What Leslieanne Read in June

Yes, you read the title right - June's reads... on the 20th July. Oops.
(At least you can tell I had good intentions - the photo was taken weeks ago - the peonies are long gone!)

I'd feel less bad about it, but there were only two books to write about! Which feels sort of like slacking in itself since the last few months have had much bigger stacks, but it was a busy month and both of these took me a while to get through, for different reasons.

Anyhoo, shall we crack on before I'm supposed to start writing up July's reads?! Let's go...



Small Great Things by Jodie Picoult
So firstly, I know, verrry late to the party on this one, but as you've probably noticed by now, that's often the case.
This one's actually been on my bookshelf for ages, and even though I kept seeing people raving about it on Instagram, I kept putting it off. (The lesson here, is trust your gut!)

Honestly? I didn't love it. I'll likely get shunned from the book nerd community for saying so, but I can't lie or gush about a book that didn't make me feel the real deal, however much praise this one may have had. (a lot.)

It's a good book, sure. Personally, I'd never read any other Jodie Picoult, so I had no frame of reference other than the generally accepted opinion that she's wonderful, and she's a great writer, certainly, but this particular book just didn't quite click for me personally.

If you're one of the 22 other people who hasn't read it's about a maternity nurse called Ruth. She's fantastic at her job, but because she's African American, one new baby-daddy forbids her from caring for his new baby (douchebag.) New baby goes into cardiac arrest, Ruth is the only medical professional around, torn between doing her job & 'obeying orders', of course tries to help the baby because she's a decent human being, but baby sadly dies anyway, Ruth gets the blame, and the book goes on to describe the legal battle and associated fallout surrounding the horrific racism from Mr White Supremacy.

Picoult is undoubtedly talented - parts of the story are utterly heart wrenching, others completely rage educing, the courtroom scenes are excellent, and technically, I did enjoy the book.
But.
As much as I applaud her for trying to use her platform as a writer to highlight such important issues, to start those awkward conversations and bring the dangers of white privilege out in the open, as a whole, it just all felt a bit two dimensional for my liking. The cynic in me wonders whether a best selling author just wanted another hit novel under her belt so went with a highly emotive subject, sure to spark discussion and controversy regardless of how the themes are actually dealt with? Let's just say I'd be interested to know how real life people of colour feel about the fictional ones in this book.


The End Of The Day by Claire North

This one, on the other hand, I did love.

It's a peculiar little book in a lot of ways (I mean, it's about a perfectly normal human called Charlie, who just so happens to work for Death; as his/her* harbinger, sometimes sent to 'check in' as a warning, others as a courtesy.), but it's so, so readable!
(*Death, the 'being' is sometimes portrayed as a man, sometimes a woman, it all depends on who she/he is appearing to.)

It's also one of those books where loads happens, but also nothing really happens, other than time passing in Charlie's life. It's not an easy read in that it's quite fragmented, with long passages of snippets of overheard conversations in between chapters, which are in the main quite damning of the human race in general, but I found really interesting and thought provoking. As for what it's 'about', I suppose it's about society, people, life and of course, death. It's actually very pragmatic about death, as both an event and as a 'person',which I suppose won't be everyone's cup of tea!

Personally though, I really did enjoy it, I felt quite attached to Charlie and so desperately wanted a happy ending for him! (Of course I'm not going to say if he gets one or not - #nospoilers!)

And that's your lot!
I've got a few more light-hearted books in my stack for July (a couple of which I've already enjoyed), so hopefully next month's round up will be a bit more substantial, as well as on time! (Hopefully... summer holidays may derail everything!)



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