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Sterek

Sterek

Too many books - too much fanfiction - too little time

Beautiful Day - Elin Hilderbrand

So I’ve read one book from this author before, which left me.. umm.. well, go see for yourself but “happy” and “satisfied” I clearly was not after reading it.

Because of that I had some worries before starting this book, because would I hate the ending this time too?

The quick answer is: no. I didn’t hate the ending at all. Actually I didn’t hate anything, on the contrary I actually liked it a lot, so yay?

This book is about 2 families. It’s about a wedding day. And it’s about a dead mother.

We get POV’s from a lot of people, but its not annoying at all. You actually get hooked pretty fast, or I did at least, and you want to know more. The character we meet the most is Margot, the sister of the Bride (Jenny).

The mother of the Bride is dead, but she has left a “wedding notebook” where she dictates gives her opinion about how she thinks the wedding should go. We get the pages from the notebook, as well.

The last page was a big letdown though.

Anyway, there is a lot of drama, and a lot of trying to fix things, and also trying to un-fix things.

You will not be “blown away” by this book in any way, but it’s a great read, and you feel like you’ve had a great time with some cool people when you finish it and what more can you ask for, really?

4 stars.

 
 
 

 

The Invention of Wings: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club 2.0) - Sue Monk Kidd

I didn’t know until the ’notes from the author’ at the end, that most of the people you meet in this book were real people once upon a time. And even though the author underlines that it’s still a fictional story, it still puts it in a different light, or I think so at least.

This story is about Sarah Grimké and her fight against slavery in the 1800’s. She was a rich white girl, who, at her 11th birthday was given a slave as a ‘birthday present’ – and that is how we meet “Handful” or Hetty, the girl Sarah was given.

We follow them both through their POV’s and see their lives and how different they are, but maybe also how similar they are, in certain aspects.

I really liked the story, and liked that it didn’t turn into some happy-ending fairytale. I’m not saying that it had a sad ending either, no, more like a truthful ending.

The strangest thing though, was that one of the characters who was a slave was named Denmark which was a sad reminder of my country’s history every time I read about him.

Never-the-less I really liked the story, and enjoyed meeting all these different people.

4 stars

The Golem and the Jinni - Helene Wecker

I feel like this will be a hard review to write, not because I didn’t like the book, but because I did like it, and I’m finding it hard to explain why.

I mean, it’s a book about Chava the Golem and Ahmed the Jinny (genie) and the story of how they meet and why. I read in another review that the person called it a “fairy tale romance” which I don’t think it is at all, actually. I wouldn’t call it a fairy tale, and I definitely wouldn’t call it a “romance”.

The ending is not romantic in any way, but it felt true and as realistic as it could have been, considering, you know, that Chava is literally made of clay with no heart, and Ahmad is a genie in a bottle.

As I said Chava was literally made of clay and shipped off to the “New Land” (New York) to live with her new Master. Her new master dies on the trip over, and Chava finds herself alone in New York, but not for long, and that is how her story begins.

Ahmad is an old genie, who literally lived in a bottle for 1000 years, but is now released and somehow finds himself in a strange land (New York), and that is how his story begins.

We have different POV’s from different people, and I loved trying to make all the pieces into one big puzzle. A few times I was confident I had ‘gotten it’, but then something happened, and I had to realize, that I had in fact not ‘gotten it’.

With that said, I don’t want to give you the idea that it’s a fast-paced story with a lot happening, because it’s not. Yes, a lot does happen but it’s not fast-paced in any way. But then again, it’s the 1890’s so how fast-paced can it be?

All in all this is a very good book, with great writing, very likable characters, and a very interesting storyline, so what’s not to love?

4 stars

Breath of Scandal - Sandra Brown

Ok, so I read most of this last week while on vacay in Corfu, and I’m not sure I remember everything but umm, let’s see how this goes.

So this is a book.. And that is all..
No? Well, ok let’s try again.

First of all, no one should pay money for the kindle version, because holy fuck it’s fucked up. I don’t know if it’s only my version, but there are missing letters, missing sentences, numbers instead of letters, all in all its just fucked up.

Second, this is a book about Jade and Dillon. Two stories that begin separately but somewhere down the road get intertwined.

We meet Jade as a young girl, where she experiences something that will change her, and the way she lives her life. The same can be said for Dillon, except he’s older, and a guy.

I clearly remember several times where I stopped, while reading, and went WTF? But I can’t remember why now, which proves the point that I should always review books right after finishing, or the reviews will end up looking like, well, something like this.
Wait, I remember that World War II was written World War 11

Minus a star just for that alone, to be honest.

Anywho.

The moral of the story?
Something about revenge is good and so is sex?
What?
Yeah, I don’t know either.

2 stars.

(If you actually spent time reading this, I’m really sorry, and I owe you a drink, because worst review ever)

SPOILER ALERT!
The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty

It’s like this: when you read a book you want the story to take you from point A to B, or actually, if you’re me, you want the story to take you to point Z. Because going from point A to B is what I expect from a book. Isn’t that the least you want from a book? That the storyline takes you somewhere? That you figuratively speaking get transported from point A to B during the time it takes you to read the book?

Ok, so I might be a book snob, I don’t know, because honestly, I want every book I read to take me from point A to point Z, X or even, Æ, Ø or Å. (Yeah, those are legit letters, btw, I didn’t just make them up.) Because I want a book to surprise me. That is what I want most out of every book I read. If it takes me from point A to B, which is what most books do, sadly, they just take you on the path that probably 90% of the readers can see coming from a mile away. And yeah, sometimes those book are ok. I don’t think in my life I have ever rated such a book 5 stars, but maybe if there is a character you really like, or connect with, the fact that there are no ‘surprises’ in the path from A to B, can be forgiven.

Then there are books that take you from point A to point Z, and those are the books I love, to be honest.

Then there is this book.. It takes you from Point A to Point A, and I find that, that really, really annoys me..

Or maybe it’s just the fact that ‘good things happening to bad people’ is a subject, that gets my blood boiling, and yes, some may argue that none of these people ended up in a good place, or that the ‘good people’ ended up in a ‘good place’ and yeah, we can argue about that all day, but when….


Major Spoiler Alert

Killing someone (chickening out in the epilogue doesn’t count.) in cold blood, should land you in jail, and having your daughter lose an arm doesn’t make what you did right!


This book follows a couple of different people and families in Australia, that somehow end up being connected in some ways. I’m sure the Author had read Gone Girl before writing this book.. It’s a similar build of storyline at least. You get some information, and then want more, more morrre.. And it all has to explode in your face and give you an OMG I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING, ending, right? It should. This? It doesn’t.

I hated the ending. Mostly because I really, really loved the storyline, I was loving all these broken people, and the surprises that kept coming, and I wanted them to own up to their fucking mistakes and take the goddamn blame, and I wanted to be transported from A to Z, but instead I was taken on a journey that promised me a great experience, but instead ended up taking me right back to point A, and those, ladies and gentlemen, the books that start off at Point A and promise you an experience of a lifetime and then takes you right back to point A? Yeah, those are the worst.

And sadly, this, for me, was one of those books.

P.s Also the “looking into the future” thing? Please don’t go there. If that was the story you wanted to tell you, you should have told that story, instead of having girls in 1984 thinking about emails and cellphones….. o.O

2 stars.

SPOILER ALERT!
The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion
I think I’ll have a hard time reviewing this, or really, a hard time explaining my reasons for not liking everything about the book.

Because I did like it, I did like the main character, I did like the writing, so what didn’t you like, Milla? Well, I didn’t like the last couple of pages. Oh, how I wish the author had just stopped when the love interest in the book, actually tells it like it is, or how I think it should have been..

This book is about Don, who’s a 39 year old Australian guy. You quickly figure out that he has some degree of Asperger’s disease, or some kind of mental glitch, not because he’s stupid or weird (well, he is a bit weird, but he knows that) because no, he’s very smart and a fast learner, and he knows everything there is to know about statistics and facts, but he doesn’t experience emotions. He doesn’t experience love, or feelings, he has no filter, he’s just all about facts.

And he’s great, he really is. I loved to read about his quest to find a ‘long term partner’ because he’s the kind of guy who makes a questionnaire, because he figures that if he can find the woman who answers everything correctly, he will have found his true match. Not in a love way, but just “the perfect match.”

In comes Rosie, who’s a bratty 29 year old (and everything Don doesn’t want in a “long term partner”), who’s trying to find her biological father, and so she seeks out Don, who’s an expert (of course) in the field. See, Don, is the kind of person who needs to have a schedule for every aspect in his life. He cooks the same thing every week; he wears the same thing and listens to the same music. And Rosie changes that.

But the thing is, Asperger’s is a real disease, and people living with it, can not just “snap out of it” because they meet a girl, which is kinda what this book ends up saying.

***Spoilers***

No, you cannot tell me that Don all along, knew what love felt like, when you (I’m looking at you author) told me he couldn’t, and honestly, “love” is a cure for Asperger’s? Really? I know Don wasn’t diagnosed with that in the book, but maybe he should have been?

When Rosie told Don that they couldn’t “be together” because he didn’t know what love was, I was clapping my hands, because yes! Yes, that should have been the ending. Don had had a fun time, and they could have been good and great friends even, but she should have stuck with her initial thoughts, because Don suddenly married with kids, being a “normal guy” after 40 years of living in a box, with no emotions? Yeah, I don’t buy it. At all, actually.

I would have loved that the meaning of the book was that ‘Yes, try to step out of the box sometimes, you might meet a good friend and have a good time’ instead of ‘love can cure Asperger’s disease’, because really? No, it really can’t, and authors really need to stop this whole “love can cure anything” in books, because it’s getting really, really old, and when you start saying love can cure mental illnesses I will take away a star from your review so fast, you don’t even know.

3 2 stars.
12 Years a Slave - Solomon Northup

It’s hard to review these kinds of books, because what do you base it on? The writing? The story? If the book captured your interest?

This book is the story of Solomon Northup, an Afro-American who was born a ‘free man’ in the 1800’s, but was kidnapped and ended up being a slave for 12 years, see title.


I’m sure most of us got to know this book, because the movie version was nominated for an Oscar, which is also how I first heard about it, but I haven’t watched the movie, and I don’t think I will. Not because I didn’t like the book, but because my interest was definitely captured, and I feel like the book handled that very well. I felt like I knew what I wanted to know when I closed the book or turned the kindle off.

You can’t really say you liked it because, hello, it’s a true story about slaves and who likes that? But I did like Solomon’s writing, and I think it’s crazy that this was written in the 1800’s because I liked it a lot more than I’ve liked many living authors..

All in all this was a very interesting read, and I did get choked up when Solomon got to hug his kids and wife again and so for that it definitely gets 4 stars

SPOILER ALERT!
Labor Day - Joyce Maynard

I don’t know if reading too many fanfics has ruined me for ”normal books” because once again, after having finished a “normal book” I’m just sitting here thinking; what?

Because really: What?! What was the point?!

Is it some kind of mind blowing plot? No.
Is it some kind of exciting storyline? No.
Is it some kind of awe-inspiring story? No.
Is it some kind of amazing love story? No.
Is it some kind of great literature? No.
Is it, at least, just a little bit interesting in some way? No.

And if your story isn’t at least one of the above, why would you write it?

Now when I’m about to go into the actual plot, (oh and there will be spoilers, like big massive spoilers, so consider yourself warned) don’t let my ramblings convince you that this is interesting, or that so much is going on, because no. Trust me.. There isn’t. Anyway, spoiler away:


This is a book about a guy looking back to when he was 13 years old, and to a day where his mother let a convicted MURDERER, who had just KIDNAPPED her and her 13 year old son, live in their house while the police is looking for him, because he has just ESCAPED from prison, and as Mother of the year, as she so clearly is (Seriously, can I slap her?!), because really, who wouldn’t let a MURDERER who you had just been kidnapped by, into your house where your 13 year old son is?! She of course FALLS IN LOVE with this convicted MURDERER in, wait for it, 1 day!!!! She falls so much in love, IN A DAY, in fact, that she’s about to take her SON away from his father, because she wants to go ON THE RUN with her new found love, who is a convicted MURDERER and now also a KIDNAPPER and prison ESCAPEE.. And holy fuck, can I please slap the shit out of this goddamn woman?!!

Oh, and people who have read the book might go: “But Milla, don’t people deserve 2nd chances in life? (Which I guess could be the moral of this story? Convicted murderer finds love? please hold my hair while I barf) and yes, people do deserve 2nd chances. And I’m all for convicted murderers finding love and friends yet again, (if you knew me personally you would laugh about that, because, hey J!), trust me, but THE MOTHER in this story needs to be slapped for what she allowed into her house! She did NOT know this man, and he had LITERALLY just kidnapped her and her son, and escaped prison, where he was convicted of murdering his wife, and by default his own SON! So the fact that the mother allows this and wants to go on the run with her 13 year old son is ridiculous, and the fact that the author makes this into a love story, and makes this “romantic” and lets the main character think that the convicted murderer who kidnapped him 20 years ago, who he had only known for 6 days, is the “best person he has even known” is even more ridiculous.


Like I said, don’t be fooled by my ramblings, because this book is not exciting and interesting at all. Actually, it’s annoying and the main character is too “hippie” for me. Yes, I just called him a hippie. You know, he’s the guy (clearly written by a woman), who would, if his daughter is crying in the backseat of the car, pull over and take her out of the car, proceed to take off his shirt (!), and then he would lay down on a meadow on the side of road so his daughter can lay against his chest, all to make her stop crying.. No seriously, this is what he tells us he does…. Seriously.. This legit happened… I can’t.. That isn’t a spoiler, btw. It’s just a thing that legit happened in this book..

Anyway, so yeah, I think fanfics might have ruined me for “normal books” because if this is what people consider “normal books” now, I’m not interested.

1 star.

In Case The Daylight Never Comes - plume_bob

 

This is a Sterek fanfic and its really, really good.

After reading the first 50 sentences I was sure I wasn’t going to like it because of the writing, but after that the writing changed, from a lot of short non-describing sentences to, well, just much better writing, and I really started to get into it. Especially because it evolves around one of my favorite Sterek kinks, which is hurt/comfort, and even better is the fact that they don’t really want to comfort each other.. at first.. kinda.. not really.. ok, so they really want to comfort each other, ok?

This fic is canon compliant up until 3a. Cora and Derek are back in town, and Stiles is having his night terrors. In them, these monsters are asking about Derek, and somehow Derek can sense Stiles’ screams for help. They discover that they can ease each other’s pain and tiredness, with simple touches and oh God it’s so good. So, so good. I legit shivered a few times. The fic is a 100% Stiles POV, but it’s about the whole pack trying to figure out how to stop the next big bad in Beacon Hills, and they do that while Stiles is trying not to go insane from not sleeping, and from finding out that Derek is the only thing that can make him have dreamless sleeps.

Both Stiles and Derek are written so well. Not so much brooding from our favorite Sourwolf, but that doesn’t really matter. I really wouldn’t have minded another 50k words in this world setting, and if you know me you know that that is as big a kudos as I’m capable of giving.

4 stars.

 

 

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The Lowland - Jhumpa Lahiri

So yeah, this book won awards? Really? Umm.. Why?

It’s not like it’s the worst book I’ve ever read, no, definitely not, but I don’t get what was so special about it either? It’s like a soap opera with no ending. No wait, since it has Indian characters, I guess it’s a Bollywood movie? Then again, I’ve heard there is a lot of dancing in those movies, so I guess not.

This book follows a family through decades. We first meet 2 brothers in India, 2 brothers who have grown up only 15 months apart, and so are very close. But still they end up completely different, and this book follows their different paths.

It’s just not exciting.. at all.. like seriously.. It’s not..

It’s a very slow paced book and storytelling, and you just pace along with it, not really caring. I mean, what was even the point of it? What was the author trying to tell us? Tell the readers? Every story should have a meaning, or a hidden message, or just something more to it. An author should want to tell the readers something with their story, and I’m struggling to find it in this story. It could be something insanely complicated, like 'a mothers love will never die completely even though she leaves or becomes a lesbian', or wait, what? Or it could be something as easy as 'no father needs biology to love something as his own', but whatever it was, it wasn’t exciting. It was slow and boring.

2 stars.

P.s. Every author should also learn to use “quotation marks” because it’s really annoying when they don’t. Case in point: this book

SPOILER ALERT!
The Best of Me - Nicholas Sparks

 

Ok, let’s do this, and btw I will spoiler the hell out of this review, so if you’re not looking for that, you better click away right now..

For real.. right now..
For the longest time I’ve had about a million Nicholas Sparks books on my Kindle, without ever starting one, and now I know why, because seriously dude, what the fuck?

There were so many things in this book that I hate. So. Many. I mean, if you’ve read any of my other reviews where there is a cheating wife/husband (hello, first spoiler) then you’ll know how much I fucking hate that shit. Cheating? It’s bad, we can all agree on that right? And yes you can normally read my slight hatred of that in reviews where cheating in a general subject. But the hatred goes to another level, (keep reading and you’ll see what I mean) when the cheating wife/husband is the main character, the person you’re supposed to ‘connect’ with, the character you’re supposed to actually ‘like’ and fuck no, Nicholas Sparks, I don’t fucking want to read about a cheating wife having sex with her long lost childhood sweetheart (hello, spoiler 2) while her son is fighting for his life after a car accident (hello, spoiler 3)! I mean, WTF dude?

I hope the sex was good and worth it!

I fucking hate storylines like this. Hate, hate, hate! Because the person I feel for is not the goddamn cheating wife, no it’s the husband who’s had to live with being fucking 2nd in line, knowing that his wife is fucking in love with her first freaking teenage love, and seriously, what the fuck? Why not write the story from the husbands POV? Let’s see his side instead of the fucking cheating wife, he’s the one I feel bad for, not the cheater, and omg, can you tell how much I hate cheating?

And then the ending.. Omg.. I have no words for how un-fucking-fair that is to the husband! You give the heart of the wife’s teenage love, the one she CHEATED with, to her son who needs a heart transplant (hello, spoiler4)?!? Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me. Right. Now.

For the rest of his life, the husband has to go through life, with his wife having, not only old fucking love letters, she takes out when she misses her TEENAGE LOVE, too much, but she also has her TEENAGE LOVE’s heart inside her son, giving her son life?? The son she made with her HUSBAND??


ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME WITH UNFAIRNESS RIGHT NOW?!

And then you might say, “but this is how the world works, Milla, this is what happens in real life” and to you I’ll politely say: “Fuck. You.” If I wanted to read about “real life” I would read my goddamn diary and not a fictional book, ok?

1 star.

Reconstructing Amelia - Kimberly McCreight

I did like this book but I felt like the ending was kind of anticlimactic. Which is weird considering you know what’s going to happen, you just don’t know the how it’s going to happen.

This is a book about a mother losing her only child, Amelia (which is not a spoiler btw, 'cause that kind of happens on the first page) and it’s about her trying to figure out what happened, if Amelia did really commit suicide. Kate, the mother, doesn’t think so, so she traces Amelia’s ‘last steps’ so-to-speak, while trying to find out what happened..

Even though the book has texts, Facebook posts, emails and blog posts, it’s really made up of chapters from both Kate and Amelia’s POV, in the same way Gone Girl is written, and just how it worked in Gone Girl it also works in this book, so no complains about that.

Gone Girl hooked you on an insane level though, so I can’t really compare the two, but this book hooks you too. You really want to know what happened; sadly the ending doesn’t really live up to it. Ok, I know I said I couldn’t compare this to Gone Girl, but thinking about it, it’s really hard not to. It’s the same kind of plot, the same kind of buildup, the same kind of ‘reconstruction’ storyline (you see what I did there?) the difference is that Gone Girl had an ending that left you like….. well… Go read my review, to see just how much it blew my mind, this book though..
This ending left me with a.. really? That’s all? Meh..

3 stars

My Story - Elizabeth  Smart, Chris Stewart

 

I probably should have stopped reading this early on when I realized that it would be somewhat of a religious book. Well, not like the bible or anything, but the author pretty much thanked God for getting her kidnapped, and so I should definitely have stopped reading at that point, because Milla + religion = eye rolls.

 

Let’s get back to that though…

 

The reason why I should have stopped reading, is because I literally can’t write a review of this book, where I don’t focus on the religion, and I should be able to do that, because this is a book about a girl who got kidnapped when she was 14 and lived 9 months in hell(?) and I should be able to write a review about that, but instead I just want to go on and on about how stupid religion is, because it makes 14 year old girls THANK GOD FOR GETTING KIDNAPPED AND RAPED BY A SICK OLD MAN!!!

 

*exhale*

 

 

I’m glad she lived to tell this story, I really am, and I’m glad it seems she’s moved on and is living a great life now. I’m really happy about that. And I’m not an awful person, I’m really not, and I do respect other peoples beliefs, and also choice of religion (I do), but at the same time I have to [insert eye roll] when the girl in the book literally thought that it was GOD who put an actual cup of water next to her pillow, one night when she was thirsty and hungry. She literally thought that it was GOD, people!! Honey, if your God had the power to put an ACTUAL CUP OF WATER next to your pillow, I’m pretty sure he could have, you know, unchained you from that tree too, ok?

 

For reals, I can’t.

 

 

Anyway.. I’ve read a few of these survivor stories, and it’s really great to read what people are capable of surviving, how strong we are when we need it the most. In this case, I just wish she would take all the credit herself instead of giving it to some dude who lives on a cloud in the sky..

 

2 stars.

Versus - secondstar

I have loved Sterek for a long time now, and I have loved Liverpool for a lot longer than that, so having this, a Sterek football AU, where Stiles is a Liverpool player and Derek is a Man U (*gags*) player, is just heaven.. Seriously, it’s fucking heaven. And yes I might hate Man U with a passion, but at least Stiles started out feeling that way too, so I can forgive him for falling in love with a Manchester guy.. Because really, look at him

 

 

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Who would not fall in love with this dude, you know?

 

 

You know you’re a LFC supporter though, when the times you teared up while reading this was all the times Stiles talked about not wanting to leave Anfield. *sniff sniff*

 

I love how you can tell this was written by a person who knows her football. Seriously. I love that. Football has been my religion since my Dad took me to games as a little girl, and I just LOVE that you can feel the love for the sport in this fic.

 

As you can tell this is a fic that deals with football, but even if you don’t like the sport (seriously, what is wrong with you?! ;) you’ll love it.

 

Before I knew who Sid and Ovi were I read a hockey fic about them, and completely fell in love with them and the sport, and I think this could do this too, to people who just love Sterek. No it’s not a RPS fic, but then again, it kinda is..

 

All in all, this was such an amazing fic, and ughh, I just really, really love it!

 

5 stars!!

Sense of Home - Siny

[insert tears and more tears]

 

This is a canon Sterek (Stiles/Derek from Teen Wolf) fic, and it’s amazing. It really is.

 

It takes place after 3A, when Stiles is surrounded by the darkness in his heart, and it focuses on just that. Stiles is in a very dark place, and most of the fic evolve around that. Derek isn’t even in Beacon Hills, so if you don’t want to read about Stiles hurting, this defo isn’t for you. But if you want to read about canon Stiles (because we all know he is going to go through hell in 3B Damn you Jeff!) trying to find a way to live with all this darkness while also trying not to drown, then this is definitely a fic for you.

 

The writing is amazing, the Stiles portrayal is amazing, and the Sterek storyline is amazing.

 

It’s dark though, it really is, but it’s amazing, and I cried, and cried, but oh gods, sometimes it’s just so good to cry, you know?

 

5 stars.

 

 

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Life After Death - Damien Echols

2 for 1 review. One by me, and one by a prisoner.


This is such a sad story! Of course, you may know who the West Memphis 3 are, and you might know that they eventually got out of prison (which is yay!) but the reason they were put there (being not guilty) is because young kids lost their life, and that is the reason why this story is sad.

This is Damian’s story. It was partly written when he was still on Death Row. He and his 2 friends went through hell for so many years, because they were imprisoned for something so awful, all while knowing that the real killer was still walking the streets. Thankfully they were and are now released, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Damian had to spend so many years on Death Row for something he didn’t do.

It’s a crazy story, and halfway through, you’ll want to know more, and you then find the documentaries. Of course you watch them asap, which just makes you even angrier, because who the fuck are these people?! HOW does the state attorney even sleep at night?! Ughh.. Anyway, I hate, hate! to say I ‘loved’ or ‘liked’ the book, because of the subject, but I did, and I liked the pictures and the insight into Damien’s life.

4 stars.

---------------------------------

Below you’ll find a review written by a person who might know more about the subject than most of us. It’s written by a prisoner, and this is his reaction to the book. He read the book in Dec. 2013. As a little background info I can tell you, he was also imprisoned as a teenager, in max custody, and is now 31 years old. He wrote the review on paper, and I have typed it for him.


Life After Death – The tale of Damian Echols, the reluctant and unwilling star in the harrowing drama of the West Memphis 3, is a gripping and hauntingly accurate portrayal of exactly what it’s like to become the focus of the media and a community’s ire in the wake of the worst sort of tragedy, and what it’s like to go head to head with the so called justice system in the aftermath. The legal railroading, the conditions of jails and prisons, what they pass off as food, the behavior of the staff in such places – it’s insane, its corruption at its worst, and it’s all completely passes for a justice system in these United States.

Having been in prison many years since I was a teen, I can profoundly relate to his tale though my own situation has a few big differences. I thought that his portrayal of coping with many years of long term confinement was extremely comprehensive and he evoked my deepest sympathy. Long term isolation is brutal on the mind and body. It puts even the strongest psyche through an extremely harsh war of attrition and I’ve seen many people driven absolutely insane by the experience. Although Damian is undoubtedly damaged by the trauma and will bear scars for the rest of his life, I’m both impressed and inspired by his stamina and perseverance he survived his trials and tribulations and not only came out of it sane, but used the experience to expand his mind and grow emotionally, and spiritually. He won his war of attrition.

From my own prisoner’s point of view, Damian is now the richest man alive. I imagine the experience of 18 years in Hell definitely gives him a more profound appreciation for simple things like sunsets, the night sky, and love more than anyone who hasn’t been denied such things, for long periods of time, will ever understand. In fact, my one complaint is I didn’t want the book to end! As a person who dreams of what it will be like finally to embark on a real life science fiction adventure in a world unlike anything I recall, I wish he would’ve been a bit more comprehensive about the experience of getting out – the challenge, the joys, the many things average people take for granted as part of everyday mundane life, such as physical affection and technology. I wanted to live the experience vicariously.

Still, it was a excellent read, a book I feel anyone could benefit from reading especially if they’re interested in a real view into the justice system at its worst. In fact, it should be required reading for anyone seeking employment or education in criminal justice. Perhaps with awareness, many much needed changes would finally be made. I, myself, will carry his story with me to use as an inspirational buoy when my own stamina and perseverance feel worn a bit thin, because I too am determined to win my own war of attrition.

4,5 stars.