Book Review: Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change

Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate ChangeDon’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change by George Marshall
Publisher: Audible Studios for Bloomsbury
Release Date: January 6, 2015
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Don’t Even Think About It isn’t a book about the science behind climate change; it’s a book about why people don’t believe the science behind climate change. Marshall delves into the psychological reasons why people don’t believe in climate change as well as why the current strategies to try and get them to believe aren’t working. He interviews high-profile people on both sides of the debate. His dry wit keeps the book from becoming too depressing.

I listened to the audio version of this book. The narrator, John Lee, has a British accent which makes sense because Marshall is British. He has a jolly sounding voice which also serves to keep the book from becoming too depressing. He did a great job of bringing Marshall’s wit to life.

Some have said that this book is preaching to the choir – that only people who already believe in climate change will read it. That may be true but this is still a valuable book to gain insight into what is going on in the deniers heads and how to structure the message of climate change in a way that might possibly change their minds. If climate change is an issue near and dear to your heart, then this is the book for you.

(I received this book courtesy of the publisher.)

Book Review: We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

We Are Not OurselvesWe Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 19, 2014
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

Born in 1941, Eileen Tumulty is raised by her Irish immigrant parents in Woodside, Queens, in an apartment where the mood swings between heartbreak and hilarity, depending on whether guests are over and how much alcohol has been consumed.

When Eileen meets Ed Leary, a scientist whose bearing is nothing like those of the men she grew up with, she thinks she’s found the perfect partner to deliver her to the cosmopolitan world she longs to inhabit. They marry, and Eileen quickly discovers Ed doesn’t aspire to the same, ever bigger, stakes in the American Dream.

Eileen encourages her husband to want more: a better job, better friends, a better house, but as years pass it becomes clear that his growing reluctance is part of a deeper psychological shift. An inescapable darkness enters their lives, and Eileen and Ed and their son Connell try desperately to hold together a semblance of the reality they have known, and to preserve, against long odds, an idea they have cherished of the future.

We Are Not Ourselves is an epic novel, following Eileen Tumulty from childhood to her golden years. When her son Connell is born, the book follows his life as well. Eileen grows up the daughter of Irish immigrant parents and dreams of a better life. When she meets and marries Ed, she thinks her dreams will come true. He’s a very intelligent scientist who could go far in his field. Unfortunately for Eileen, he loves teaching at a small college and has no desire to advance and make more money. Later, Eileen wants to move from her neighborhood where she’s lived all her life because people of other races and ethnicities are moving in and that makes her uncomfortable.

Then something happens that forces Eileen’s focus from her dreams. (If you don’t want that something spoiled for you be wary of other reviews!) Her priorities are forced to become different. She wants Connell’s help but he wants nothing more than to get away from his family so that he doesn’t have to deal with their problems.

This book is beautifully written and doesn’t pull any punches. The story is told in alternating third person from Eileen and Connell’s points of view. they They’re multidimensional and have thoughts that make you upset with them and thoughts that make you sympathize with them.

We Are Not Ourselves is over 600 pages, which I was not aware of when I chose it. I was nervous that I would be wasting a huge amount of time reading such a long book. I had nothing to worry about. Even after 600+ pages, I was sad when it ended. I could have read even more about the Leary family. It’s well worth the investment of your time to read. Highly recommended.

(I received this book courtesy of Amazon Vine.)

Book Review: Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres

Jesus LandJesus Land by Julia Scheeres
Publisher: Counterpoint
First published in 2005
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

Julia and her adopted brother, David, are sixteen-years-old. Julia is white. David is black. It is the mid-1980s and their family has just moved to rural Indiana, a landscape of cottonwood trees, trailer parks, and an all-encompassing racism. At home are a distant mother—more involved with her church’s missionaries than her own children—and a violent father. In this riveting and heartrending memoir Julia Scheeres takes us from the Midwest to a place beyond imagining: surrounded by natural beauty, the Escuela Caribe—a religious reform school in the Dominican Republic—is characterized by a disciplinary regime that extracts repentance from its students by any means necessary. Julia and David strive to make it through these ordeals and their tale is relayed here with startling immediacy, extreme candor, and wry humor.

I chose this book because my own family is transracial – my husband, my two boys and I are white and my daughter is African American. Because of that, I’m interested in hearing the stories of other transracial families. Good god – I’m glad my family couldn’t be more different from Julia’s family. Julia’s parents adopted her two black brothers because it was the Christian thing to do. It’s another story – this time true – of white people thinking that they can save the black children by immersing them in white society and not acknowledging their race. Julia’s parents are this and worse. They are “spare the rod and spoil the child” Dutch Calvinists. Julia’s mother is cold and distant. Her father, a surgeon, seems to be mostly absent. He is mainly mentioned in relation to beating one of her two black brothers as punishment.

The family lives in a small town in Indiana. It’s mostly white and the use of the n-word is common. David and Julia are best friends but even she distances herself from him when dealing with the issues surrounding his race become too much for her. To ease her guilt she turns to drinking and sex. David and Julia’s parents end up sending them both to a reform school in the Dominican Republic called Esculea Caribe, where life is even harder and more brutal than it was at home. I researched Escuela Caribe a bit after reading this and it appears that as unbelievable as the treatment Julia and David endured sounds, it was true. The school could get away with a lot more being in a loosely regulated foreign country than they ever could have in the United States.

Julia writes her story in a detached manner almost devoid of emotion. It works though because I think when she was experiencing these events as a teenager, she detached herself and became numb to the abuse just to get through it. Reading this book was like listening to the teenage Julia telling you her story directly. Much like The Glass Castle, this book was difficult memoir to read but I’m glad I did.

Book Review: In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

In a Handful of DustIn a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: September 23, 2014
My rating: 3,5 of 5 stars

This review assumes that you have read the first book Not a Drop to Drink and has spoilers for that book but not for In a Handful of Dust.

Publisher’s Description:

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already, and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through the community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on a daunting journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy feels as small as a speck of dust.

In A Handful of Dust is described as a companion to Not a Drop to Drink. I can see why it’s called that instead of a sequel. It takes place ten years after Not a Drop to Drink and easily stands alone. I tweeted Mindy to ask her if a third book is planned, since I’m pretty sure there is a law that all dystopian YA novels have to be part of a trilogy, but she said there are no plans as of yet. She has a new book coming out in October called A Madness so Discreet that sounds really good but nothing like her first two books.

Anyway, back to In a Handful of Dust. Lucy is a teenager now and has grown into the complete opposite of Lynn. She is social and trusting and naive because she has grown up sheltered and protected from the outside world by Lynn. Lynn hasn’t changed much in the past ten years. She’s learned to trust a small group of people but still assumes the worst of most anyone. This causes a fair amount of conflict on their journey, although they love each other a lot.

Along their way, they run into several interesting people and have some nail-biter problems. However, the pacing between these incidents was too slow. Also, the descriptions of what was going on in their down time became repetitive. It was mostly about how thirsty and tired they were.

The novel is told from Lucy’s point of view. She is more positive and at the same time, more unsure of herself and her choices than Lynn ever was so the general atmosphere is different than Not A Drop to Drink but not in a bad way. The last part of the book takes a deeply dark turn. I would have liked the author to have spent more time developing this section rather than on the journey to get there.
Overall, I think fans of Not a Drop to Drink will like this book and enjoy spending more time with Lynn and Lucy.

Click for my review of Not a Drop to Drink.

(I received this book courtesy of the Amazon Vine program.)

Book Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: July 29, 2014
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . . .

A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?

What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.

But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Madeline, Celeste and Jane are all moms of children starting kindergarten at Pirriwee Public School. Madeline is a flamboyant, flighty mom with no filter. Celeste is wealthy beyond comprehension but that wealth has come at a price. Jane is a young single mom. All of the other mothers have known each other for years making her an outsider when she moves to town right before school starts. Her son is accused of being a bully on the first day of school, making her even more of a pariah.

Big Little Lies is a mystery novel with several mysteries. First, who is the class bully? Secondly. who was killed? A thirdly, who did it? I liked the way the author did this because as I was reading and connecting with the characters, I had the added anxiety (in a good way) of wondering if any of the characters I had grown to love would be the one who was murdered. Because of this, I could not put this book down. I had a few almost sleepless nights up with this book. It’s the kind of book where I look up and the clock and wonder how it’s possible that’s it’s been over two hours since the last time I looked at it.

Interspersed throughout the book are snippets of the police interviews with the other mothers of children who go to the school. These mothers are minor characters and stereotypes of every kind of annoying PTA mom you can think of. That’s what makes the interviews so funny. They inject some hilarious dark humor into the book that keeps it from being too heavy. I find it amazing Moriarty could use humor so effectively in this otherwise serious book.

I have loved the other books I’ve read by Liane Moriarty (see list below) and with Big Little Lies, she has earned a permanent spot on my favorite authors list.

Other books by Liane Moriarty I’ve reviewed:
What Alice Forgot
The Husband’s Secret

Book Review: Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar

Vanessa and Her SisterVanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar
Publisher: Ballentine Books
Release Date: December 30, 2014
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

London, 1905: The city is alight with change, and the Stephen siblings are at the forefront. Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby, and Adrian are leaving behind their childhood home and taking a house in the leafy heart of avant-garde Bloomsbury. There they bring together a glittering circle of bright, outrageous artistic friends who will grow into legend and come to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. And at the center of this charmed circle are the devoted, gifted sisters: Vanessa, the painter, and Virginia, the writer.

Each member of the group will go on to earn fame and success, but so far Vanessa Bell has never sold a painting. Virginia Woolf’s book review has just been turned down by The Times. Lytton Strachey has not published anything. E. M. Forster has finished his first novel but does not like the title. Leonard Woolf is still a civil servant in Ceylon, and John Maynard Keynes is looking for a job. Together, this sparkling coterie of artists and intellectuals throw away convention and embrace the wild freedom of being young, single bohemians in London.

But the landscape shifts when Vanessa unexpectedly falls in love and her sister feels dangerously abandoned. Eerily possessive, charismatic, manipulative, and brilliant, Virginia has always lived in the shelter of Vanessa’s constant attention and encouragement. Without it, she careens toward self-destruction and madness. As tragedy and betrayal threaten to destroy the family, Vanessa must decide if it is finally time to protect her own happiness above all else.

Vanessa and her Sister is an epistolary novel told mainly through Vanessa’s diary entries but also through letters and telegrams between various characters. The Bloomsbury Group and all of its members were real people, most of whom went on to become famous in their fields. In their time they were noted for eschewing the Victorian social conventions of the time. They called each other by their first names for Pete’s sake. Scandalous! There are many characters introduced in rapid succession, most who also had nicknames. It was hard to keep them straight and I was glad for the cast of characters list in the front of the book. I had to refer back to it several times. The primary relationship explored in the book is that of Vanessa Bell and her sister Virginia Woolf. I had of course heard of Virginia Woolf and knew that she suffered from mental illness, even though I’m sad to say I haven’t read any of her books as of yet.

Aside from being mentally ill, Virginia is also a selfish, frustrating person – at least in this book. My stomach was in knots reading the horrible ways she treated her sister Vanessa. And Vanessa’s husband, aye, aye, aye – what a first class ass. Even though I wanted to shake Virginia and Vanessa too for enabling her, I did enjoy this book quite a bit. I wish that the author had showed us more of what made Virginia so charming that everyone was willing to put up with her nonsense. I couldn’t see it.

One thing that surprised me about the Bloomsbury Group was how many gay men were a part of it and how accepting everyone in the group was of them and their relationships. Lyntton, one of the gay men, writes really witty letters that provide some comic relief to what is an otherwise heavy novel. From one of his letters to Vanessa:

“Maynard dropped by my rooms in Belize Park tonight and made a gratuitous reference to my darling Duncan’s very pointy hipbone. A hipbone that I was not aware he was previously acquainted with and now obviously is. Mon dieu. Mother needs her smelling salts.”

Parmar writes Vanessa’s diary entries with beautiful, descriptive prose. The metaphors she uses are crisp and efficient: “I turn the decision over like a dish, checking for flaws.” or “When there was nothing to say, we made room for silence, like a thick blue wave rolling in from the street.”

At the end of the book, there is an author’s note regarding the historical accuracy of the book. It appears that Parmar has done quite a bit of research and it is very accurate. There is also a section about how each character’s life turned out as the book only covers a few years. I’m glad that was included.

Even knowing very little about the Bloomsbury Group before reading this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I imagine being familiar with the characters beforehand would make reading Vanessa’s Sister even more enjoyable.

(I received this book courtesy of the publisher.)

Stitch Fix Saturday: Surprise Christmas Fix!

My sweet husband knows that I LOVE Stitch Fix but he wanted to give me something more personal than a gift card for Christmas. So instead, he surprised me with a Fix! He had to go though some hoops to be sneaky about it since this was a new one for Stitch Fix. But since the Stitch Fix peeps are totally awesome, they were up to the challenge. They created an account for my husband and copied all the info from my style profile into his new account. Then they made sure to assign my awesome stylist Kalesa to his account. Finally, they worked it out so that if I didn’t keep all five items, my account (not Travis’s) would be credited with the difference for me to use on my next Fix. Whew! Can you believe all the trouble Stitch Fix and my husband went to for me? And it worked. I was completely surprised!

If you haven’t heard of Stitch Fix, let me back up and explain. Stitch Fix is a personal styling service. First, you fill out a very detailed questionnaire about your style, measurements, etc. Then you schedule you first Fix. You can schedule them to come automatically at monthly or bi-monthly intervals or just have them come whenever you’d like. Your Fix will include five items of clothing and accessories. (I have my preferences set to no accessories so I only get clothes. I don’t accessorize much.) You have three days to peruse the items, try them on, mix and match them with items from your own closet and so-forth. Then you send back whichever items you don’t want in the handy pre-paid envelope. There is a $20 styling fee that will be credited to your order if you buy at least one item. I’ve always bought at least one – usually two or three.

So what was in my Christmas Fix??

First up is the Skies are Blue Blake Cross Front Metallic Detail Blouse:

I am a sucker for all things shiny and this top is definitely shiny! I love a nice black and silver top for date night. This fits the bill. KEEP!

Next - Dylan and Rose Remington Sleeveless Geo Print Elastic Waist Dress

This dress actually looks better in the photo than in did in person. The top was too boxy – I looked like an inverted triangle. I do love the beading on the sleeves. It looked better with a cardigan but then the cool beading was covered up. RETURN

Next - Creative Commune Anita Cowl Neck Lace Trim Blouse

In her note, my stylist Kalesa suggested that I pair this blouse with the skirt I kept from my last Fix (which I haven’t blogged about yet, I’m all mixed up!) LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. I love everything about this top and I love it even more with my skirt. This is a combo I wouldn’t have thought to put together on my own, reason #257 why my stylist rocks. KEEP!

Next – Creative Commune Livie Snake Print Blouse

A great way to make your Fixes even more awesome is to provide your stylist a link to your fashion Pinterest board. Pin pieces you like to give your stylist inspiration when choosing items for you. Kalesa noticed that I had a few animal print tops pinned so she included this snake skin print blouse in my Fix. I liked it but the color just didn’t work with my super pale skin. RETURN

Lastly – Pixley Dalila Faux Leather Lapel French Terry Vest

I’ve been wanting a vest for this winter and had some on my Pinterest board. I like it when pieces have unusual details like the faux leather lapels and asymmetrical zipper on this vest. My stylist suggested wearing it with a sweater from a previous Fix (the green one here) or a plaid shirt. I don’t have any plaid shirts but found a really cute pink and gray one at Target a couple of days later. I love that Stitch Fix helps me add to my existing wardrobe in a productive manner. I bought the plaid shirt knowing that I already had something that would go great with it and then of course I can wear the shirt on it’s own as well. I wore the vest and shirt the other day and got a ton of compliments on it. I wish I would have taken a picture! So obviously the vest was a KEEPer.

Each Fix comes with style cards to give you ideas on how to style each piece. There is usually a casual and a dressy option:

That’s the end of my surprise Christmas Fix. I love the three items that I kept and can’t wait to get my next regularly scheduled Stitch Fix box. If you would like to sign up for Stitch Fix, I’d love it if you used my referral link. I’ll get a small credit towards my next Fix if you do. And then you can start referring your friends and earning credits too! (This is not a sponsored post – I just love Stitch Fix!)

Book Review: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (Origami Yoda #1)The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Release Date: March 1, 2010
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

In this funny, uncannily wise portrait of the dynamics of a sixth-grade class and of the greatness that sometimes comes in unlikely packages, Dwight, a loser, talks to his classmates via an origami finger puppet of Yoda. If that weren’t strange enough, the puppet is uncannily wise and prescient. Origami Yoda predicts the date of a pop quiz, guesses who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and saves a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight’s classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, he assembles the case file that forms this novel.­

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda was last month’s selection for the Intergenerational Book Club that my sons and I belong to. Both my boys love this book series (Origami Yoda being book one¬ of the series) and I was curious to find out what the appeal was. And now I know. This book is a case file, written by Tommy, of his investigation to find out if Dwight’s Origami Yoda is real. Is Yoda offering wise advice to Tommy and his classmates or is it just Dwight pretending that it’s Yoda? Tommy lets two of his friends read and comment on the case file. One of friends just makes funny drawings in the margins – giving the book the same look as Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, which of course kids love. The other friend does not believe in Origami Yoda at all and offers hilarious devil’s advocate type notes at the bottom of Tommy’s entries. I laughed out loud at some of his comments; they were really funny.

This was a great choice for book club. You can discuss whether or not you think Origami Yoda is real and why Dwight is so strange, among other things. We made Origami Yodas after our discussion which was fun for everyone. There are instructions at the end of the book or you can find easier versions online. We didn’t have snacks this time but Cheetos would have been perfect. One incident that Yoda gives advice on in the book involves Cheetos.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is a fun and funny book that any kid will love, especially if they are a Star Wars or Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans.

For more reviews of books for children and teens, check out Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection, posted on Saturdays. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, you can go to her site to leave a comment and your link .

Book Review: Being Audrey Hepburn by Mitchell Kriegman

Being Audrey HepburnBeing Audrey Hepburn by Mitchell Kriegman
Publisher: Audible Studios
Release Date: November 18, 2014
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

In Being Audrey Hepburn, Clarissa Explains It All-creator, Mitchell Kriegman, tells the story of a 19-year-old girl from Jersey who finds herself thrust into the world of socialites after being seen in Audrey Hepburn’s dress from the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Lisbeth comes from a broken home in the land of tube tops, heavy eyeliner, frosted lip-gloss, juiceheads, hoop earrings and “the shore.” She has a circle of friends who have dedicated their teenage lives to relieve the world of all its alcohol one drink at a time.

Obsessed with everything Audrey Hepburn, Lisbeth is transformed when she secretly tries on Audrey’s iconic Givenchy. She becomes who she wants to be by pretending to be somebody she’s not and living among the young and privileged Manhattan elite. Soon she’s faced with choices that she would never imagine making – between who she’s become and who she once was.

Being Audrey Hepburn is a fairy tale of sorts. Lisbeth’s Cinderella story begins the night she tries on Audrey Hepburn’s Givenchy gown from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s and is mistaken for a member of high society. From that moment, she’s swept into the world of the Rich and Famous and learns that that life in that world is very different from what you read in the tabloids and society pages.

I was swept up in Lisbeth’s fantasy world right along with her. She was living the dream life that I would have loved to have had at her age. Hanging out with the rich and famous, wearing fabulous clothes and attending elaborate parties – what more could you want? Of course, everything doesn’t stay fun as Lisbeth gets herself deeper into that world and starts to discover the truth about the people in it. And returning to her Jersey home with her alcoholic mom is always a harsh dose of what her reality really is.

I thought this book was a charming little read. It’s meant to be a young adult book but I enjoyed it and I think other adults would too, especially if you’re looking for a fun, beach type read. I listened to the audio book and thought the narrator, Suzy Jackson, did an outstanding job. Her voice for Lisbeth was spot-on for a 19 year-old girl. She was able to give all of the other characters unique voices. For some, it didn’t even sound like it was still her, the voice was so different from Lisbeth’s. Her voices for the male characters sounded like men. She’s one of the best audio book narrators I’ve listened to.

Recommended if you’re looking for something light and fun and doubly recommended if you’re an Audrey Hepburn fan.

(I received a copy of this audiobook courtesy of the publisher.)

Book Review: Revival by Stephen King

RevivalRevival by Stephen King
Publisher: Scribner
Release Date: November 11. 2014
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs—including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.
Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of thirteen, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties—addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate—Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that
revival has many meanings.

I am not a Constant Reader of King’s so this will give my review a different perspective then if I were. After perusing reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, it seems like most of the five star reviews are from people proclaiming that King is God and can write no wrong. The last book of King’s I read was The Shining so I’m reviewing Revival purely on its own merits, not as the work of a god or compared to anything else King has written.

The book focuses on Jamie’s life and how Charles Jacobs weaves in and out of Jaime’s life throughout the years. Jaime is not a likeable guy once he starts to grow up. He’s a smug rock musician and drug addict. Still, he had an interesting story to tell. There is a lot of discussion about religion since Jaime grows up Methodist and Charles is the pastor at his childhood church and later becomes an evangelical healer. The philosophical questions surrounding religion that Jacobs brings up on various occasions were my favorite parts of this book.

I found the story engaging enough to keep reading it but it took a long to time to get to the “scary” stuff. I wouldn’t have expected anything scary except that the cover promises the most terrifying conclusion that Stephen King has ever written. The “terrifying conclusion” seemed rushed and contrived. I didn’t understand why Jacobs insisted that Jaime had to be the one who helped him. It seemed to me anyone could have. It felt like King had reached the end of the novel and just picked out a supposedly scary scenario at random for an ending.

I think Revival was just okay. Certainly if you are new to King, you would want to choose a different book to start with, probably one of his older classic horror novels.