Saint Monkey, is a beautifully profound coming-of-age story of two best friends. The story begins in a small Kentucky town in the late 1950s, and follows the two young women as they experience the joys and heartaches of life as it leads them in increasingly different directions. While the writing is often beautifully poetic, Caroline and Audrey’s friendship feels very toxic. It was hard to believe that these two ladies are very close friends with the actions they display in the novel. However, as the young women struggle with their lives and their relationship with each other, we are reminded of the complexities of life and friendship, and the power of forgiveness.
For me this book was difficult to finish. Although the author’s writing style was engaging, the beginning of the story dragged on for too long and one would really have to plow through the beginning to even make it to the portions of the novel that were fairly interesting.
Life in Motion is a tale of the groundbreaking progress of Misty Copeland, currently only the third African American female to become a soloist at the distinguished American Ballet Theatre. She reveals a story of struggles, discovery, and extraordinary fortitude throughout her life as an up-and-coming Ballerina. Copeland comes from a family with a single mother and began taking ballet lessons at the late age of 13. She practiced tirelessly and was able to attend several summer programs at some of the best ballet schools. It was undeniable that Copeland possessed a special gift as experts say 13 is an incredibly late age to begin such a craft.
Misty was able to go on to join the American Ballet Theatre and is now one of its principal dancers. The book is an excellent depiction of the breaking of barriers, advances, and the African American experience in the world of ballet. It was particularly interesting as a biography because it was a very easy read and her story is worth telling. In fact, the book made me admire her even more. Although I thought the book was repetitive at times, I think she also did a good job at explaining both her personal life as well as introducing those that are unfamiliar with the dance world to dance themes and concepts.
Loving Day was a very interesting read about Warren Duffy, a modern day character who just happened to be an unsuccessful comic book writer that is nearly broke, recently divorced, and orphaned. He is of Irish American decent from his father who has recently died. He returns to settle the estate which turns out to be a haunted mansion in a questionable neighborhood.
While at a comic book convention he meets a daughter he never knew he had who he encourages to embrace all aspects of her ethnicity, although he struggles to fully do so himself. Although he identifies with black culture his complexion looks white and he often finds himself in questionable situations because of this. Warren enrolls his daughter into a special school, the Melange Center, (a charter school for mixed race children) which Warren begins to believe is a cult. All sorts of problems arise that lead us up to the Loving Day- a celebration that recognizes the Supreme Court decision about the Mildred and Richard Loving Case.
The book was funny at times and I really liked that it takes place in the present day and coaches us to acknowledge and think about what it means to be biracial in today’s America. The author did a great job of fully developing these characters and handling this topic.