A Biography of Eudora Welty by Carolyn J. Brown

Eudora, a famous writer from Jackson Mississippi has had many biographies and books dedicated to her memory and focused on her life. Many of these biographies hold details of her writing life and her incredible love for books. There has even been a visitors center open in her dedication detailing her life and how she wrote her books. Her house is open to the public, and we easily get a glimpse of her life. However, many biographies do not go in to detail heavily about her personal life and beliefs. Carolyn J. Brown tried her hand at Eudora Welty and the end result was a wonderful depiction of Eudora.

The biography begins with details about Eudora’s home life in Jackson. She brings the topic up with the statement that Eudora had a teacher who when the first snow fell drew out her black cape and caught a snowflake “running up and down the isles showing the flake before it melted”. Eudora had such a small town life, much like most people do in Mississippi. She didn’t get her groceries from a store, instead she grew her own food and killed her own meat for the house. If they needed anything they didn’t have Eudora would have the task of going out to the small country store and buying it as well as one extra dollar for a peice of candy. This small life was so well conveyed and understood to readers.

Many people who have been to the visitors center do not know much about Eudora’s family members. Eudora held her family close, however, most people in her family died at a relatively young age. Her father was the first to pass away after complications. Her brothers both enlisted in the army and died shortly after for other problems not related to the army. Her mother was too weak for her to care for and was later put in a hospital. When she lost her mom she continued in her footsteps addopting her garden outside of the little house in Jackson. This became her way of expressing herself, and she considers herself as more of a creative person not just a writer. The garden still stands outside of the house in Jackson and there are always flowers budding throughout the years. The garden is beautiful, and holds a strong reflection of both Eudora and her mother. It was wonderful for the garden to be mentioned in the biography due to the underlying fact that the garden was important to Eudora’s life.

The book itself was outlined in a way that held the readers attention. It was split up into different chapters that showed different time periods in her life. From her life in Jackson, to her education, to the serious times during war when her brothers were fighting, to her career, to friendships, and to the Eudora house, the chapters all held something special. The book also was scattered with quotes from Eudora herself and some special pictures of her as well as artistic work that was never really paid attention to outside of the biography. In the end there is also an outline of her life in order of the time it happened. This is essentially interesting as well as helpful for people who wish to learn more about Eudora. It was all beautifully arranged and just the way Eudora would want it herself.


Fragments of the Lost book review

This story was one of the emotionally captivating books that I have read in awhile. What starts out as a sad sob-story of a girl who lost her boyfriend in a car crash ends in a terrible search for answers that might not turn out as expected. We learn further in the story that the two main characters had broken up before he had ever “died” in the car accident.

What was never revealed is the reason why Caleb never decided to tell his mom that they had broken up. All he says is that he was going to see her, which he does many times before. The only difference is when he goes this time, somehow, he gets into a wreck that leaves everyone surprised. However, this wreck didn’t make any since. There was no way that he had wrecked into this river, it had only been raining, and the guard rail was only slightly broken. Even if he did fall off into the river, his body was never found by the police. This instance was odd to me because normally with police they have to find the body before it is ever considered a death.

In the beginning, it is also weird that they don’t really have much of a relationship. Sure, they always tend to be around each other, but they fought often. There was always something off about Caleb, especially when they went on their little trip. He acted as if it was for them to spend time together, but when the mystery man is revealed, we see that he was meeting with his father the whole time. There was also a slight romance between Caleb’s best friend and the girlfriend. It is revealed about halfway through that Caleb actually knows about this romance, but doesn’t say anything but “I know”. If he actually loved her, it would have been more of a big deal.

His mom was extra weird during the book. She wanted his girlfriend, the main character, to come and take care of all of Caleb’s belongings. During this time she somehow always pops in at random moments to be sure that she is taking care of the job and not goofing around. At first the reader must assume that it is simply because she blames her for her sons death, however, we later assume that she must think that the girlfriend/ex-girlfriend must know something. She places a tracker on the girlfriend’s phone, keeps track of every place that she goes, and even spies on her phone calls. This foreshadows the events that leads up to finding Caleb. What mother would follow an ex so closely, if she didn’t know that her son wasn’t actually dead?

The author uses so many different mystery details to account for Caleb’s disappearance. Throughout her entire time of cleaning up the room, she finds different things that show that Caleb may not be dead. In the end she finds a mysterious compartment that shows that Caleb had actually been in the house recently, and was covering up his tracks.

This story had a genius way of foreshadowing events. The author added so many details that was somewhat up to the reader to understand. If I was to read it again, I’m sure I would find more detail that I didn’t before.

This is Not a Love Letter Book Review

This book was a mixture of a love story and a sad story about a boy who had mental health issues. This boy had a way of hiding his mental issues from his girlfriend, who was a bit of a brat to him. She didn’t know what was happening to the boy and took out their issues on him. This may have had a bigger effect on him than what the story told because, in the end, he did decide to take his life.

This story takes place of a mystery, two people trying to find their lost friend. The author of this book is able to portray so many emotions to the reader that the characters are going through. Tim, the best friend of Chris helps the main character but holds a small bit of resistance toward her. While no one really blames the entire thing on her, there are some small difficulties where some of the blame is placed.

The book is in a series of letters addressed as “you”. This is so that Jessie can write to Chris, who no longer exists. She goes to Chris in her mind and in her writing. There are instances where she imagines Chris running alongside her or lying in bed with her. This really shows her love for her boyfriend and her inability to let him go. He is the single most important thing to her in his life.

I love the way that the author brings in the characters in the book. There is no jump between characters, and it always seems to run smooth. Chris and the main character are introduced first with a funny story about how the main character is stripped down almost completely naked in a lake, and Chris pokes her in the back with a stick because he thinks that she is dead. This was ironic and a funny way for the two to meet. Tim gets introduced when he is frantically trying to find Chris. He is frantic and stressed out when he talks to Jessie. Michael gets introduced as Jessie’s gay friend and the one who made Chris run away angry when the two were “dancing.” Tamara was introduced as the mean girl that thought that the entire incident was Jessie’s fault. She called her a fat loser and in all was really mean to Jessie.

This book was in all a book about suicide and depression. The end of the book was a letter and dedication to  Al, a friend of the author. The author wrote this book in memory of a true story. While the characters were not real and the storyline was partially made up, there are very real emotions in the book. The author’s friend had gone missing while running alongside a river, just like the main character’s boyfriend had. This was a heart clinching story, and this book sheds a big light on the issue of suicide. I believe that everyone should read this book, and recognize that it is hard to know if someone is thinking about killing themselves or not.


The Innocence Treatment by Ari Goelman

This was a sci-fi book about a girl who was used as a test experiment. The girl started off as a really innocent girl who could not tell if someone was lying to her or not. Someone could make a joke about something odd like someone having an arm for a head, and she would believe them fully. She then undergoes some more experiments and ends up being quite the opposite of what she was. While she was still slightly innocent, she was violent. She was able to fight against nearly anyone and win.

This book was quite the page-turner. I enjoyed the way that the book was set up with journal entries. To me, journal entries are the best way to write a book because you get the emotional scoop of a character without having to see it through another character. I feel this was the correct way to set up this book in particular due to the fact that we are able to recall how she is feeling with all the treatments. Her development through the book was great, I saw a completely different side of her within her first few journal entries.

I feel that the development of the psychiatrist character went off as really dull. He didn’t really show much development throughout any of the book. He was more of an observer of the experiment instead of a friend or enemy. This character struck me more as a fill-in character than anything. The development of the plot was used through this character. While I understand why he was used, his personality added nothing. The plot would have thickened if it would have been the doctor herself reading these journal entries and talking to her through a microphone. Like it is, this isn’t well written to me.

I would also like this book to better explain the sister and what happened to her. I love that the sister was able to become a doctor and get away from the district, however, I want to know what happened to her before the fact or what made her decide to become a doctor.

The ending of this book was great and really summed up the entire book for me. The innocence girl is meant to be mysterious and misunderstood. When she is only seen by her sister for split seconds in the story, I find this just as mysterious as her. She is constantly making the district follow her around. when she runs off she makes the joke of “You know me, pissing some pretty important people off”. This little joke made her sister laugh, and when her sister walks off men in uniforms trail off behind her. The sister makes the connection that they are probably after her, but she doesn’t worry much because she figures that her sister has it handled.

In all this book was really emotional for me. I found myself wanting the Innocence girl to be free more than anything. This book worked well as a Sci-fi and I was genuinely impressed.

The Girls by Emma Cline book review

This book was about a girl who noticed another girl named Suzanne in her town and she watched the little moves that the girl would make. She found herself drawn to this girl that she barely knew and wanted to know what it was that was so interesting about her. Her mother was mean to her in a way that she forced her boyfriends into her life without any consideration of her daughter. This lead to a big fight and eventually her leaving the house for a night. She ends up tied into a cult, while her mother believes that she is at a friends house while she in fact, is not.

The first part of this book really didn’t capture my attention and I believe that somehow, the book should have started out with the girl noticing the other girl. This would have made the beginning of this book much more attention-grabbing.

The rest of this book was very easy to follow. It is both in present and past tense and she spends most of the book reflecting back on the time where she was in a cult and wondering what that all meant to her now. The end of this book was very reflective and shows the reason she decided to join the cult that she was in. She realizes that if Suzanne wouldn’t have left her she probably would have killed the people as well because of the anger that was built up inside her. She didn’t leave with Suzanne, and instead stayed at the school that she was at, and i really like the authors idea in doing so. I believe that her not going with them made her personality stronger because we see that she has overcame this strong urge to leave, just like she would have overcame her urge to commit violent acts.

I believe that the anger that this girl has came from her parents. She was angry at her mother for having the men around the house, and then later in the story she was angry when she was forced into sexual acts for the cult. Her anger resonates with the writing, and I felt strongly connected to that hatred.

She was so drawn to this girl because she wanted that free feeling. She saw that Suzanne was free, and careless about anything that was happening around her. I think that deep down she wanted to be apart of that. Suzanne saw something different in her. She saw that she did have a little more good in her that would have gotten drawn out if she would have stayed with the group. So, Suzanne leaving her really wasn’t a bad thing. Instead, this was Suzanne’s way of telling her that she is free from the group. She wanted her to live a life outside of jail cells.

The end of the book resonates the whole story itself. She sees a stranger walking across a gravel path and she believes that the person is walking to her to hurt her. Instead, it is just any normal person walking down the path. I love this part of the book because it is easy to see how her mind is different from other peoples, and she will never really be free from her mind because of that difference.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli book review

This book was based on a young girl who had moved to a school district and came to regular school after being home schooled her whole life. She didn’t know how to fit in with the other kids and did things completely out of wack. She didn’t really pay much attention to the fact that people were judging her and instead stayed the way that she had always been. She also named herself according to what sounded good to her. She didn’t stick to one name, she didn’t care that it wasn’t normal.

We see a romance develop between star girl and the main character. This is quite interesting because the main character has opposition to her in the beginning of the story just like everyone else did and then somehow down the road was drawn to that difference. I love the idea of this romance, it was so different than most romance is conveyed in books. This honestly added in so much of a plot and individuality to the work. I also like the idea of him wanting her to change, and not liking the way that she is simply because she didn’t fit in with everyone else. He was helpless to the idea that she wouldn’t change who she was just for him.

The stargirl was selfless throughout the book. She didn’t care what people thought of her, and she almost seemed to not have an ego at all. She only wanted to make other people happen, not herself. If anything, helping other people made her happy. I enjoyed this aspect of this character because it’s something you don’t really see much in other books. You almost have to root for this character, and I always got lost in thought thinking about how it must have felt to be helpless if only for just a moment.

I really like the fact that throughout this entire book there was always some kind of surprise that I would never expect. I didn’t lose interest in the book because every time I turned the page there would be some image sticking in my mind that I couldn’t get out of my head. At some point the idea of a wagon that she kept rocks in was brought up. She placed rocks in the wagon for each time that something made her happy and took it out each time it made her sad. This was a really good example of the surprise that came in this book.

This book still resonates in my mind. The end of this book tied the whole thing together and gets the reader thinking about literately everything that happened in the book all on one page. We think about the fact that this young girl who was so weird had so much of an impact on a school that she was only in for one year. Her leaving almost makes us want to understand why she left in the first place. I wanted to see more of her, to understand what made her act so weird. Most of all I wanted to know what she would do next.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini book review

This is a story about a young boy who started off quite normal. He lived a normal life, his parents were still together, his sister was a smart girl, and he didn’t have any home troubles. He wasn’t bullied in school, and he had friends that he enjoyed spending time with. His best friend’s name is Aaron and he spent most of his time at Aaron’s house watching TV and smoking.

We later see his character start to transform into a boy who is struggling with depression over something that he did not understand. From what we know about him there was no real reason for him to become depressed.  Something in his mind just clicked at a party when his friend starts to date the one girl that he was attracted to. We find out later on that his problem really was a chemical unbalanced problem instead of having some traumatic story to his problem.

This story was structured and written very well. I was drawn to the story from the very first page when it starts out with “Its hard to talk when you want to kill yourself.” This really brought me in to wanting to read this story because the subject is touchy and many people especially in this day and time can relate to that in some way. I loved the idea of it being a chemical imbalance because usually people think that there has to be a reason behind being depressed, and they mark off people who have problems with depression as just wanting attention. The story also has a way of showing the characters thoughts very well. The way he talks to himself shows us the destruction of his mind slowly and we can clearly see his age throughout the dialogue he has with himself and the “army guy” that is in his head. He refers to himself as soldier and the man that is in his head seems to always push him forward into doing certain things that need to be done. The use of this gives us so much about this character and really moves the story along.

The place he is placed into when he tries to kill himself really brings more into the story. He makes new friends, and he surrounds himself with people that are like him. I think that the idea of him being where he is with the people that are like him opens him up to the idea that he isn’t as crazy as he thinks he is and shows him that he isn’t alone with his feelings.

There are so many real characters in this story. We see development of all the characters in the ward that he is in. Ranging from a character who is a sex addict to some that are really mentally insane. We also see a character who just wants to get back on his own feet, and have his own home. This was all real to me, and this book really cleared some things up to me about what depression really is.

The Perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

This book was about a boy who went through a series of mental illness and didn’t feel like he fit in at any point. He also felt disassociated from the people around him, and he sees things differently than everyone else. We also see how some people around treat him differently than he sees himself. His friends considered him a “wallflower” and he thought after being so close to his friends that being a wallflower wasn’t all that bad. He however, fell in love with one of his friends and due to never believing in being outgoing, he never took action in loving that girl. He instead wrote a series of letters to no person in particular but rather to some person who would understand where he was coming from. We see that he really just wanted someone to understand him when he really didn’t even understand himself.

This book was written in a series of letters. At first the way it was written tripped me up because I never really get into stories that are written in letter format because I always felt that the letters took away from the real meaning of the story. However, this story never really lost my attention. It was formatted well in a way that didn’t lose me and each entry of the letters lead into the next entry well. We also got to get a lot more from the boy himself with it structured in the form of letters because his mind is directly reflected through the words. I felt the deconstruction of his mind and the way he started realizing what was really wrong with him. I see that before the end of the book he really didn’t understand what was wrong with him and he found it weird when his psychiatrist always asked him about his past, but later on he realized the full extent to why his past was so important.  It didn’t really feel like a “Dear Diary” thing but rather a reflection on events that made him realize how disassociated from the world around him.

By the end of this book I was feeling so emotionally connected to the book that I really didn’t want it to end. I think that the idea of the book set on teenagers and a boy feeling the way he did about the people around him and himself made it so relateable. There is a lot of mental illness happening and different reasons as to why those mental diseases are caused. I love the idea behind this story and I believe that everyone should read this at some point in their lives. There is so much meaning behind the words that are written and it honestly changed the way i thought about mental illness and disassociation in general. The ending had me awestruck and wondering who those letters were written to and what they were meant to capture. I think that by the end of the book he reveals the reason he is the way he is but only in a way that he finally realizes it himself.

Watch Me Go by Mark Wisniewski Book Review

This book was based around horse racing, where people place bets on which horse was most likely to win the race. We see several characters in this book that take a turn at betting in some form, regardless of how that betting may take place.  Deesh, who lives in Bronx, gets mixed up in a serious crime regarding a murder that he wasn’t really a part of.

This book was split off into two parts throughout. We start off with Deesh at first, who gets caught up in the murder from the start of the book which very quickly escalates as another murder takes place and then a suicide. All of these things make his fate against him because his guilt is increasing more and more throughout the book as no one believes he is innocent.  On the other side of the story Jan, who is a horse Jock, sees herself falling in love with a man who is addicted to betting on horse races. This addiction raises more conflict after Jans’ big win when it seems that everything is going great for her and her lover, he disappears. This later tied in to the murder case for Deesh and we learn that the case could most likely be going better for Deesh because of the history of Jan’s family.

I found that the character’s in this story were really easy to compare myself to. I was able to relate most things that were happening to the characters to myself in some way. With Jan, her helplessness was relatable to myself and she seemed to always be longing for something- or someone. This longing was able to be seen throughout her half of the story through her own thoughts in her perspective. She seems childlike and she is very overwhelmed with the ways that people regard her as “too big” to Jock. She finds comfort in riding equis Mini, which is a horse that she races on in her first match. She feels closer to her father that is no longer a part of her life because he committed suicide when she was younger. She also finds comfort in running late at night, where she can’t see anything and is forced to face whatever is in the dark that she cannot see.

This book itself was written well. It was significantly formal, but not too formal that I wasn’t able to read it. The time period that he chose was accurately represented through the book when Deesh refers to people as “brothers” and “sisters” when he finds people the same skin color as himself. We also see much of the racism of the world in this time period when we see disrespect by other people just by acknowledgment of his skin color as a  bad thing. Most of the words in this story really struck me as important and evoked emotion.

I find this book really helpful in understanding the time period, and have knowledge about horse races and betting as an addiction.

The Open Curtain by Brian Evenson book review

The Open Curtain by Brian Evenson is about a teenager who finds himself interested in the Mormon religion. When he is asked to write an essay for class, he stumbles across a series of articles about a murder committed by a Mormon. Shortly after reading about this, he and his half-brother get caught in a web of secrecy of a violent murder.

This book accurately captures a dark story of a Mormon teen. We are able to see his mind deteriorating throughout the book as he starts to form into the murderer himself. When the story starts off, Rudd is just a normal teenager but he was described as “troubled”. His dad died at an early age. We see him being troubled in the early parts of the book when he is looking at his “dead father’s dead things”. I found this really helpful in realizing that he wasn’t healthy in his own mind. Apparently his father was obsessed with murder as well, and that helped speed the process up as to realizing why exactly Rudd turned out the way he did.

The story is split up into specific sections. The first section being particularly in Rudd’s point of view in which he describes all that is happening around him. His half- brother is talked about often and we see him forming into his half- brother’s personality. His half brother is scary and controlling and he doesn’t believe in fear. He steps out and takes every conflict head- on and likes to challenge things. The writer of this book caught this in a way that it was easy to understand that Rudd had a need for validation and he liked to mimic other people. The second section was of Lyndi, one we didn’t really get much of an explanation for. We can see that Lyndi has importance in the development of Rudd’s character because he really is incapable of love but he is also capable of brainwashing those around him to think that he is. Incorporating Lyndi was the perfect way of showing that. The last section was Hooper, the murderer himself. The author included Hooper to show how much Rudd thought of himself as Hooper and how his personality slowly changed to match him.

This book was very dark and mysterious. I loved how well it brought me into the happenings of the story and I felt my own mind being confused throughout the book when Rudd was confused by his thoughts. I felt as though the book was meant to encompass me and amerce me into feeling and thinking in an uncomfortable way. I wanted to quit reading it, and be away from the story itself but the way that the story builds on itself made me want to continue reading. The authors need to show family, pain, loss, and the need to belong was well incorporate through the book. I think that the darkness of this book showed an overall view on the concept of the dark age of Mormon religion.