Books

Us, in Pieces: A Book Review

Image result for us, in pieces

I have moved away from writing book reviews in recent years because I’ve come to realize just how subjective they can be. Though I might love a book and totally resonate with it, that may not be the case for someone else. But, every once in a while, I come across a book that I love so much that I want to share my thoughts about it with others. Us, in Pieces by Tasha Cotter and Christopher Green is that kind of book. The characters are brought to life on the page and the writing is so beautiful. About twenty pages in, I was thinking about how much I would love to see their story in film. And when I saw the pages thinning towards the end of the book, I waited an extra day to finish, because I just didn’t want Lilly and Adin’s story to end.

Part of my love for this novel is that I’ve previously been in a rekindled relationship from the past, and I can totally resonate with what the characters go through. But more than that, the novel addresses what happens when we don’t communicate face-to-face. So much of our communication these days is in the form of text messages, e-mails, and social media, and this novel accurately portrays what happens when we try to interpret what someone is trying to say when we don’t have them in front of us to see their facial expressions or hear their tone of voice. So much gets lost, so much miscommunication happens when we are too afraid to face each other and say what it is we think and feel. The novel highlights how far we’ve moved away from being vulnerable in our communications (choosing texts and e-mails over face to face or phone conversations) and the consequences. I love that the novel alternates between the two main characters – Lilly and Adin – and that the reader can see their perspective on what is happening. It gives us a birds-eye view of how our intentions can be misinterpreted with digital communications and wreak havoc in people’s lives. But more than that, the alternating narrative puts up a kind of mirror that exposes the self. In trying to interpret digital communication, all of our own insecurities and preconceptions rise up like an ugly monster and are promptly placed on the person who is not there in front of us to defend themselves. We do this so we don’t have to look at the most vulnerable parts of our self.

Something else that really spoke to me about this novel was how well the authors portrayed what it is like to rekindle a long-lost relationship. We often believe the person, even ten years later, is still the same person that we fell in love with so many years before. That is almost always not the case. And so, we must navigate the loss of the person we thought they were while also figuring out if the person they have become is a person that we can love and share our lives with.

An underlying current in the novel is a shared love of music between Lilly and Adin. The authors put together a playlist which I thought was really cool. You can find the Us, in Pieces playlist here.

A few favorite lines:

“This was my only chance to see what had become of Lilly, this girl who had become almost like a character from a book that I had once loved as a child” (p. 33).

“It was even darker now, a heavy low-hanging sky pregnant with snowfall” (p. 133).

There are so many more lines like these that make you pause and take a deep breath so you can take in their beauty.

Things I Love

Things I Love: Week One

I have a wide range of interests and things that I love, so I thought I would start posting each week about what I’m loving at the moment. (Please note: These do not include affiliate links these are just the things that are bringing joy to my life this week.)

Patreon – I love supporting other artists and authors each month, and I especially love the special treats I receive as a patron. Here are some wonderful artists/writers you can check out: Lucy Chen, Cristin Chambers, Sarah Trumpp (Wonderstrumpet), Effy Wild, and Gwenda Bond.

Yo Soy Candle – These are by far my favorite candles. This company is a one-woman-owned, small business, and the candles are made from earth conscious materials. My favorite part besides the luscious scents? You can reuse the jars to store items (even art supplies!) and have encouraging “I AM” statements throughout your home. My favorite right now is the new coffee bean scent and the equally inspiring jar of “I AM” matches. Check out Leslie’sMother’s Day gift sets and her subscription club.

The Aqua Notebook – This is the newest poetry collection from one of my favorite authors, Tasha Cotter. I love the way this collection is structured by specific moments in time, and how the language of each poem denotes the passing of time in subtle but beautiful ways.

Here are a few of my favorite lines so far (shared with permission from the author):

  • “…she wrote extensively; in her diaries, sorting her soul away; from the experience of living.”
  • “The past branches off, ends in green; bud – as if that end was what was meant to happen all along.”
  • “I do my job and get rinsed free; of feeling. The messiness that is in me; still hides underneath. Sitting at my desk; I know something’s missing.”
  • “We sat there, in silence, sensing; a disaster, both not wanting to admit it; and give the moment that kind of power.”
  • “And when I tell others I don’t; care, there’s a part of me; that breaks off from the whole; damaged.”
  • “There is fury to this love, a good madness; in the strong will of a woman.”

A Discovery of Witches – the book and the show – I binge-watched the new show on Sundance Now and loved it. The book had been on my reading list for quite some time, and I loved the show so much, I decided to buy it. I’m about 100 pages in, and I love the book as much as I love the show. The descriptions are incredible, and I really like to have the images of the characters and place in my mind as I read.

Sketchbook Revival – I took part in this last year, and it was incredible. I learned that a creative practice can be made up of just about anything, and that it didn’t have to result in a pristine, finished product. I love learning all the different ways to bring more creativity into my life through these sessions. Though I’ve been very busy with novel revisions, I’ve been dipping into the sessions to free up my mind and bring some joy into my day. Sketchbook Revival is the creative genius of artist Karen Abend and is free and still going on for the next few days. You can sign up here.

I hope you liked these suggestions. I’m looking forward to sharing more things that I love with you each week.

And now for a novel update. Right now, I’m working through a third revision of the novel, and my goal is to have it completed by the end of next week. Then, I will be sending it off to the beta readers. Yikes!