Book Reviews

A Sucky Love Story: Overcoming Unhappily Ever After by Brittani Louise Taylor – Book Review

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An incredibly shocking cautionary tale. I can’t believe everything this girl had to go through. I’ve been following Brittani Louise Taylor since I found her on YouTube around 2009. She made Twilight parodies with Shane Dawson, and I was hooked.

I’ve always liked Brittani. She has always given off good vibes, and I think she’s a genuine person. I used to follow her vlogs and sketches. When I found out she was engaged and pregnant, I was very surprised. A while passed, and I stopped watching her videos. When I heard about this book, I was even more surprised. Brittani was a big part of my teenage years, so of course I had to read her book. I just wish it wasn’t on this topic.

This book follows Brittani’s love life through the span of a couple of years. She found love on Tinder, and it sent her life on a complete spiral. I could easily relate because, just like her, I went on Tinder in the hopes of finding someone I could have a real connection with. I think this book is just another bit of proof that Tinder is definitely not the right place to find a partner.

I have to say, everything in this book was shocking. Some of it was crude, but the honesty swept me away. There were many things I didn’t like, or agree with, but I respected Brittani for being so genuine in her writing. I am no one to judge her decisions and the ways she expressed herself about certain people. I loved the way she wrote the book. At first, she stayed far away from cusswords, but by the end, she was cussing like a sailor and she was not apologetic about it. I loved it. She evolved along with the story. I was able to experience everything in the same way she did.

To say the least, this story is insane. There are twists and turns that you wouldn’t see coming. At least, I didn’t. It’s incredible that she had to live through all of this. I teared up a few times. My mom was a victim of domestic abuse, so it always gets to me when reading about the topic. I really felt for Brittani. But again, I respected her so much for everything she did. She is a survivor. She got out, even when all she could feel was fear. I felt that fear, too, while reading this.

I recommend this story to anyone wanting to read about a strong woman overcoming one of the worst situations imaginable. However, if you are sensitive to domestic violence and abuse, you might want to stay away from this. I was extremely angry all the time reading this. So, just be wary of that before going into it.

5 stars
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Film Reviews

Bohemian Rhapsody – Film Review

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Bohemian Rhapsody isn’t just the story of Queen, and their incredible front-man Freddie Mercury. This movie is about a queer, talented misfit from Zanzibar. Before this movie, I didn’t know a single thing about Queen outside from knowing all of the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody thanks to my love for karaoke. I didn’t know a single thing about Freddie Mercury. I went to see the movie simply out of a whim on a night out with my friends.

While I was watching the movie, I was completely surprised to find that Freddie Mercury was, in fact, not straight. It wasn’t at all what I had been expecting, but I loved the portrayal. On screen, Freddie was an effeminate man with beautiful moves and a voice like no other. The story is a classic “rags to riches” story, and that was what I had been expecting. But I didn’t know there would be so many layers to it. I loved seeing Freddie’s family, his dynamic with the rest of the band, his days touring, and the way he felt so strongly for Mary.

I am aware now that many details in the movie are not true. Many things were changed, probably to add tension and build up to the famous Live Aid concert scene, which is a big moment in the movie. I think the film had a great balance of everything. But I don’t think I would have enjoyed the movie as much as I did had it not been for Rami Malek’s amazing performance. The man has talent. Actually, now that I’ve delved into the world of Queen, I think Rami Malek is a bit similar to Freddie Mercury. I think they’re both incredibly blunt and honest in everything they do. I also believe the rest of the cast fit the band members very well.

The most meaningful thing to me was seeing Freddie Mercury being idolized and loved, to this day, while knowing all of those details about his life. I couldn’t believe that there was this outstanding queer icon in the world that I was not aware of. Being pansexual, I live for any queer representation in the media. Seeing people worship this man for being who he was made me so happy. I think this is an important movie for the LGBT+ community, even though they mostly labeled Freddie as gay, despite him identifying as bisexual. But that is not surprising, considering the constant erasure of bisexuality. However, I still think this movie is excellent and deserves a lot of love.

My rating: 9/10

Book Reviews

Binge by Tyler Oakley – Book Review

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“No person, no matter how important society deems their relationship to you, has the right to denounce you for who you are.”

I went into this book a little biased. I’ve been watching Tyler Oakley’s videos for years. I absolutely love his podcast Psychobabble that he does with his best friend Korey Kuhl. I listened to the audiobook for this book, which was narrated by Tyler. Truthfully, it just felt like a really long episode of his podcast, minus Korey (who was deeply missed). So, it’s really no surprise that I ended up loving this book.

I’ve read very few Youtuber books. Actually, I’ve only read two, and those were by Shane Dawson and Hannah Hart. I’m not big on Youtubers making books, but I’ll read them if I really like the person. I gotta say, Tyler Oakley is a great writer. I enjoyed his writing style because it was SO him. His entire essence was in this book, and I thought that was awesome. On top of that, Tyler talks about a bunch of really deep, personal things. Many of which I was really surprised by.

My favorite thing about nonfiction, especially memoirs, is that they’re personal. Often, very personal. I cannot express how much I respect and admire people who can get that personal. It takes a lot of courage to open up that much about your life. I should add trigger warnings for eating disorders and homophobia. I had no idea how much Tyler had gone through. It’s important to tell these stories though. I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be battling an eating disorder, but Tyler was able to survive that and share his story. He also talks about his journey coming out, and his shaky relationship with his father who wasn’t as understanding as everyone else.

The story that touched me the most had to do with Adam. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it, or heard about it, but there was such a vulnerability to the entire thing. I was rooting for Tyler and Adam, until I wasn’t. Overall, Tyler Oakley was just himself. Honest, fun, quirky. What can I say? I love the guy.

I haven’t read that many memoirs, though I deeply enjoy them. And I have to say, this one is a great one to pick up.

4 stars

Book Reviews

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld – Book Review

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If you know me, then you know I’m probably the biggest Pride and Prejudice fan. I’ve seen a variety of adaptations and read a ton of retellings. This story has a huge space in my heart, especially because it was something my mom and I bonded over before she passed away. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are two of my most beloved fictional characters. But I have very mixed feelings about this particular retelling.

Eligible is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic, and it does have a lot of similarities with the original Pride and Prejudice, but it’s also super problematic. I hate to start with the negatives, but I need to talk about them. There is a lot of blatant racism, homophobia, and transphobia in this book. It was incredibly offensive, and I immediately hoped no trans or other people of color read this book. The Bennet family is a rich, snobby Republican version that I completely despised. While the original version of the Bennets could be overwhelming, I never hated any of them. But Mrs. Bennet was just awful. So awful.

I also found myself disliking Liz Bennet. This had never happened to me before. In all of the retellings I’ve seen/read of this story, Lizzie is always my favorite character. But in this book, I wasn’t sure why Mr. Darcy fought for her. She just wasn’t worth it to me. I don’t want to get into too many details about why, because the list is lengthy. If you’d like a clearer review explaining the racism and transphobia better, read this one.

Despite my complaints, and all of these terrible issues I found, I did enjoy most of the book. I loved Mr. Darcy. I’ve loved Darcy since Colin Firth brought him to life in that incredible BBC mini series. I mean, there is no better Mr. Darcy than Colin Firth. There just wasn’t enough Mr. Darcy in this book. He was the most decent character in the story, though. Aside from Darcy, I also liked Charlotte. I thought she was great. And Kathy de Bourg was a great feminist character. I was surprised by this because her original character is nothing like this. But these few characters were really the only likeable ones, aside from Jane, though she wasn’t my favorite.

I was mostly confused because I thought that the author might have had good intentions, but she wasn’t careful enough to realize how offensive her story was in the end. I wanted to love it. I was ready to be obsessed over this retelling. But it just rubbed me the wrong way. I can’t say I hated it, though. I finished it in two days. It kept me entertained, for sure. But I wouldn’t really recommend it to others.

1 star

Personal

Pansexual and Bipolar

I’ve recently realized that there are two very big things about me that I can choose to share with the people around me. This occurred to me because I recently got a second job, which means I have many more coworkers than I had before. I’m a very open person. I like to share, sometimes overshare. At my first job, my full-time job, I have one close friend. She knows everything about my life — including the fact that I am pansexual and bipolar. I’ve shared these things with her because she makes me feel safe and she has never judged me. But it also dawned on me that she is my only coworker who knows these facts about me.

Maybe it’s normal not to share such personal things with coworkers. But should these things be shared with all my friends? The thing about me is, I’ve always labeled everyone I share more than one conversation with, a friend. My therapist recently made me see that many of these people are mere acquaintances, and not friends. I still haven’t fallen out of the habit of calling these people friends, but I’m trying.

But I’m also not sure when it’s safe to share these things about my sexuality and mental health. They’re huge things. To me, at least. And they aren’t things I’m ashamed of. I know who I am, and I’ve accepted it. I’m an honest person. I hate lying. And not sharing who I am with people often makes me feel like a liar. But I would hate to go up to a person and tell them I’m pansexual and bipolar, and have them see me differently.

You might ask, why do these things matter? Nobody should care.

Well, I care. I care because I want to talk about my sexuality. I want to talk about my past crushes on guys and girls. I want to say when I like a girl, as much as when I like a guy, or anyone else. And my mental health matters to me. I want others to be aware of it because it affects the way I act sometimes. I have bad days and good days, and I’m still learning how to be okay. I want people to understand why certain things take more time for me to adjust to.

I wish it were easier to share these things with people. I wish I didn’t have to “come out” all the time. I wish I could just be myself all the time.

But for now, I’ll just keep these things to myself. And you guys.

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Personal, Uncategorized, Writing Projects

Writing Update: Listening to My Gut

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It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about my writing. With it being NaNoWriMo  and me semi attempting to do that, I figured why not write about my writing? Especially since I have no book reviews to post because of it.

So I have started a new project about an all women magical pirate crew. It’s a story that’s been in head for about a year though I’ve never worked on it before this month. I always wanted to practice writing more, do research, make outlines and aesthetics and character profiles. And then I got an idea for it and said fuck it. I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote out the first page because I didn’t have my computer at the time.

I didn’t know anything about my story other than what I mentioned here. I decided my character’s name and the plot right there on the spot, and the first time in a long time I had fun while writing. Before I couldn’t help being overwhelmed with anxiety about word choice and what people would think and outlines and profiles and research. But I was actually making it all up on the spot and loving the story and not thinking about anyone reading except myself and making me happy.

After that, I decided to continue with it. I got a navy blue notebook with a gold whale on it (I love matching notebooks with the story) and I decided to continue handwriting. I usually struggle a lot with typing on the computer, but I usually still use that as a main writing source with only sometimes using a notebook for a particularly hard scene. A computer is simply the proper way to write a book right? Not this time. I decided to go with my gut and continued handwriting everything.

No other story has flowed out so easily for me. I wrote out ten pages in a single day. I’ve never been that productive ever. Typically I can get maybe five hundred words in a day which I would guess would be a page and a half in handwriting. 

It has been amazing how shedding the conventional writing advice (using a computer, character profiles, outlines) has actually helped me. The outline especially surprises me. I have always needed an outline before. But even with no knowledge about this world doesn’t stop me. If I don’t know a name for a place I put [City Name] and continue on like that. 

I’m curious about how others have dealt with this if they’ve even dealt with it at all. Do any of you have trouble with going against the norm to find out your own path? How do you deal with it? This seems like such a small struggle, but actually listening to myself and what works for me has been my hardest hurdle in writing (and life honestly). 

 

Book Recommendations, Uncategorized

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

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There’s a little witch in all of us.

I first knew Practical Magic as a movie first even though I’ve never watched it. Then I saw this on a list of witch books, and knew I needed to read it this Halloween season (yes this was supposed to be up five days ago don’t judge). For those who don’t know, Practical Magic is a magical realism romance book that follows two generations of women.

Sally and Gillion are sisters who are sent to live with their aunts after their parents died. Their aunts are the neighborhood witches that the neighborhood is afraid of. It follows their growth into adults then Sally’s children when they are teenagers.

The writing is simply beautiful. So often I felt like nothing was going on, but I remember thinking that I didn’t even care because of the way Hoffman wrote.

The pacing still is a problem for me, and what makes it not a five star read. When it picked up I was so relieved, and then suddenly, it ended and I was sad cause I wanted more.

The characters were so fleshed out except for the aunts. I didn’t understand why there was a prequel all about them until the end when they are finally given screen time. That’s when I understood that that was the first time The girls saw the aunts for who they are, and that I really needed to read the prequel. 

I still haven’t seen the movie, but I’m so glad I choose to read this book. It has the perfect atmosphere for Halloween without being spooky for those who get scared easily. It satisfied my craving for witches as well.

4 stars