Random rants

LGBT Influential Author review: James Baldwin

Posted on Updated on

Born August 2, 1924 James Arthur Baldwin was an African American novelist, essayist, playwright, and poet. With novels published such as Go Tell It on the Mountain, Notes of a Native Son, Giovanni’s room, Another Country, and Tell Me How Long The Train’s been Gone, Baldwins work has forever been immortalized in my heart.

Baldwin to me is what Rainbow Rowell is to YA reader lovers. Being both black and gay I find that my identities arent always represented in novels, it’s typically an either or. With Baldwin he masterfully gets my the angst I felt growing up with the duality as of being both black and gay while raised in a religious household. Baldwins novels often provoked thought with his imaginative writing and always challenging the status qou. Living during the Civil rights era Baldwin’s work often reflected the racial climate of his time. While many argue that he often hid behind white face (Writing characters who are white in hopes of getting published and more notoriety) his work is still none-the-less great.

I remember first reading his novel Giovanni’s room and realizing that their was an author out there who got it. Who understood where I was coming from and where I’ve. And while I realize that I’ve never been to Paris, nor am I a white gay male,. something about this book clicked with me. When we talk about authors and publishers who pushed the status qou and made way for LGBTQ novels, his name should be among the list of other like Larry Kramer, Rita Mae Brown, E. M Foster, and so many more!

 

Mosquitoland review

Posted on Updated on

So before I get into a Spoiler-free review of Mosquitoland I have to share a funny story: I wasn’t going to buy this book.

tumblr_nqr87wD2bV1tezf1qo1_1280This book, along with We Were Liars  had been sitting in my amazon cart for a few weeks…and I had every intention to buy them but at the last minute I decided not to. So I put them in my wishlist. Well, one day I went inside a bookstore and saw this book. I decided “you know what, this is a sign from the book gods to buy this book. So I bought it (along with The handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood)

Okay so that wasnt funny.

Here is a quick, one line synopsis of the book before I share my thoughts:

Mim Malone embarks on a journey to get to her mother.

Things I loved about the book.

  1. I loved the journal entries. I really enjoy when authors incorporate journal entries into their books from the POV of the main Character. I also loved the surprise involved with the journal. The Journal entries allowed for us to see a different side of Mim. We got to reach a very personal, intimate level with her. Which is important for readers to be able to get attached to character.
  2.  I love how it wasn’t a love story? And by that I mean (in the most vague way ever), she did what she had to do.
  3. I love the symbolism of the lipstick + her mother + her journey. I liked how she had something that gave her the strength and courage at times. When times got tough she had something to remind her of her mother, ultimately reminding her of the reason she was on this journey.
  4. The way David Arnold handled Mental health in this book was so honest.
  5. I loved the supporting characters: like Arlene, Glenda, Caleb, uncle Phil, Walt Aunt Isabel. I also loved the diversity in the people she met (Except poncho guy)
  6. Walt. I loved Walt.
  7. The relationship she had with her father was so authentic and toooooooo over the top. The family dynamics as a whole were spot on in my opinion, especially since dealing with divorce and death.
  8. The experiences she made while on the journey never felt forced, (Except for…) I felt like that is what my trip might have been like  if I went in search for my mother.
  9. I love how Mim Malone doesn’t allow her illness to define her and ho she was so relatable.

Okay, now FOR THE SAKE OF SPACE, on to the things I didn’t favor to much

  1. The actual execution of the lipstick. There has been a discussion about whether it was appropration/wrong for him to have Mim us it in the manner that she did. I’m not familiar with how warpaint works but like I Said I loved the symbolism it gave us but I think it could have been a little less appropriating?
  2. At points it seemed like Walt was fading into the background of everything. (Which thinking about it that might have been his intention.)but there were moments when we’d go pages without hearing from Walt and its like…they’re in a vehicle where is he.
  3. I’m not sure why, but I feel like her (and others) story isnt finished.And it makes me upset because I just want to know more. and more. and more. and more.
  4. Sometimes, it got a little confusing as to if we were in the present or past (Not really sometimes just one time in particular which I think is because of how I stopped reading)
  5. I wish I got to know more about Walt.
  6. I wish they didn’t refer to him as a pet.
  7. I wish this book were longer.

Personally, Id recommend this book to everyone. It was a very smooth read (I recommending reading it with Say it out loud by Cinema Cycle playing in the background or Ed Sheeran radio The A team.

“I am a collection of Oddities.”

“Be curious, but contempt. Be loyal, but independent. Be Kind. To everyone. Treat every day like you’re making waffles. Don’t settle for the first guy (or girl) unless he’s the right guy (or girl). Live your effing life. Do so with gusto, because my god, thers nothing sorrier than a gusto-less existence. Know yourself. Love yourself. Be a good friend. Be a kid of hope an substance” (Page 342)