January 4, 2021
Dear Mr. Hemingway,
Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but I love the start of a brand new year. Clean slate, endless possibilities, and of course…new books. Today I am sharing one book that came out in September 2021 and two that were published TODAY! Three books for the price of one letter to you is not too shabby. Let’s see what I’ve got, shall we!
“Frida Liu is struggling. She doesn’t have a career worthy of her Chinese immigrant parents’ sacrifices. She can’t persuade her husband, Gust, to give up his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Only with Harriet, their cherubic daughter, does Frida finally attain the perfection expected of her. Harriet may be all she has, but she is just enough.
Until Frida has a very bad day.
The state has its eyes on mothers like Frida. The ones who check their phones, letting their children get injured on the playground; who let their children walk home alone. Because of one moment of poor judgment, a host of government officials will now determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion.
Faced with the possibility of losing Harriet, Frida must prove that a bad mother can be redeemed. That she can learn to be good.”
The School For Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan is officially out today and has been named Book of the Week by PEOPLE magazine and Read With Jenna’s January pick. This dystopian tale explores strong themes relating to motherhood, parenting, race, gender, and then some. It is unsettling and a wee bit anxiety-provoking, so if you are a parent, your need to hug your children will be powerful. Because my feelings on this book are truly all over the place, I believe this to be an excellent selection to discuss and process with other readers. Whether you love it or hate it, Chan’s book is most definitely…SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT!
“Hadi and Sama are a young Syrian couple flying high on a whirlwind love, dreaming up a life in the country that brought them together. She had come to Boston years before chasing dreams of a bigger life; he’d landed there as a sponsored refugee from a bloody civil war. Now, they are giddily awaiting the birth of their son, a boy whose native language would be freedom and belonging.
When Sama is five months pregnant, Hadi’s father dies suddenly in Jordan, the night before his visa appointment at the embassy. Hadi flies back for the funeral, promising his wife that he’ll only be gone for a few days. On the day his flight is due to arrive in Boston, Sama is waiting for him at the airport, eager to bring him back home. But as the minutes and then hours pass, she continues to wait, unaware that Hadi has been stopped at the border and detained for questioning, trapped in a timeless, nightmarish limbo.
Worlds apart, suspended between hope and disillusion as hours become days become weeks, Sama and Hadi yearn for a way back to each other, and to the life they’d dreamed up together. But does that life exist anymore, or was it only an illusion?”Indiebound
Another book that is out TODAY is No Land To Light On by Yara Zgheib. This fictional story revolves around U.S. President Trump’s real-life Executive Order 13769 titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States (AKA… “Muslim Ban”) in 2017. This story takes a deep dive into the repercussions of this order. Zgheib’s writing is stunning, and her prose triggers a feeling of longing that lingers with you after the last page is turned. Her main characters Sama and Hadi alternate perspectives throughout the story offering the most intimate look at families divided by borders and the fearfulness and risks they endure all for the chance at freedom and a safe place to call home. This gorgeous book weighs in around 300 pages, so not only is it an eye-opening read but a quick one too. I can not recommend this book enough!
“This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.
All these things are true. And yet they are all lies…
You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. That’s where you’re wrong.
In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it’s not what you think… “Goodreads
My last recommendation is The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward. It is a tricky book to summarize, so do not put all of your stock in the synopsis above. Ward’s book is the ultimate jigsaw puzzle, a complete “mind f*ck” if you will. My brain entered an inescapable nightmare that not only broke my heart but tampered with my soul. My head was spinning with equal parts terror and fascination, as I frantically turned the pages. The Last House on Needless Street is storytelling at its finest but please be forewarned, its heaviness is difficult to shake. Trigger warnings are abundant including child abuse, child abduction, mental illness, trauma, serial killers, and a whole lot in-between. Ward ends her book with a note to the reader that I felt was very helpful in understanding the ins and outs of the story. It is a must-read AFTER you have read the book. It contains major spoilers, so no cheating!
Enjoy all the books you can ever imagine this new year!
Your Biggest Fan!
P.S. Are you hungry? If so, be sure to check out some of my most recent cookbook recommendations RIGHT HERE!
***I received an advance reader copy of The School For Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan and
No Land To Light On by Yara Zgheib from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own. If I don’t like it…I don’t share it!