If Someone Says “You Complete Me,” RUN! by Whoopi Goldberg

If Someone Says “You Complete Me,

If Someone Says “You Complete Me,” RUN! by Whoopi Goldberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book was right up my alley! I laughed, I agreed, I side-eyed, and I chuckled so much in this book, it was great!

Whoopi tells it like it is… as always, but she does it from her own perspective without a single gaze from anyone else. She does not care how anyone feels about her opinions, as she reiterates over and over, that this book is how she runs her life. If you like it, cool. If you don’t, cool. She also says in here that she didn’t make you buy the book, so… if you didn’t like, oh well, it wasn’t for you anyways! I love that!

This book is not anti-relationship, or anti-marriage. This book is her thoughts on relationships and marriage, and that you, as a person, should be a whole person before you tie yourself up with another individual. That’s it! You can do what you want to, but she feels and strongly believes that no one should ‘complete’ you. You should complete yourself, and that you should be able to be independent and stand on your own two feet without other people breathing down your neck or dictating what you should or shouldn’t do. That’s common sense to me.

Whoopi also talks about how important it is to be self-aware of your own deficiencies, faults, quirks, etc. She explains that you absolutely cannot push the responsibility of happiness on someone else. If you are lacking in any way, in any area, it is not someone else’s responsibility to fix you or complete those gaping holes. You, as a whole person, should be the responsible party in acknowledging those weak areas and fix them yourself, or go get the therapy you need first before you bring someone else into your shitshow.

I would recommend my daughters to read this book, only to help them understand how important it is to have their own voice about what they want out of life and relationships. Although I can also share my own personal stories, Whoopi does it in such a way that is so relatable, conversational, and humorous that you just have to share this book with a young person to start them off on the right foot. There are some ideas and approaches I would caution with a young adult, but for the most part, she’s basically sharing her own personal experiences and letting her readers know that you, as a man or woman, should be self-sufficient and not co-dependent on anyone else to provide you anything. You should be a whole and complete person, knowing how to love yourself and know when situations are not good for you. This is a very practical book that talks about all sorts of issues in a comical, but relatable way, and she doesn’t bash you over the head with advice. Whoopi is basically sharing her personal experiences, and what she hears from other people regarding relationships and giving her own take, and that’s pretty much it.

Take it for what it’s worth. Whenever you get lost in the weeds of a relationship, maybe give this a read/listen to help rebalance you and remember your self-worth. I definitely wish I could’ve read this as a young adult, it may have saved me some heartache, but you live and you learn, and these lessons are what Whoopi learned over the course of her relationships and the mistakes she made during the times where she was married and divorced 3x.

Just for the record, this book is a bit like a stream of consciousness, and the editing is very loose. There are some grammatical errors in here, that may drive some grammar nazi crazy. Give her a break and just read the damn book for what it is… this is not some academic study on relationships, and she’s not a relationship expert. She tells you over and over in this book that the advice she’s doling out is what worked for her, and her alone. If you can use anything from the book, great, if you can’t fine, pass it on to someone else, but don’t go batshit crazy over what she’s saying, cause first of all, she ain’t make you buy the book or make you read it. This was your idea. Remember that!

Would definitely recommend. 4 stars.



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Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

Tender Is the Flesh

Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Holy Hell, this book.

This whole work of fiction is a trigger warning. You’ve been warned. Read at your own risk. This book is NOT for the WEAK!

*TW: mutilation, death, dying, rape, animal death, cannibalism, child loss, pregnancy, infertility, complicated birth, blood, gore, carcasses, and graphic descriptions

This book, for me, was sad. Although it was also equally disgusting and repulsive, but the main story of this book was heartbreaking and sad.

Marcos Tejo is a man who works at a Meat Processing Plant, who does not process meat, but now processes human carcasses as “special meat.” In this dystopian society, all of the animals have been contaminated with a virus and now humans cannot consume animal meat at all. In addition, all of the animals have been killed due to the contamination. The government has now been given permission to process human remains as “special meat” and people are eating these remains as if they were leg quarters, and cuts of delectable meat from animals in the past. However, this “special meat” need to be processed, and in order to do that, people have to be killed and slaughtered like a pig and processed through the plant and packaged like regular meat for consumption.

When we meet Marcos, who has grown up processing animals first, and now humans, we learn that his father has been diagnosed with senile dementia, and is now living in an assisted living facility until he dies. Marcos’ wife has recently left him, and now he’s home alone, working nonstop, and trying to cope with his wife not being there. We also learn the ins and outs of how the processing plant captures, stuns, and processes humans as “special meat” and the resulting descriptions are horrendous and can make you sick from the graphic descriptions.

The humans that are being processed are referenced as if they are actual animals. Terms like, lot, head, meat, breeders, stud, teaser stud, udders, carcass, merchandise, special meat, and FGP (first generation pure) are used to describe the humans who are being processed as food.

However, this book also explores in dystopian fashion, the demise of humanity and how it can quickly take a turn for the worse. We learn about how people go from eating meat one day to having to transition to “special meat” and how everything is up for grabs. If you get too close to a group called “The Scavengers”, you could be murdered and eaten on the spot. If you aren’t careful in how you select care for your loved ones, they could die and be sent to a treatment plant for processing to be eaten by other humans. Seeking to control a bit of your own humanity becomes a struggle because everything is so touch and go, and life or death. You have to survive everyday as if it could be your last because that’s how little humanity exists in this world. There is also a sense of classism going on here, and if you can afford to have FGPs (first generation pure – raised from birth to be special meat, just like cage free/range free chicken) then you are seen as worthy or upper class, or if a person has to eat whatever they can find, then you are not worthy or are very poor.

In the beginning of the story we find Marcos interviewing 2 candidates for work at the processing plant. We see how the 2 candidates react to what’s going on behind the scenes as to how the “special meat” makes it into the market. There is a drastic difference between the two candidates and how each one of them is processing the information, and we can see how humanity is either working with or against each individual.

We also learn that Marcos has received a special gift from one his partners he works with through the plant, and how he interacts with it, and what eventually happens to this special gift. We see his inner turmoil, his resolve, his ambitions, and how humanity can turn on it’s own in a manner of a split second.

This book is unforgettable. The writing is amazing, even though we are literally reading about people getting processed into food, but it’s ingenious in a sick, sad, demented way. The way our current society is set up and how we’ve been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and lifelong animals that are going extinct at a rapid pace because of climate change and global warming, I feel like we are not that far away from being in a place like this.

This book will make you uncomfortable. You may have to take several breaks to get through it, but this story pulls you in like none other. The author does a phenomenal job in sucking you into the story and not letting you go. Even though you may be disgusted, you cannot look away. I do have to warn you that at first, the writing is very dismal, unanimated, flat, and dry. However, the more you continue to read, the ingenuity of how she puts all this together is remarkable.

Why this book made me feel like it was sad was because of the situation Marcos finds himself in. He’s literally breaking his back to maintain a life of normalcy for his dying father, he’s trying to keep his familial relationship with his sister from imploding, and he is trying to give space to his wife who left, who also is in need of some respite. As a reader, I just came to this realization of resignation, and how this is what it is, and the shock value wears off. Which in my mind is CRAZY! How can eating people become normal?! However, as you read this book, you realize that your brain is normalizing cannibalism. As humans, we’ve learned to adapt to things, and this book is an excellent example of how we adapt. Yet, there is an overwhelming amount of people who go the other route of normalcy and languish in this way of living for the worse. There are parts in all of us that are not good, and we capitalize on opportunities, we demean others, we disrespect people, we turn into beasts of prey, and we devour the weak.

This book puts all of the bad in humanity on display, and it’s sickening, but hypnotic. None of us are good. We are all like this, feral and beastly, waiting to devour, and bloodthirsty. Beware.




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The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“We become what we need to in order to survive…” – Z. Cordova

As I was finishing this book, I kind of popped my head up and checked with a few reviews just to see if what I was thinking, feeling, observing from this book resonated with others. I wondered if perhaps I was alone in my observations and I was totally off base. Overall, I think I can safely come to a conclusion that this book has great potential, but is unfortunately downgraded because of plot holes, alternating POV’s, and underdeveloped characters/events. However, despite all of the flaws in this book, the writing is beautiful, and I was greatly impressed with her visualizations, prose, and engaging storytelling that manifested throughout this novel.

The bare bones of the story is basically:
a narcissistic husband drives the wife to brink of insanity. She attempts to flee, which essentially antagonizes her partner with the failure of his marriage and career, who then goes on a maniacal rampage to destroy her and her descendants in an evil rage. Desperate, she seeks help from an otherwordly being vowing to keep her end of the bargain after being gifted with celestial power to start a new life on her own. As time passes, the truths start to unfurl, and time is running out because her protection is diminishing. Will he find what he’s seeking or will she continue to evade? This intergenerational family saga will keep you guessing and have you wondering what’s going to happen next!

I enjoyed the writing, the pacing, the lyrical flow to her prose, and the storyline. However, there were some really gaping plot holes and technical writing issues that kind of frayed the edges of this interwoven textile for me.

The story is told in alternating POVs and timelines as we learn that the matriarch, Orquidea Divina is calling her family to inform them that she is transitioning and that they need to come get their inheritance before she passes. However, before the full truth of the past comes out, Orquidea makes her final transition and there is no explanation. The remaining family now has the choice of either seeking the full truth or simply obliging and carrying on with their lives. From there, we learn how the family adapts to this huge loss, and how this blow they are dealt communicates to each of them how family is a blessing and a choice in the end.

The book also explored some deep themes that I felt resonated with me in this book:
– Narcissism
– Motherhood
– Gender roles
– Grief/Loss
– Intergenerational family drama
– Secrets/Silence in families
– Communication
– Parenting
– Sacrifice
– Relationships/Marriage
– Domestic abuse (emotional/mental)

While I did enjoy this story and was highly involved in the lives of the characters, I was frustrated with how the characters were developed, how some of the fantasy/magic system wasn’t fully fleshed out, or how continuity and cohesiveness transferred to the novel.

There are some situations in the book that were unresolved and unexplained prior to the end, and the magic system wasn’t explained at all. Though I did appreciate the suspense and drama in this novel, the overarching themes were a bit underwhelming in many areas. For me, the writing saved this book. 3.75/4 stars



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How Do You Live? by Genzaburo Yoshino

How Do You Live? by Genzaburo Yoshino

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


First published in 1937, Genzaburō Yoshino’s How Do You Live? has long been acknowledged in Japan as a crossover classic for young readers.
 
How Do You Live? is narrated in two voices. The first belongs to Copper, fifteen, who after the death of his father must confront inevitable and enormous change, including his own betrayal of his best friend. In between episodes of Copper’s emerging story, his uncle writes to him in a journal, sharing knowledge and offering advice on life’s big questions as Copper begins to encounter them.

This first-ever English-language translation of a Japanese classic about finding one’s place in a world both infinitely large and unimaginably small is perfect for readers of philosophical fiction like The Alchemist and The Little Prince, as well as Miyazaki fans eager to understand one of his most important influences.

I’m halfway done with this book and I’m completely infatuated with this story! It is simply divine and full of wisdom for young people to grasp ahold of and live life with completeness. The advice given is wholesome, and it shares how young people should grab life and their mistakes and just explore to the best of their ability in a way that pushes them to be their best no matter what. We are all going to mess up in life, but what you do with those mistakes are what makes you. This book is a great read for serious readers and serious minds who want to level up by pushing boundaries and exploring what the world has to offer. Highly recommend!!

Update:

Finally finished this book, and I really enjoyed it! The book is basically a conversation between Honda Jun’ichi (nicknamed Copper by his Uncle) who is sharing moments of growing up with his uncle who has taken it upon himself to ensure Copper’s father’s last wish for his son comes true. His father wanted Copper to become a good human being. Copper’s uncle writes lessons, notes and advice to his nephew in a maroon colored notebook and presents it to Copper while he’s in Junior High School. These lessons and advice is really detailed and shares with Copper the importance of how to be a good human being and contribute to society instead of being a loaf and unproductive. The uncle also praises and questions Copper’s behavior whenever it’s needed, to help guide Copper to the right answers, but stops short of telling Copper what to do. The uncle wants Copper to really understand and reflect on what he’s experiencing so that Copper can learn for himself how to handle certain situations with the best intentions.

Copper is a mischievous young man who has natural curiosities, but also wants to live up to his dad’s final wishes for him. Copper is self-reflective, curious, friendly, hesitant, and joyful 15 year old, who faces life and problems with open eyes and a warm heart. He has sympathy for those who are weaker or those who don’t have great affluence, but seeks to bond with those who are like-minded and amicable. As he goes through his days he looks at his uncle with a sort of reverent respect and takes his advice or seeks his counsel when needed.

We learn that Copper’s dad passed away, and so his uncle has taken it upon himself to step up and provide fatherly advice and be a role model to Copper as he’s coming up in age.

How Do You Live?, first translated in this edition to English, is a quite serious novel for young adult readers, especially Middle Grade readers. The conversations and notes from his uncle can be a bit cumbersome for a teen to get through this book and still find it interesting to read. Though it has good points and advice to young people growing up and how they move in this world and interact with others, the lessons can be seen as confusing or too advanced for a teenager who isn’t that serious about life just yet. However, I do appreciate the fact that the uncle is trying to ensure that Copper has a good foundation to learn from and has a place to speak his mind without any retaliation.

I can definitely see how this book is a classic among the Japanese because they are always so mindful about how they show up in the world. However, I believe this book may be a bit advanced for some teens because the lessons/advice from the uncle could be seen as too mature/advanced for kids Copper’s age.

Overall though, if you have a teen who is serious about living life as a decent human being and is curious about how to proceed in sticky situations, this book is right up their alley. 4.5 stars.

Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for this book in exchange for an honest opinion and review.



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