Review: Camille Pagán’s I’m Fine and Neither are You

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Y’all I had to take a week or two in order to digest I’m Fine and Neither Are You. Even after finishing it a few weeks ago, this book’s message has stayed with me. I have to thank Netgalley, Lake Union Publishing, and Camille Pagán for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

I’m Fine and Neither Are You tells the story of Penelope Ruiz-Kar. She’s a wife, a mother, a friend, the financial backbone of her family, and she’s barely keeping it together. To make matters worse, Penelope feels her life pales in comparison to her best friend, Jenny, who appears to juggle it all. After an unexpected tragedy occurs, Penelope realizes that her best friend’s life was not what it seemed. Determined to take control of her own life, Penelope vows to commit to total honesty in her own marriage. What she doesn’t realize is that total honesty will either save her marriage or tear it apart.

You might like this book if:

  • you enjoy books that are driven by character development
  • you are interested in books that cause you to become introspective upon reading
  • you are interested in the multi-faceted roles adults often play (partner, parent, friend)

You might not like this book if:

  • you prefer plot-driven novels
  • you dislike lengthy inner monologues
  • you prefer linear storytelling (this novel has flashback memories)

The reason I put off writing this review for so long is because I just wasn’t sure what I thought. There were elements that I loved and there were some that I hated. So, let’s break it down. I loved the title and the message that it conveys. How often do we say “oh, I’m fine” when it is far from the truth? Sometimes I’m just not fine (and neither are you.)

Second to the title, I loved the way this book made me feel. After reading, I couldn’t help but look and question my own life. Was I happy? Was I being honest? Am I fine or am I actually fine? Any book that forces me to become introspective is one that I’m interested in.

On the other hand, there were elements I just did not enjoy. While I generally go for plot-driven stories, I can appreciate well-written character-driven stories. With that being said, this character-driven piece had so much inner monologue. So much! I felt like I was being told a story the entire time without being shown. So much of the story seemed to take place in the Penelope’s thoughts/consciousness instead of the actual world. While I understand this may lend itself to character-driven stories, I thought it was too heavy handed.

Further, there was a lack of tension that made me feel a little…bored. While this book did tackle huge, emotional issues, it just lacked tension. Penelope’s life never seemed like it was at risk of ~actually~ changing. I normally need tension/conflict to make me afraid for my characters or nervous to see how it’s going to turn out in the end. I just didn’t feel that here. Although there was character growth – the story lacked tension. It was just a bit boring for me in that regard.

Overall, I have to say that I’m happy I read this one. I thought about this book long after I finished it. It made me think about what I can do in my life to change. Am I fine or am I fine? It was also refreshing to see a woman character that fulfilled so many roles (friend, employee, mother, spouse) and how she struggled to meet the requirements that each roll required. I’m here for any book that shows women in a complex, realistic way. I gave this one a 3/5.

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I’m Fine and Neither Are You is domestic fiction, and it was published on April 1, 2019. It’s 270 pages and has a 3.82 rating on Goodreads. As of 4/29/19, it is on Kindle Unlimited.

get more info: visit Camille Pagán’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find I’m Fine and Neither are You on Amazon

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links. Netgalley and the publisher were kind enough to provide me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Fredrik Backman’s Beartown

FullSizeROne of my goals this year is to re-read some of my favorite books. Sometimes I find myself so wrapped up in new releases that I don’t make time for the favorites I’ve already read. So in January, I knew I wanted to re-read Beartown.

I received Beartown as a Christmas gift from my boyfriend, who had read (and loved) another Fredrik Backman novel, A Man Called Ove. I went in to this novel with zero expectations and I was shocked.

This is one of the handful of books that I can say has had a profound impact on my life. At random times I will find myself still thinking about the characters and there are passages of the prose that are still suck in my head.

This book was beautiful. It was hard. It broke my heart. It was dark. It was impactful. Beartown is worth it.

Before I get further into the review, I need to include a trigger warning. Like, a really huge trigger warning. Beartown involves the rape and sexual assault of a young female character. Yet, the previous sentence seriously understates the content of the novel. Beartown goes beyond the details of the violence itself and explores the impact of such an event on the victim, the families, the abuser, and the community itself. Beartown talks rape culture, homophobia, misogyny, and victim blaming. It allows the reader to see how this abuse can occur in a community – and what has allowed it to persist. You can view a more thorough synopsis here on Goodreads.

spoiler free review: I loved Beartown. Fredrik Backman has some of the most beautiful prose I’ve been blessed enough to encounter. (Seriously, though.) Backman writes in such a way that packs a punch. The prose is written in a delicate, but an impactful way. I felt like I could find a meaningful quote on almost every page. (I’ve included a few of my favorites below in the spoiler section.)

Overall, I truly can’t recommend this book enough. It get a full 5/5 from me.

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get more info: visit Fredrik Backman’s website; connect with the author on Twitter; connect with the author on Instagram; find Beartown on Amazon; find Us Against You on Amazon

Beartown is the first novel in Fredrik Backman’s Björnstad book series. It is a work of fiction and it was published in September 2016. It is followed by Us Against You, which was published in August 2017.

note: I wanted to include some resources here for anyone who may be dealing with a similar situation to the sensitive content seen in Beartown. Whether you want resources, support, or if you are looking for ways to support others – please consider some of the links below.

RAINN is a great resource for those in the United States. RAINN provides national resources for survivors and their loved ones. Their hotline number is 800-656-HOPE. RAINN also has international resources here for those who reside outside of the United States.

I reside in the United States, so I’m not as knowledgeable in resources for international folks. However, as I research further, I will add any resources here that may be of help to y’all.

You are never alone.

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