The Clasp

theclasp.jpegI recently read The Clasp by Sloan Crosley, and it honestly kind of bummed me out. The characters were morbidly cynical, and the pacing of the novel overall felt a bit off to me. The climax of the story didn’t even start taking place until almost 200 pages into the book due to a lot of character buildup that ultimately felt like too much content with little substance.

The story was about a group of friends from college who secretly hated, or at least strongly disliked, one another. It was so depressing to read the inner monologues of all these people getting together at a mutual friend’s wedding and shitting all over everyone in attendance. I can’t imagine going to any of my college friend’s weddings and feeling anything other than extreme happiness for them—except maybe my douchebag ex-boyfriend, but that’s because he’s actually just a mean person—but I guess to each their own.

It wasn’t like it was just Victor—who is pretty much the main protagonist even though the story followed two other characters, Kezia and Nathaniel, as well—that was super cynical. Even though we were supposed to believe that Victor was the most depressed and negative person in that group, I really didn’t think Nathaniel or Kezia were any better. Kezia complained about everything in her life, constantly rolling her eyes and scoffing, while Nathaniel compulsively lied about every occurrence in his life. And for some reason, they were all friends even though they complained about each other all the time. It never seemed like they actually enjoyed each other’s company aside from a few moments where they weren’t insulting or making fun of one another.

The story follows Victor, a depressed coder who was recently fired from his job, after a mutual friend’s wedding. He drunkenly falls asleep on the groom’s mother’s bed, and she’s mostly fine with it the next morning. She even shows him where she keeps her jewelry, despite discovering that he had tried to steal it the night before. She shows him a photo of an expensive necklace that was stolen from her aunt, which Victor then steals from her. He then turns it into his mission to go to France to search for this necklace, aka he breaks into a chateau and is promptly arrested. Fortunately, Kezia is also in France on an urgent business trip, and Nathaniel happened to be there too just because he needed a vacation. What luck! From there, although Victor never actually told Kezia much, she somehow pieces together his entire plan and is able to locate him in the prison right after he’s arrested.

And what would any group of close-knit “friends” be without a little bit of romance drama? So, get this. Victor loves Kezia, but she just sees him as a best friend. Bummer! When she shut him down in college, he went into a spiraling depression where he cut everyone out of his life for months and no one really tried that hard to help him. Meanwhile, she’s apparently loved Nathaniel the entire time, who was Victor’s old roommate and pretty much his closest friend in college. When Kezia and Nathaniel finally do sleep together, though, she pumps the brakes because it turns out that she’s just not that into it anymore even though he appears to be super into her finally.

I think?

It ended very strangely with the three “friends” returning from Paris on a plane together. Kezia and Victor are chatting, laughing, and generally having a good time while Nathaniel is ignoring them and pretending to sleep. Victor is in a grand mood because he got beaten up in a small village outside of Paris, had all his stuff stolen, got arrested for breaking into a chateau, and then was randomly offered a job. Victor goes to the bathroom, Kezia pokes fun at Nathaniel, he gets moody and keeps ignoring her, and THE END!

And that’s pretty much all she wrote. It starts abruptly, not a whole lot happens in the middle, suddenly there’s action for maybe 40 pages, and then it ends similar to how it started. I wouldn’t have minded as much if it had been a more interesting story, but it fell flat. I read actually on another review that the author said she cut over 200 pages out of the original piece, which actually makes a lot of sense. It felt like there was a lot missing from this story, and it’s unfortunate that it wasn’t strung together is a more concrete way after the other content was removed. Ah well.

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Maybe in Another Life

23492661.jpgTaylor Jenkins Reid’s Maybe in Another Life was…fine. Well, mostly fine. It was relatively dull at times, and I thought the dialogue tended to drag. Also the protagonist, Hannah, mentioned cinnamon rolls way too much. Like, we get it, girl. We get it.

I think my biggest problem with the story was that it was way too predictable at all times. When Hannah chose to stay with Ethan, it obviously came as no surprise that they would get married two years later. And as soon they even mentioned her nurse, Henry, in the hospital during her other timeline, I rolled my eyes because of course that Hannah is going to get with him. The Henry timeline seemed a bit ridiculous to me, too. She was insanely excited to see Ethan again after years of not living in the same state as him and realizing that he absolutely was the love of her life. But upon learning that he possibly went home with another woman, Hannah cuts him out entirely. She doesn’t try to have a dialogue with him about it, but instead takes a secondhand text as the truth and lets that decide her future. He was the supposed love of her life that she was never able to get over despite being in countless relationships afterward, yet she’s able to turn off her feelings for him as soon as she hears that he might have hooked up with someone else. Also, fuck you Ethan because like what even is that? The girl of your dreams who you’ve been in love with since high school declines hanging out with you for an extra two hours so you sleep with someone else? Maybe these two ARE perfect for one another actually…

I think what would have improved this story would have been a bit of conflict or uncertainty—I knew from chapter three that, even with all the negative things happening to the characters, everything was going to work out in both scenarios. I was more interested in Gabby and her story rather than Hannah’s. Because, despite claiming to be a whirlwind mess, Hannah seemed relatively put-together and would probably register as just a normal mess on the messiness scale.

And on a final note, I kinda thought the whole baby situation was a bit forced as well. The Hannah that mourned the loss of her child made sense to me—she was upset, thought about the possibilities, and rationalized that it must have occurred at the wrong time. Yet the other Hannah jumped right on board with the idea of motherhood without even working her first day on a job, having a place of her own to live, and after just adopting a new puppy. It just seemed like overkill and almost unrealistic. Like why was everyone so happy that she was having this married man’s baby? Why wasn’t Gabby or her parents like, “Okay cool, but let’s just make sure we think this out because you actually have no money and no home so let’s like just take a pause here”?

I think I just tend to enjoy books that have a bit more of an emotional twist to them rather than wrapping everything up in a nice, pretty ribbon of happiness. It wasn’t a bad read necessarily, it just wasn’t my ideal type of book.

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Resolved to Resolute

8af3463b6882ec19def84e604abcb759I always enjoy celebrating holidays, and I get really into the cheesy traditions that come with them. So it should come as no surprise that I’m having a fun time making resolutions for 2016. I saw on Twitter that a girl wrote out a list of her resolutions and taped it to her wall so that she would be inspired by it all the time. I loved that idea mostly for how organized it sounded and because nothing makes me happier than a nicely composed list. So here’s a lazy list post full of things that I might/maybe/hopefully will change about my life in the coming year.

  1. GET A NEW FULL-TIME JOB! You know, with a company that actually cares about its employees and the work they do where I’m equally happy to be there. I know it’s possible to wake up every day not hating my job, and I’d like to live that life now.
  2. Meditate every day for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Expand my freelancing career.
  4. Pitch (and hopefully end up contributing) to more reputable blogs and websites.
  5. Make more of an effort to do things I want to do while applying for jobs (start attending Spanish classes, go to bike mechanic workshops, etc.).
  6. Get clip-in pedals and shoes for my bike. From there I’ll try not to fall too often, but I don’t know how realistic that is.
  7. Stretch every day (this is ambitious for me, even though it sounds super easy).
  8. Make strides in actually dealing with my anxiety rather than just making excuses for its persistence.
  9. Pay off my ever-increasing credit card debt. UGHHH.
  10. Start writing fiction again, and eventually try submitting my pieces to literary journals—eek!
  11. Do a multi-day bike tour. Canada? Southern bike trip? NYC -> DC?
  12. Make more connections in the writing/blogging world.
  13. Ride another century. I’m looking at you, 2016 TransAlt NYC Century!
  14. Make more of an effort to enjoy New York’s many galleries and museums. Thanks to the NYC ID, this shouldn’t be too hard hopefully!
  15. Start thinking about the possibility of what life could be like if I were to write a novel one day.
  16. Last but not least, cuddle my perfect cat way more.
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Fates and Furies

9781594634475_custom-a1c60d0db7c4d3d9fce99ec338b463c8ea95ca03-s400-c85.jpgI was inspired to read Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies after NPR chose it for their Morning Edition book club. My immediate reaction was to roll my eyes at the language, and I even started to write it off as a bit pretentious, but that changed after just a few pages. I became enraptured by this book, finding myself thinking about it and wondering what was going to happen next in between readings. Ugh, I LOVE when that happens during a book.

It’s the tale of a marriage told from the perspective of the husband (Lancelot aka Lotto) first and then from the perspective of his wife (Mathilde). Mathilde’s perspective was almost alarming since I didn’t see any of it coming—the skeletons in this woman’s closet have their own closets full of skeletons. Usually I like to think I’m relatively perceptive, but damn, Groff—you got me. It threw me so off-balance that my immediate instinct was to totally reject the character and her secrets that. I wanted to believe that she had a perfect marriage where she and her spouse knew everything about one another. That is, until I started questioning why I disliked this strong, wildly independent female lead so much and preferred her as the timid wife that her husband saw her as. I think it was simply because I heard Lotto’s side of the story first and was so ready to read the perspective of his quiet, stay-at-home wife who lived to serve him and their marriage.

In her interview with Morning Edition, Groff talks about how she rejected the idea of marriage until her now-husband proposed and she accepted since she didn’t want to lose him. She felt like a hypocrite (I definitely don’t think she is), and this book was a redemption of sorts for her. What she created was a strong character who tells her husband within the first few pages of the book that she isn’t his just because she’s his wife. Girl, YES.

Lotto was raised with a lot of money and the constant support of his family who put him on a pedestal at birth—he was told that he could do anything and that he was destined for greatness, an that idea followed him for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, Mathilde was lonely and outcasted (sometimes intentionally so), and never understood what it was like to be adored while her husband had legions of loyal followers. He turned a blind eye to the imperfections in his life and to Mathilde’s somewhat obvious flaws rather than deal with the possibility of failure or falling short of perfection. He wanted to believe that he had a wife straight out of a fairytale as well as the best job and all the fame that came with it. They finally recognized his talent, he believed, and now he could sit back and relax as everything in life continued to come to him easily and fall into place.

Reading it from Mathilde’s perspective was startling, though. How she went into his study after he fell asleep drunk to edit and refine his plays, or finding out how she kept them financially afloat while Lotto struggled to find his calling. It was impressive, resourceful, at times exceedingly manipulative, and so not the Mathilde that I thought I knew. Then, on the other hand, it deeply saddened me to read about her own failed plays that she put on under an anonymous moniker. Even though she essentially created works through Lotto, they were accepted and approved of simply due to his name and status in the community.

I also loved the way Groff styled the book and the way she wrote it; it was poetic, yet at times it read like a more detailed play. There are few things I love more than amazing character development, and this continued right to the very end. It was an entrancing read that captivated me pretty much from start to finish; there was nothing I would change about this novel. I think if I were to read it again (which I probably will, let’s be serious), I’ll probably discover so much more than upon my first read through.

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Americanah

51mSJNECGyL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_For our latest book club meeting, we read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, which is undoubtedly my favorite book we’ve read so far in our short four or five months of meeting. Adichie is a fantastic writer; she makes it easy to picture the characters and readers can get fully invested in their world. (She’s also a brilliant public speaker, as can be seen in her TEDx Talk “We Should All be Feminists.”)

It’s amazing yet disheartening to think that there’s so many Americans (myself included) that don’t actually know much about Africa. For instance, I really had no idea that most Africans—especially educated ones—speak English, and that many prefer to speak it instead of their tribal language. It’s a very clear indication of both westernized influence on their continent and self-obsession with our own affairs, yet I really had no idea the extent of it. In the same vein, another thing we discussed was how people in many other countries know so much about the happenings in America while we don’t know all that much about places outside of our immediate realm. One of our members conveniently went on a trip to South Africa recently and spoke with locals there about Trump and our political process as we gear up for the primaries. I have no idea who rules in Nigeria, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to hold a lengthy, in-depth conversation about their politics. It’s actually rather embarrassing and makes me want to expand my political intake more.

We also talked about the difference between people in Nigeria and in the United States. In the book, Adichie shows people asking their neighbors for money, and they all know and talk about each other’s problems. They’re pretty distant from their corrupt government, but among their peers, they’re open. Meanwhile in Brooklyn, I can’t even tell you what the girl and guy that live upstairs do for a living. There’s more of a feeling of community among people, which is further shown when Ifemelu moves to America and feels isolated from the people around her, especially the ones she knew back in Nigeria. The idea that many foreigners have of America is that it’s a place where dreams can come true and people can get a new start on life, however, Ifemelu’s experience is a more realistic depiction of many immigrant’s lives. She struggles to find work and has to settle for jobs that are below her capabilities, nannying and working as a maid. She eventually adapts to it, but then when she moves to Nigeria again over ten years later, she’s shocked by people’s honesty and openness as well as their enthusiasm to hire her simply because she lived in the U.S. Once she gets used to the new culture, she has to acclimate again to what she grew up with.

Additionally we discussed her white American boyfriend, Curt, who most of felt was dating Ifemelu as a trophy in a way—her being black was something that he was attracted to before he even knew her as a person or figured if he actually liked her. It almost felt like a rich white man’s rebellion against his upbringing. I’ve also known people who say things like, “I only fall for black guys, I don’t know why,” and it has always annoyed me. Saying that you prefer one race over another fetishizes a person’s race and makes the relationship inherently flawed from the start.

The only thing people universally disliked was the ending since it seemed so sudden and rushed. It was almost as if Adichie got tired of writing the story or hit a word limit, and she tried to nicely wrap it up and leave the reader to interpret it as they would. But we didn’t want to do that! We wanted to be told what happens since we were so invested in the story and characters the entire time. I did find this blog that Adichie made in the voice of Ifemelu as if it were the blog that she created once she moved back to Nigeria, so I guess that’s a bit of a continuation and closure. Personally, I didn’t hate the ending entirely. It definitely didn’t detract from my feelings on the novel as a whole, and I’m excited to delve into more of Adichie’s works (possibly Purple Hibiscus next!).

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Five Years of Cat

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So damn smug.

In July, my little baby kitty face, Ava, turned five years old. Five. Years. Old. I don’t want to alarm people, but I’m incredibly proud of myself for helping another living creature survive for five years. And in completely unrelated news, as of this blog post, I will now be available as a babysitter for all parents looking to continue the existence of their children.

I grew up with cats a child, but being a child, I did absolutely nothing for them aside from pet them until I/they got bored. At some point in my adolescence, I developed an allergy to cats, which has almost entirely disappeared somehow. I believe that I mostly willed my allergies out of existence, but maybe I just haven’t met the right/wrong cat to upset that balance again. And then I decided I needed a furry friend to cuddle with, and Craigslist brought me to Ava.

The world is pretty depressing and grim lately, getting to a point where I’ve almost disabled my Facebook account just to get away from it all for a bit. So here’s some lighthearted silliness: In honor of Ava’s birthday, these are five things I’ve encountered as a cat owner, some of which I was not expecting at all.

  1. Cat hair. Everywhere. This isn’t an exaggeration, and there’s a reason it’s number one on my list. Ava is a maine coon, meaning she’s extra adorable but also extra furry. And sooner or later that fur has got to go somewhere, almost always ending up in my mouth. Every single meal that I cook or eat has cat fur in it. All of my clothes, blankets, pillows, curtains, carpets, desk tops, and basically every other surface in my apartment has had cat fur on it at one point or another. Especially the ceiling fans—it is mildly disturbing how much of her fur latches onto my fans and then coats the walls whenever I turn them on.
  2. Cats are stalkers. I can’t turn around without almost stepping on Ava’s tail; she’s either super clingy (she is.), or she has a serious case of FOMO. If I go to the bathroom to wash my hands, she’s bounding down the hallway behind me with her big eyes lit up and yipping in excitement. If I dare to close the bathroom door behind me, then I fall victim to her gentle yet incessant scratching. I officially have a small cat-shaped shadow whenever I’m home.
  3. Sometimes cats purr so hard they drool. Haven’t you ever gotten so happy and been so content in life that you drooled all over yourself? In one sense, I’m thrilled that Ava is so happy that she purrs to the point of transforming her salivary glands into a flowing river. Yet on the other hand, she sits on chest and drools on my face a bit too often.
  4. Some cats revenge-vomit. This is a theory, but I have a lot of evidence to back it up. If I leave my apartment for more than a day, despite leaving enough food, toys, and a clean litter box behind,  I can be sure to find cat vomit all over my comforter or somewhere in the living room. It isn’t like she’s alone—my roommate often takes care of her if I’m not around. It’s as if Ava fears abandonment so much that it literally makes her sick, or she just wants me to learn a lesson and never leave her alone for more than nine-hour stretches.
  5. Cats can be allergic to fleas. I’m of the opinion that almost every cat will have fleas at least once in their life, but maybe this is because Ava—my strictly indoor cat—has had multiple already. Ava had a flea infestation when she was a kitten; the biggest kicker being that I gave her the fleas. It’s a disturbing moment when you’re holding your cat and see a bug crawl over her pink belly, burrowing itself into her fur as she purrs away without a clue that you almost just catapulted her across the room. It only got worse when I discovered that Ava is allergic to flea bites and flea saliva. Her entire back, tail, and neck were covered in hives for three months, and the only thing my vet could do to help her was reluctantly prescribe her steroids. Luckily it kicked the allergy back into submission, but I’m hyper aware of fleas now because I felt so bad for my itchy little baby cat.
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Holidaze

xmasturkeyAs I navigate Times Square’s fresh influx of holiday tourists guided by hot chocolate-fueled fervors, I reignite my disdain for large, confused crowds. And yet, the holiday cheer is addictive—my lips twist into a foreign smile as I dance through their frenzied, buzzing clusters with my own agenda taking the wheel. I’m possessed by the spirit of Santa Claus; move out of my way, and save yourselves!

Each year the act of gift giving catches me in its riptide, pulling me this way and that as I seek out presents that’ll make an impression and leave the recipients temporarily lost for words. I search for the unique, the outrageous, the unforgettable. My stores of choice are folding tables buckling under the weight of too many knickknacks manned by craftsmen and women who offer an unrivaled present along with the tale of their company’s origin.

Bryant Park assaults me with Christmas cheer, my senses overwhelmed across the board. My nose itches with the sweet temptation of wafels and dinges; my ears are assailed by Mariah Carey as she shrieks that all she wants is me—me; can you believe it?—for Christmas this year; my gloved hand yearns to be enveloped by another as we glide across the glassy ice rink and off into the sunset; and my eyes take it all in: a blur of memories tinted red and green, able to be recalled with the jingle of a bell.

As I leave the park with gifts nestled nice and snug in bags, I’m met with cries: “Donate your change! Come on, lady, have a heart—it’s the holidays after all!” Take my laundry change, Mickey Mouse, and make sure you share with Minnie and all your other mascot-laden friends. It only burdens my pockets around this time of the year anyway.

And yet as I drift off into a snow globe cyclone, a brief moment of clarity shakes me to my core. Why, it’s still November. In fact, we haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet. And if I recall correctly, last week saw temperatures that mirror the vernal equinox. And this ice skating rink where parents are releasing their children for minutes of relief is the one and the same that was melting last week as it attempted to cool itself down during record-shattering high temperatures.

My reality crashes down around me. Mickey, Minnie—COME BACK! I need that change for my laundry after all; it appears my Christmas cheer is premature!

I stuff gloved fists into warm pockets and return to crowd pushing and shouldering to get through my day’s tasks. Every now and then the tinkle of a bell or the glint of silver tinsel catches my eye from a shop window. But alas, I won’t fall victim to Manhattan’s untimely Christmas cheer again. At least not until Thanksgiving is over anyway.

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To Feel Stuff

41yItFueaZL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Like many, I decided to read Andrea Seigel’s To Feel Stuff after hearing about it on Starlee Kine’s new podcast, Mystery Show (aka one of my new favorite podcasts, because it’s hosted by one of my favorite radio journalists and she’s adorably hilarious). I was in a place where I had nothing to really read after finishing my last book club book (And The Mountains Echoed), and threw it onto my library hold list. I got it pretty soon after requesting it and dove right in.

In the Mystery Show episode that features Seigel’s mystery, she talks about how poorly To Feel Stuff was received. So it wasn’t like I went into this with a raving review to back it up or anything. And ultimately it wasn’t as bad as I expected it would be from the way she spoke about it—it was just anticlimactic and a bit boring. The premise surrounded a girl, Elodie, that was perpetually living in her university’s infirmary (yet never doing ANY school work despite attending Brown) who is riddled with disease after disease (two of which must have been pessimism and antisocial proclivities—ayo!). Eventually Elodie falls in love with a guy in the infirmary, Chess, who is well off and thinks he’s a lot cooler than he actually is, if the name wasn’t a clichè indication. Elodie, who I imagine as an antisocial goth girl, and her preppy frat boyfriend obviously breakup, which is pretty anticlimactic as far as college breakups go. He kind of just leaves the infirmary after his injuries heal and writes an overly eloquent breakup letter that she reads and mourns for about a day, despite him being the love of her life or whatever.

The weirdest part of the novel is the doctor who works directly with Elodie. He mentions multiple times how he isn’t interested in his patient in a romantic way, OKAY?, so just stop inferring that everyone, GEEZ. He decides to conduct a very informal study on her, bringing her to his house for meetings at times, to figure out just what the heck is going on with this girl. Well as it turns out, she’s seeing ghosts. But not normal ghosts—ghosts of premonitions, actually. And that’s the end. No, seriously. That’s the end of the novel. They discover that she’s seeing ghosts of future people, which is actually only one future ghost person, and somehow an onslaught of intense diseases is a symptom of that.

I guess the lesson to take away here is that if you find yourself suddenly suffering from an array of weird diseases that you have no family history of, then watch out for ghosts in your near future. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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And The Mountains Echoed

16115612Khaled Hosseini is one of my favorite authors; his novel A Thousand Splendid Suns is one of my favorite books of all time that I will recommend to anyone when given the chance. I seriously cannot talk highly enough about this book. The way Hosseini is able to create a compelling story full of in-depth, completely rounded out characters is remarkable to say the least. The Kite Runner is also amazing, and gets way more acclaim than his second novel (although I would argue his second is his best). Therefore, I had pretty high expectations for And The Mountains Echoed.

I wasn’t necessarily disappointed because I’m mildly addicted to his writing style, however, I think this was the weakest of his novels. Hosseini tells the tale of two Afghan siblings that are torn apart at an early age and how that affects them throughout their lives. He tells this tale from multiple perspectives, which is a way of storytelling that I truly love. There were some narrators that I didn’t believe totally advanced the storyline, however—the Greek doctor, Markos Varvaris, and Nabi’s two young neighbors being some of them (especially Markos because his storyline was the longest and most drawn out). While these characters had interesting backgrounds and I can see how Hosseini ties them into the overall theme of family relationships and obligation, I really felt like they were a bit of a stretch since they weren’t very closely connected to Abdullah or Pari, who are the characters that he initially got the audience interested in and shaped his story around. On the other hand, there were other story arches that I felt were cut a bit short, and I was left hoping I’d get some sort of closure on them. Instead I came out at the end of the book a bit disappointed (Parwana particularly comes to mind here) and feeling unfilled, as if there was more information that I needed to fully complete this story.

Other than that, the English major geek inside me thoroughly enjoyed how Hosseini connected the fable that Abdullah and Pari’s father told them, which started the novel, to the end of the book. Like the father in the tale, Abdullah and Pari were both able to forget one another in their own ways so they were no longer plagued by the pain it brought them to know what they were missing out on. And in those times without one another, they were able to shape successful and generally happy lives, full of ups and downs as lives oft are. Although my geeky side was giddy, my Hosseini fangirl side was heartbroken—I yearned for the closure that could have come from two long lost siblings being finally reunited. Even if Pari had seen the box of feathers at the end and said something along the lines of, “Well, this is strange! I don’t understand what these are, but I’ve always been entranced by feathers,” then I would’ve been thrilled. Or if Abdullah had even the slightest, tiniest glint of recognition of his missing sister. But no, NOTHING. There is no sort of closure, and this is probably me just whining as a reader but goddamn.

Besides that, though, I honestly loved this novel. I love Khaled Hosseini and will always be eagerly looking forward to his next piece. And in the meantime, I’ll be rereading A Thousand Splendid Suns every few years and reveling in its perfection.

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The Trouble with Trainwreck

Trainwreck_posterTrainwreck got a lot of acclaim from people and was even being talked about before its release since it was expected to be a unique take on romantic comedies that was written by a woman. People that had seen it before me lauded it for being a feminist masterpiece, saying that Amy Schumer’s film was shaping the romcom genre in a big way. Yet I left the theater feeling more than a little bit dismayed.

I’m not going to say that I didn’t laugh, and despite not being over the moon about Trainwreck, I enjoy Schumer’s standup for the most part. (I think sometimes her jokes are a bit too crude for my personal tastes, and she tends to put her foot in her mouth with racist jokes or jokes that are in poor taste, though.) Bottom line: I don’t hate her, and I don’t even necessarily hate Trainwreck. It was good for some laughs, I enjoy Judd Apatow’s movies, I was thrilled to see Bill Hader in a larger role, and it is refreshing to see a movie written by a woman.

Now here is my biggest issue with it: Once again, we have a romantic comedy where a woman prospers with the introduction of a male character to her life, as if she needed saving or redirecting. It seems like the places where Schumer deviated from the norm were when she made her female protagonist into a woman that likes to drink, smoke weed, and sleep around. This is fine and all, but it wasn’t consistent—as soon as Schumer meets Bill Hader’s character, she changes anyway and stops drinking, smoking, and meeting up with other men to enter into a committed relationship, something she previously scoffed at. Schumer had dated other men and never gave into their pressures of monogamy, yet she does immediately for Hader. (In fact, I’m pretty sure she told him no multiple times and he was just like, “No, you like me and we’re dating now” to which she complied.) Are we supposed to walk away from this thinking that the influence of true love is able to transform us into the “right” kind of person and that all of our questionable actions are fine and dandy until we decide it’s time to settle down? Hell in the end of it, she’s dancing with professional basketball dancers, something she previously rolled her eyes at, because she knows he likes basketball! And of course there’s the typical trope of working as a journalist and writing an article to win back the affections of your estranged lover. This INFURIATES me. When does this happen?! I’m glad I’ve never seen it because that means I must be reading the right editorials and not the kind of magazines that every movie star bases journalism off of where they’re able to post this “I love you, I screwed up, please come back” garbage.

Schumer had a platform where she could have done anything, but she basically rewrote How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days with a Kate Hudson character that doesn’t [initially] give a shit what anyone has to say. From the way people were discussing Trainwreck, I was expecting to walk away having seen a movie that might set romantic comedies on a new course, but I feel like she fell into predictable patterns and ultimately didn’t do anything special. She had a unique character for a little while, but she let it succumb to the influence of a man. Schumer could have written it so the character stayed the same throughout the film and found a partner that accepted her as is, and that alone would have been drastically different from other romantic comedies.

Honestly I love romcoms. They’re cheesy and I don’t have to think a lot while watching them—and sometimes that’s all I’m looking for in a movie. I’ll keep Trainwreck on my shelf as a comfort movie to watch when I’m sick, unable to process complicated scenarios, and all I need is a cheap laugh.

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