Tag Archives: Book Club Reading List

Review: Memorial Drive

Memorial Drive
Memorial Drive
By Natasha Trethewey
Ecco, 9780062248589, June 2021, 224pp.

The Short of It:

A beautiful, heartbreaking memoir. If memoirs aren’t your thing, don’t let that stop you from picking this one up.

The Rest of It:

“Natasha Trethewey was 19 when her mother was murdered by her stepfather in 1985. For decades, she hid the event, and memories of her mother, in the recesses of her mind while she went on to win a Pulitzer Prize and become the Poet Laureate of the United States. Now, decades later, she opens herself up to her past to produce a harrowing yet beautiful memorial.”
— Mike Hare, Northshire Saratoga, Saratoga Springs, NY

My book club chose this book for March. Initially I had a hard time finding a library copy so I went with the audio, which is just beautiful but just a few chapters in, I knew I’d want to own a copy so I bought the paperback. Trethewey is a poet so the passages are often heartbreakingly beautiful. I found myself reading a chapter and then taking a little time to sit with it before moving on to the next. I first heard about this book when Obama chose it for one of his “best of” lists. He’s not wrong.

Besides the beauty of the written word itself, I could not help but be affected by Trethewey’s grief and obvious pain over her mother’s death at the hand of her stepfather. Both mother and daughter dealt with his abuse. Steps were taken to ensure their safety, and yet the legal system still failed them. The murder took place in 1985 but really, when it comes to domestic violence not a whole lot has changed.

While reading this book, I was reminded of all the drama over Kanye and his recent threats to Pete Davidson, who is now dating Kanye’s ex. That celebrity couple is in the public eye. The rants and threats are made publicly and still, little is being done. Trevor Noah recently called it out. If a women like Kim K can’t feel protected, then who can?

While discussing this book, many of Trethewey’s poems were shared and they are just beautiful. If you decide to pick this book up, check out her other works too.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: This Tender Land

This Tender Land

This Tender Land
By William Kent Krueger
Atria Books, 9781476749303, May 2020, 464pp.

The Short of It:

A lot of heartbreak, but these characters quickly pulled me in.

The Rest of It:

In the summer of 1932, on the banks of Minnesota’s Gilead River, Odie O’Banion is an orphan confined to the Lincoln Indian Training School, a pitiless place where his lively nature earns him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee after committing a terrible crime, he and his brother, Albert, their best friend, Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own. ~ Indiebound

This was the book I was reading when I got hit with all my health issues and so the details of the story are not forthcoming and I had to miss my club’s discussion so I have no idea how they felt about the book but here is my take:

I loved these characters but this book is filled with one heartache after another. These kids do not live an easy life and the people they encounter are both filled with good, and bad. It’s been compared to Huckleberry Finn and Where the Crawdad’s Sing and I can see that comparison, but honestly what it reminded me most of is The Wizard of Oz. Everyone is searching for something, mostly a place to call home. But the rhythm of heartache was hard to read over and over again and parts of the story were a tad hard to swallow. Nevertheless, I did enjoy it but felt that it got a little repetitive halfway through and could have been edited down a bit.

Have you read it? I had no idea how many books this author has written. I will absolutely read another book by him because I was really into these characters.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.