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My Progress:

11 / 30 books. 37% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
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My Progress:

23 / 51 states. 45% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 50 books. 32% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

43 / 50 books. 86% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

38 / 52 books. 73% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

25 / 40 books. 63% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 25 books. 36% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

6 / 26.2 miles (second lap). 23% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

23 / 100 books. 23% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

58 / 104 books. 56% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

61 / 165 books. 37% done!
Friday, January 27, 2017

Fascinating Memoir Describes Indian Orphan's Long Journey Home

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

I don't know about you, but I go to the dentist to get book recommendations.  Well, okay, I get my teeth cleaned there as well.  Still, I often come home with suggestions from my hygienist on what books I should read next and what shows I can't miss on Netflix.  I always take note because I love discovering new stories—plus it distracts her from lecturing me on flossing!  Anyway, at one of my last appointments, my hygienist mentioned how amazing she found A Long Way Home, a memoir by Saroo Brierley.  It sounded so fascinating that I knew I had to pick it up.  Apparently, we're not the only ones who thought the story astounding.  The book has been widely read and was recently made into a movie starring Nicole Kidman called Lion.   

Here's what it's all about:  

Until the age of 5, Saroo lived a life of abject poverty in Khandwa, India.  That changed one fateful day in 1986 when he traveled to the local train station with his brother.  The older boy told Saroo to stay where he was until his brother returned.  When his brother did not come back, young Saroo boarded the train anyway.  No one seemed to notice the small boy traveling alone.  By the time he got off the train days later, Saroo was hopelessly lost.  When he was picked up off the streets in Calcutta, he could not tell officials the name of his hometown or even his own surname.  With no way to contact his family, Saroo was placed in an overcrowded orphanage.

Not long after, Saroo was adopted by the Brierleys, a kind Australian couple.  Subsequently reared in Hobart, Tasmania, he was showered with love and affection by his new family.  Still, as he grew up, Saroo wondered about his birth parents and siblings.  Determined to figure out where in India he came from, he pored over maps, pumping his foggy memories for information that would lead him home.  When Google Earth became available, Saroo launched a concerted, methodical search that would ultimately take him back to the place where his life began.

It's an incredible story and one that Brierley relates in a straightforward, very readable manner.  His journey is truly amazing, as is the fierce determination he showed in his dogged pursuit to find his true roots.  As an adoptive mother, I was especially interested in his insights on identity, adoption, and familial love.  Although his story definitely has its disturbing elements, overall it's an intriguing, inspirational memoir that will leave you gaping in wonder.  I enjoyed A Long Way Home very much—it's a quick, compelling read that I (and my dental hygienist) highly recommend. 

(Readalikes:  I haven't read it yet, but I've heard The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright tells a similar story.)   


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for disturbing subject matter and violence

(Note: Lion is rated PG-13)

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Bounce a Fun, Freaky Friday-ish Adventure

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

What do you do when you've got a workaholic mother, a father with anger management issues, an older brother who can barely remember your name, and an older sister who's so mean you wish she would forget you exist?  Frannie Hudson's ready to trade in the lot of them.  The 12-year-old is already frustrated with her un-ideal family, but when her parents decide to take a last-minute, no-kids-allowed vacation—on Christmas no less—she's furious.  Taking a page out of Kevin McAllister's book, she wishes her family away.  The only thing Frannie wants for Christmas is to be somewhere warm and safe with people who love her.

When Frannie awakens on Christmas morning, she's shocked to discover she's gotten her wish.  Only she's no longer Frannie.  Now, she's someone completely different, part of a warm, loving family of people she's never seen before.  It's an amazing, magical adventure that gets even more insane when she wakes up the next day as someone new.  And again.  And again.  As Frannie bounces into new bodies, she experiences all kinds of unimaginable things.  Then, something truly crazy happens—she begins to miss her own family.  Can Frannie return to her old life?  Or will she be stuck in a chaotic carousel of Christmas Days for eternity?  

Bounce by Megan Shull is a fun middle grade novel that entertains a question all of us have surely asked at one time or another:  What if?  Like Freaky Friday and other stories of this kind, the tale is about learning to appreciate what you do have.  Bouncing into other people's lives broadens Frannie's world view, but it also helps her to realize that she's not the only one with problems.  Most of the vignettes serve as filler, however, which makes for a saggy plotline at times.  Still, Frannie's voice is authentic and engaging.  She's definitely a sympathetic heroine, someone for whom it's easy to root.  In the end, I enjoyed her story.  I also appreciated that it closed not with a perfect ending, but with a satisfying one.

(Readalikes:  I'm trying to think of other body switching stories, but, other than Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers, nothing's coming to mind ... ideas?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs)

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Bounce from the generous folks at HarperCollins.  Thank you!
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