Tag: sad

Mrs. Dalloway: Book Review

Mrs. Dalloway

–    Virginia Woolf.

I have been meaning to read Virginia Woolf’s books for years and finally, I read one. Mrs. Dalloway is the first book I read written by Woolf and there is not much to say other than that it is an amazing book.

Mrs. Dalloway is the most well-known novel by Virginia Woolf. The book was published in 1925. This novel details a day in the life of the high-society Clarissa Dalloway, who is the main character in the story. The setting of the story is important; it is set in the post-World War I England. There is just one day described in the novel is the day Clarissa is making preparations for a party. All the events that take place in the book occur during this one day. I thought this set a nice pace for the novel.

Once the story begins and the plot starts to unfold the secrets about Clarissa’s life that didn’t seem probable at the beginning. It was something I didn’t exactly see coming but it was an interesting surprise. The plot has two interwoven stories; one of Clarissa Dalloway and one of war veteran Septimus Warren Smith. The narration is from a third person point of view which gave an accurate description of the emotions these characters are experiencing. The narration definitely digs deep into the thoughts and emotions of the characters and has been described really well.

Clarissa and Septimus Warren are two characters who seem unconnected in the start but their stories actually run parallel to each other. The shifts in the narrative from Warren to Clarissa gave me enough time with both characters and in a way helps to understand them. The story shifts back and forth from the past to the present. This element of time, movement from past to present is used perfectly to hammer home what the characters think about the past while in the present. It is difficult to explain but it is intriguing never the less. It made it easier as a reader to empathize with these characters.

The effects of World War I are clearly depicted through the character of Smith who is having a hard time adjusting to civilian life and is broken by his experiences during the war. Mrs. Dalloway, on the other hand, seems to have everything she could want but in reality, is clearly struggling to cope with her emotions. The themes of love, loss and mental illness are depicted in a unique and powerful way which is somewhat subtle at the time but constantly present at the same time. The end of the novel stays true to the story and in a way seems unresolved. There is no forced happy ending to this novel. I prefer a resolved ending personally but the way the novel unravels it is not that surprising.

I liked the writing; it might be the first time I read a book whose plot takes place over one single day. The pace of the story is good, sometimes it might become too much so it cant be read overnight. The story and writing are so relevant to its themes and makes them relatable. The novel is a must-read.

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Only Once (Short story)

Only Once.

“Diane’s older son Chris, remember him? He is an engineer, just moved back here a month ago.” my mother said. I knew it was too much to expect her not trying to set me up.

I nodded uninterestedly. “Good for him,” I answered.

My mother sighed. I could feel the anger building up in her but she tried to be patient with me. “I think you should meet him. He is a decent fellow.”

I groaned, focused on my plate slowly losing interest in the food and this conversation while she continued talking. “It will be nice for you to go out once in a while. You haven’t been on a date in years approximately in three. Why do you never approve of the boys I choose! I only want you to be happy.”

The concerned tone of her voice as she finished her lecture made me cringe inwardly. It didn’t help with the irritation I was feeling. I know she wants the best for me but forcing me is not the way to go. “Mom I am happy.” she looked skeptical but I continued. “Really, I am. I have you and dad, I have great friends, a pretty good job where I make quite a lot of money if I may say so myself and a cute little place of my own. I have everything I want so why wouldn’t I be happy?” I asked putting a fork full of food in my mouth. Praying she will let this topic slide for now.

With no such luck she continued, “Aren’t you lonely? It’s nice having someone next to you through thick and thin.” she suddenly paused. Her voice was barely a whisper “You haven’t dated anyone since…Jayden.”

I stiffened. After all this time just hearing his name makes my heart beat faster; he still has such an effect on me, he always did and he knew it. It never really lessened. “I don’t know what happened between you two but it’s been three years. It’s time to move on, he is not going show up one day and whisk you away,” she said softly.

I closed my eyes. The pain of losing him was still fresh; it was always there. I simply hid it better or I learned to live with it. “Is it wrong to have hope?” I whispered more to myself than to mom but I know I sounded wishful but I couldn’t help it.

“No sweetie. It’s not wrong but you can’t spend the rest of your life hoping. You have to stop sometime.”

She is right. It’s nothing different than what I try to convince myself all the time. He is not going to come back. We belonged in different worlds. The world where we are meant to be doesn’t exist. We tried, it didn’t work. I said awful things to him I can’t take back and he didn’t choose me which he can’t change or won’t. I told him one day if things were different maybe we can find a way to be together. I won’t find someone like him again even if I tried; he was perfect for me in every way. I felt safe, understood and most importantly happiness whenever I was with him. Now it seems ironic!

I believed that but every day I believe a little less and a little less. I worry that I might completely stop believing in this, in him. Without that where do I stand? I know what I felt for him was once in a lifetime. I will fall in love again, someday but never like that. Not so completely and madly that I couldn’t think about anything but him; an all-consuming kind of love. Never again. It happens only once.

Frustrations in Life

 

 

Sometimes, do you wonder when you open your eyes in the morning that all the bad things happening in your life are just a nightmare? The moment you open your eyes, things will change; they will get better. But life isn’t that simple is it?

This feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach refuses to go away. Your hopes, dreams, expectations have only one enemy and that is reality. Nothing seems to be going your way, you feel lost and defeated. One thought swirling in your mind all the time, if this is all life is going to be like for you?

The unanswered question is the biggest reason for your frustration. So many doubts overwhelming your mind all at once and there seems to be no end to the negativity in your head. Where is the thrill, the magic you have always wanted? You can’t seem to find the path to your destiny. Is growing up really this complicated? You wish someone would understand you, give advice and not judge. Be there by your side making sure you don’t fall.

Why does every aspect of life seem harder when you are stuck. As far as you can see there is only a road and you have no idea.

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Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetyus: Book review

My review of the book,

“Between Shades of Gray” – Ruta Sepetys

*SPOILERS*

I found this book when I was browsing through the lists of War and Historical novels on different site. This book immediately caught my attention because it takes place during the World War II and it’s about a Lithuanian girl. Now when it comes to studying the history of World War II, the Baltic States were never more than mentioned in textbooks. Basically, this is a part of History which I never read or studied about before and it completely fascinated me.

The book is about Baltic Deportations with the main focus on Lithuanian citizens who were deported by the Soviet in 1941 to prison and labor camps. The protagonist of the story is a fifteen-year-old girl named Lina and her family when they are taken from their home and sent to a labor camp somewhere in Siberia. Lina and her mother and brother are together while their father is separated from them that night. The author doesn’t spend much time focusing on the lives of Lina and her family when they were still at home together in the beginning and starts straight up with the night they are taken away. The story is not by any means an easy read.

The descriptions of the treatments these prisoners were given and their living conditions are crudely depicted; there is no sugar-coating just the harsh reality. It makes you cringe while reading it. The emotions of the characters and their reactions to the harsh situation they face are very realistically and naturally portrayed. It never seems out of place or over the top because there are so many characters which are important to the plot and each character’s personality is reflected in the writing.

Lina, her mother Elena and her younger brother Jonas have to learn to survive through brutal conditions with people who share a similar faith to them. Elena is a powerful character as she holds their little group together throughout the terrible ordeal and is incredibly kind. Andrius is a guy who Lina and her family meet on the cattle train on the way to Siberia. He is sort of a love interest for Lina though that is never the main focus and he is so much more than that. Lina is a good artist and is constantly capturing their stories on paper in drawings and sketches. She draws in hope of leaving clues behind for their father to find them and also preserve their stories and sufferings.

It is unbelievable to expect such kindness and care in such situations but throughout the story, all the characters help each other survive and are always kind to one another no matter how little they themselves have. It shows that even in worst situations compassion and kindness actually help someone survive. At no point, Lina gives up or thinks that she doesn’t want to live anymore even though the circumstances keep getting worse. These characters show so much spirit and survival instinct all the while helping each other through it.

This book breaks your heart from start to finish and it is quite difficult to get through because of the powerful depictions. The plot moves ahead at a good pace with flashbacks about the life before capture which somehow is parallel to Lina’s present in the camp. Lina’s drawings in a way preserve the memories of fellow survivors and their sufferings, the stories which were unheard of for decades that followed. The stories about the Baltic states are largely unheard of and this book depicts the displacement and genocide of people who were deported by the Soviet Union. It is a hard-hitting book but it is a book which you should read, it is a part of history which is relatively unknown to many.

*Get a copy by clicking on the book cover above.

Sign

Sign

 

Once just give me a sign; show me that you need me.

I won’t give up if I know that you still care.

Fight for us; show me you still need me in your life,

And it will be okay again.

It will never be the same but it might be better.

 

One sign from you; once just once so I know you still care,

And I promise I will never give up on you again.

I need to know that you want me to be a part of your life,

Because it can’t be all on me.

You have to fight for us too.

 

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A Wish

A Wish

I wish you could see what I see,

I wish your heart could skip a beat like mine does,

For you to get entangled in a whirlwind of emotions like I do every time I look at you,

I wish you would realize how easy it is for us to share our lives with each other.

There is so much between us that is too hard to ignore,

Yet in some way, you remain oblivious to it,

I wish you would feel about me the way I feel about you; all at once with all my heart,

I wish.

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Troubled (Short-Story)

Troubled

 

She looked out of the window. It was a kind of day she liked; the gray clouds covering the sky, an unexplained gloominess in the air and the silence. She loved this atmosphere a little too much; it was during these days the darkness was consuming everyone and she wasn’t the only one drowning in it. She smiled to herself; a storm was brewing, perfectly poetic. She knew a thing or two about storms; they matched the chaos in her head.

She didn’t understand it herself; the years of turmoil had left her numb. There was no escaping it, she knew it now. It’s sad really, giving up on life like this being hopeless and uncertain at such a young age. She had given up on her life, family, friends, relationships or any hope for things to be okay. She had seen her fall apart, tears falling down her cheeks, she had been helpless to stop it yet she felt guilty.

A slow tentative step towards the open window, she inhaled deeply and exhaled. With an exasperated sigh, she kept staring outside. Life is unfair everyone used to tell her but being overly optimistic and idealistic she never believed it. She was always just or tried to be so why would anything go wrong; she had no idea what would happen. Those naïve thoughts now locked away tightly in a corner of her heart never to be opened again. A perfect day, she thought again, a gloominess to match hers and a sense of an impending doom.

Today, she was going to be free from it all. The hurt, heartbreak, disappointments, she was going to forget about them. The past wasn’t worth dwelling upon; it was worth letting go even if it meant a part of her going away with it. A sense of hope awakened in her, hope to find happiness and peace. She closed her eyes gathering courage and took brave steps towards her freedom, her choice; this time she was in control no one else.

Someone called out her name but she tuned it out, she had come too far to stop even for a minute. She could almost taste the freedom. “Next time around it will be better.” She thought to herself. “Next time life won’t be unfair.” An abyss of darkness started to surround her, she was scared, she wanted to open her eyes but she didn’t dare. She heard someone scream her name but she didn’t care. She was going to be free; free of all the pain inside her.

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Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng.

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng

It’s a book I have been meaning to read for a while now. Finally, when I got around to reading it, I finished reading it really quickly and it’s amazing. It is a good book no doubt but it’s not exactly an easy read. The novel is about an American Chinese family. The book begins with the disappearance of Lydia Lee; she is the middle child of James and Marilyn Lee and also their favorite. The book is set in the 1970’s in a small town in Ohio. The lives of everyone in the family are turned upside down once Lydia’s body is found at the bottom of a lake. The narrative then encompasses each of the family members perspectives and it shifts from past to present.

The book is written beautifully, every single emotion felt by the characters is described so perfectly, there is never a sense of detachment towards any characters because of this. The oldest son Nath is such a sympathetic character, he is brushed aside by his parents his relationship with his father James is strained because Nath is different than the person James wants him to be. Hannah is the youngest daughter and she is pretty much neglected by everyone in the family. The tone of the book lingers in sadness from the start but Hannah’s chapters just hits you hard; she is a quiet little girl who is the most observant one in her family, she blends in the background so often that the characters don’t even know if she is in their presence.

In the beginning, I’ll admit Lydia’s character didn’t intrigue me much but as the story unravels I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. She is the sole focus of her parents, she is pressurized by her parents knowingly as well as unknowingly. James and Marilyn pin all their lifelong hopes on her without realizing that it’s crushing her. As the past of James and Marilyn is slowly revealed through flashbacks you understand where they come from; James as someone who couldn’t fit in the “American” society and Marilyn who gives up on her aspirations and lives with regret.

The novel tackles sensitive topics like casual racism, sexism, and miscegenation without actually becoming a story about either of these topics. The subtleness weaved throughout the plot makes it much more effective and dramatic. All the characters are relatable and none of their emotions seem fabricated and the flow is very natural. The minor characters too like- Marilyn’s mother and Jack also play an important part in moving the plot ahead and it all adds up to the ending.

The dynamic between this family is tangible though I thought it was dysfunctional most of the time. Relationships between the characters at times are normal and at times are not, for example, Nath and Lydia. They are close but Lydia needs Nath a lot more as a support system than he needs her and the thought of him leaving for college disturbs Lydia. The plot stays focused on Lydia’s death and explores the lives of the family past and present through this incident.

The book was emotionally draining which was the reason I couldn’t read it as fast as I wanted to. It is a beautifully written book, it moves from past to present with perspective from each of the four characters seamlessly without the plot becoming confusing. The novel keeps you guessing from the beginning and you can’t wait to find out all the answers. I think it’s a must-read.

*Get a copy by clicking on the book cover above.

Thoughts…

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Sometimes, do you wonder when you open your eyes in the morning that all the bad things happening in your life are just a nightmare? The moment you open your eyes, things will change; they will get better. But life isn’t that simple is it? This feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach refuses to go away. Your hopes, dreams, expectations have only one enemy and that is the reality. Nothing seems to be going your way, you feel lost and defeated. One thought swirling in your mind all the time if this is all life is going to be like for you? The unanswered question is the biggest reason for your frustration. So many doubts overwhelming your mind all at once and there seems to be no end to the negativity in your head. Where is the thrill, the magic you have always wanted? You can’t seem to find the path to your destiny. Is growing up really this complicated? You wish someone would understand you, give advice and not judge. Be there by your side making sure you don’t fall. Why does every aspect of life seem harder when you are stuck? As far as you can see there is only a road and you have no idea where you’re going. It’s scary, intimidating even; not knowing your destination. You keep hoping it will get better; rise above it and then you will be where you want to be. I don’t know what’s going to happen in my life but one thing I know is that no matter what, I am not going to lose hope, there is always a way; there has to be one.