The Immigrant’s Lament Review

The Immigrant’s Lament was first published in Hebrew in 1994. Benarroch’s poetry has been published in a dozen languages, including Urdu and Chinese. Julia Uceda considers that Benarroch holds the memory of the world in his poetry, while Jose Luis Garcia Martin thinks that his poems are more than poetry, they are a document. 

“If I had a nomination vote for the nobel prize he’d be in the running.” Klaus Gerken, Ygdrasil editor. 

His reputation has been steadily growing and his books have been published in Spain, Israel and the U.S.A. Benarroch was awarded the prime minister literary prize in 2008 and the Yehuda Amichai poetry prize in 2012.

The Immigrant’s Lament has been published in Hebrew, French, Italian, English and Portuguese.


This collection of poetry tells the life story of a Moroccan man who was born into a Jewish family. The first poems are about Moshe’s childhood in Morocco with his parents, but they soon switch to poems about his adult life. To be honest, when I started reading the poems, I expected a collection of poems about a man adjusting to life in a new country. Most of the poems were just about a confused man who didn’t know where to go in life. This confusion bled into the poems, and eventually I didn’t know if they were all even being written about the same person.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book unless you were interested in deciphering abstract poetry or reading the few hard-hitting cohesive poems around the middle of the novel.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Read my full review here:
https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=105041

 I rate this book 2 out of 5 books.

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My Path to the Stars ARC Review (Plus My Girl Scouts Experience!)

Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket ScientistA meningitis outbreak in their underprivileged neighborhood left Sylvia Acevedo’s family forever altered. As she struggled in the aftermath of loss, young Sylvia’s life transformed when she joined the Brownies. The Girl Scouts taught her how to take control of her world and nourished her love of numbers and science.
With new confidence, Sylvia navigated shifting cultural expectations at school and at home, forging her own trail to become one of the first Latinx to graduate with a master’s in engineering from Stanford University and going on to become a rocket scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

As a former Girl Scout, I knew that I had to read this book! Mrs. Acevedo is such an inspiration to young girls. She overcame her circumstances and a family tragedy to be successful. She always felt like an outsider, but Girl Scouts gave her a place where she felt like she belonged. She kept her uniform clean and felt a sense of pride every time she earned a badge.

Let me take a moment to actually talk about Girl Scouts! Her girl scouts career occurred in the mid 1960s to early 1970s. At the time, she says that there weren’t many math and science badges for the girls to receive. This was sad for her, as she loved math, but she had fun learning the other badges. For me, I actually had the opposite experience to some extent. When I was in Girl Scouts from around 2005-2013, there were PLENTY of badges for girls to earn. Some were based around math, science, and astronomy, and others taught girls to do things such as cook, sew, knit, run a business, and other things. I earned so many badges on my old Junior sash, and I literally earned them from just participating in different activities throughout my old city. Then, when I turned 11, things started to change.

When Girl Scouts switched to the Journey Books, everything became ten times harder. Rather than the hundreds of badges that seemed to be available before, there were only 30-40 badges available. Every badge had so many steps that one really had to go out of her way just to earn anything. Also, the badges seemed dumbed down to some extent. Gone were the community activity badges and the very specific badges such as how to change a tire or how to change oil, and instead the only ones you could get without going through specific steps were the sports badges. It also hurt smaller troops, because now you had to buy a brand new book because all the old badges from the 1990s were defunct, and there were EXPANSION PACKS for the handbook on top of that, and you had to buy Journey books for every girl that wanted to do their own award.   Also, it made it extremely difficult to get a Bronze, Silver, or Gold award because you had to fill out this stupid Journey book rather than just creating your own project. I only have 5 actual Cadette badges and then a ton of activity specific badges based on community activities that my mother just found on sale at the Girl Scouts store and gave to our troop leader. (I will also post pictures of my old Juniors sash and Cadette vest on my Instagram account @brisbooknook to prove this point!)

That being said, this book really brought me back to the old ways of Girl Scouts, when it was truly based on teaching girls skills, getting them involved in the community, and teaching them how to be leaders. Now, it seems to mostly focus on how to get the most cookie sales and how to do some extremely basic arts and crafts, at least in my old troop. I really miss the old times, and I wish that Girl Scouts of the USA would go back to this. Hopefully Mrs. Acevedo being the CEO of the organization will change things for the better.

Mini rant being over, I loved this book. Mrs. Acevedo was so strong in the face of such criticism, and it didn’t even seem to phase her. People thought she was not going to learn because she came from a “bad” elementary school, then they thought girls would never be successful in math. She beat the odds so many times, and she became successful. Nevertheless, this story speaks about the bumps in the road that she encountered on her way. Everything from her father favoring her older brother, to the meningitis incident almost tearing her family apart. I loved every minute of reading this story, and I would definitely recommend this.

I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for an amazing success story that will have you rooting for Mrs. Acevedo the entire time.

I received an advance copy of this book through a giveaway and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 stars

I’m Still Here Review

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for WhitenessAustin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age 7, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker and expert who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion.

In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value “diversity” in their mission statements, I’m Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric–from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.

This was definitely an important novel in this day and age. Mrs. Austin really talks about important issues that stem from being black in everyday life and being black in the business world. Little things that most people would just ignore really hurt Austin, such as when a girl at her school says that a black person took her place at her dream college due to affirmative action and no one decided to correct her. She had to learn how to fight through the silent prejudice at work, like when her coworkers thought she was being impersonal by leaving right after the meetings and not staying to chat, even though other people did the same thing. She even had to fight the racism within the church, the last place that she thought she would see it.

This powerful story truly shows how deep people’s prejudice could be, and revealed the subtle ways that they choose to show it. By calling people out on it and letting others know that this type of racism is still occurring, things might actually start to change for the better.

I appreciated the fact that this book was written completely in chronological order. This allowed me to see how Austin went from not understanding the racist ideals around her, to feeling as if she couldn’t escape them. Even as a reader I felt depressed reading about Austin’s work and church environment.

I also know the church racism all too well. Many people don’t know that I am a Lutheran, and have been all of my life. I have also gone to a mixed-race church and a predominantly island/African American church. Honestly, I have seen more discrimination in the predominantly island/African American church! People who are Christians might claim to love each other, and they might accept other black people coming to the church, but they don’t want anyone “different.” If someone is “too poor”, white, hasn’t come to church often enough, or gay, they wouldn’t even try to hide the fact that they aren’t welcome. If we want to work together towards ending these thigns, we can’t say “no discrimination and racism as long as you fit these conditions,” we have to say No Discrimination and Racism PERIOD.

This book has a lot to say, and I hope that more people pick it up to hear its message. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for an inspirational novel discussing racism and prejudice in modern America and the modern church.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 stars

Tales From Piney Grove Review

Tales from Piney Grove by [Morrison, Bobby]This book tells the story of the author’s life in the sharecropping 1960’s North Carolina. He reminisces about the things that the farmers did to make their own fun even though they didn’t have a lot of money themselves. It demonstrates the politics of the South at the time, and even describes how the town changed once the factories were built. I knew some things about the sharecropping South from my own grandparents, but this book opened my eyes even more.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new historical fiction novel to read. It shows the true lives of those living in the 1960s, especially African American US citizens, rather than the glamourized version that Hollywood epics in movies such as Grease.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 stars

My review was featured for the Book of the Day promotion on July 4th! Even though I was busy as I had just come home from a big trip 2 days before, I was happy to see all of the wonderful replies that people had for me. If you would like to see my full review of this novel, click the following link! https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=53&t=64457

 

Life with My Idiot Family: A True Story of Survival, Courage and Justice over Childhood Sexual Abuse Review

Life with My Idiot Family: A True Story of Survival, Courage and Justice over Childhood Sexual Abuse by [Picard, Kathy and Gary]

 

This novel is an inspirational story about a woman who had to fight her family, and eventually the government to receive the justice she deserved. She went from being a scared girl, who didn’t even understand that she was being abused by her father, to being a strong woman who wanted to fight for the rights of herself and other survivors. The pacing is perfect, and the novel takes you on a journey throughout her life, from abuse to advocacy.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a story about the life of a strong and inspirational woman.

Read my review on the Online Book Club here: http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=61974

Overall Rating: 6/5