My IRL book club met this past Tuesday to discuss February’s book. We again opted to meet via Zoom rather than in-person because of the Omicron variant, but I think we’re going to be brave next month and meet in person.

We discussed TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE by Jenny Han. There were seven of us that met and all of us read the book. Here are some highlights of our discussion:

  • One person hated the book with a fiery passion because of the “fake boyfriend” trope and the ending.
  • Most, including me, liked the story but disliked different aspects of it, such as the love triangle, the ending, one or more of the characters, etc.
  • A couple of people loved the book and the characters and didn’t mind the things that the rest of us complained about.
  • All of us watched the Netflix movie as well and every one of us loved the movie. Those of us who only liked or hated the book thought the movie fixed the problematic parts of the book.
  • Most of us don’t plan to read the rest of the series. Some of us don’t plan to watch the other two movies either (me included). A couple of people have already read the whole series and watched all three movies and advocated for us to at least read and watch the second book/movie.
  • Most people like the addition of the Korean culture and the Korean protagonist and how that changed/added to the story.

We actually had a really good discussion about the book and the movie. It spurred on discussions about other tropes we like and dislike, own voices, and whether or not the book being YA played a role in our opinion of it.

We also each recommended some books to vote on for our next list of books to read. I recommended A TALE FOR TIME BEING by Ruth Ozeki, any book by Fiona Davis, THE LAST ANNIVERSARY by Liane Moriarty, any book by Sally Hepworth, and TASTE: MY LIFE THROUGH FOOD by Stanley Tucci. We should have all our books voted on and figured out by next book club.

Next month’s book is NINE PERFECT STRANGERS by Liane Moriarty. I’m so excited to read it. I love Liane Moriarty so much. Everything I’ve read of hers, I’ve adored. I’m usually the one who requests we read something written by her each year. This will be our fourth book for book club. We’ve read WHAT ALICE FORGOT, BIG LITTLE LIES, and TRULY MADLY GUILTY. All of them made awesome book club books because of the discussions we had.

Anyway, have you read TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE? If so, what do you think about my book club’s discussion about it?

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Books too Good to Review Properly

This week’s prompt is hard! There are books I’ve read where I felt like I didn’t have the words to review them properly. Or, to review them, you’d have to litter the review with spoilers, which most people don’t want. Hmmm. Here are my top ten 12 books that are too good to review properly:

Most of the reason I chose these books is because I can’t properly convey how much I love them without giving too much away. For example, when I first read TWILIGHT, I knew nothing about it. Nothing. I also didn’t read the dust jacket or the back cover, so I didn’t know anything about Edward Cullen. Let that sink in for a minute. If I could introduce TWILIGHT to a newbie, it would be the same way I read it, completely unsuspecting anything. Of course, that’s hard to do now unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 16.5 years.

I don’t think I ever do the book justice. I’ve decided that my reason for reviewing a book isn’t to recommend or not recommend a book to someone else. It’s simply to state if I liked it or not. Based on that, others can decided if they want to read the book as well.

What about you? Which books do you think are too good to review properly? Do we have any in common?

I’ve been learning in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) that life is full of dialectics, or two opposing truths. In this case, the two opposing truths are: 1) I don’t agree with JKR’s stance regarding trans people, and 2) I still love Harry Potter.

Review: BrokenTitle: Broken (in the best possible way)
Author: Jenny Lawson
Genre(s): Humor, Non-Fiction
Pages: 285 (Hardcover)
Source: Library
For: Play Book Tag, Unofficial Trim Challenge
Rating:
Steaminess: 0 Flames

Goodreads   Book Depository   Amazon

There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

As Jenny Lawson’s hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In BROKEN, Jenny brings readers along on her mental and physical health journey, offering heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes along the way. With people experiencing anxiety and depression now more than ever, Jenny humanizes what we all face in an all-too-real way, reassuring us that we’re not alone and making us laugh while doing it. BROKEN is a beacon of hope and a wellspring of laughter when we all need it most.

My Thoughts

Back in 2017, I read Jenny Lawson’s FURIOUSLY HAPPY and loved it. It actually kind of changed my life. I realized in a very profound way that I’m not alone. And, even when I’m in the depths of depression, it’s okay to laugh and enjoy life. Because I loved FURIOUSLY HAPPY so much, I’ve wanted to read more of her books. I finally got the chance by reading BROKEN (IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY) for a couple of reading challenges.

BROKEN didn’t have as profound of an effect on me as FURIOUSLY HAPPY did. And, I still appreciated Lawson’s candor and openness with her struggles with mental and chronic illness. I find the way she describes things to be a very raw, honest, unique look at how someone deals with their pain. At times, I felt like she was stealing parts from my own life as she described hers. I feel like she and I are kindred spirits.

I didn’t fail in responding to past treatments … those treatments failed to work for me.

Lawson’s humor and writing are definitely not for everyone. In fact, if you’re easily offended, then I wouldn’t even attempt to read her books. I’m glad I found her, though, and I’ll keep reading more from her. I also think that if we knew each other IRL, we could be friends.

Have you read BROKEN (IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY)? If so, what did you think?

P.S. I used the paperback cover in my post because it has a llama on it. I couldn’t pass that up, even though I read the hardcover edition.

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for suicidal ideation.

Sunday Post and Sunday Salon are blog news memes hosted at Caffeinated Reviewer and Reader Buzz, respectively. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, and showcase books and other things.
Feeling

I’m feeling happy and excited for a few reasons. Reason #1: remember the math test I talked about last week? My math teacher gives points for showing our work on our tests. He saw that I knew what I was doing. He also noticed that I made stupid mistakes when I put the answer down. Instead of giving me zero points so I’d get 75% on my test, he only took points off on the last part. My final score was a 91.7%.

Reason #2: my computer programming teacher was bombarded by most of the class complaining about the same things I complained about. That’s why he didn’t get back to me and I’m glad it wasn’t just me. He gave us more time. He also helped us figure out the auto grader. Hopefully, it won’t be as pedantic for future projects. I still have some reservations about the auto grader and at least I now know my teacher’s reasonable and willing to help me out if I need it.

Reason #3: check out what I watched this week.

Blogging

I continue to be amazed by this awesome community each week. I love that we all come from different walks of life and get to know each other through our posts and comments on each other’s blogs. I’m really glad I decided to resurrect my blog at the beginning of the year. Everyone has been so nice and the camaraderie has helped my extroverted self navigate being more isolated than normal thanks to omicron.

This week on the blog:

Reading

I read BROKEN (IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY) by Jenny Lawson. I’ll be posting my review this week sometime. I’m starting ROCK PAPER SCISSORS by Alice Feeney today. So far so good at trying to get to my mound of library books before they’re due. 3 down and 3 to go.

Listening

This week, I’ve been listening to something kind of fun, at least fun for me. My favorite classical song is “Für Elise” because it’s basically my name–Jennifer Elyse–just not Germanized. It was also the first classical song I learned to play on the piano. Anyway, I came across this version of “Für Elise” when I was listening to another one of my favorite songs by The Piano Guys. I’ll have to share that song next week, maybe. What do you think of this version of “Für Elise”?

Watching

This week I had the fantastic experience of watching my cousin, Andrew Blaser, perform in the Winter Olympics. He was on the US Skeleton team. I’ve been following his progress on Facebook and Instagram for years and I was so excited when I found out he made the US team. It was so awesome to watch you do your thing, Andy! Go, Team USA!

(P.S. “Blaser” is pronounced BLAH-zer not BLAY-zer like the announcers have been incorrectly saying during the coverage.)

Loving

I’m loving Hulu so much right now because THEY’RE BRINGING BACK FUTURAMA! Hulu said Futurama’s one of the most watched shows on their network. Damn straight! We fans know what we love and we were never going to give up our campaign to bring it back. Again. #goodnewseveryone

P.S. If John DiMaggio doesn’t return as Bender, then this whole section will turn to HATING.

Wanting

Now that I know Futurama’s coming back, I want to know if John DiMaggio’s returning. There are some actors that Futurama can return without, John DiMaggio isn’t one of them. Futurama must return with Billy West, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal, Maurice LaMarche, Phil LaMarr, Lauren Tom, and Tress McNeille. Everyone else is extra.

Needing

I need to spend more time on my DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) homework during the week. I love DBT and what I’ve learned from it in the last ten months. It has helped me learn to navigate some tough emotional situations. I’ve learned to act opposite of my emotional urges (including suicidal ideation). Because of this, sometimes I don’t feel depressed anymore. The problem is I feel like I’m regressing a little and I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s because I’m feeling overwhelmed by everything–school, therapy, home life, blog, reading, etc. Or, if it’s just that I’m having trouble balancing some of my values (activities that help me build a life worth living). I guess another thing I need to do is talk to Doug, my therapist about it. Good thing I like him.

How was your week? Anything exciting happen?

Book vs. Movie is a feature here at Jenni Elyse. I do a side-by-side comparison of the book and movie (or tv show) and then decide which I like better. There may be minor spoilers.

As I said in my review of TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE, I really liked Lara Jean and her sisters. I liked LJ and Kitty the most. I loved how feisty Kitty was. Margot got on my nerves a little bit, but I still respected her for how she took it upon herself to take care of her younger sisters and even Dr. Covey since the death of her mom.

I adored the movie. I liked the actors in the movie, especially the ones who played Lara Jean, Kitty, Dr. Covey, and Peter. I thought they all did a phenomenal job with their parts. I liked the chemistry between the actors and I don’t just mean Lara Jean and her “boys.” I mostly mean the Covey family. I like that we got to know Dr. Covey more in the movie and that he’s the one who talked about her mom not Margot.

I liked the two main guys in the book and how Lara Jean interacted with them. I hated the love triangle aspect of the story as it’s my least favorite trope. I’d hands down rather deal with instalove than a love triangle. I thought the movie put less emphasis on the love triangle aspect of the story. Of course, both boys were still there, but Lara Jean spent more time with one than the other, which made the romance that much more awesome.

Even though I didn’t like the love triangle in the book, I enjoyed the actual story. I thought it was fun to read the chaos from all the events that happened. I was excited for the typical YA rom-com happy ending, but I didn’t get it because the book doesn’t end and it’s so frustrating! What I loved most about the movie is that it didn’t follow in the book’s footsteps and ended in a very satisfactory way. The ending left the story open enough to entice the watcher to the second movie. And, if I don’t watch the second movie, it’s okay because the first movie works well as a stand-alone.

Verdict

I bet you know the verdict before I even say it. The movie’s different from the book, but the spirit of the story’s still the same. Most of the time, books are way better than their movies, but in this instance, I have no hesitation in saying that I think the movie’s better than the book.

Have you read TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE? Have you seen the Netflix movie? Which one do you think is better?