What Falls from the Sky by Esther Emery // Oh, how well timed this book was for me! I just went dark on my social media accounts. It was a decision that I had been waffling back and forth on for most of 2016, and started the process of stepping away from social media in December.
This book was written by Esther Emery, a successful playwright and theater director, wife and mother. Faced with a period of crisis where she felt empty, alone in her marriage and grasping for identity that wasn't defined by busyness, Emery felt it was time to make a change. And so she and her husband moved across the country, and she spent a year without internet. (Now, obviously if I'm posting this book review, I'm not going as far as to give up the internet like she did. I mean, she used a paper MAP and phone book to find places!). She gave up the internet in 2009/2010, and the use of the internet and social media is MUCH more prevalent today than it was 7/8 years ago. It's a bit trickier to give up those things in today's world, but the need for a "reset" and all the things Esther gleaned from her year is still beyond applicable. I truly enjoyed this book! I thought Esther's writing style was fascinating. It was definitely a different style of writing, so be prepared for that.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman // This book was...wow. Written by a Swedish author, this book had a few things that were different, like currency and the layout of the main characters neighborhood - no cars could drive up to their houses? But there's a reason it was a New York Times bestselling book. This book was truly amazing. Sad at parts, but quite a beautifully written story of an old man named Ove. To everyone Ove is a cranky old man, who operates in a strict routine, staunch principles and a short fuse.
This book is about the people in Ove's neighborhood, from the old neighbors that moved into the development with him before it was a development, to the new couple with two little girls who backed their trailer into his mailbox when they moved into a house near Ove's, to the stray cat that seemed to be anything but afraid of Ove's exasperated yelling at it to scurry away his shed. But this book is more than that, it's about relationships, it's about friendships, it's about why we get up in the morning. I could probably write for three hundred more words, but I'll leave it at this - this book moved me in a way that I haven't been moved by a book in a long time.
Hitler's Forgotten Children by Ingrid von Oelhafen // This biography is written by a woman who was kidnapped as an infant from her village in Yugoslavia and placed with a German family for "Germanization" by a Nazi program called Lebensborn.
I have watched many documentaries on the Nazis and their programs, and I had never heard of the Lebensborn program. It was secretive program that was run by the SS and Himmler himself. Himmler was highly interested in creating a super race of people, using the best of the best men and women. He encouraged the most attractive, physically fit SS agents to procreate with German women - all of whom were rated a certain level (aka, were able to trace their heritage back to the 1800's as "pure"). The other side of the Lebensborn project was to kidnap babies in occupied territories who had the most German characteristics to be raised in German families, with no knowledge of being anything other than German. After having read this book, I was even more overwhelmed with how cruel and evil the Nazis were.
Dodgers by Bill Beverly // What drew me to this book was the list of awards its collected. Normally, I wouldn't reach for a book about LA gang members traveling the country in search of a witness they've been ordered to murder. Doesn't seem like my kind of book...although, it IS a suspense story line, so that's a lot more my style than a romance book would be.
The main character of this book is a boy named East. He grew up in LA, drafted into a gang by his uncle. Within the first twenty-five pages of the book, East is off to start his journey to Wisconsin with other teenagers. He's never traveled outside of "The Boxes," a neighborhood in LA, and the journey stuns and changes him. Despite the crimes they commit, they are strangely likable characters.
The writing style was unique, and I can certainly understand why it won so many awards. Please note that this isn't a Christian novel.
Disclaimer: Some of the books in this post were provided to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Also, affiliate links used. This means that if you purchase a book via the Amazon links, I'll receive a small percentage. Thank you for supporting Sunday Charm!