Mini Reviews Reviews

Saturday Smalls — November 2nd, 2019

November 2, 2019

Long time, no smalls! 😂 I used to try to do these every Saturday, but I realized I haven’t done one since August! I have quite a backlog of mini reviews to share, so let’s jump right in with 4 today.

This week’s mini review round-up includes:

  1. adult humor/nonfiction comics
  2. adult nonfiction/spirituality
  3. MG illustrated contemporary novel
  4. adult horror manga

45187248. sx318 TITLE: Bird Brain: Comics About Mental Health, Starring Pigeons
AUTHOR: Chuck Mullin
GENRE: Humor/Nonfiction
AGE RANGE: Adult
PAGES: 144pg
SOURCE: Netgalley

Bird Brain is a collection of brutally honest, brilliantly weird comics exploring what it’s like to live with mental illness… using pigeons.

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I loved Chuck Mullin’s little pigeon comics, so when I saw that she was releasing this collection, I jumped at the chance to read it — and I’m so glad I did.

The comics are spaced out with a couple of pages here and there that tell the author’s own story with her mental illness, treatment, and her journey to the self-love she’s begun to find for herself, and it’s really wonderful and touching. I definitely teared up a few times over how much I related to her thoughts and worries, but it was also so comforting to see that she’s found things that work for her, and it gives me hope that I can find things that work for me, too. (I’ve even opted to steal a few of her ideas, like saying one kind thing to yourself in the mirror every day)

If you struggle with mental illness at all, especially anxiety and depression, I can’t recommend this collection enough. You’ll laugh, you’ll get all kinds of Feels™, and I can almost guarantee you’ll love these little anxious pigeons as much as I did.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
5stars

43626392TITLE: Llewellyn’s Little Book of Empathy
AUTHOR: Cyndi Dale
GENRE: Nonfiction/Spirituality
AGE RANGE: Adult
PAGES: 288pg
SOURCE: Netgalley

Empathy is one of the most important tools you have for connecting with others. It supports the mutual exchange of love and nurturance, and it helps foster community, cooperation, belonging, and a sense of spiritual vitality. But sometimes empathy can present challenges, especially for people who experience too much empathy. Difficulty can also arise for those who feel too little empathy or twist their sense of empathy to manipulate others. Llewellyn’s Little Book of Empathy shares effective solutions for working through your under- or over-empathic tendencies, and it shows how you can process the underlying issues that lead to manipulation. You will also learn about the different kinds of empathy: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

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I had a really hard time getting into this, sadly. As an empath, I was pretty excited to learn more about it, but the text feels very repetitive and I don’t enjoy the author’s overall writing voice, sadly. There’s nothing wrong with it, it just isn’t for me. I also think maybe I don’t see physical empathy the same way as the author does; at one point, she mentioned a client whose rheumatoid arthritis literally disappeared after he learned to stop empathizing with his mother. I’m not yet convinced that physical empaths can empathize with another person’s pains to the degree of being diagnosed with full-on disorders and ailments, especially ones as “big” as RA. I also kept getting annoyed by the author’s tidbits about her family for a myriad of reasons I won’t bother delving into much here, the least of it being the gender roles and her line about being surprised that she could empathize with her sons since they’re men and she’s a woman (rolling my eyes, sorry — most empaths will agree with me that empathy has no concept of gender roles).

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

2stars

32324758. sy475 TITLE: Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom
AUTHOR: Booki Vivat
GENRE: Contemporary
AGE RANGE: MG
PAGES: 240pg
SOURCE: Hoopla

Meet Abbie Wu. Abbie is in crisis—and not just because she’s starting middle school or because she’s stuck in a family that doesn’t quite get her or because everyone seems to have a Thing except her. Abbie Wu is always in crisis.

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This was such a cute read. I picked it up on a whim after a twitter friend (thanks, Danielle!) recommended it and it was really sweet! Poor little Abbie Wu has a case of the “Middles” — it’s her entrance to middle school, and she’s absolutely wracked with anxiety and a feeling of not belonging anywhere. It’s so relatable, especially to someone like me who also had legitimate anxiety issues as a kid; while Abbie never puts a name on her feelings, they surely stuck out as recognizable.

Abbie’s narrative voice is funny, easy to empathize with, and lovable. The illustrations are absolutely adorable; the characters are all drawn in a simplistic chibi style that made me smile more than a few times, especially coupled with how classically melodramatic the little caricatures could be. I’ll definitely be recommending this one to kiddos at work and I’ll probably pick up more books by this author in the future!

4stars

43909397. sx318 TITLE: No Longer Human
AUTHOR: Junji Ito; Osamu Dazai (original source material)
GENRE: Humor
AGE RANGE: Adult
PAGES: 616pg
SOURCE: Edelweiss

Plagued by a maddening anxiety, the terrible disconnect between his own concept of happiness and the joy of the rest of the world, Yozo Oba plays the clown in his dissolute life, holding up a mask for those around him as he spirals ever downward, locked arm-in-arm with death.

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DNF

I can’t even tell you what page I dropped this on, because it would require me to open the file back up and scroll through for the page number, and I can’t stomach that.

*** MAJOR CONTENT WARNINGS for on-page child sexual assault. ***

I had no idea this was going to feature child abuse and it came legitimately out of nowhere, twice within a couple of pages of each other — maybe more, I don’t know. I got really sick to my stomach and upset and had to close it. Obviously, that’s not going to be a problem for a lot of readers, and it might be a great story aside from that, so I’m not knocking the book itself, but I personally cannot read it. I’m really sad because I was looking forward to this… a lot. 🙁

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

norating

destiny

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2 Comments

  • Reply Sarah November 3, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    Absolutely wild that the author of that book thinks empathy between genders is not an obvious thing?

  • Reply Musings of a (Book) Girl November 4, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    I am definitely going to have to look into reading Bird Brain – it already has me laughing and relating just from the two comics you shared!

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