Book Review | The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

Hello bookish friends!

I hope you discovered something new this week. Although the week isn’t over yet, so there is still plenty of time to learn something new. This week’s book review is on The Silence of The Girls by Pat Barker.


“The defeated go down in history and disappear, and their stories die with them.”

The Silence of the Girls

I’ve probably mentioned this a few times, but re-tellings are some of my favorite stories to read. Hearing from the point of view of a side character in an otherwise well-known tale gives such fresh perspective. It’s also a way to find out about how the other characters and people lived, or what could have happened if they would have had more say. The Silence of The Girls is a re-telling of The Iliad (Trojan War) from the point of view of Briseis, one of the former queens of the many kingdoms in Troy, whose kingdom is conquered by the one and only Achilles. And OH MY GOSH, my heart was breaking into a million pieces just imagining how the women and children were being treated.


They’re the warriors, with their helmets and armour, their swords and spears, and they don’t seem to see our battles– or prefer not to. Perhaps if they realized we’re not the gentle creatures they take us for their own peace of mind would be disturbed?”

The Silence of the Girls

If any of you ever read the Iliad or taken a Humanities course on classicism or Greek mythology, or even watched the Brad Pitt version of Troy, then you KNOW how this story ends. Despite that, while reading I was honestly at the edge of my seat. I knew what was going to happen but because it was Briseis telling the story (and at some points Achilles and Patroclus), the story was fresh and enlightening. There were times when I doubted what would happen. There is a lot of foreshadowing on Achilles part, and at times I felt as Briseis did, conflicted. I wanted to feel bad for Achilles, and at times I did. But remember these are women who were ripped from their homes, abused of, and treated as things with no thoughts or feelings. I was torn from being able to fully grieve the Greek warriors and despising them. This makes the story all the more real though and makes us really think how history is told throughout time.



“Looking back, it seemed to me I’d been trying to escape not just from the camp, but from Achilles’s story; and I’d failed. Because, make no mistake, this was his story– his anger, his grief, his story. I was angry, I was grieving, but somehow that didn’t matter. Here I was, again, waiting for Achilles to decide when it was time for bed, still trapped, still stuck inside his story, and yet with no real part to play in it.”

The Silence of the Girls

Who is telling the story matters because the person telling the story paints it with the colors that they personally saw and experienced, not the person next to them. Lin Manuel had a point in the song “Who Tells Your Story” as Briseis says many times in her narrative as well. She realizes many times that the women who experienced the war, it will never be their story, it will be Achilles, or Odysseus, or even the scumbag Agememnon. This is why these stories are so important. The women and children suffered, immensely and although this is fictional, it isn’t any less real. We need to hear the other sides story if we are ever going to be able to paint a picture of an event fully.


“What will people make of us, the people of those unimaginable distant ties? One thing I do know: they won’t want the brutal reality of conquest and slavery. They won’t want to be told about the massacres of men and boys, the enslavement of women and girls. They won’t want to know we were living in a rape camp. No, they’ll go for something altogether softer. A love story, perhaps? I just hope they manage to work out who the lovers were.”

The Silence of the Girls

Despite the agony and the utter hopelessness of the situation, the women are resilient. They are strong in the only ways they know how to be. I highly recommend this book. I’m probably going to add it to my Top Shelf books because I believe it will be one I turn to time and time again.

Until next time my bookish friends.

Read Something Wonderful & Stay Curious.
Gisela

Book Review: The Pisces by Melissa Broder

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“When we imagine a situation – when our hearts decide this must happen – we will go to any lengths to make the fantasy happen.”

I finished this book in two days! I finished on the 8th early, so early, in the morning because I could not put it down. As so many other reviewers have mentioned, this book is not for everyone so a little disclaimer, if you hate this book, you may not like this review…

We find ourselves with Lucy, a Ph.D. student working on a thesis about Sappho who finds herself breaking up from a guy she has been comfortable with for the past 8 years but doesn’t really love the guy, just the idea of him. After a breakup, she finds herself in California housesitting and dogsitting for her sister. This is where it gets interesting. She meets a merman, friends! Yes, that is correct, a living breathing merman.

But hold on friends, this book is so much more than the impossible love between a human and mystical creature. Lucy struggles with depression and anxiety and probably a whole host of problems- it’s her journey through these emotions that really captured my attention. She is fully aware of the void and the darkness in her and she struggles throughout the book on how to deal with it. She searches for love, like so many of us, in a variety of places – people, experiences, donuts (yes she eats a bunch of donuts). Many people mention her being unlikeable as a character, but I just couldn’t find something not to like about her. She is just a woman struggling with the affliction of life.

Since Lucy is working on a thesis about Sappho, the book is filled with Greek myths and thoughts on how the gods interact with humans and how they relate to us. Despite the serious nature of the book, I was laughing out LOUD, friends. I would consider this book a “dramady”, because some of Lucy’s antics, her friends’ words, and a lot of moments that I could relate to as a female was freaking hilarious. Be ready for a lot of women bodily fluids being mentioned.

I was extremely happy with the ending. I won’t give it away, but I loved Lucy’s ultimate decision. It was heartfelt, tender, and I sobbed like a baby.

“Now I knew he was the one who had brought the darkness. I felt that I didn’t have to be afraid anymore. The gloom wasn’t coming from me. I was still responsible for him but not or the atmosphere. So many times I had tried to fix things, peoples feelings, the shifting moods of men, by adjusting my own behavior. But in this case, it was beyond me.”

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Let me know if you have read The Pisces because I have way too many feelings about it!

Book Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

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Just when you thought you knew who your friends were…

Side Note: As with suspense/mystery/thriller books I never give much away in my reviews. I don’t want to spoil it for you since this books are so easy to spoil when writing or speaking about them. Expect the bare minimum here!

Lets set the scene – Amber is poor and power hungry. Daphne Parrish is the trophy wife to Jackson Parrish, a bazillionaire (at least that’s what I think the way they kept describing him as). Amber wants what Daphne has and what ensues is of Alice in Wonderland proportions…

I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed The Last Mrs. Parrish. When beginning the audiobook, I had a hard time understanding what Amber’s motive was. I just kept getting upset at every single thing that she did and yelling alone in my car, “WHY DOESN’T ANYONE SEE THROUGH THIS GIRL!” She’s manipulative, narcissistic, cunning – all things you want in a villain. BUT with that being said, all I’m going to say is keep reading and I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Or possibly angrily surprised as I was.

As for the other characters I had my suspicions about them and I was proven correct about one. Part One is Amber’s point of view and Part Two is Daphne’s, so you will be able to get both women’s perspective which makes it very interesting.

If you have read The Last Mrs. Parrish and want to fangirl with me about it, reach out!!! 

Book Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

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“What does it say about a place that people will risk certain death to leave it?” 

After reading this book my heart is nostalgic for a country I have no connection to, and it breaks for those that do. Chanel Cleeton wrote a loving story during two turbulent times in the history of Cuba. Although, after reading this book it’s hard not to say that the times in between have been a complete disaster, a crime against humanity.

I absolutely adore historical fiction with all my heart and enjoy when authors write dates and facts into books so that you can know when and where things are happening. Cleeton does this in a brilliant way. She gives us the facts without taking away the emotional context of the story. If anything it only adds to the drama of the story and keeps had my heart racing trying to determine the outcome (even though we know what happened in history). As a reader, you learn everything you need to know and more to understand the circumstances that Marisol finds herself in while traveling to the land her grandmother was exiled from.

The book goes back and forth between Marisol’s grandmother, Elisa’s point of view to Marisol’s (in the present), and it was interesting to say just how alike the two women from different time periods, are. Their actions mirrored each other, without them even realizing it.

I’m an advocate for historical fiction. I truly believe when you put the emotional context into historic events, people understand, people empathize. For anyone not versed in the Cuban Revolution or in the precarious relationship the United States has with Cuba, this is definitely a good book to read. And for my romance gals, there is plenty of swoon-worthy moments as well.

“Do we all dare to hope for more? Of course.”

I give it 5 stars. If you want to fangirl with me about Next Year in Havana, please reach out to me!

Gisela’s review of Maybe in Another Life

Very timely for me and I loved it so much. Once again, Taylor Jenkins Reid brings up so many important life questions and situations in a very thoughtful way. The main protagonist, Hannah was all over the place, and at first, I found myself swinging between I like her and “Ugh, get your life together.” But that’s just it right? I think once I realized Hannah is an embodiment of many people in their late 20’s who don’t have their shit together, I knew I liked her – mistakes and all. And oh dear lord, she made many mistakes.

The author also infused all her characters with distinct personalities, which I think many authors forget to do. They focus so much on the main characters they forget that the other characters have lives of their own! This was a major theme for this book because your actions not only affect your life, but they can affect everyone’s life you encounter. I think that’s why I cried at the end of the book – not because it was sad, but I cried because of the idea that maybe there are multiple versions of ourselves out there, living different versions of our lives that are wholly dependent on our choices.

As I got towards the end of the book, I found the author did something brilliantly that really translates to real life and also adds a bit of hope. No matter what choice Hannah made and what happened (because the story splits into two versions of how her life could go) she always came to the same conclusions. She always learned and grew into who she needed to be in whichever version of her life she was in. She always ended up happy, and I think that’s important to know that our current state is temporary, but our choices, always our choices is what helps us get to our happy endings.

If I had to choose one takeaway from this book it would be this:

“It doesn’t matter if we don’t mean to do the things we do. It doesn’t matter if it was an accident or a mistake. It doesn’t even matter if we think this all up to fate. Because regardless of our destiny, we still have to answer for our actions. We make choices, big and small, every day of our lives, and those choices have consequences. We have to face those consequences head-on, for better or worse. We don’t get to erase them just by saying we didn’t mean to. Fate or not, our lives are still the results of our choices.

Gisela’s review of Maybe in Another Life

Gisela’s review of New Moon

I should start off by saying this is my least favorite book in the series. Mostly because everyone is so damn DRAMATIC. But with that being said, if there was no drama in books, would we really be reading them?

As an angsty teenager I went through something kind of sort of like Bella (minus the monsters and going totally catatonic) so I see why I probably sympathize with her plight. I still sort of do, but it didn’t stop me from getting mad at her and wanting her to be stronger. I keep thinking, “Come on Bella! Get a grip!”

One more thing, although Jacob isn’t my favorite character in the whole series, I did really feel sorry for him in the end. I understand true love comes first, but I felt my heart clenching in those final chapters when Bella leaves him.

Now to watch the movie and on to Eclipse!

Gisela’s review of New Moon

Gisela’s review of Genuine Fraud

I went into reading this book not knowing what the hell I was getting myself into because that description gave me nothing which in this case was good! Although I did not like the ending (I feel like I needed more explanation) I have to give kudos to the author for sucking me into the story. I had to know what the hell was happening and what had caused Jule down this path. The story starts off as one big lie and little by little you get the truth. If a book can get me to yell “WTF!” or try to analyze the character, then it did a good job in my book.

Again, though I didn’t like that ending that is the ONLY thing I really didn’t like.

Gisela’s review of Genuine Fraud