Monday, July 28, 2014

Mondays - 07/28/14

This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Found myself unable to focus on much since the loss of my kitty last Monday.  Finally decided to read a book I had already read just to have something to focus on other than Facebook. Then UPS came Saturday and delivered a gift.



Now Reading
:
Rare Bird (Anna Whiston-Donaldson)
All Souls (Michael Patrick MacDonald)

Just Finished
The Ocean At The End of The Lane (Neil Gaiman)

On Deck
????

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday Snapshot - 7/26/14

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

And God Laughs...

BEFORE I GO further, I must warn you that this is a tough, tough post - and apologize for the lack of pictures. Honestly, it's just too hard right now...

What is that saying about making plans and God laughing?

Well he must be chuckling a good one. All my vacation plans: painting the house, couponing trips, doctor appointments have gone, gone, gone out the door.

God's plan (blessing) was that both hubby and I be home this week... with my sweet little kitty... in her final hours.

Over the weekend, she was not feeling well, vomiting and lethargic. It didn't get better...so we visited the doctor Monday and I am very glad we did, the night's events would have been more horrifying had I not known it was coming.

A very quick check up and the vet told us that she was likely in her last days (her temp was low and that apparently is a major sign) and strongly suggested euthanizing. Now, if you've read some of my previous posts, you'll know that this wasn't a complete surprise, she is...was...15 and had been having some issues. But we really believed it was stomach trouble, similar to recent events, and expected some Pepcid...and perhaps something to help with some arthitis. We expected to have to make the decision sooner or later... Later.

Apparently, she's likely been battling a cancer or some disease for over a year, her spleen (which was slightly enlarged last year) was huge this time and the concern was it would burst and she would bleed out painfully. And its now clear that it's likely that her stomach issues were caused by the spleen swelling and squishing on her intestines/etc, hindsight is a bitch.

Hubby and I were taken by surprise, though the "what should we do if this is something serious" conversation did come up, so maybe not totally. After little consideration, and watching her push her way back into the hated, dreaded, evil cat carrier because she knew it meant her return, we knew we that we needed to bring her home.

We got the info for a home-based vet who would come to us and perform the final deed and made a call. The doctor gave us pain meds and told us to keep her comfortable until that time. She was very happy she was home... but clearly not well. The meds, while they helped, actually made her vomit more...which took progressively more out of her as the night went on.

Our efforts to get in touch with the home vet were desperate as we realized she might not actually make it until the vet came. Sadly, she didn't. But we were with her every second of the way, telling her how much we loved her, that it was ok to go, and calling her by much loved nicknames (which she responded to with a tail wag...until she just couldn't anymore). We gave her the pain medication and pray she was not in any pain.

She now walks with the angels.

It was, without a doubt, the most horrible, painful night of my life... The only close second would be today, when we had to put her into a box and bury her sweet soul-vessel in the ground.

...Now I'm faced with refocusing a life that, for 13 years (many of which were single and all of which were childless), revolved around my sweet, baby girl. The love of my life. My little kittenopolous. My She-Nibblers. My reason for living.

So, whatever plans I had for vacation, this week or next, for the blog and for life in general are on hold until I can once again get my feet on solid ground.

I am sure you all understand.




Friday, July 18, 2014

Vacation...

I am only about 4 hours from a two-week VACATION!

 

I keep checking my email for resolution on two issues that I really, really want finished and cleaned up today!!

One down...

Unfortunately, we aren't headed anywhere fun. We've got too much to do around the house.  So, the first week of my vacation will look like this:

 
















As hubby and I paint the house!

But week two will look more like this:














And...













I'll try to get some posts up.  But I make no promises!

See ya soon!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 07/15/14

A good lyric is like a great book...
The Good Stuff
Kenny Chesney, Artist
Jim Collins and Craig Wiseman, Writers



Well, me an' my lady had our first big fight,
So I drove around 'til I saw the neon light.
of a corner bar, an it just seemed right.
So I pulled up.

Not a soul around but the old bar keep,
Down at the end an' looking half asleep.
An he walked up, an' said: "What'll it be?"
I said: "The good stuff."

He didn't reach around for the whiskey;
He didn't pour me a beer.
His blue eyes kinda went misty,
He said: "You can't find that here.

'cause it's the first long kiss on a second date.
Momma's all worried when you get home late.
And droppin' the ring in the spaghetti plate,
'cause your hands are shakin' so much.
An' it's the way that she looks with the rice in her hair.
Eatin' burnt suppers the whole first year
An' askin' for seconds to keep her from tearin' up.
Yeah, man, that's the good stuff."

He grabbed a carton of milk an' he poured a glass.
An' I smiled an' said: "I'll have some of that."
We sat there an' talked as an hour passed,
Like old friends.

I saw a black an' white picture an' it caught my stare,
It was a pretty girl with bouffant hair.
He said: "That's my Bonnie,
Taken 'bout a year after we were wed."

He said "Spent five years in the bar,
When the cancer took her from me.
But I've been sober three years now,
'cause the one thing stronger than the whiskey

Was the sight of her holdin' my baby girl.
The way she adored that string of pearls,
I gave her the day that our youngest boy, Earl,
Married his high school love."
"An' it's a new tee-shirt saying: 'I'm a Grandpa'.
Bein' right there as our time got small,
An' holdin' her hand, when the Good Lord called her up,
Yeah, man, that's the good stuff."

He said: "When you get home, she'll start to cry.
When she says: 'I'm sorry,' say: 'So am I.'
An' look into those eyes, so deep in love,
An' drink it up.
'cause that's the good stuff.
That's the good stuff."



Monday, July 14, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows book bloggers (and not so bookish bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise.



1. Well, the fourth was a washout here on the east coast, but we made up for it on Saturday the 5th!  Family and friends over. Hamburgers were eaten. Potato salad was consumed. And a few drinks too.


2. Loved the book. Love Reese Witherspoon.  Cannot wait!




3. Only one week left until I am on vacation! My husband actually managed to take the same time off too, so it will be nice to hang out with him some.  No, we are not going anywhere. We've got tons of house projects to do during that time (read: paint the house, ugh), but I am sure I will find some reading time too!

4. I also have a few other items on my list that I've been meaning to do, like visiting the grave of a ex. Yes, he passed young. A bit depressing, but I've felt like this is something I've needed to do for a while now. I think saying goodbye will calm my soul.

5. I'm sure everyone has heard about Louis Zamperini (1936 Olympian and the subject of Laura Hillenbrand's bestselling nonfiction book Unbroken) passing away on July 2nd. What an incredible man he was and Hillenbrand did an exceptional job of relaying his amazing story to the masses. Another movie I am looking forward too. 

6. Sad, but true, after only three years World Book Night looks like it has gone belly-up. Due to funding issues, they are calling it quits. "The expenses of running World Book Night U.S., even given the significant financial and time commitment from publishers, writers, booksellers, librarians, printers, distributors, and shippers, are too high to sustain without additional outside funding, " according to Director Carl Lennertz. What a shame. It was such a wonderful program. Hopefully someone can step in and help out.

7. Garth Brooks... New album. 'Nough said! 

8. So, can someone tell me the benefits of Oyster and Scribd? I mean beyond the sort of obvious, get whatever book you want, whenever you want it? Aren't these services just libraries? And I finacially support my local library already. Yes, they may not have every single book I want, at the time I want them. But rarely do I find a book that I absolutely cannot wait to read. I usually have hundreds (thousands) in line that can fill in until a hold is ready. And, if the library doesn't have that book, most libraries in towns close by do and I can borrow from them too. So, what is the deal with these sites? Do you use them? Why are they worth it? Other thoughts?


Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism - Higashida

Title: The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

Author: Naoki Higashida
Published: 2013
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating:
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: Library

Recommended if you like: Non-fiction, information about autism, children's writing

What Its About: 
As autism becomes more and more prevalent in our world, misconceptions and lack of information about the condition become greater and greater. Those with autism are often seen as childlike and mentally deficient, but this is not necessarily the case. In fact, autism is a condition that effects behavior and ability to communicate, but does not effect intellect.
In The Reason I Jump, Naoki Higashida breaks down some of the walls of misunderstanding and lack of communication around autism. Utilizing an alphabet board (think Ouigi-board), Higashida was able to share his thoughts and feelings about being autistic honestly and frankly. He shares his reasons for his struggles with communication and controlling his physical body. He explains why autistic children do not always follow directions and why they often feel naughty or bad.  He also offers caregivers valuable advice when dealing with loved ones who are autistic, do's and don't both. Ultimately, he makes it clear that folks with autism are just like you and can live wonderful, fulfilling lives with the love and patience of those who care for them.

Truly a "...road map into the world of severe autism" (People Magazine).


The Bottom Line:
I have to be honest. I went into this book not exactly understanding the format it would take. I expected stories or a narrative or memoir, but what I got was a question and answer (with some short narratives included). This threw me at first and any potential reader should be prepared. However, once I settled in I truly got quite a bit of understanding from this book.

Yes, the writing is a bit juvenile, but Higashida was only thirteen when he wrote the book. And, having had limited communication due to his autism when he was younger, he did an exceptional job of communicating his thoughts and feelings about being autistic. This is a powerful and valuable book for anyone who knows someone with autism, or anyone who might come in contact with someone with autism. Its very enlightening and, due to its rarity, likely to change the lives of many autistic persons.


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 07/07/14

A good lyric is like a great book...
Not at all my kind of music, but totally up my sister's alley (a sort of birthday week present). And I like the message. 


Schism
Atnhrax, Artist
Bellardini, J, Bello, F., Benante, C., Rosenfeld, S., Spitz, D, Writers



Don't look at me as a white man
I'm just a man
Don't look at me as a black man
I'm just a man
It takes a man to deal with ignorance
Prove that you can
Like having to climb a barbwire fence

Can ya tell me how it feels to be hated?
Can ya tell me how it feels to be loved?
Can you show me what it
means to be respected?
Or is the answer none of the above?

It's so easy to hate your brother
It should be hard
It's so easy to hate your friends
Why ain't it hard?
Love and hate come in the deck together
Play your card
Love or hate can rule your life forever

Can ya tell me how it feels to be hated?
Can ya tell me how it feels to be loved?
Can you show me what it means to be respected?
Or is the answer none of the above?

Hating, fighting, lying, and I can't take...
Bitching, screwing, crying, and I just hate...
Taking, cheating, spying, and I can't take...
Hating, fighting, dissing, fighting, fighting,
Fighting...
And I can't take no...
SCHISM!
Schism, SK, SK, SK, SCHISM

A house divided can't stand
Prejudice is un-natural thought
When we were kids
It's not inherited, it's taught
When we were kids
If we were blind and had no choice
Differences hid
Would we hate each other by the
tone of our voice?

Can ya tell me how it feels to be hated?
Can ya tell me how it feels to be loved?
Can you show me what it
means to be respected?
Or is the answer none of the above?

Hating, fighting, lying, and I can't take...
Bitching, screwing, crying, and I just hate...
Taking, cheating, spying, and I can't take...
Hating, fighting, dissing, fighting, fighting,
Fighting...
And I can't take no...
SCHISM!

[CHORUS]



Friday, July 04, 2014

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Exciting News!!! SBB is now on Facebook (come be my friend)!


Sorry, no review today. But exciting blog news instead...


Alright, I admit it. I'm not much of a Twitter user....

When I set up this blog, I set up TwitterFeed to a Twitter account.  But anyone who follows it knows that pretty much all that hits is my posts here. That's because, as noted, I'm a bad Twitterer. Bad, bad Twitterer! It just feels so overwhelming, the amount of effort it requires. I'm kinda lazy. Etc.

What I do tend to do though, is Facebook. I have my personal site on my phone and use it often. I feel more comfortable with Facebook and it just feels more manageable to me.

So, what's my point?

Shannon's Book Bag is now on Facebook!  

Please be my friend!


Pretty please?!  I'd really hate to be the only one there. Talking to myself. And, with any luck, I'll be more active on the Facebook page than I am on Twitter.

And, of course, my posts here will link there!



Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 07/1/14

A good lyric is like a great book...
Dated, but still very valid!


New Dress
Depeche Mode, Artists
Martin Gore, Writer



Sex jibe husband murders wife
Bomb blast victim fights for life
Girl Thirteen attacked with knife
Princess Di is wearing a new dress

Jet airliner shot from sky
Famine horror, millions die
Earthquake terror figures rise
Princess Di is wearing a new dress

You can't change the world
But you can change the facts
And when you change the facts
You change points of view
If you change points of view
You may change a vote
And when you change a vote
You may change the world...

In black townships fires blaze
Prospects better premier says
Within sight are golden days
Princess Di is wearing a new dress

You can't change the world

But you can change the facts
And when you change the facts
You change points of view
If you change points of view
You may change a vote
And when you change a vote
You may change the world...

Princess Di is wearing a new dress

Monday, June 30, 2014

Mondays & Monday Mailbox - 06/30/14









  


Monday Mailbox hosted by Marcia @ To Be Continued.  It's Monday! hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.




Now Reading:  
The Fault In Our Stars (John Green)
Moby Dick (Herman Melville )






 


On Deck 


Some new goodies that arrived this week...

Or maybe a few that arrived earlier this summer.

Or maybe one of the many I bought at the book sales.

Who knows?

But what a great dilemma to have!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows book bloggers (and not so bookish bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise.



1.They switched my computer out at work yesterday as I was still using XP, which was no longer supported by Microsoft as of April. It's an adjustment to use a new computer with a new operating system, isn't it? Not only is it an effort to make the computer work the way your old one did, but the keyboard is always a bkg...bug...bog...not small adjustment!

2. James Patterson is offering to give every sixth grader in public school in New York City (all 45,000 of them) a copy of his book Middle School: The Worst Years of my Life? Apparently, he did the same thing in Chicago earlier this month, donating some 28,000 books to sixth graders in public schools there. Ok, it's not Moby Dick...but whatever keeps kids reading over the summer!

3.  I'm looking forward to the long 4th of July weekend! We are having friends and family over for a cookout and fireworks, which they set off only about two blocks from our house. We get the perfect view from our yard! 

4. Interestingly, a couple years back my town suddenly stopped holding its annual July 4th parade.  Apparently, the committee aged out and no one had stepped up to take over (I don't know if the root cause was actually age and lack of interest, or possibly a long-term committee not openly welcoming "new blood", as is often the case in small towns - I really don't have any way to say).  Regardless, what had become, quite famously, the largest July 4th parade in Massachusetts and the second-largest in New England (http://www.julyparade.org/) just stopped about a year after we moved here. There is now a new committee working to rebuild it, but this year will be another with no parade. Sigh...

5. So, Simon & Schuster has announced that they will finally open its catalog of e-books to all libraries nationwide! Good news!

6.  I've committed to going to a wedding out of state at the end of the summer. I'm excited to see family, but the travel will be tough. Hubby will stay home and care for the kitty and homestead.

7. What does everyone think of the the storm over Kevin Brooks's Carnegie medal win for The Bunker Diary? Word is there's a quite a bit of dissension. While I understand the complaints that the book is more a YA novel, not a children's title, other books that fall into the same situation have won. What about Junk by Burgess? And the indication that it should not have won due to it being "depressing" is ridiculous. If books that evoke such emotions are removed from contention, doesn't that remove a lot of really, really great work?!

8. Ladies, had my annual mammogram this week (ouch)... Have you had yours?!

Have a  great weekend!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June 2014 ReCap...



JUNE 2014

Another slow month, though I feel like I am finally getting back into the groove (just in time for vacation!). Busy as always, June usually is a lot of close up from the previous school year. Looking forward to vacation next month, though it is going to be busy with hubby home and painting the house, but at I will definitely get some reading time in.


This month I read: 
Total Read: 3
YTD:
Adult: 3
YA/children's: 0
Abandoned: 0


Including:
The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir - Dee Williams
Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose - Legs McNeil, Gillian McCain (editor)
Amy, My Daughter (Mitch Winehouse)

Abandoned: 

The Fault In Our Stars (John Green) - haven't given up, just a bit of a serious subject for summer, despite the humor and great writing. Will get back to this!


Favorite Book(s) of the Month:

Amy, My Daughter (Mitch Winehouse)

Challenges Update: 
Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge = 14 of 58
A-Z Book Challenge = 12 of 26
Library Reading Challenge = 1 of 36
E-Book Reading Challenge = 11 of 25
What's in a Name 6 Challenge =  2 of 6

Year of ReReading Challenge = 0 of 4

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Amy, My Daughter - Winehouse

Title: Amy, My Daughter

Author: Mitch Winehouse
Published: 2012
Genre: Memoir
Rating:
4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

Book Source: I received this book as a Netgalley, free of charge, in exchange for an honest review.


Recommended if you like: Celebrity Memoirs, Music, Stories about drug abuse and recovery


What Its About: 

This memoir is an intimate, honest and thorough look at the life and tragic loss of Amy Winehouse written by her father.

Amy Jade Winehouse was a British songwriter/performer who burst onto the scene in 2006 with her first album Frank. Her music was an eclectic mix of R&B, jazz, soul and reggae. Her biggest hit Rehab, from her second album Back to Black, was an intimate reference to her unfortunate growing dependence on drugs, admittedly introduced to her by her husband. Civil-Fields eventually landed in jail and Winehouse's family worked diligently to help her beat her dependence. Sadly, though she eventually kicked heroine and crack, she struggled until her death to beat alcohol dependence.  The alcohol eventually took it's toll and she was found in her bedroom deceased July 23, 2011 from alcohol poisoning.

This heartbreaking memoir takes the reader on Winehouse's journey from birth through her childhood and limited adult years. Her father, Mitch, describes her breakthrough and success in the music business, selling millions of copies of her work, winning three prestigious Ivor Novello Awards and five Grammys, among other awards. He describes Amy's seeming obsession with Blake Civil-Fields, whom she married, who later admitted introducing her to serious drug usage. Winehouse goes on to describe in detail Amy's descent from a normal, talented girl who was known to denounce the use of "class-a drugs", such as heroin and cocaine, to a junkie struggling to recover and take back control of her life. Winehouse seems to share honestly (other bloggers in fact use the term "saturated by honesty") the ups and downs of his daughter's remaining life and struggles.

Winehouse offers a wonderful picture of his daughter as the kind and loving woman she was, offering stories of how she helped various random people, how she connected with people on a deeper level and asked about them years after they had last seem each other, and how she looked forward to a life that included children of her own.

The Bottom Line:
This is a wonderful and heartbreaking memoir by a parent watching himself lose his daughter to demons he can neither deal with or excise. It was a wonderful read and I really enjoyed truly learning more about Amy as a person. Winehouse, though a parent, tells his stories and anecdotes so openly and thoroughly that you cannot help but believe him fully and doubt he is wearing "rose-colored glasses", especially when he admits his own faults and errors. A terrific read for anyone interested in Amy's music, celebrity, or struggles with alcohol and drugs.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - 06/24/14



A good lyric is like a great book...

Dream On
Aerosmith, Artist
Steven Tyler, Writer



Every time that I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
It went by like dusk to dawn
Isn't that the way
Everybody's got their dues in life to pay

Yeah, I know nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes
I know it's everybody's sin
You got to lose to know how to win

Half my life's in books' written pages
Live and learn from fools and from sages
You know it's true
All the things you do, come back to you

Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter and sing for the tear
Sing with me, if it's just for today
Maybe tomorrow the good Lord will take you away

Sing with me, sing it for the year
Sing for the laughter and sing for the tear
Sing with me, if it's just for today
Maybe tomorrow the good Lord will take you away

Dream on, dream on, dream on,
Dream until your dream come true
Dream on, dream on, dream on,
And dream until your dream come true
Dream on [7x]

Sing with me, sing it for the year
Sing for the laughter and sing it for the tear
Sing with me, if it's just for today
Maybe tomorrow the good Lord will take you away

Sing with me, sing it for the year
Sing for the laughter and sing it for the tear
Sing with me, if it's just for today
Maybe tomorrow the good Lord will take you awa.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mondays and Monday Mailbox - 06/23/14









  


Monday Mailbox hosted by Marcia @ To Be Continued.  It's Monday! hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.


Now Reading:  
Amy, My Daughter (Mitch Winehouse)

Still have all those awesome birthday books On Deck, but once again my options have expanded!
 


If you recall, my local library's Friends group had a book sale a couple weeks ago. 

"What pray-tell do they do with all those leftover books?", you ask.

(ok, you didn't, but let's just say you did for consistency's sake)

Well, turns out that they unload them at summer events at the local lake. This weekend was the Festival By the Lake and they had a booth where they offered the books FREE! Oh yes she did! She just used the words FREE and BOOKS in the same sentence! They basically just ask for "donations" for the group. 
 
That Loving Frank book kept following me around.  Regardless of where I went, it was there. I finally took the point and grabbed it.

I happened to have a couple hours available Saturday morning and took a drive over (my first festival in the several years I've lived here, so the FREE thing was new to me) with a handful of plastic bags. Less than a half an hour later, I had another three bags full!

My only complaint was the push and shove that was necessary to get to the good stuff. I hate crowds! But I can elbow with the best of them if need be and got some more really great books, many of which are on my TBR list.

I don't know how much they had left (the booth was much smaller than the set up at the sale), so they might have been bringing out new books all day. But I had other responsibilities so I settled for my three bags.
Children's books too!

Of course, I left a nice donation and then hoofed it back to my car.  


Quite a walk, but it was worth it! 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Saturday Savings - 06/21/14

**DEAL OF THE WEEK**




Ramen-like soups on sale for $0.41 each
Stacked with $1 off 2 coupons (or $0.50 off each)


Final cost:  *FREE!

*at some stores this would be a MONEYMAKER, but Stop and Shop doesn't give you the xtra

Still an excellent deal though!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose - McNeil


Title: Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose
Author: Gillian McCain & Legs McNeil
Published: 2013
Genre: Non-Fiction
Rating
2/5- Just okay.  Choose with extreme prejudice.
 
Book Source: I received this book through Netgalley, free of cost, in exchange for an honest review.

Recommended if you like: Memoirs, Young Adult
   
What Its About:   
This book is billed as an "actual, posthumously published [teenager's] diary", a Go Ask Alice for the 1990's. 

Honestly, I didn't know a lot about the fiction vs. non-fiction drama behind Go Ask Alice. I read it years ago. It was interesting. And it started with a disclaimer that states its fictional... Um.... Why the drama?!

Whatever...

(See how I did that? Tapping into my inner teen there...) Anyway... 

Mary Rose is a lonely teen struggling with a difficult life. In her diary, she opens her heart to "Nobody", to whom each entry is addressed.

The Bottom Line:
I wanted to like this book about Mary Rose, a teen struggling with some real difficulties in life. In fact, I really, really wanted to like it! Open the first page and it clarifies that she is living Reading, Pennsylvania. I grew up in Reading, PA! Then she moves to Wernersville, PA. I've got relatives in Wernersville!  And I too was a geeky kid with very few friends!  Connections baby, very cool! Unfortunately, I just couldn't.

First, I just couldn't get the fact-or-fiction issue out of my mind. I just kept asking, "Would I have said/done that? Would my friends?" For example, Mary Rose makes a comment about not having the "beans" to go out (ie money). Um... Haven't heard a teen say such a thing in...40+ years! Secondly, she talks multiple times about how attractive she is. Call me foolish, but I seem to recall that pretty much EVERY teen thought they were ugly or unattractive in some way. Maybe times have changed, but I doubt it. And yeah, I know boy chasing and falling in love, foolishly and desperately, is very STEREOTYPICAL. But the whole book was just to contrived for me.

Furthermore, Mary Rose was an utterly unlikable person. No wonder she had no friends! I'm sorry, but one minute she was bragging about herself and the next crying no one likes her. She got herself wrapped up reapeatedly in bad situations, with bad people, and surprise, surprise...bad things happened. It's like she was incapable of learning better - even animals learn to stop doing things that hurt them! She visited rehab more often than Amy Winehouse sang about it, and ended up in the hands of the police just as often. And this was supposed to be the 1990's!? It's called DSS (Department of Social Services) people! And yet, not a word about them...

Which is another point... There is no mention of popular music in her writing. What teen doesn't talk constantly about music or television or, I don't know, anything pop-cultural-ish? Especially a teen who envisions herself a performer!

Another major complaint, this "diary" just focused on way too much!
-A horrible mother who chooses her slimy boyfriend and booze over her children time and time again
-No friends
-Drinking and alcoholism
-Drug use (she mentioned her heroin use like its a passing fad - seriously?!) and rehab
-Cystic Fibrosis, sickness, and dying
-Rape
-Gang rape and being abused by older boys/men (she addresses these horrific events so easily and moves on so quickly. I'm sorry, but even teens who have had a tough life are going to have more of a reaction to such things)

It just goes on and on and ANY ONE of those topics would have made an amazing story!

Overall, its just unrealistic. And, if this horrible life was real, if all these terrible things really did happen to this poor girl - I'm sorry, but the "editors' did a crap job!! I'm sorry, but its true.

Positives? Yes, generally, the writing wasn't bad. Despite a few key "beans", mostly it was well written and teen-believable. Also, I really liked the Nobody concept... I like the vision it gave of having no one to share her thoughts with, no one to unload to, no one she trusted other than perhaps herself. This would have been a GREAT hook, in a different book. If the editors had just let this be a work of fiction "based on a true story", it could have been an awesome book.  Also, the unwavering honesty that is shared in her posts, heartbreaking yet tender.

So, overall, it was just...alright.