If you missed what #Collaboreads is, you can familiarize yourself here.
Short version: Rachel and I pick a random criteria for the book (i.e. Takes Place in Summertime). You pick your book and read it. Then the last Monday of the month we meet up and talk about our choices.
There's a R.E.A.D.S. review format that we've shared for suggestion's sake (shared in this post), but feel free to review however you're comfortable!
I've always been a HUGE fan of memoir so when March rolled around and my list of memoirs overfloweth, I knew it only made sense to go alliterative while alleviating my To Read list. But then, I picked a book that wasn't on any list, but in my mom's recent finished pile because why not?
By Brent RunyonRIVETING.
I promise this won't ruin the story but, this is a book about a thirteen-year-old boy who sets himself on fire. He lives (obviously), grows up, and then tells his story of hurting then healing. The book is RIVETING for a few reasons.
- Runyon's preteen thought process is fascinating. The way he comes to lighting himself on fire and the interworking of his mind (even just in his own memory) shed light on the darkness of desolation and depression.
- The content is, at times, hard to read but never extraordinarily graphic. Runyon's ability to talk about extremely painful, medical procedures without turning the book into a gross-out fest is amazing.
- Runyon is hilarious.
Runyon's dry humor is what kept me coming back to the book. Though some of his misguided feelings or approaches came from his immaturity at the time of his self-immolation, he also maintained a quirky, joke-filled recovery. This seemed to harken back to the way we tried to maintain a sense of humor about my dad's dementia until the very end. Humor in heartache was our connecting point.
This is where I struggled. The Burn Journals really isn't like any other book that I've read. But I often found myself thinking of James Frey's A Million Little Pieces in the way both memoirs talk about deeply emotional and physical suffering. It also seems worth mentioning that A Million Little Pieces was the book that introduced me to memoir back in high school.
The cover is perfect. And the design of the actual text is fascinating with the spots it is broken up and the pages that hold just a sentence or two. There's an interesting play with pace as you move through the novel because it lends itself to breakneck reading then slows to intense, plodding along.
While it's easy to read, it's not for everyone. He uses foul language that I think could turn some readers off. There could be trigger warnings all over the cover with the content that lays inside and that would deter other readers. I was thankful for a gaze into the mind of someone who tried (aggressively) to kill himself and lived to talk about learning to live on the other side of it.
And now, it's your turn to talk about all the books that filled your month!
And some news,
we have decided to let #Collaboreads go for the time being.