A Beautiful Mess — Book Review

abeautifulmess

The Deets

author: Ali Berlinski

released: May 14, 2013

format: e-arc, e-book, paperback

pages: 228 pages

publisher: Pubslush Press

Read: May 22, 2013

Book Pages: Amazon.com • Goodreads.com • B&N.com • Author’s Website

The Down-low

Biracial and bicoastal, Berlinski spent her childhood flying between the families of her divorced parents, without ever feeling like she fit in anywhere. Fortunately, she never lost her sense of humor, which is apparent on every page of her first book, a riotous and revealing look at the consequences of divorce, too much air travel, cultural diversity and conflicting and conflicted parents. With an open heart and an honest soul, she recounts her somewhat misspent youth and a wildly exciting (though equally torturous) love affair with the guy of her dreams. She loves, she loses and she packs it in, leaving behind the guy, two dysfunctional families, and a comfortable life to move to a foreign country and start all over again.

She’s Carrie Bradshaw re-imagined as a third grade teacher in Brooklyn with zero interest in Manolo Blahniks. She’s a tough New Yorker with a tender twist of California sunshine in her blood that knows when to fight and when to surrender. Her journey will be oddly familiar and utterly unique to anyone who’s ever believed that love would save them—if not with this guy, then maybe with the next.

As her grandfather once said, “Well, it may not be the party you hoped for, but since we’re here, we might as well dance.” So now she lives in Spain and, despite everything, Berlinski keeps on dancing. (From Goodreads.com)

Why You Should Buy It

This book is a well written memoir that speaks of the quirks of living in multiple worlds and roles growing up.  As someone who doesn’t quite fit into one box, Berlinski muses on the life lessons that led her to where she is and who she is.

My Thoughts

*I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, courtesy of NetGalley*

Okay, so I have to admit that this book is not necessarily one I would normally read.  But I do love a good memoir and the cover was one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen.  The book’s description talks about a girl who is biracial and bicostal who has to learn to live with the messy details of a scattered family and fitting in when you don’t fit into one category.  After reading Nella Larsen’s Passing and Quicksand in my 20th Century Lit class, I thought this book would be an interesting follow-up.

And it was.  And it wasn’t.  I liked a lot about the book, and some other things weren’t my cup of tea.  First of all, the writing was beautiful, funny, and clever.  There were lots of things I found myself highlighting and I really enjoyed Ali’s voice.  Ali herself made me feel what it was like for her growing up, and I was able to relate to her really well.  Authors that can put you right in their shoes tend to excel at memoirs.  However, some of the things, even though she told them with a happy tone, were kind of depressing.  But, I think her depth and introspection made the book interesting.

However, the book wasn’t something I found myself compulsively wanting to finish.  I was just kind of eh about it.  I felt like the book was more of a collection of essays rather than a true memoir.  I read another blog that said this book was Crowdfunded (the first ever!) and that the readers had a lot of input in what went into the book.  This may be why the author made the decision to write the book this way, but I’m not sure.  While the essays meant that the story wasn’t told in a linear sense, it did make an impression on me.

I think Berlinski has a lot of potential to continue as a successful published author — she’s funny, smart, and has the ability to write really well.  I will definitely be keeping my eye out for more from her, even if this one wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

One awesome thing is every time someone buys this book, a book will be donated to a child.  So, if this sounds like something you’d be interested in, that is certainly a draw.

Overall

Three out of Five Stars

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One thought on “A Beautiful Mess — Book Review

  1. Pingback: New Reads — Week of July 22 | Such A Novel Idea

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