This is what I like to call a “mixed review.” The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer is a collection of essays ranging from her very first stand-up comedy show to the time she got arrested with her sister for shoplifting (she clearly points out that she doesn’t condone stealing). If you pick up this book, expect stories that are funny and raunchy along with ones that are serious and sad.
I read the first half of the book, but the format lost me. I think Schumer is quite funny, however, I don’t think her humor translated well to the written word. I put down the book for a while and placed a hold for the audio version from the library, and that’s how I finished the book. What’s really great about the audiobook of The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo is that Schumer reads the story herself! So on the one hand, I didn’t really enjoy reading the book, but I definitely connected with the story while listening to Schumer read the essays herself.
Beyond stories of her career, childhood and relationships, Schumer also discusses sexual assault, domestic abuse, body image and much more. These essays aren’t just funny bits filled with fluff; Schumer uses the book as a way to discuss serious issues as well. At the same time though, I didn’t need to hear so much about her beloved stuffed animal collection.
I recommend this one for big fans of Amy Schumer; otherwise, I might suggest another book instead!
The year is 1886 and Caitriona Wallace, a young Scottish widow, has come to Paris as the chaperone of the young and naïve Alice and Jamie. While on a hot air balloon ride, Cait meets Émile Nouguier, one of the engineers working on the Eiffel Tower, and an instant connection sparks between them. To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin is a patient love story crossing social classes and countries.
In contrast to Cait’s calm and composed demeanor, Alice and Jamie are both slightly obnoxious and unaware, although they aren’t malicious about it. During 1886, women don’t have many rights and acting as a chaperone is the best option Cait can find to secure an income.
An ongoing focus of the story is the construction of the Eiffel Tower and how controversial it was at the time. I had no idea how negatively people felt towards the tower, especially because it’s become a world-famous landmark. This was one of my favorite aspects of the book.
Reading To Capture What We Cannot Keep felt like a trip through time to the beautiful streets of Paris. I definitely recommend this one!
Here are a few quotes that I marked:
“Possession in the beat of the blood, but not in the heart.”
“…The city had been constructed for one class at the expense of another.”
“And he wanted to capture what he couldn’t keep, the fleeting, the transient.”
“And the memory of her spun through him like a wheel on an axle, around and around without any sign of slowing.”
“She looked at him directly when he spoke, as if seeking him out, as if trying to read everything he had ever been and ever would be.”
I sped through I See You by Clare Mackintosh like I was in a race. It was easy to get into, with a thrilling plot and conversational tone, so I couldn’t put it down beyond breaking for snacks.
As Zoe Walker is commuting home on the London Tube from her 9-5 job, she sees her photograph in the classifieds section of the newspaper. This both shocks and disturbs her because the advertisement seems to be for a dating service that she didn’t register for. The next day another woman’s photograph is in the ad followed by a different woman the day after that. When one of these photographed women winds up dead, Zoe begins to panic…
Readers are brought along on an eerie twist-filled ride as Zoe discovers what her photograph in the advertisement means and just how it got there without her consent.
A common theme in I See You is the idea of our routines, especially commuting to and from work each day. In particular, the things we don’t pay attention to because we’re each absorbed in our own thoughts as we’re trying to get from one place to the next, hopefully without delay. This really sparked my interest and Mackintosh spun a gripping story from it.
I had high expectations when I started reading because I loved I Let You Go (one of my favorite reads in 2016), which is another book by Clare Mackintosh. I See You did not disappoint, although the plot twist wasn’t quite as stunning as the one in I Let You Go.
I definitely recommend I See You by Clare Mackintosh and if you haven’t already read it, I Let You Go as well! I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
The Last Good Girl by Allison Leotta hits home. These days the news is filled with stories of sexual assault on college campuses; Leotta has created a mystery novel that brings this issue to light through a gripping chase. I want to point out that this is the fifth book in the Anna Curtis series, however it’s the first one I’ve picked up and it was easy to read as a standalone.
Emily Shapiro, A freshman at Tower University, is excited to go to her first college party. A party filled with dancing, maybe a little drinking, and boys. Little does she know that the party won’t hold the happy memories she hopes for – instead she is drugged and raped. When Emily goes missing, prosecutor Anna Curtis is called in.
Emily was last seen on video running away from her accused rapist and the story spirals from there. The book is told from multiple perspectives. From Anna, from Emily’s video blogs leading up to the time she went missing, and from a freshman pledge in the fraternity where Emily was raped. These were really contrasting perspectives that gave the story some depth.
The Last Good Girl kept me hooked, because of the horrifying and terrible occurrences of sexual assaults on college campuses, and by the chase to find Emily. I definitely recommend this book (warning: there’s some graphic content) and would read another by Allison Leotta. I appreciate her ability to write a gripping mystery novel that brings attention to such a serious issue – for that, I want to thank her.