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

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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


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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


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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


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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

Eat Cake. Be Brave. – Melissa Radke

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Eat Cake. Be Brave. by Melissa Radke

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: July 17th, 2018
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Slow/Normal
Genres & Themes: Adult, Memoir, Religion, Humor, Relationships, Family


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Hilarious and heartbreaking, this is one woman’s inspiring journey of learning to stand up for herself in a world of naysayers, by the creator of the “Red Ribbon Week” video, which has over 150 million views. Continue reading

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

I'm Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: May 15th, 2018
Publisher: Convergent Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Adult, Memoir, Nonfiction, Race, Social Justice, Discrimination, Religion


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Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age 7, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker and expert who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion. In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value “diversity” in their mission statements, I’m Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric–from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations. Continue reading

This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare – Gabourey Sidibe

33550374This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humor, Coming of Age, Body Image, Mental Health, Celebrity


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Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face takes its place and fills a void on the shelf of writers from Mindy Kaling to David Sedaris to Lena Dunham. Continue reading