I am not participating in NaNoWriMo, but I did decide today to blog every day for the month of November. What better way to start than to catch up on all the blog posts I didn’t make during the last two weeks of October?
(Also, I only have 20 minutes to crank this out, so let’s see how it goes.)
1. My daughter came to visit me for her fall break and the whole thing was an adventure. She missed her flight, we rode public transportation, she got sick, and then some other stuff happened that I don’t remember because I didn’t blog about it. The short version is adventure! The long version is lost somewhere in my brain.
2. I finished two books (er, abandoned one actually):
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
First let me just say this: Priya Ayyar is an amazing narrator. A++ would listen again.
However, I am quitting this book (2 hours from the end! Of a 10-hour listen!) because the sex scene made me SO uncomfortable because it is so NOT romantic and sexy and it is SUPER problematic in so many ways, and it just erased all the goodwill I had towards the book until then.
Before I get into the spoilers, I just want to say that, in general, this was a pretty light listen though Samir (the male main character) has suffered some trauma that’s brought up throughout the novel. (His grandfather was abusive, and it’s something that comes up in the throughline of his character over and over again.) However, there are a lot of antics in the novel and colorful characters and situations, which helps the novel keep its light tone even when touching on that serious situation. I mean, I laughed out loud quite a few times at several things in the novel.
But, right, the sex. So everyone who knows me knows that I am generally not a fan of sex scenes because I find them kind of boring and, you know, I get it you’re having sex. So when I say that I found the sex in this book problematic, please know that I am not talking about that. For that stuff, I roll my eyes and move on.
No, this sex scene was kind of violent (and not in a fun way) and also felt completely out of character. (view spoiler) [Ugh, spoiler tags still aren’t working, so they are in white text. Highlight to read.]
All of the ways the sex was described were violent: Samir couldn’t control himself, he ripped into her, he knew he was hurting her but couldn’t stop himself, etc. THAT IS NOT SEXY. And he tells her to walk away because otherwise he won’t be able to stop himself.
They also do it standing up against a tree, which is not that big a deal in and of itself except for the fact that (a) it’s Mili’s first time and (b) IT IS OUT OF CHARACTER FOR HER. Which I might have accepted if any single part of the sex scene was from Mili’s point of view so that we knew what she was thinking during a single millisecond of it and why a woman who was SO PRUDISH and SO MODEST who had been waiting and waiting and waiting and saving herself for her husband would (a) have sex at all and (b) not care that it was OUT IN THE OPEN and AGAINST A TREE.
As a fully grown adult who knows something about how the world works, I can fill in some blanks about it (Mili found out her husband got married to someone else), but it still doesn’t make any kind of character sense.
Oh, and THEN, after they have sex, Samir tells her it was horrible and she runs back to the house crying and we find out she went up to her room and sobbed, but she comes back downstairs to ask him why it was horrible so he admits it’s because he (again) couldn’t control himself around her and turned into an animal and hurt her. Also, it could and should have been better for her. And she says, “YOU MEAN IT GETS BETTER?” And I swear to you, if I had been holding a paper book, I probably would have thrown it against the wall.
Mind you, there is nothing in Mili’s reaction before that that says she thought it was this amazing sexual experience, even though we had time to be in her head about it. There’s nothing that says how she felt about it (except that she sobbed afterwards). Nothing about how she feels about anything except why Samir is upset. (hide spoiler)]
THAT IS NOT ROMANTIC. THAT IS NOT SEXY. I AM INFURIATED.
Oh, and I also have a huge problem with Samir facing his trauma through sex. Like, literally, he has cured his demons by having sex around them and where his trauma happened. ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS? Nope. Nope nope nope nope nope.
Then, on top of all of that, Samir is a LIAR. And he is not just lying about dumb stuff like he’s a big time director and doesn’t want Mili to find out because it might change how she sees him. That kind of lying I would be fine with (in a general create conflict kind of way). NO. He is lying to her about MAJOR STUFF that will erode THE VERY FABRIC OF HER LIFE. And I have quit soap operas before because I couldn’t stand that a character was being lied to. And he keeps saying he needs to tell her and he keeps NOT TELLING HER. And he knows, he knows, he knows, he knows how important all of this is to her.
So you couple being a huge lying liar with super problematic and unsexy sex, and I am 100% out.
Also, now that I am thinking about what I don’t like about the book, there is also so much fetishizing of Samir’s light skin and light eyes and honey hair. I HATE THAT, TOO. (Mili is pretty even though she’s dark, don’t you know.)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
2.5 stars, rounding up
This was cute. What I really liked is that the scenario is something I believe would actually happen with sixth graders (minus the larger than life hall monitors–but I can imagine that they would FEEL larger than life). I mean, an underground candy dealing ring that leaves kids strung out on a sugar high? THAT COULD HAPPEN. Kids creating puzzles for their friends to solve? That could actually happen. One of the disguises was too ridiculous to be believed, but it was funny, so I’ll give it a pass.
3. That brings my total books read in October to four.
- The Unhappy Wife by K.E. Garland (adult non-fiction)
- The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding (YA)
- A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev (adult)
- Secret Agent 6th Grader by Marcus Emerson (middle grade)
First two were the best two. Let’s not speak of the third one again, hmm?
4. I may never reach my Goodreads goal of 75 books by the end of the year at this point. (Goodreads tells me that I am 12 books behind schedule. Goodreads doesn’t know that I made a cross-country move and started a new job, so I am not angry at Goodreads for pointing out the obvious. I clearly need to go to bed.)
5. I dressed up as Eleanor from The Good Place in her best person outfit for Halloween. You can see a pic of me rocking the costume here.
6. I finished a screenwriting class with Pilar Alessandra and have a rough (so rough) draft of a TV pilot. The class was really good and I met some cool people. More importantly, I actually feel like I have some better tools for screenwriting under my belt. Oh, and, of course, it was good for me to be in the seat as a writing student again to remember what it’s like for my students who are struggling with writing.
That’s all I have time for tonight. Maybe tomorrow I can write a longer post. I hope everyone had a fun Halloween! Happy November reading! And good luck with NaNoWriMo to all that are participating.