I’m Afraid of Men – Vivek Shraya

I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: August 28th, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Books Canada
Recommended Age: 15+
Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Memoir, Feminism, LGBTQIA+, Gender Issues


REVIEW:

Sometimes I read 300 or more-page books and I wonder if I read anything at all. Not everything I stumble across has to make me look at the world differently or teach me over and over, but I want something memorable because it’s more much valuable than a book that provides you with the kind of instant pleasure and happiness that you’ll forget about two days later. Continue reading

I’m Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering

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I’m Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering by Janelle Hanchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: May 2018
Publisher: Hachette Books
Pacing: Normal
Recommended Age: 15/16+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Memoir, Nonfiction, Parenting, Mental Illness, Addiction


BLURB:

At 21, Janelle Hanchett embraced motherhood with the reckless self-confidence of those who have no idea what they’re getting into. Having known her child’s father for only three months, she found herself rather suddenly getting to know a newborn, husband, and wholly transformed identity. She was in love, but she was bored, directionless, and seeking too much relief in too much wine. Over time, as she searched for home in suburbia and settled life, a precarious drinking habit turned into treacherous dependence, until life became car seats and splitting hangovers, cubicles and multi-day drug binges–and finally, an inconceivable separation from her children. For ten years, Hanchett grappled with the relentless progression of addiction, bouncing from rehabs to therapists to the occasional hippie cleansing ritual on her quest for sobriety, before finding it in a way she never expected. Continue reading

Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream

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Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream by Ibtihaj Muhammad

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: July 24th, 2018
Publisher: Hachette Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Slow/Normal
Genres & Themes: Memoir, Nonfiction, Sports, Religion, Family, Racism, Coming of Age, Determination, Success, Motivation


BLURB:

Growing up in New Jersey as the only African American Muslim at school, Ibtihaj Muhammad always had to find her own way. When she discovered fencing, a sport traditionally reserved for the wealthy, she had to defy expectations and make a place for herself in a sport she grew to love. From winning state championships to three-time All-America selections at Duke University, Ibtihaj was poised for success, but the fencing community wasn’t ready to welcome her with open arms just yet. As the only woman of color and the only religious minority on Team USA’s saber fencing squad, Ibtihaj had to chart her own path to success and Olympic glory. Continue reading

Rx – Rachel Lindsay

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Rx by Rachel Lindsay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: September 4th, 2018
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Recommended Age: 15+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Adult, Graphic Novel, Memoir, Mental Illness, Society, Drugs


BLURB:

In her early twenties in New York City, diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Rachel Lindsay takes a job in advertising in order to secure healthcare coverage for her treatment. But work takes a strange turn when she is promoted onto the Pfizer account and suddenly finds herself on the other side of the curtain, developing ads for an antidepressant drug. She is the audience of the work she’s been pouring over and it highlights just how unhappy and trapped she feels, stuck in an endless cycle of treatment, insurance and medication. Overwhelmed by the stress of her professional life and the self-scrutiny it inspires, she begins to destabilize and while in the midst of a crushing job search, her mania takes hold. Her altered mindset yields a simple solution: to quit her job and pursue life as an artist, an identity she had abandoned in exchange for medical treatment. When her parents intervene, she finds herself hospitalized against her will, and stripped of the control she felt she had finally reclaimed. Over the course of her two weeks in the ward, she struggles in the midst of doctors, nurses, patients and endless rules to find a path out of the hospital and this cycle of treatment. One where she can live the life she wants, finding freedom and autonomy, without sacrificing her dreams in order to stay well. Continue reading

And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready

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And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready by Meaghan O’Connell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: April 10th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Recommended Age: 15+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Adult, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Parenting, Childbirth, Relationships


BLURB:

And Now We Have Everything is O’Connell’s brave exploration of transitioning into motherhood as a fledgling young adult. With her dark humor and hair-trigger B.S. detector, O’Connell addresses the pervasive imposter syndrome that comes with unplanned pregnancy, the second adolescence of a changing postpartum body, the problem of sex post-baby, the weird push to make “mom friends,” and the fascinating strangeness of stepping into a new, not-yet-comfortable identity. Continue reading

One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter

One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter
One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: 2017
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Fast/Normal
Genres & Themes: Adult, Memoir, Essays, Nonfiction, Feminism, Culture, India, Humor


BLURB:

In One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, Scaachi deploys her razor-sharp humour to share her fears, outrages and mortifying experiences as an outsider growing up in Canada. Her subjects range from shaving her knuckles in grade school, to a shopping trip gone horribly awry, to dealing with internet trolls, to feeling out of place at an Indian wedding (as an Indian woman), to parsing the trajectory of fears and anxieties that pressed upon her immigrant parents and bled down a generation. Alongside these personal stories are pointed observations about life as a woman of colour, where every aspect of her appearance is open for critique, derision or outright scorn. Where strict gender rules bind in both Western and Indian cultures, forcing her to confront questions about gender dynamics, racial tensions, ethnic stereotypes and her father’s creeping mortality–all as she tries to find her feet in the world. Continue reading

Esther the Wonder Pig: Changing the World One Heart at a Time

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Esther the Wonder Pig: Changing the World One Heart at a Time by Steve Jenkins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: 2016
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Memoir, Animals, Humor, Family, Veganism


BLURB:

In just two short years, Steve and Derek have cemented a place for themselves among the worlds most well-known and successful animal activists, accumulating hundreds of thousands of followers from all over the world. In 2014 Steve and Derek founded the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary in Campbellville, Ontario, where they continue to rescue and rehabilitate abandoned and abused farmed animals. Continue reading