Review- Rosie Colored Glasses (ARC)

Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson

cover112238-mediumGenre: Adult fiction
Format: ARC paperback (thank you Harlequin!)
Publication date: February 20, 2018
Publisher: MIRA
Page count: 329 (keep in mind that this is an uncorrected proof)
Star rating: 5/5

Wow! I loved this book. I’m so grateful that Harlequin gave me an ARC at BookCon. This is easily my favorite read of the summer, so far. There are a few content warnings I’d like to give, but some of them will spoil the plot. The big one that I’ll mention is that this book talks about addiction in great depth. I’m really looking forward to this review, so please read on!

Even though she was stoned.
Even though she promised herself she wouldn’t do this.
Even though she wished none of this was happening.
Rosie drove to Rex’s house to pick up her children.”

Willow is just a fifth grader trying to navigate through her marshmallow cereal, a little brother with a lisp, and her parent’s divorce. Besides a few accidents, including one on the playground with her classmates, Willow is doing a pretty great job keeping herself together, especially with the strict rules at her dad’s house. Rosie, her mom, is the more fun parent. Rosie lets Willow and her brother eat ice cream late at night and put on makeup and costumes before watching a movie. Things are going particularly well for Willow, Rosie even visits her at recess, but then something in her mom changes. Willow wants her fun, care-free, loudly loving Rosie back, but she’s afraid that mom is gone forever.

This book is told in the different perspectives of Willow’s family members. I was blown away by the narrations from Willow and Rosie because they are so raw. Seriously, I felt like I was looking into their souls. Willow is so full a fear and just wants love. She wants love from everyone, especially her father, Rex, who she does not get any love from. She craves that father-daughter love so badly that it hinders her relationship with Rex. What she doesn’t know is that Rex wants that love too, but shuts himself out. This is a beautiful (that somehow feels like the right word to use here) dilemma that taps into deep concepts of love in family dynamics. I’m taken aback by how much Willow’s need for affection and comfort touched me.

I want to go back to the quotation that I inserted above the synopsis of this title. One thing that many addicts use to distinguish themselves from recreational substance users is the fact that they cross boundaries they lay out for themselves. For example, someone may tell themself that they will drink no more than twice a week; and they will stick to that rule. On the other hand, someone who struggles with substance abuse will break rules that they set for themself, as the disease makes it impossible for them to stop. A lot of people don’t understand this aspect of addiction. Although it encourages self-blaming thinking, it is not uncommon for people to think “why can’t addicts just choose to stop taking their drug of choice?” I’m really glad that Rosie Colored Glasses included this passage about Rosie breaking the boundaries she sets for herself and what she will not do while on drugs.

In addition to the quotation I inserted into the beginning of this novel, I want to point out one more:

“Vicodin welcomed Rosie’s affinity for her high. Vicodin coiled around Rosie and squeezed her so tight she was unable to move. Unable to parent. Unable to do much of anything at all. Except lie there alone and breathe.
Until she couldn’t even do that.”

I don’t really have much to say about this quotation, because I know what I write will not do it justice. I’d just like my readers to reflect on what this is trying to say about substance abuse and how much drugs can both bring someone up and push them back down.

I’m so excited for this book to hit bookstore shelves in February. This was the realest, most raw book I’ve read in 2017, so far. Willow’s crippling desire to be loved is something I’ll never forget. Rosie’s growing dependence on opiates and how it affects everyone in her family will stay with me, as well. I’m ready to name Rosie Colored Glasses to every adult who asks me for book recommendations. Brianna Wolfson did an amazing job with this book. Thank you to Harlequin for kindly giving me a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Review- The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison
22962314-_uy200_4/5 stars
-I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review-

 

The earth has been infected by a sickness, a sickness that leaves the planet nearly empty of living people. The disease also affects the unborn, as all babies that come into this bleak new world die within a few hours. Of the individuals that remain, almost all are men who are hungry for women. The few women left are traded, raped, kept on chains, married, and remarried. Our protagonist cleverly disguises herself as a man to keep safe. She’s a trained nurse and makes it her mission to offer birth control to females to minimize their risks of dying while giving birth to sick infants. Our protagonist travels across the US, walking miles every day in search of safety and survivors that aren’t looking to kill her. It’s impossible to predict how many people are still alive and, more importantly, how they may behave.

 

If you’re looking for a post-apocalyptic thriller, this is it. Or, better yet, if you’re looking for a post-apocalyptic thriller with a main character who is likable and interesting, this is it. I feel like sometimes this genre leaves authors focusing on creating their story but neglecting the voice in which it’s told. “The Book of the Unnamed Midwife” is not one of those instances. The protagonist has a really multifaceted point of view, especially about gender, and I really enjoyed hearing her thoughts about the imbalance of power between the sexes.

Some parts of this book left me feeling a bit uneasy—young girls getting raped by much older men—but then again, who reads a post-apocalyptic novel looking to feel at ease? This world that Meg Elison creates is so unique that I pushed through the uncomfortable bits; and I’m so glad that I did. The plot, characters, and writing did not disappoint me in the slightest.

I also want to add that the ending is fantastic. I had no idea where the plot was going, even when there were only 20 pages left in the novel, but the ending blew me away. Meg Elison truly knows how to wrap a story up and leave the reader satisfied. I’m always ecstatic when I close a book feeling content with the final page, and that’s exactly what I felt with “The Book of the Unnamed Midwife”.

I want to thank NetGalley for the advance copy of this book that I received. I’m grateful that I got a first look at the wonderful plot and characters. I’m so excited for it to hit bookstore shelves and see other readers love it as much as I did.