book reviews, crafts, cheap things…

Posts tagged “abuse

Express Book Review: Widow Basquiat by Jennifer Clement

Widow Basquiat : a love story

Bummer that he was such a jerk (albeit with apparently charming moments). Being an arty person myself, and spending lots of time with artists, I have very little patience for people who feel like they can treat others badly just because they made rad art. But still, as I stood in Uniqlo looking at their brilliant and desirable SPRZNY line of artist shirts, I couldn’t bring myself to feel ok about buying the shirt I liked with Basquiat’s art on the front. He was just too mean to poor Suzanne. (Did I buy garments with other artists’ designs? Yes. Do I feel bad about the sweatshop factor? Yes. Will I probably continue to buy products from this line because it does a genius job of showcasing the artists I love? Probably. Siiiigh.¬† BUT there is hope! J Morrison is an artist who makes some really awesome artist themed shirts. Ethically. There are still a few left. I’ve bought¬† a few and they’ve made my life awesome. BUY THEM, cuz OMG. )

But back to Widow Basquiat— this is a beautifully written book. It poetically explores the lives of both Jean-Michel Basquiat and his longtime off-and-on lover Suzanne Mallouk. Even if you don’t care for the art, or weren’t in NY for the 80’s, you’ll love the story (if you go for that romantic artistic kind of stuff). Check it out!!

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Book Review: Beau, Lee, The Bomb, & Me

Beau, Lee, the Bomb, & me

Just a quickie (even though I think this book deserves more) :

If you’re looking for a super-smart teen protagonist, good (both rich and witty) dialogue, and lots of feelings, check out Beau, Lee, The Bomb, and Me. Our protagonist Rylee is super-smart, but fat and an outcast at school– she ends up going on a surprise road trip to San Francisco with Beau, a bullied gay kid at her school, and Leonie, her bff (of circumstance) who’s basically the class ho with a heart of gold (and as it turns out, lots of really good qualities).

While I didn’t find the entirety of the story 100% believable, lots of the different parts are really heartfelt, interesting, and awesome. Read it. You’ll get through it in about a day, and you’ll totally be googling the author to see if there is more. check it outtttt! Or buy it. It’s on sale for under $7.


Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park : a novel

When someone says “YA banned book” to me, they may as well be saying “Free Vegan Cookies.” I’m there. Eleanor and Park is the most recent I’ve read. The censors are upset because there’s cussing (mostly by “bad” characters) and a brief (and non-graphic) foray between the two main characters to “second base” (tightly followed by their verbalized mutual decision to not go further). I feel sorry for the censors’ children. And friends. And neighbors. And their children’s friends. And the children of the people who see a headline or skim an article and decide to agree with them. Because this book, like many other banned books, is actually pretty great.

I think I know what really makes the censors mad, and it’s not the cussing by the mean characters or the two (in-love) teenagers making out. The book accepts gender that isn’t always perfectly binary,and encourages readers to think critically about expectations of masculinity in America. Also, Eleanor and Park has frank descriptions of poverty and abuse that Eleanor experiences at home, and it’s kind of hard to read. The book also addresses everyday racism and racial stereotypes– and will probably make the purveyors of those stereotypes kinda uncomfortable.

Check this book out! I found that it started a little slow, but as a chapters went on, I became more and more invested in the two characters. By the end, I was making myself late to work because I just wanted to read one more page (and then another). The writing is quirky and maybe a little romantic, you can tell that the author had a smile on the edge of her lips as she ended so many of the chapters. I wanted the ending to be a little more romantic, but I think that realistic was a little more of what Rowell was going for.

Find a copy at the library!