I’ve signed up for the free unlimited trial with Amazon. I have about a month of it so I’ve been working hard to fully utilize my time left. In the past week, I have finished three books and have started on another. Countless others sit waiting in rotation. Anyways, I finished the last book in The Station Series by Trish Marie Dawson and also finished Wounds of the Father: A True Story of Child Abuse, Betrayal and Redemption by Elizabeth Garrison. They were both similar and uniquely different from each other. First, the given is one is fiction and the other is an autobiography, but both have an focus with deep pain and the harsh realities of life. Both of the characters deal with it tragically with different results.
Limited summary to prevent spoilers for those in the class reading the first book: Piper’s adventure in the afterlife continues at the station. Piper both comes face to face with a dark past from earth at the station and starts to explore feelings she should have had when alive: Love. Truths of what the Station is becomes revealed to her and she must make challenging decisions that change the course of her afterlife forever.
*WARNING: May contain spoilers ahead* The final book of the series kept me wanting to keep turning the pages much like the first two, but it had an entirely different feel to it. I believe it is because the truth of the station was revealed and was not at all what I was expecting it to be. Perhaps it is because I view the afterlife in a spiritual way and the book explained the afterlife in a sci-fi fashion. It wasn’t the big G-O-D man in the sky, but other life forms helping control the destiny of those in the afterlife. Once I got past that I was able to enjoy the developing relationships in the book even If I did not get the result I wanted, Piper choosing Rush. Piper made great points in debating between the two, Rush had seen inside her and still wanted her. Right there I thought she had made the choice to be with him, I was rooting for it. I feel like there could be another book to continue exploring the relationships, so I will be interested to see if the author, Trish Dawson writes the fourth.
Elizabeth’s family looks like the perfect christian family. The wholesome god leading father, the submissive and caring wife and obedient children to boot. It’s all not what it seems and the truth is devastating. Her father is controlling and abusive with bipolar like qualities. He rules the house with an iron first and beats submission into each family member with an mixture of beatings and fear. Elizabeth tries her best to be good and obey her father and god but no matter what she does she cannot please either. Worse, the faceless man that sneaks into her room at night never seems to cease. As she ages, Elizabeth starts to spin out of control, using drugs to both take control and numb her pain. She sinks deeper and deeper into the lifestyle, finally finding herself as a ward of the state and placed into a series of treatment centers and foster homes.
This book was tragic and more tragic. As an reader you both wanted to shake Elizabeth hard and try to rescue her from her pain. As an parent, it’s difficult to read how close every person in this world is to becoming an drug addict. No matter how we raise our children, each person has the potential to become addicted to drugs. Yes, Elizabeth was lead into drugs by childhood abuse but there are those that have been lead into it by less. Just..Scary. The author really exposed herself in this both and she left nothing out, never trying to glorify her experience but truly writing about drug abuse as it is. This is a good eye opener to expose drug use and take that cool and glamorous factor away from it.
For some reason recalling dreams have been difficult for me. The exception would be pregnancy, those dreams during got really vivid. Dreams of zombies, end of world scenarios get glued into my head. Even if I wanted to forget them, I cannot. I believe cause it’s one of my bigger fears. Ghosts, monsters, those sort of supernatural things don’t bother me, human beings are more capable of horrifying things. This book is on point with that.
Leilani is teenager living on the Hawaiian island of Hilo with her parents, brother and grandfather. She is considered a mix breed of sort, someone that doesn’t quite fit into any group. She’s not white enough, nor is she considered Hawaiian even with her native descent. While she navigates the issues of race in a racial tense place, she also battles her health problems of epilepsy. She travels to the island of Oahu for an experimental drug to control her seizures with her father. While there something strange and terrible happens, it seems the whole world is shutting down. Anything that requires electricity ceases to work and any forms of communication are jammed. The island turns into chaos, islanders and tourists fighting for the limited resources to survive. While a strange, glowing, cloud covers the sky and seems to push words into Leilani mind, her and her dad try to make the long and hard journey back to Hilo.
There a few sci-fi elements in this book, like when the main character is able to communicate with the strange, glowing cloud. There are many elements in the book that are easy to relate to because of the human behavior. It makes you wonder, if that was me, would I do that? What would I do for the survival of myself and my family? Would I steal from others? Would I kill to protect? There is a second book coming out in the summer that will follow Leilani and her family as they struggle to survive in the new post-world. I will be looking forward to see what happens next with them.
We talk about giving youth a choice in their book selection frequently in #yalitclass. As I was busying myself with kitchen chores, I got to thinking about when I first enrolled in the class. Initially, I had my doubts. I dreaded the idea of having to read pre-selected books. How surprised I was when I learned there were only a few pre-selected books and we would be responsible to select and report on our own choices of books. Just the act of searching and purchasing the books on amazon got me excited to read again. I was picking books that I genuinely wanted to read, it wasn’t a chore, and it wasn’t something that I needed to force myself into reading each night. Each night, I’m excited to crawl into bed, grab my kindle and read. A love of reading was reignited.
…Kinda! I put off writing an blog until I could finish both book one and two of the Station Series. I’m glad I did. My eldest woke up with the stomach bug this morning. As he’s been sleeping, I’ve been able to catch up with my reading. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t spread, ironically this is the week my mother is in Oahu visiting since the baby is born. Hoping the germs die and I can show her around the island. Anyways, enough with my sob story of the day, on to the summary of an amazing series!
Piper Willow life seems average at first, she’s typical as a typical teenager can get. After her seventeenth birthday things take a change for the devastatingly worse. First, Ryan, the boy she has been majorly crushing on, slips something into her drink and takes advantage of her at a high school party. She manages to cope the best she can, all while keeping what happened to herself. What tips the scale is the death of her best friend in a car crash that Piper was driving. She racked with guilt, unable to forgive herself for an mistake that she had no control over. Worst of all, others in school and her friend’s parents seem to blame her as well. She can no longer cope with the tragedies in her life and commits suicide. Piper’s soul is transported out of this world and into the station. The station is the middle land in the after life, where one can volunteer or opt out and go to their own personal hell. Piper decides to “volunteer”. Volunteering consists of being sent back to earth and lodge in another person’s subconscious. There Piper must help the person make the right choices and steer them away from taking their own life.
I bought the first book in the series on a whim. I go back and forth on my kindle purchases, sometimes picking an book that is carefully selected and other selecting books in the discount category. Those discount books need some love too! I’m glad that I purchased the first book. It was the type of book that I didn’t know what was going to happen next, it was not predictable. The feeling of the unpredictable made me want to read more and more and I had hard time putting it down. I’m thankful for my recent kindle tablet purchase, I was able to read the book in bed while everyone else was sleeping. The first chapter did worry me, I will admit. It contained the rape topic and the best friend death, and I thought it seemed over the top at first. As I continued reading, those events related much better to the over-all book and the reason for piper’s death. As always, since this book contains mature topics, I think it’s important for adults to consider the maturity level of the young reader before allowing them to read it.
This week I have been exploring the use of social media with literature. I’ve been fairly active with goodreads, often using it’s feature to help me select new books to read. I’m really loving the recommendation feature based on my previous reads, even if it does mostly stay within the realm of my reading comfort zone. Twitter has also been an form of social media that is new to me, I tried to use it a time ago but I found I was not very active. It’s changed now that I have seen it’s use, it’s like having an ongoing conversation, beneficial in using hashtags to explore books. I’ve been liking book quotes hashtags, a quote will peak my interest and I will go search for the title on google. I think social media opens up a larger dialogue for literature, maybe books that wouldn’t get as much attention can become popular just be someone posting a blog or a hashtag or reviewing it on goodreads.