinct worlds. She resides in Garden Heights, a neighborhood better known for its gangbangers and “King Lords” than the typical residents who run the corner store (Starr’s dad, Mav, has owned theirs for years) or the local pharmacy. But Starr spends most of her day at an up-town private school (Williamson) in the suburbs, a 45-minute commute from her home in Garden Heights, where she transfers after her best friend is murdered in a drive-by shooting when they were only 10 years old. It’s no secret (so no spoilers) that Starr witnesses the murder of her other childhood best friend and that tragic event is the catalyst that Thomas leverages to guide us further into the machinations of both Starr’s psyche and the social psyche of the world around her (including the press, her family, the folks of Garden Heights and her peers at Williamson.)
Hello, we are the Dixon Family! We are adventure seekers, travel bugs, and a cruising family. We just returned from a year of living and sailing our home, S/V Dakota + globetrotting by land and air with our two school-aged boys, whom we boat/worldschooled along the way.
We are advocates of dreaming big and living with intention and purpose to realize those dreams. Hopefully we can inspire you to dream it and do it! We always have more travels and adventures abroad to come, so follow us and come along on the journey!
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