March 29, 2019

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.
Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

First things first, I love being in nature. It’s still winter here in the Midwest. Even though we are starting to get hints of spring, it’s not in full bloom. Being able to escape into the forest and the marsh through this book was so awesome. Delia Owens’s descriptions really bring the scene to life. I’ve read a few opinions on the book saying that it was too descriptive, but it was perfect for me.

All of the characters had really interesting developments. I felt like every character had their stories wrapped up in a fitting fashion. One of them, we never really find out what happens – but, again, it’s fitting. Kya is the main character, and I don’t think you could even ask for more character development. It seems like we got just enough of her life story for it to be complete and wrapped up. That is SO satisfying to me because you don’t always get that.

I just absolutely loved this book. A mixture of a coming of age story as well as a murder mystery and a love note to nature. It’s just beautifully written. The story is told so well. I didn’t want it to end. I would recommend it to anyone who loves nature.

This book has one of the greatest last chapters I’ve ever read in a novel. It ties things up without blatantly just laying out answers to your questions. It’s so beautifully written and wraps up years of Kya’s life swiftly but respectfully.

5/5 Stars

Memorable Quotes: “Sometimes she heard night-sounds she didn’t know or jumped from lightning too close, but whenever she stumbled, it was the land that caught her. Until at last, at some unclaimed moment, the heart-pain seeped away like water into sand. Still there, but deep. Kya laid her head upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother.”

“Crows can’t keep secrets any better than mud; once they see something curious in the forest they have to tell everybody.”

“Autumn was coming; the evergreens might not have noticed, but the sycamores did. They flashed thousands of golden leaves across slate-gray skies.”

“Evil was not in play, just life pulsing on, even at the expense of some of the players. Biology sees right and wrong as the same color in different light.”

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March 17, 2019

It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand by Megan Devine

When a painful loss or life-shattering event upends your world, here is the first thing to know: there is nothing wrong with grief. “Grief is simply love in its most wild and painful form,” says Megan Devine. “It is a natural and sane response to loss.” So why does our culture treat grief like a disease to be cured as quickly as possible?
In It’s OK That You’re Not OK, Devine offers a profound new approach to both the experience of grief and the way we try to help others who have endured tragedy. Having experienced grief from both sides—as both a therapist and as a woman who witnessed the accidental drowning of her beloved partner—Devine writes with deep insight about the unspoken truths of loss, love, and healing. She debunks the culturally prescribed goal of returning to a normal, “happy” life, replacing it with a far healthier middle path, one that invites us to build a life alongside grief rather than seeking to overcome it. In this compelling and heartful book, you’ll learn
• Why well-meaning advice, therapy, and spiritual wisdom so often end up making it harder for people in grief
• How challenging the myths of grief—doing away with stages, timetables, and unrealistic ideals about how grief should unfold—allows us to accept grief as a mystery to be honored instead of a problem to solve
• Practical guidance for managing stress, improving sleep, and decreasing anxiety without trying to “fix” your pain
• How to help the people you love—with essays to teach us the best skills, checklists, and suggestions for supporting and comforting others through the grieving process
Many people who have suffered a loss feel judged, dismissed, and misunderstood by a culture that wants to “solve” grief. Devine writes, “Grief no more needs a solution than love needs a solution.” Through stories, research, life tips, and creative and mindfulness-based practices, she offers a unique guide through an experience we all must face—in our personal lives, in the lives of those we love, and in the wider world.
It’s OK That You’re Not OK is a book for grieving people, those who love them, and all those seeking to love themselves—and each other—better.

Grief is such a monster. It treats everyone differently, hits at different times, and hurts in the worst way possible. You can’t predict how you’re going to feel day to day. Once you’re in grief, it never really goes away. You just find a way to life with it.

I honestly can’t say enough about this book. It came into my life exactly when I needed it, and I think I’ll probably end up reading it a few more times.

I would recommend it to anyone dealing with grief, anyone trying to comfort someone in grief, and everyone else. I think it provides info on a way to look at situations from a different viewpoint. Treat people with more empathy and care before you just don’t know what they’re going through.

This book is beautifully written and has plenty of the writer’s own experiences sprinkled throughout to show what has helped her and what was very unhelpful as she dealt with the loss of her husband.

If you’re looking for a book for yourself – pick this up. Give this book as a gift. Have this book available to anyone who needs it. It is important and it is validating.

5/5 Stars

Memorable Quotes: “If we commit to loving, we will inevitably know Loss and grief. If we try to avoid loss and grief, we will never truly know love.”

“There are losses that rearrange the world. Deaths that change the way you see everything, grief that tears everything down. Pain that transports you to an entirely different universe, even while everyone else thinks nothing has really changed.”