Yes Please by Amy Poehler | book review

  • Title: Yes Please
  • Published: 2014
  • Author: Amy Poehler
  • Original language: English
  • Genre: Non-Fiction, Autobiography, Humor

Yes Please is a fun, funny, smart autobiography about the personal and professional life of Amy Poehler. You might know her from Saturday Night Live, Parks and Rec or, why not, as the mom from Mean Girls (hehe). The point is, she is a famous comedienne and actress, who wrote a lovely book about herself.

I watched a few episodes of Parks and Rec and checked out a few SNL sketches, but I knew basically nothing about Amy Poehler when I started this book. I’m going to be honest and say that the first thing that grabbed my attention was the book cover: simple, eye-catching colors and a short, to the point title. Speaking of, the title is a phrase that Poeher explains she likes to use in her personal life, because it “sounds powerful and concise”(in her words).  I think it’s an awesome and intriguing choice for an autobiography title.

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The Color Purple by Alice Walker | review

  • Title: The Color Purple
  • Published: 1982
  • Author: Alice Walker
  • Original language: English
  • Genre: Fiction, Epistolary Novel

The famous 1982 epistolary novel by Alice Walker has been read, reviewed, studied by many. Today, I am joining the crowd and I will try to write a short personal review.

IMG_0042In a few words, The Color Purple tells the story of Celie, the protagonist, and her sister, Nettie, and all the people they encounter throughout the 30 years they live apart from each other. Celie starts by writing letters to God, and then to Nettie, once she finds out that her unloving and abusing husband was hiding Nettie’s letters from her. Nettie doesn’t receive Celie’s letters, but she keep writing to her, in this way the story being unveiled from the two perspectives in an unique way.

My thoughts:

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He Wanted the Moon by Mimi Baird | review

  • Title: He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him
  • Published: February 17th 2015
  • Author: Mimi Baird
  • Original language: English
  • Genre: Non-fiction, Biography
  • More info about the book
  • Author bio

9780804137478

Mimi Baird was in her fifties when she received a package from a distant relative. Inside, she discovered her father’s whole life: the manuscript of the book he intended to publish about his experience as a doctor and a mental facility patient. Mimi Baird never really knew her father, Harvard-educated Dr Perry Baird, since he disappeared from her life when she was 6. Her mother refused to talk about the issue, and the little girl grew up feeling something was missing from her life. She was curious to know her father, but there was no one to talk to. Dr Perry Baird died when his daughter was 21.

Continue reading “He Wanted the Moon by Mimi Baird | review”

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho | review

  • Title: The Alchemist
  • Published: 1988
  • Author: Paulo Coelho
  • Original language: Portuguese
  • Genre: Fiction

The Plot:

The Alchemist tells the story of Santiago, a naive shepherd boy, who has a recurring dream in which he is told that there is a treasure burried near the Egiptian pyramids. After a gypsy fortune teller convinces him that he indeed needs to travel to the pyramids and find the treasure, Santiago sells his sheep to an old man. The old man is Melchizedek, the King of Salem. He reads Santiago’s mind, encourages him to go on the journey – in order to pursue his Personal Legend – and gives him Urim and Thummim, two stones that have the power to help the boy.

Shortly after the start of the journey, Santiago, in its naivity, is fooled by a thief. He manages to find work at a crystal shop, becoming close with the merchant and helping him considerably with its bussiness. Santiago’s plan is to make enough money to return home, but after eleven months of working at the crystal merchant’s shop, he heads towards the Pyramids. He has to go through several challenges, only to reach the end of his journey and realize that all this time, the treasure was at home, burried right under the sycamore tree he passed by every day as a shepherd boy.

My Thoughts:

The Alchemist has been praised for its story and writing style for a long time, and it’s still a popular book among the common reader. If you stop and ask a random passerby on the street, they probably will at least have heard of the book. I read a few Coelho books in the past, but the only one that I genuinely enjoyed was The Devil and Miss Prym. I could say that I had high expectations of The Alchemist, but unfortunately this book isn’t my cup of tea. I can understand why so many people love the book, but the story and style is not for me. Maybe Coelho’s style was better enjoyed by my younger self, but at this moment in my life, I find it sappy at times, and filled with cliches.

There is, of course, a spiritual message in this story. It’s a moral tale of how we sometimes don’t appreciate and don’t notice what we have right in front of us. There is also the theme of following one’s purpose in life – or fate, but sometimes being distracted by other events happening around us. For example, the crystal merchant has a dream of going to Mecca, but even when he has the money to do so, he decides not to. Why? Maybe being a successful crystal merchant is his purpose after all! Or maybe he is just an ordinary man who doesn’t follow his Personal Legend.

As the story continues, we see Santiago pass through several steps in his way to maturity. The final objective of the book is not wheather or not the shepherd boy finds the treasure, it’s about his initiation journey, a recurring topic in literature. What he learned from books while studying for priesthood is no longer of use in the real world, so Santiago has to find ways to survive and guide himself through the desert, to the Pyramids.

It’s a beautiful story, filled with different meanings and symbols, who can be enjoyed as a light read. I am not denying its value. Unfortunately, for me it was unsatisfying, as these types of stories don’t captivate me anymore.

My rating: 2/5 stars

Have you read the book? Did you enjoy it? Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

The Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim | review

Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come. Though Lisbeth leads a life of privilege, she finds nothing but loneliness in the company of her overwhelmed mother and her distant, slave-owning father. As she grows older, Mattie becomes more like family to Lisbeth than her own kin and the girl’s visits to the slaves’ quarters—and their lively and loving community—bring them closer together than ever. But can two women in such disparate circumstances form a bond like theirs without consequence? This deeply moving tale of unlikely love traces the journey of these very different women as each searches for freedom and dignity. (source: Goodreads)

I bought The Yellow Crocus ebook in January, but just recently got to read it. I’ve seen it mentioned here and there, and when I saw that it was only $2.50, I decided I wanted to see what this book is really about.

There are two main characters in this book, Lisbeth and her wet nurse Mattie. They come from two different worlds, in spite of their close relationship. The author clearly wanted to portray both these worlds: the easy life of the slave owner, and the hard life of the slaves, in mid 1800s Virginia.

At the beginning of the story, the author explains everything in detail, but as the story goes on, she focuses more on the narrative aspect. This made me believe that she is not constant in her writing style. Even though it doesn’t affect the content, it still felt strange.

At some point in time, the lives of the two protagonists part ways, and from that point on, the narrative jumps from Mattie’s perspective to that of Lisbeth. This was another technique which helped highlight the dissimilarity of the two ways of life and the hardships that come with both. What I loved most about the book was exactly this: the portrayal of both worlds, just as they are. Neither of them is perfect. In this context, the paradox is that white people considered themselves free and privileged, when, in fact, they had little to no liberty when it came to the most important experience of human life: love. They tricked themselves in thinking that one must certainly be happy when he has a great piece of land and working hands. The book deals with all the implications of that mentality, but I won’t elaborate, so I won’t spoil the pleasure of finding out the details yourselves.

The book also touches on the subject of abolitionism. The historic context is particularly important to the development of the narrative, and it shows a lot about humankind and its progress.

I can’t say what I don’t like about this book, except maybe some cliche elements here and there. It certainly isn’t revolutionary, and I didn’t find it particularly heartbreaking or enlightening either. It was an enjoyable read, but not more than that. I probably wouldn’t read it again.

It’s a story especially about woman suffering, and I found it very emotional at certain times. It is also a quick read, so it is the perfect book if you want a beautiful story, that can be read in a short time.

It’s 3 out of 5 stars for this one.