April Reviews

This month brought quite the variety of reads. Let's hop to it:

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
343 pages
Four siblings visit a gypsy and learn the dates of their deaths when they are children, each choosing whether or not to believe their supposed fates. The book is divided into four parts, one for each, in which the reader sees them live their lives, some long and some very short. The siblings all undertake incredibly different paths that are still connected, in various ways at various times (it's hard to talk about this book without risking spoilers).  

Verdict: I really, really enjoyed this book. I read the bulk of it in Yosemite while Sawyer was napping and it was the perfect semi-serious mountain read (is that a thing? No? Now it is). Every time one character's section would end I'd be temporarily angry and wish there was more time with him or her, but was quickly equally captivated with the next sibling. I loved the question of fate versus free will, as well as the exploration of family bonds. 

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
260 pages
Eileen is a young woman in the nineteen-fifties who works at a boy's prison by day and takes care of her alcoholic father by night. She's incredibly insecure, a prude, angry, smart, and a little mean, too. More than anything she wants to be ignored while still getting attention and to finally leave her town and live in the big city. The book takes place over the span of just a few days, while Eileen's anger reaches a boiling point at home. At work she becomes a little obsessed with a new female employee, who ends up involving her in quite the side plot that unexpectedly becomes a major focus (you gotta read it!).

Verdict: This book was sad, hilarious, smart, and quirky. Eileen was fairly unlikable, but I was sympathetic, considering her upbringing. I really think that Moshfegh is going to really break out this year, considering her summer release is already getting some buzz.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
77 pages
I just taught this book for the third time and read it for the fourth. I really don't like it at all, and am so glad that we're done I'm not going to waste time recounting it here. 

Make Trouble by Cecile Richards
260 pages
Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, details her childhood with liberal, activist/political parents and her rise to leadership in this memoir. She discusses what it was like being the daughter of the famous Texan Governor Ann Richards and how going to college on the East Coast was at first a tough transition. We learn about her involvement in union organizing, life as a busy mother, and how she came to be the head of one of the most important organizations in our country.

Verdict: I am a proud supporter of Planned Parenthood and have carefully watched what the group has gone through over the last few years. I new Richards was a strong, positive leader, and I was excited to read this as soon as it came out- it did not disappoint. I do feel like she did hold back a bit- it was very, very polished. Maybe we'll get a new one when she retires one day. 

940 pages 


  1. Wow you got alot of pages read!! Hope you have a good May!!

  2. I've been wanting to read Eileen since it was recommended to me, yet somehow I read her short stories first (which were great). I passed on The Immortalists because I wasn't interested after I read a synopsis, but yours makes it sound more interesting that I thought.