Midweek Mini Reviews #2

Native: Dispatches from an Israeli-Palestinian Life by Sayed Kashua

nativeAs, Native: Dispatches from an Israeli-Palestinian Life was my introduction to the writings of Sayed Kashua I was struck by how dry, dark, and self-deprecating the humour was at times. Just by reading the columns, I felt as if I got to look beneath the surface at what life is truly like in Israel particularly if you’re an Arab. Of course it was fun being reminded of some of the quirks of living in Israel as I too can recall having a shower in my apartment that a n incredibly strong water pressure, which was amazing when you’re living in the middle of a desert town. Additionally, I also enjoyed reading about Kashua experiences going through book festivals and travelling as it appealed to the book nerd in me. All in all, this was a somewhat dark, satirical, albeit a heartwarming collection of stories about the Israeli-Palestinian Life.

But You Did Not Come Back by Marceline Loridan-Ivens, Judith Perrignon

didnt

While short in length, But You Did Not Come Back manages to summarize the important details of Marceline’s life, including the horrors of the concentration camp and her struggle to adapt to the world once she returns “home”. The events she relates back in the book are especially horrifying if you let it sit in your head for a while until you realize the book is not a work of fiction but rather a memoir of the authour’s life experiences. People were actually treated in the concentration camps in the despicable manner that Marceline describes and it’s unfortunate that even today some people still hold the same beliefs as the tormentors back at the concentration camps.

Written as a letter to her deceased father, But You Did Not Come Back also comes across as a heartbreaking story of true survival and resilience. Like the author, I too am slightly pessimistic about our world today given all that’s happened in the world and politics in 2016 and the aftermath of such events. And it’s why books like this one are so important in that they remind us to not forget that what happened in the past can happen again if we are not careful.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | How Can I Help? A Week in My Life as a Psychiatrist by David Goldbloom & Pier Bryden

howhelpAuthour:
David Goldbloom and Pier Bryden
Format:
ARC, 367 pages
Publication date:
February 23rd 2016
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Canada
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
You are not alone. These words are something we take for granted and it’s only when mental illness hits close to home and we reach out that we realize how true these words ring. Mental illness has touched my life in several ways, I’ve had friends and sibling of friends suffer from depression, bipolar illness and schizophrenia. My brother tried to kill himself multiple times in his first and second year of university and both my sister and I have suffered from severe anxiety in the past. Furthermore, with my educational background in psychology, mental illness has always been a topic of interest for me.

I’m sure that the majority of people may already be aware of statistics shows that 1 in 5 Canadians deal with mental illness each year, mental illness is quite commonplace. Today, I feel that people are more open to sharing their experiences with mental illness with others. However, as seen in Dr. David Goldbloom’s How Can I Help? we still have a long way to go when it comes to reducing the stigma associated with mental illness in addition to how it’s dealt with in our society.

What I appreciated with regards to How Can I Help? A Week in My Life as a Psychiatrist by David Goldbloom and Pier Bryden are how the book is written in an entertaining and accessible manner. The other thing is how the book is structured to illustrate a week in the life of a psychiatrist. There are numerous misconceptions concerning what psychiatrists do, it’s enlightening to hear from an actual psychiatrist what their job essentially entails.

As a result of the book’s structure we get a glimpse at the various types of patients that require psychiatric assistance. Furthermore, I liked how we catch glimpses of Dr. Goldbloom’s life outside work and his background in addition to brief social, historical and cultural background on psychiatry practices and research. Psychiatrists and other doctors are people too, and I appreciated how the book acknowledges that they are not invulnerable to biases and human emotions.

There is much that I can say regarding mental illness and this book, however in order to keep this review brief I will that I believe this book is one that every person should read. After all, in a society where stigma remains when it comes to mental illness, it is vital that we all take the time to educate ourselves so that we can not only support those in our lives who are suffering from mental illness, but also take care of our own mental health.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto

revengeAuthour:
Michelle Modesto
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 373 pages
Publication date:
February 2nd 2016
Publisher:
Balzer + Bray
Publisher Social Media:
Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again, I love a thrilling, revenge story. Oddly enough for a book with the word “revenge” in it, there wasn’t much happening revenge wise for the majority of Revenge and the Wild. Although the “revenge” element does come more into play later on in the book. Nevertheless, it remained a story that had numerous other compelling elements to it.

One of the intriguing aspects of Revenge and the Wild was how the author managed to quite seamlessly weaved together a traditional western setting with supernatural and steam punk elements. All within Revenge and the Wild, we have vampires, ogres, cowboys, Indians and cyborgs…of sorts. It also features a badass protagonist in the form of Westie, who’s in possession of a mechanical arm that makes for an awesome weapon. Why does Westie have a mechanical arm? Well it’s to replace her real arm that was lost along with her family to cannibals. Yes, that’s right there cannibals exist in this book and if you’re the squeamish type then you might not want to pick up this book as it can get quite graphic.

Along with its unique setting Revenge and the Wild was a compelling story as it addressed issues similar to family, addiction and moving on from your past. I particularly loved the relationship dynamics between Westie and Alistair. The only thing I felt the book lacked were positive female relationships as I felt the only healthy interaction Westie truly had, was with Bena who was the one who saved her a long time ago. Sure Westie was foul-mouthed and tough and at times unpleasant however it would’ve been wonderful for her have other friends that weren’t attracted to her or that weren’t part of her “family”.

Anyways, I’m glad I got the opportunity to read and review Revenge and the Wild, as it was one of the winter 2016 titles from Harper that I was eagerly anticipating. Overall, it remained an entertaining read and if you’re looking for something a bit unusual and unique then this one might be up your alley.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.