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 Rant | After by Anna Todd 💔

Hello Bookish Babes! Happy Friday to you all!

We made it to the end of the week and that means I have another book review for you! Actually, hold that thought. I finally… FINALLY got around to reading After by Anna Todd. It’s been on my TBR list for ages and all my close friends have been praying for the day that I finally pick up the book to read it. The time has come friends and I finished this book after (see what I did there) many sleepless nights because I 👏COULD 👏NOT 👏PUT 👏IT DOWN.👏

Because this book is super hyped up (and for good reason) + it is being made into a movie (release date next week, April 12!), I decided to go about this book review a different way. I’ve decided to do a book “rant” and sort of tweet my way through the book. I wrote down all my thoughts as I thought them and I’ve shared them with you today. I hope you enjoy! I’ll be sharing more thoughts on the book on my IG story! Book gossip with me @giselasbooked.


After Book Rant

Gosh I’m getting a sense of foreboding already. Is it just me? 😨

Does Tessa not have GPS on her phone?

Can’t she call an Uber to leave the party?

This guy better have a really good reason why he’s acting all jerky to her.

Really!? You are going to play the jealousy card after you scolded and yelled at her!? 😡

Finally GPS!

Oh gosh arguing over pride and prejudice. Is Hardin like Darcy… probably? What a dick!

This guy thinks very highly of himself but also girl… don’t lie to yourself.

Whoa, um okay twilight moment!? Is Hardin a vampire? (As if you could fight me off! *Edward Cullen voice*)

I’m confused. Is he jealous!?  

That boy Noah is really clueless. Gosh poor puppy.

Of course. Kissing someone while they are yelling at you is a good way to stop the argument and make everything better. *says sarcastically*

I hate myself for swooning. Ughhh my friends would NOT like this. They would not want me to date a guy like this! 😥

Great! There he goes again, f***ing it up!

Well, at least finally vanilla boy is out of the picture. He was kind of boring and annoying. Blahhhh.  💤

Five!?? Why the hell does she get up at 5 a.m. for a 9 a.m. class!??

Tessa and Molly… the way you are acting to each other… not cool.

Image result for mean girls sluts and whores tina fey

Okay, they are happy again and gosh darn it, I hate myself for swooning and being happy too. Rawr! *Alexa play “Drumming Song” by Florence and the Machine.*

He’s funny and adorable… sigh. Why am I like this??

What the hell is up with her mom!? Is she being serious!? Like yeah I mean okay Hardin isn’t the greatest but damn!

Ugh, I feel it. Things are too good. Something bad is going to happen. Like category 5 hurricane bad. Can I hide? Must I keep reading? 😱

Oh no…. Who’s the suit? I smell trouble.

Like the girls from The Bold Type say… There’s a special place in hell for girls who don’t support girls.

No Tessa no. Stay. No. I usually would not advocate listening to Hardin but for once in your life just listen!!!!

Why do you have to say those things Hardin!? Ugh, why do you have to be cute!!!! Stop it! Who gave your permission?

Great. Just like that. Poof. Cranky  moody temperamental childish Hardin.

Acting like a caveman is right. Humph.

Devil worshiper… LMAO. Seriously though what is wrong with her mother? She’s nuts.

When is the shoe going to drop? Can someone buckle me in? I need to brace for impact. 😱

Oh my gosh. Those bastards. They are horrible! WTF.

Who gave these authors permission to make cute guys assholes! So we fall in love with them!? Their outsides should match their insides!! 💔


There you have it bookish babes. I really did enjoy the book despite all my ranting. Anna Todd is a very compelling writer. Her words were just urging me along like the little engine that could. That ending though. I’m so upset and now I have no choice but to read the second book pronto!

Let me know what you all thought of the book. What do you think of Hardin and of Tessa? Are you excited for the movie? I sure am! This story hits a very close to my own personal experience and I may share a bit on another post. Until next time my friends!

Read Something Wonderful & Stay Curious.

Gisela

Book Review | The Lady From The Black Lagoon

Hi Bookish Friends!

I’m writing to you from my sick bed. It has been my intention to write this review days ago, but I was struck with a cold/fever for the past couple of days. I finally gave up and took a day off which in turn gave me some time to lay around, contemplate life, and also write this review. So without further ado, here it finally is… The Lady From The Black Lagoon!

For anybody who also happens to follow me on Instagram, you would have seen me post endless quotes from this book. The Lady From The Black Lagoon by Mallory O’Meara tells the story of Mallory, a producer, and screenwriter on her quest to find out more about Milicent Patrick, one of Walt Disney’s first female animators and designer of the monster from The Creature from the Black Lagoon (phew, that’s a mouthful). Now, full disclaimer, when you are reading this book, it will not only be a history of Milicent Patrick but also of the author’s process of finding this information and experience in the film industry as well. Some people will not like that. I found that it added more dimension to the story.

We learn that Milicent was one of the first female Disney animators, although she had claimed sometimes to being the first, and helped animate scenes in the classic Fantasia. So many of us grew up watching Fantasia, myself included, but we never really appreciate the time and art that goes into making films such as those. O’Meara goes over the process in detail and wow, I wanted to stop reading and watch the film and see if I can point out what was Milicent’s work. Which I did. I looked it up on gold ol’ YouTube. It really is a work of art, and if you haven’t watched it in a long time, it’s worth it. But it does make me sad that Milicent, along with other female animators and artists, never got their credit.

Not only does O’Meara speak about Milicent’s life and how it came to be that she got no credit for her part in the film industry, but she goes over many truths that are still prevalent today. For most of history, men have taken control of almost every facet of society, the film industry included. It’s only until recently that women are saying #TimesUp to all the injustice. Just how now we are giving voices to the countless women in the film industry, O’Meara attempts to do the same to Milicent. She wasn’t perfect, or extraordinary, but she loved art and films and wanted to be a part of that. Because of over-egotistical men (one man in particular), her name was wiped out, and she stayed quiet as so many women do.

Don’t go into this book expecting concrete answers and a full-on biography of Milicent. We get most of her life, yes, but we also get truth-bomb as to why things get hidden and how we can help.

Until next time.

Read Something Wonder & Stay Curious

Gisela

Book Review|Work Wife by Erica Cerulo & Claire Mazur 👯

Happy Tuesday Bookish Babes!

I hope you are all having a brilliant Tuesday so far and have so many good things that will happen to you this week! The book I’m going to write about today is one that I have been super excited for a long time, Work Wife by Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur who are the founders of the website Of A Kind. Full disclaimer, I don’t know too much about their website. I’ve only seen it in passing, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that they give so much great and practical advice in this book.

Times are changing my friends and for the better. In Work Wife, Erica and Claire talk about the benefits of creating partnerships between female colleagues and friends and how we only become stronger for it. I know first hand how damaging it is when we feed into the lie that women are “catty” towards one another and how it’s in our nature to be competitive. BUT THAT IS JUST NOT THE CASE LADIES! We are beautiful, powerful, brilliant, vulnerable human beings and it is these willingness to be vulnerable in many aspects of our lives that make working together so enriching.

Erica and Claire don’t just give advice, they back it up with research and case studies, going over many different female partnerships in a variety of industries, to show that it can work. That it DOES work. They how the foundations of what is already in us, help guide us to make better business decisions and form lasting and evolving companies. So many times we read these business books and they have decent advice, but sometimes it’s dry and can’t be applied to our lives. No, not with Work Wife. It left me invigorating and ready to collaborate with the female powerhouses I have around me.

From picking your work wife, to handling finances together, to how to get through disagreements, Erica and Claire go through it all with the help of so many amazing women. 💖

Until next time bookish babes!

Read something wonderful and stay curious,

Gisela

Book Review| The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Happy Friday Bookish Babes! Welcome back to another book review!

This week I am reviewing The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai and oh my goodness, friends, I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest. I cried many times throughout the book, but the last fourth of the book I was just crying the WHOLE TIME. I only had that fourth of the book left and so as soon as I got off work, I raced home, ate dinner like Beast from Beauty and the Beast and dove in. I didn’t even take off my makeup or get comfy. I sat on the floor and finished the book with my mascara running down my face. But, please do not let that scare you. We never want to be sad, but sometimes it’s good to release emotion and also good to read and learn about something so devastating that we have no choice but to rage and act.

The Great Believers has two narratives. One narrative takes place in 1980’s Chicago during the Aids Crisis where we meet our protagonist, Yale Tishman. The other  takes place in the present day, 2015 in Paris and follows Fiona, who is trying to find her estranged daughter. Yale is a young gay man living during this time and his friends are dying from this disease that hardly anyone knows anything about. They have to grapple with a homophobic society and government that didn’t put any effort, didn’t do ANYTHING into helping out these people that were not getting the proper treatment or care. Fiona ties into this because the story starts off with her older brother, Nico dying, and Yale, being one his friends, attends the memorial which sets the story off. Years later in the present day Fiona is trying to search for her daughter and still dealing with the aftermath of losing so many loved ones during the AIDS crisis.

Again, this is not a light read but Rebecca Makkai’s writing weaves such beauty into such a heartbreaking and moving story. I know OF the AIDS crisis but honestly, that’s not something they teach in a history class in high school (shameful) so I don’t know that much about that time. Reading this book I learned how terrifying it was being a part of the community and being outcast if you got the disease. How even loving someone was terrifying because you couldn’t give your whole self to the person in fear of this monstrous sickness stalking the country. I wanted to crawl into the story and give Yale a hug so many times. I cried with rage at the horrible things people would say to him and his friends.

Don’t let the smile fool you… I cried hysterically for days.

The book also brings up the thought of, well, how do you move on after such a tragic time? How do you continue to live and keep the memory of loved ones alive, especially when there were those who completely disregarded them. Family members who shunned their sons because they were gay. Jobs that forced people to stay quiet about their lives as to not disturb clients. Fiona wonders, how do you interact with people knowing that somehow we have a hand in the downfall of a generation. There are many things that happen throughout the book, and maybe at first they might not make sense. Or you might not think “What does this art or this old lady or WWI have to do with Yale and Fiona?” Friends, I promise you it all comes full circle in beautiful and tragic ways. We realize that grief, time, and love are not linear. Please read this. But have tissues at the ready.

Stay curious, Gisela

Book Review | I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson

“Some of the best experiences don’t end with a bang, but rather a dose of reality.”

Total Bad Ass.

Abbi Jacobson words were like looking into my own heart and mind. So sit back friends because I believe I’m about to get personal in true Abbi fashion…

“What do you want with your life?” “How far is it to X city?” “Should I say no to the fries and yes to the salad?” “Will I bump into my ex?” These are all things that go through my mind, probably a lot of other people too, and our main girl Abbi Jacobson. She is one of the producers of the show Broad City and God, I love her. Every page I turned and just kept saying yes and praying that we would meet one day and become fast friends. Obviously, the probability that we meet is probably ZERO chance. Abbi has decided that she will go on a cross country road trip from New York City to Los Angeles to give her time to ponder and be on her own, make her own decision, and grab life by the balls! What we get here are her person ramblings of her time on her own, reflections on the world from Climate Change to Sexual Harassment to keeping in touch with friends.

Extremely relatable, her decision to get in a car and drive West is incited by one of the ultimate universal feelings loss and heartbreak.

“That ultimately I’m admitting that I’m scared of being alone. But aren’t we all? Isn’t that… the main thing? Aren’t we all secretly terrified that we’re not understood, not seen, not loved, not wanted? Okay, great, cleared that up.”

Attempting not to fall into the dark hole that is that chair.

Life is hard friends. We all know it. Obviously, we aren’t immune to the suffering of the world and Abbi makes that extremely clear in her book, but it doesn’t lessen the pain we feel when we’ve put our heart on the line only for it to get completely mangled. Pain happens in degrees but it is still pain. Heartbreak is universal. If not then why are there so many damn poems about it? So many songs about failed love? Abbi makes clear the excruciating agony that comes with losing love after being closed off to vulnerable emotions for so long. It can be life-shattering to feel EVERYTHING and nothing all at once. Like you’ll never feel whole again. When thoughts of him (or her) attack you at a moments notice while you’re picking up lentils at the grocery store and you feel your body lurch to the side just a bit and you become imbalanced because you remember, “They don’t exist in your life anymore.” When you get those texts at 4:45 a.m. and your heart squeezes because you know who you are hoping it is and isn’t and you’re scolding your traitorous hand to stay put and not check the message. You know it’s going to hurt, but we still do it.

Abbi goes through this. She acknowledges this and holds on to it like so many of us do. But it’s okay to feel this. It’s okay to be heartbroken, to feel lost, to feel like you don’t know what direction your heart is going. We can feel all these things and more but we keep going… despite the hurt. You got this darling.

We got this. 💗

Ever the wise words.


Book Review | My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

“…we are hardwired to protect and remain loyal to the people we love. Besides, no one is innocent in this world.”

This cover is everything guys. i mean how could you not want to read this?

My Sister, the Serial Killer is… wow, how do I put it… different but interesting. At first glance, you think you are about to read another standard mystery novel (nothing against them though), but what you get is two deeply complex characters and the way familial ties forever bind us, no matter how much we yearn to be set free.

We are introduced to Korede, the older sister who is deemed responsible, uptight, and unlikable to everyone, and then Ayoola, the younger sister who’s looks and personality are alluring to every man she comes in contact with. There is a problem though. As the title suggests there is a killer in the family and it happens to be Ayoola – not a spoiler alert. She kills her boyfriends and her big sister, neat freak Korede comes to the rescue to clean up the mess… every time.

Although not a traditional murder mystery-ish “girl” book, the pace of the plot had me finishing the book in one day (although I think most people would because it is also a very short book with short chapters). I HAD to keep reading to find out if the sisters would get caught and if the book would end the way I thought it would… in tragedy.

I title this “Cousin takes picture of book crime scene. Gisela becomes a killer.

Friends… I definitely felt for Korede. I’m not a big sister, I’m a little sister in my family, but I could feel the bitterness and hurt every time Korede wished to be free of her family’s antics and drama but was pulled in due to obligation. I wondered the entire time, just like Korede ponders throughout the book, why the hell is Ayoola killing these men? She says it’s self-defense, but is there more to it than that? We catch glimpses of the girls upbringing throughout the story and little by little we understand the why. We also see how the different characters in the book perceive the men scattered throughout the story. Some of the men are pure victims in the women’s eyes, but Ayoola who seems like she doesn’t even really care sees them for who they really are and for what they truly (and sadly) want – just a pretty face. Our girl, Ayoola gives them what they want, but it comes with a price.

I’m not so sure how I felt about the very end of the book, though. I won’t say because it would give things away, but it left me wanting more. The book moved forward very quickly and then… I was like “THAT’S IT?!” Despite that, My Sister, the Serial Killer is still definitely worth the read.