It’s Monday and…well, none for Gretchen Wieners

February 6, 2023

There’s not a whole lot to report, I don’t think. Since my last post, I was finally able to get into a pretty good groove so I’m not rushing all the time and behind on my life.

I also went to see the touring musical production of Mean Girls.

Picture of mean girls stage
seat didn’t suck

The Plastics were all played by members of the global majority, which seemed to work okay for the musical since that was more about fitting in. The movie, however, is very specifically about the ways White girls bully each other and jockey for power. The book (Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman) is also more about the latter but makes the connection to White womanhood as well. That said, it was–dare I say–so fetch and super fun. The woman who played Karen stole the show with Janis right behind her. They were all phenomenal, though. And I may have bought more than a little merch. Ahem.

I read three books:

The Son of Mr. SulemanThe Son of Mr. Suleman by Eric Jerome Dickey


I give up. This book is too depressing. Not only is the constant talk of racism relentless (and not adding anything new to the conversation), but the main character keeps getting sexually assaulted/threatened with sexual assault. I just can’t. And I tried it in print and audio.

Also, everyone, I promise you that most professors are not that pretentious. Good grief.

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Bloodmarked (Legendborn, #2)Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whew, child, this book put me through it all while traversing some tropes of African American lit mixed in with the Arthurian legend stuff. Lots of excellent commentary on generational trauma (also sometimes called generational curses in the Black community) as well as politics. Also, I need someone better versed in Arthurian legend to tell me which story/stories she is mainly drawing from so I can teach this book in my class.

Alice is the real MVP. And I knew it was only a matter of time before (view spoiler) would, as the young people say, enter the chat.

Also, it should be noted that there is an extensive and stellar author’s note at the end.

Some quotes:

But grief isn’t a competition. It’s not an identical pain that we all meet one day when death finds us. It’s a monster, personalized by our love and memories to devour us just so. Grief is suffering tailored.

Since when has a man’s title prevented his brutality instead of further emboldening it?

Wanting fiction to be fact and having the power to convince other folks of the same…that’s how power stays put.

None of that puritanical judgment. I’m not “good.” I’m fair.


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Cinderella Is DeadCinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t know what to say about this book. I wanted to like it more than I did, but I think the author did a lot of interesting things in her reimagining of the Grimm Brothers’ Cinderella story. I love the way the three balls are handled, for example, and I liked that magic was a fantasy yet the story kept fantastical elements. And I also really dug the idea of stories being used and manipulated to support the narrative of the ruling class.

I liked the LGBTQ+ elements. However, I didn’t like the instalove plot. Also, as noted in several other reviews, there are a lot of pacing issues.

So, it’s a mixed bag, overall.

I usually use Cinder to teach adaptations, but I am considering using this instead. So I definitely like it enough to teach.

Reread 2/2/23 – I did decide to use this book for my class, so listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by Bahni Turpin.

While listening to the audiobook, I wasn’t bothered by/didn’t notice the pacing issues noted in my initial review. The instalove was also less annoying because it played more like fascination and wonder. Sophia was a *lot* more stressful this time around, though, so there is that. I would give the audio four stars, instead of three, so I’m bumping up my rating based on that.

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Have a great week, everyone!

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