Goodreads Monday (11/05/2020)

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Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners. The meme is pretty easy to follow, to participate simply choose a random book from your TBR and explain why you want to read it!

This week’s book:

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

Freida and Isabel have been best friends their whole lives.

Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions—wives to wealthy and powerful men. The alternative—life as a concubine—is too horrible to contemplate.

But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to remain perfect becomes almost unbearable. Isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty—her only asset—in peril.

And then, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.

Freida must fight for her future—even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known…

Why I Want to Read This

I’m a big fan of Louise O’Neill’s writing. I have read all of her books except this, her very first novel. It is described as a YA style Handmaid’s Tale which is somewhat intriguing…even though I am not a fan of the original Atwood novel but I do appreciate the premise. So I am curious to see the angle that O’Neill took with this YA and will hopefully pick it up soon.

Have you read this novel? Or is it on your TBR? Let’s chat in the comments below.

Goodreads Monday (04/05/2020)

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Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners. The meme is pretty easy to follow, to participate simply choose a random book from your TBR and explain why you want to read it!

This week’s book:

Super Sick: Making Peace with Chronic Illness by Allison Alexander

BLURB FROM GOODREADS

Superheroes aren’t sick. This has been Allison Alexander’s observation, anyway. They don’t lie in bed all day because they’re in too much pain to get up. They don’t face the challenges of the chronically ill—difficulties that include socially inappropriate topics like mental illness, sex, and diarrhea. The latter, of course, would be exponentially worse in a spandex suit.

Alexander, who has struggled with a chronic illness since she was a child, wants to see herself in her heroes and searches for examples of sick characters in pop culture. She weaves her own painful experiences with stories from other chronic sufferers, engaging with how society values healthiness, how doctors don’t always have answers, and how faith, friendship, and romance add pressure to already complicated situations. If you’re a fan of Marvel, Harry Potter, Final Fantasy, and other stories from pop culture, you may find some familiar references inside.

Journey through sage stories as Alexander makes peace with her illness despite a culture that suggests she’s worthless unless she’s healed. 

Why I Want to Read This

If you’re a frequent reader of my blog posts you will know that I live with chronic illness. Chronic pain is my normal. I have been living with chronic pain and illness for nearly thirty years and with a disability since birth.

At times throughout my life I was able to function in a limited capacity and managed to achieve a university level education (with great difficulty and sacrifice, and a whole lot of family backup) but I have never been able to hold down a long-term job much to my embarrassment. It’s not nice when someone asks you what you do for a living and your answer is basically well I don’t work. And it is not because I do not want to, I want to work more than anything but my job is pretty much just being a professional sick person.

As I’ve gotten older I have found a little more peace with my being ill. But it isn’t easy. And there are times that I truly struggle. There are times when I feel entirely worthless as a human being because what exactly is it that I am adding to society…

These thoughts can fester away inside my head and when I read a book that features a chronically ill character who by the end of the book has either their illness magic’ed away or else is coldly killed off so that their tragic life can inspire the able bodied to live their best life… well it angers me greatly.

But it also hurts.

Because as I said earlier I frequently feel worthless and to have a book telling me that essentially characters like me are worthless adds to that negativity.

Even amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic there has been a prevailing ableist attitude that this disease only kills the elderly and those with underlying illnesses like myself and therefore why should the able-bodied masses have to sacrifice anything… twitter can be a very cold place at times.

So I want to read this book, not because I am massively interested by pop culture, but because I want to read something that will make me feel recognised and valued as a human being.

I ordered this book just last week and truly cannot wait to read it.

Have you read anything that you think has positive chronic illness rep? Or if you think back have the bulk of the books you have read featuring chronically ill and/or disabled characters had them being healed or conveniently killed off by the end?

Let’s chat in the comments below.

PS. If you want to read more of my thoughts on chronic illness rep in fiction then here’s a link to a post I wrote about it last Autumn. CLICK HERE.