What Was Mine

25111142What Was Mine – Helen Klein Ross (Physical book edition)

Genre: Fiction, contemporary fiction,

Admittedly this book started off a little slow for me, but once I got into it, I pretty much plowed through it. The chapters themselves are not very lengthy so it’s very possible to get through the book pretty quickly.

Anyway, moving on. This is a story about a kidnapping. Lucy has been trying for years to have a baby, but nothing has worked. Eventually she and her husband end up divorcing due to the stress of infertility. Lucy resigns herself to the fact that she will never have a bay. That is, until she happens upon an unattended infant in an IKEA store.

(Disclaimer: I’m going to be really honest here. Lucy’s reasons for taking the baby are pretty much crap. Natalie aka Mia, was not some neglected child. It was a mistake for her mother to step away, true, but that doesn’t make Lucy the law and sure as hell doesn’t give her justification for, you know, kidnapping someone else’s kid!)

Ugh. Sorry, but the anger.

Marilyn will never forget the day she last saw her four month old daughter, Natalie. She’ll also never forget the mistake she made of taking that call while she was in IKEA. Marilyn was a loving, doting mother whose only crime was letting her guard down for a few minutes. Those few minutes changed everything about Marilyn’s life. Reeling from the disappearance of her daughter, Marilyn navigates the days after with trepidation. She loses her marriage and herself. But somehow, she manages to get through the darkness and find some light with a new love and ends up having three more kids, though her heart is still broken from losing Natalie.

Natalie/Mia. Mia always knew she was adopted. She knew that Lucy wasn’t her birth mother, but all the same, she was her mother. Until Mia finds out the truth. Lucy is not her adoptive mother. Lucy is her abductor. Now she’s faced with the prospect of getting to know the mother she was stolen from, as well as her biological siblings. But how can she just forget the last twenty-one years of her life? She hates Lucy. Or does she? It was difficult watching Mia trying to navigate this new chapter of her life. I can’t imagine finding out that the person I trusted most in this world was capable of such an awful crime.

It was also difficult seeing Lucy try to justify her actions. Yes, Lucy wanted a child and after trying and failing, I understand the urge continued to grow. But with that being said, nothing makes what Lucy did OKAY. Not only did she make a choice that directly affected Mia and Marilyn, but Lucy’s own family. Her sister who is in complete shock that Lucy could do such a heinous act. Marilyn’s other children. I guess the best way I can describe it is if you cut down one tree in the forest, even if there’s hundreds of other trees there, the one you’re cutting down is significant to the forest. To the birds and other animals that need that tree.

Conclusion: 4.5/5 stars. I can’t give it the full five because I really hated Lucy. Still, an enjoyable (and quick) read that you’ll be intrigued (and possibly horrified) by.

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Please Ignore Vera Dietz

6665671***Kindle Version***

I’m pretty sure the reason I flock to YA (young adult) fiction so often is because somewhere I’m still an angst-filled sixteen year old (the part of me who wears graphic t’s and jeans really). I just don’t feel like I’ve accomplished enough to relate to books about 20-somethings who start out in search of something and then well, actually find something by the end of the book, because life doesn’t work like that.

You know it. I know it. We all know it, even Hollywood knows it which is why they choose to make  movies about it to inspire people. Yeah, well, I remain uninspired.

But YA novels just speak to me more and are generally more entertaining. That’s not to say I don’t read adult fiction, but more often than not, when I need to do a little bit of soul searching, I’ll read a YA book instead.

Having read A.S. King’s Ask the Passengers back in November, I had a pretty decent idea of the author’s style of writing, and I had a good feeling  I would therefore enjoy Please Ignore Vera Dietz.

PIVD is the story of high school senior, Vera Dietz, who has been dealing with the death of her best friend (and possible true love) Charlie Khan. While Vera is devastated by her BFF’s death, she’s also conflicted because before he died, Charlie turned against Vera in the cruel way that teenagers do, in the way you hope they look back when they have developed some perspective on the matter and realize how much of an asshole they were. Unfortunately, Charlie never gets that chance, at least not in person.

Throughout the novel, which is mostly is told through Vera’s POV, we get a picture of a lonely teenager who is trying to escape her own destiny, and how much destiny really plays a part in who you are as well as who you become. But as much as the book is about finding a way to not become the person you think you were destined to be, it is also about Vera coming to terms with her future, a future that doesn’t include the one person she thought she could trust forever.

What I like about PIVD is that it is told through different perspectives, not just Vera’s, although she is the main voice. We get insight from Charlie, as well as Vera’s dad, and the town itself. A bit of cynicism mixed with humor, love, hate, death, life, and forgiveness, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is truly a memorable novel and one that should not just fall under the category of “just a YA book.”

King truly knows how to speak to people of all ages, and because of that, I highly recommend this book.

Conclusion: 5/5 stars.

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ShortandBookish