November 20, 2018 | Posted by Victoria in Book Reviews, Multi-Reviews | 2 Comments

Genres: Anthology, Non-fiction
Publication Date: September 25, 2018 by Simon & Schuster Audio
Format: Audiobook
Length: 9:33:13
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4 Stars
Source: Audiobook Received for Review

From award-winning actress and political activist America Ferrera comes a vibrant and varied collection of first-person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of growing up between cultures.

America Ferrera has always felt wholly American, and yet, her identity is inextricably linked to her parents’ homeland and Honduran culture. Speaking Spanish at home, having Saturday-morning-salsa-dance-parties in the kitchen, and eating tamales alongside apple pie at Christmas never seemed at odds with her American identity.

Still, she yearned to see that identity reflected in the larger American narrative.

Now, in American Like Me, America invites thirty-one of her friends, peers, and heroes to share their stories about life between cultures. We know them as actors, comedians, athletes, politicians, artists, and writers. However, they are also immigrants, children or grandchildren of immigrants, indigenous people, or people who otherwise grew up with deep and personal connections to more than one culture. Each of them struggled to establish a sense of self, find belonging, and feel seen. And they call themselves American enthusiastically, reluctantly, or not at all.

Ranging from the heartfelt to the hilarious, their stories shine a light on a quintessentially American experience and will appeal to anyone with a complicated relationship to family, culture, and growing up.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wow, I love this book. It’s a collection of essays edited by America Ferrera about living between cultures. The essays are written by activists, actors, politicians, writers, and so many others. This book had so many diverse stories; not only were the essays by individuals from different cultures, but from different genders, religions, and sexualities as well.

“Bravery is like a muscle, once you flex it you can’t stop.”

The stories range from sad to hilarious to uplifting. The contributors share their stories and give insight into the experiences that shaped them into who they are. I really enjoyed reading the book because I loved listening to everyone’s different stories, and I seeing some of my experiences reflected in a few of the stories. Anjelah Johnson-Reyes’ essay resonated with me the most. She’s a Latina woman who doesn’t feel Latina ~enough~ and struggles with being proud of who she is.

“I want to show the world that being Latino and American doesn’t look like just one thing. I don’t want other kids to feel the way I did. To want so badly to be more Latino than I felt that I actually was…how can you be more of something that you just inherently are? You can’t, you shouldn’t.”

This was such a fantastic book to listen to. It gives people who do not identify with multiple cultures insight into some of the challenges individuals face and the difficulties that can arise from being part of two different sometimes conflicting cultures, and individuals who do identify with multiple cultures stories they can relate to.

Genres: Adult, Horror
Publication Date: October 30, 2018 by Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: 3:47
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2 Stars
Source: Audiobook Received for Review

The latest from legendary master storyteller Stephen King, a riveting, extraordinarily eerie, and moving story about a man whose mysterious affliction brings a small town together—a timely, upbeat tale about finding common ground despite deep-rooted differences.

Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.

In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade—but escalating—battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face–including his own—he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I love Stephen King, and started reading more of his novels this year. I was excited to read Elevation, and expected to enjoy it as much as his other books; unfortunately Elevation did not compare.

Elevation is marketed as a horror novel, and is even a choice the Goodreads Best Books of 2018 for horror, but it isn’t horror! There’s some paranormal type stuff happening to the main character, but it’s not a horror novel. The main message of King’s story is about how we should treat people different from us kindly and how we want to be treated. The story focuses on a man, who is slowly losing all his weight, befriending the married lesbian couple the town hates simply for being a married lesbian couple.

It’s a short story, and it’s very quick to listen to, but it was definitely white savior-y. The straight middle class, middle age white man helps the town accept the lesbian couple. I just wanted to roll my eyes the entire second half of the book. I understand what King was trying to do, and the message he wanted to get across, but this was not the way to do it.

At the end of the audiobook there was a short story about a man and his puppy. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t in the physical book, and is something that is exclusive to the audiobook. I enjoyed reading this short story, even more than I enjoyed listening to Elevation.

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    • Most of his books are long, but thankfully Elevation was just a short story. I was very surprised it wasn’t horror, especially since it’s being marketed as horror.

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