Review: Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

After having seen the scene below shared online, which was taken from this powerful short film, I immediately wanted to absorb myself in some much needed feminist literature. At which point I recalled the existence of Dear Ijeawele, which I’d gratefully received as an ARC.

*Trigger warning: rape. *

In We Should All be Feminists, her eloquently argued and much admired essay of 2014, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie proposed that if we want a fairer world we need to raise our sons and daughters differently. Here, in this remarkable new book, Adichie replies by letter to a friend’s request for help on how to bring up her newborn baby girl as a feminist. With its fifteen pieces of practical advice it goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century.

Discussing feminism, love, bodies, gender roles, marriage, rejecting likability, racism, sexism, white-privilege, privilege and inequality, body-image insecurities, female sexuality, periods, oppression, and so much more. “Where has this been all my life” was how I felt when I finished. A truly revolutionary book with a handful of innovative quotes that I’d liked to share next:

“Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not ‘if only’. Not ‘as long as’. I matter equally. Full stop.”

“But here is a sad truth: our world is full of men and women who do not like powerful women. We have been so conditioned to think of power as male that a powerful woman is an aberration.”

“Teach her that if you criticize X in women but do not criticize X in men, then you do not have a problem with X, you have a problem with women.”

The above completely changed the way I perceive things. tumblr_omie8yumti1u4ypbyo7_4001

“Tell her that her body belongs to her and her alone, that she should never feel the need to say yes to something she does not want, or something she feels pressured to do. Teach her that saying no when no feels right is something to be proud of.”

All of the above feels both so personally and universally relevant. And after having completed Dear Ijeawele in one sitting, I have one last thing to say: MY HEART IS SO FULL AND GRATEFUL THAT THIS EXISTS.

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: March 7th, 2017

5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Dear Ijeawele, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

“There are no coincidences.”

I was trying to read this book along with Amina’s Voice, but quickly realized it wasn’t working in my favor me because as Ron Swanson likes to say, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” So I decided to dedicate my sole attention on this tale, and it was beyond magical.

  • We have a phenomenal first chapter from the pov of eleven-year-old Virgil Salinas with a supporting grandmother that tells of her dreams and stories!!
  • We also have an incredible cast of diverse characters who won over my heart:
    – Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his loud and boisterous Filipino-American family.
    – Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and loves everything about nature.
    – Kaori Tanaka,  whose family is Japanese-American, is a self-proclaimed psychic with a little sister Gen as her second-in-command.
  • Can we take a minute to talk about how Kaori is one of my favorite characters… I genuinely had the bouts of insta-love the minute this twelve-year-old that doesn’t sound like a twelve-year-old because, as she likes to say, “I’m the reincarnated spirit of a 65-year-old freedom fighter” was introduced!!
    Hello, Universe 1-- bookspoils

“Kaori was mildly surprised to get a text from one of her clients (her only client, truth be told) on the first day of summer, particularly at seven forty-five in the morning. But the night before, just as she was gliding to sleep, she’d had the vision of a hawk perched on a giant fence post. Only now she realized it must have been a vulture, not a hawk. And vulture started with V, just like Virgil’s name. The connection couldn’t have been clearer.”

This girl with “her powers of second sight” is something else…

  • the humor is on point:

“Something will happen to you,” Kaori continued.
Virgil looked at Gen. She shrugged.
“That’s it?” said Virgil. “Something will happen to me?”
“I see darkness,” said Kaori.
“Your eyes are closed.”

Honestly, dare I say iconic… both for making me laugh out loud and for the subtle foreshadowing thrown in from the author (which I’d thought at first to be just her having a laugh). But circling back to the humor, these brilliantly vivid characters reminded me of the kids from Stranger Things being their best selves on TV!!

And:

  • And moving on to Virgil’s Lola – aka the best literary grandmother ever – she was a force of nature. I could always count on her old ghost stories and dreams to fully capture my spirit. Also, she’s just one hell of a supportive adult!!!

“Sorry, Lola,” Virgil muttered. “I was just thinking about something that happened on the last day of school.”
Lola tossed the garbage pizza in the cart. “What? What happen?” She was always ready to hear gossip, no matter where it came from.”

This is me. This is who I am.

  • So as Kaori had foretold to Virgil – “What I mean is, I see you in a dark place.” “Dark how?” “Just dark.” – he’d gotten trapped at the bottom of an old well thanks to the worst of humans throwing Virgil’s backpack, which had Gulliver, his pet guinea pig, in it. Which is also when I noticed what the cover, though absolutely gorgeous, happens to spoil if you’d skipped reading the blurb.
  • Oh, and circling back to the worst of humans, I have only one thing to say to the bully, Chet Bullens, whose family is probably full of Trump supporters…tumblr_oaesann93b1qet8ilo1_250
  • On a more positive note, there’s some magical realism aspects thrown in to further enchant my heart.
  • And the story continues full of busy happenings that lead to friendship, kinship and family. In the end, I just ended up adoring this group of explorers. Plus, I really hope Tanaka and Somerset will go into business as promised. (Maybe we’ll even get a sequel/ novella on that idea…)
  • And last but not last, I was as joyful as my girl Valencia from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend when the story ended on such sweet and hopeful note.tumblr_o7o1w7snid1si3gq6o1_500

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Hello, Universe, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: Little Kids and Their Big Dogs by Andy Seliverstoff

Little Kids and Their Big Dogs remains to be one of the sweetest and most precious ensemble of photographs I’ve had the pleasure to browse. It’s also the perfect combination to make me end up in happy tears: little kids and their big dogs.

This is a must-read for anyone who has ever loved a dog. It’s such a deeply touching collection filled with so much heart and charm. Plus, it’s educating as well–I learned about so many new dog breeds I’d never encountered before.

However, what lowered a bit of my adoration was that each series of images in this book was accompanied by an fictionalized short story about the dogs and children featured in it. The additions of those stories weren’t exactly what I’d signed up for, and so it made the magic of the photographs disappear a bit for me. In the end, I decided to skip the short tales in order to fully enjoy the beauty encompassed in this photography collection.

On that note, here are some of the precious kids with their dogs that had me desperately fighting back my tears multiple times throughout:

Little Kids and Their Big Dogs 1-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 14-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 3-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 4-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 5-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 6-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 7-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 8-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 9-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 10-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 11-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 12-- bookspoilsLittle Kids and Their Big Dogs 13-- bookspoils


Overall, I’d highly recommend you give this incredibly sweet collection capturing the special bond between little kids and their big dogs a go. (I found myself fighting tears more than once.) And I’ll always cherish photography collections that encompass the meaning of “a picture is worth a thousand words.” And this was it… This was so it.

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Publication Date: January 10th, 2017

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Little Kids and Their Big Dogs, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!