April 29

Book Review – Small Damages by Beth Kephart

April 29, 2015

From Goodreads:
It’s senior year, and while Kenzie should be looking forward to prom and starting college in the fall, she is mourning the loss of her father. She finds solace in the one person she trusts, her boyfriend, and she soon finds herself pregnant. Kenzie’s boyfriend and mother do not understand her determination to keep the baby. She is sent to southern Spain for the summer, where she will live out her pregnancy as a cook’s assistant on a bull ranch, and her baby will be adopted by a Spanish couple.

Alone and resentful in a foreign country, Kenzie is at first sullen and difficult. She begins to open her eyes and her heart to the beauty that is all around her and inside of her. 

I picked this book up while I was searching for “foodish” books for a guest post I’ll be doing next month. I have some mixed feelings about this book, but here are my thoughts in a nutshell. I usually try to give you some sort of pros/cons list, but I recognize that some of the items that were cons for me won’t necessarily be for others. Instead I’ll just talk about some elements in general:

  • The one item that didn’t appeal strongly to me, but I’m sure would not be a problem for others was the writing. I just wasn’t a fan of Kephart’s style. It is a pet peeve of mine when authors use phrases as complete sentences…..repeatedly. I also never determined (although I didn’t really stress myself out trying to figure it out) why the author sometimes used quotes to indicate what someone was saying and sometimes did not (you may need to read the book to understand).
  • There is a great deal of symbolism and imagery – I don’t think you need to understand it to enjoy the story, but it is extensive. If I were in high school and writing a paper, it would probably be on the symbolism of different foods (particularly oranges), the weather, colors, or birds.
  • The ending was a bit unrealistic for me. I can’t say more because I hate spoilers, but I don’t think it would ever happen in anyone’s actual life.
  • The author loves Spain, and this novel was an homage to all things Spain for her. Her love of the country, its scenery, its people, its food was evident. It did make me want to travel to the country while I was reading.
  • I thought Kephart provided an interesting perspective on teenage pregnancy. None of the reactions of the characters were new or novel, but the way she intertwined all of the responses felt different to me.
  • I was not a fan of the way Kephart developed most of the relationships in the novel, particularly the romantic relationships – one came out of left field and didn’t create a sense of excitement when it happened, while another remained stagnant after decades and remained that way throughout the novel. If you’re looking for a good love story, this is not it.

Although this isn’t my favorite book of all time, there were elements that I could appreciate. I don’t think I’ll be running out to read any of Kephart’s other books anytime soon though unless I get a very strong recommendation from a friend whose reading style I trust!

Have you read Small Damages? What did you think?

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April 14

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Favorite Book Quotes

April 14, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish in which they select a topic every week, and the rest of us get to make Top Ten lists based on that topic. This week’s topic: Top Ten Inspiring Quotes from Books (anything that inspires you, challenges you, makes you think, encourages you, etc.). I love quotes from books, and I have a special notebook set aside for documenting my favorites. I’ve included a link to my review with each quote so that if a quote appeals to you, you can check out the review and see if it is a book you might like to read! It’s hard to narrow down, but here are my Top Ten:

“Books had always been her companions, her escape. The pages she turned had taken her places and taught her to dream.”

Renee Rosen – What the Lady Wants

You are all the colors in one at full brightness.”

Jennifer Niven – All the Bright Places

“Is it possible for home to be a person and not a place?”

Stephanie Perkins – Anna and the French Kiss

“How could he have imagined love was anything but a force which made you your most authentic being.”

Suanne Laqueur – The Man I Love

“Change doesn’t happen just because we think something is wrong. Change happens because we think something is wrong and then don’t stop fighting until it’s right.”

Liza Palmer – Girl Before a Mirror

“Nothing except luck protects you from catastrophe. Not love. Not money. Not faith. Not a pure heart or good deeds – and not bad ones either, for that matter. We can, any of us, be laid low, cut down, diminished, destroyed.”

Therese Anne Fowler – Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

“Choose the path of love and not fear. The choice you make out of love will always be the right one.”

Elisa Carbone – Blood on the River

“The pronouns will tell you the story. It’s I or it’s us. It’s we or it’s them. Stories belong to somebody.”

Beth Kephart – Small Damages

“A soul isn’t something a person is born with but something that must be built, by effort and error, study and love.”

Chad Harbach – The Art of Fielding

“…love blooms in life’s day to day moments.”

Diane Muldrow – Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned From a Little Golden Book

What is your favorite quote from a book? I so love book quotes and I definitely want to know your favorite!

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