My year of rest and relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

Amy My Year of rest and relaxationA young, beautiful, wealthy, young woman lives an enviable life in New York City, but is miserable, so, with the help of her crazy psychiatrist, decides to enter drug induced sleep for a year, in the hope she will feel better. Quirky, horrid, funny and terribly black, this won’t be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it.

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Lullaby by Leila Slimani

Amy LullabyThis book starts with a murder scene; the nanny kills her two young charges before attempting to kill herself. What follows is the lead up to the horror, and it is a clever and disturbing look at the struggles of modern parenthood, career, city living, and the fascinating situation of inviting someone into your one to care for your children. I raced through it to the abrupt, but not unsatisfying, end.

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Happiness by Aminatta Forna

Amy HappinessFour and a half stars for this, my favourite Forna book yet. It’s the story of two people who meet by chance, in London, neither of them English. Jean is an American, studying urban foxes, and Attila, a Ghanaian psychiatrist. They join together, along with a crew of immigrant workers, to search for a lost boy, and find more than they were looking for. It’s a quiet novel, very thoughtful and intelligent, and I just fell in love with the characters.

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Hold by Michael Donkor

amy-hold.jpgThree and a half stars for Hold, a story about Belinda, a Ghanaian teenager who, having adjusted from village life to that of a housegirl, makes another move, to London. In London, she lives with a Ghanaian couple, and their daughter, Amma, who is struggling, and her parents hope Belinda can get her back on track. It is a quiet coming of age story, dealing with culture, duty, shame, belonging and growing into a sense of self. My favourite character was the younger Mary, left behind in Ghana; spirited and funny. The pace of this novel is slow, and it didn’t move me quite as much as I feel it could have.

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The hate you give by Angie Thomas

Amy THUGThe Hate U Give is a really powerful book about the value of every life. One night, two black teenagers in the US, are pulled over by police, and one of them is shot dead. Even from the other side of the world, this is a familiar story, and this book does a great job of showing the impact of these events on the community, and society. The characters are well drawn, the complexity of the situation is well handled, and the book is as compelling as it is thought-provoking.

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Amy Dumplin'This is cute, but not cutesy , feel-good YA. It’s about a teenaged girl named Willowdean, who lives in small town Texas and happens to be fat. She and a few other unlikely girls decide to enter the town’s great event, a beauty pageant. The setting is great, the characters are diverse, and interesting, the angst is believable and not overdone, and the romance is sweet. There aren’t a lot of body positive books out there; this is one, and it’s also a fun read.

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