#981 It Came from Beneath the Sink! by R.L. Stine

It Came from Beneath the Sink! by R.L. StineIt Came from Beneath the Sink! by R.L. Stine

Kat and her brother Daniel move to a new house. There are even balconies. The dog doesn’t like what’s under the kitchen sink. They think it’s nothing, but they look anyway. It’s a sponge, or so it appears. The dog goes crazy over it. They think it’s just a sponge, but they also kind of think it’s breathing, so they keep it. It even appears to have eyes. Bad stuff starts happening once the thing turns up. The dog runs away and their dad falls off of a ladder. Kat can’t even celebrate her birthday.

They do some research and think they thing is a Grool. It thrives on bad luck and cannot be killed by violence or force, all of which Kat tries. They also cannot give the thing away or they will die. Kat thinks she has found a way to get rid of the thing, but would it really work?

What I liked

I keep thinking “Grohl” instead of “grool,” so the Foo Fighters have gotten mixed in with this story, in my head. I’ve imagined David Grohl underneath a kitchen sink causing bad luck for everyone around.

What I didn’t like

This is an awful idea–a thing that causes bad things to happen, but you can’t get rid of it. Having this thing around would be living with knowing, for sure, whatever bad thing that could happen, will. It would be a permanent Murphy’s Law attached to you.

Granted, this is how some of us feel all the time. We’ve had our share of life and generally when we feel something bad is going to happen, it’s going to happen, because that’s just the way things work in our lives and no amount of, “Be positive,” is going to fix any of that. Maybe some of us have grools in our lives we don’t know about.

Overall

Leave old sponges alone; they’re full of bacteria and bad luck.

Weigh In

If you found an old sponge in a random house, would you pick it up?

Do you feel like you have a grool in your life that you can’t find?

#980 Perishable by Dirk Jamison

Perishable by Dirk JamisonPerishable by Dirk Jamison

Dirk had a difficult and non-traditional growing up experience. His family first lived in one area, where his father was a construction worker, who frequently got fired. Then they moved to Mammoth, California where his father decided to dumpster dive for their food, literally. He even made the kids go along. Why buy food from the store when people were throwing it out?

Their mother didn’t like it. Dirk’s sister was as mean as a snake, constantly doing awful things to Dirk. Their father didn’t set a good example, leading by example by kicking the family dog for biting someone when she was pregnant(the dog was pregnant), and also telling the kids that the dog had cancer. Their father sold their house right out from under them and would up and leave multiple times throughout the marriage.

Their mother finally moved the family to Oregon to be near her Mormon family where Dirk received some structure in his life, but the shadow of his father was always there. His parents got divorced, for the third time it seemed, and Dirk went on with life. His father moved to California.

What I liked

I liked this book as a memoir and I feel like the story was told well.

What I didn’t like

Good Lord this is sad. Look, if someone doesn’t have enough money and lives on the streets, eating out of the dumpster is one thing, probably a necessary thing, but if someone had the ability to work, but they were just too lazy to work and they’re going dumpster diving to feed their family, that’s wrong. The family deserves better, plus there are people less fortunate than this person, by way of not being able to get a job that need that food the grocery store just threw out.

Why the Hell would you kick a pregnant dog?

What in the world was wrong with Dirk’s mother that she didn’t get her children out of this mess. I can point at depression and low self-esteem right off the bat, but sometimes you got to woman up and do what you have to do, which includes getting any children you might have out of a crappy situation. I can see that the situation was mentally abusive, Dirk’s mother was also a victim of this, which is probably why she let her husband make all the decisions and just went along with it, but it doesn’t help that she was probably taught, growing up, as a Mormon woman, to let the man of the house have the final say. I feel bad for everyone involved in this situation.

Overall

If you’re in an abusive relationship, get out, especially if you have kids, end of story.

Weigh In

If you were in Dirk’s mother’s position, could you have left with your children?

Do you think you would have gotten into a relationship with someone like Dirk’s father in the first place?

#979 One Hundred Days of Rain by Carellin Brooks

One Hundred Days of Rain by Carellin BrooksOne Hundred Days of Rain by Carellin Brooks

The main character of this book is going through a tough time and a lot of rain. It seems to rain endlessly. There also seem to be endless problems that have to be fixed. She is getting divorced from her wife, but things aren’t going so well. There are accusations. There are custody fights. There are bad apartments. There are disagreements with the court, and lawyers, and the son’s father and each day, it rains.

What I liked

I like the constancy of the rain in this book. It’s really the only constant in the main character’s life during this period. A whole bunch of things are changing, but the rain is constant and that’s kind of a comfort to know that at least the rain is the same.

What I didn’t like

So the main character in this book has a wife, but she also has a lover, and there’s also the child’s father somewhere in the mess of this whole thing. The lover has been around for like nine years. I don’t know how long the marriage was. Maybe, just maybe, all of this mess is why the divorce is happening. The main character isn’t the one wanting to get divorced, from what I gather, but when you have a wife and a lover on the side and it doesn’t seem to matter that you have the lover, why would you want to get divorced? That’s not how I feel about the situation, but that kind of seems like what is going on.

Part of me thinks all these people are being awful to the main character and part of me kind of thinks she deserves it. Generally, people are not ok with being married to you and you having a lover, some people are, most people aren’t. I’m not ok with it, so there’s probably a whole lot of personal bias, on my part, against the main character of this book.

This book also made me infinitely glad that I did not have any children with the my ex-husband. I don’t want to imagine what kind of nightmare that would have been.

Overall

It’s rains all the time and terrible things happen to me.

Weigh In

If you were going through a terrible time in your life, would you find consistent weather comforting at all?

First opinions–how do you feel about the main character?

 

 

#978 My Hairiest Adventure by R.L. Stine

My Hairiest Adventure by R.L. StineMy Hairiest Adventure by R.L. Stine

Larry is in a band with his friends. A battle of the bands is coming up and Larry and his group are practicing, but they find an old bottle of tanning lotion and decide to try it out. None of them turn out any more tan, but Larry starts growing hair in strange places. He shaves it off and he’s afraid to tell anyone.

One of the band members disappear and his family is gone. That is strange. Then another band member disappears and her family is caught leaving. There is a dog that seems familiar and wears Lily’s pirate gold necklace. What in the world is going on? When Larry finally asks his parents about it, what he finds out is something he never expected.

What I liked

If any Goosebumps book could be straight-up about puberty, it’s this book. Hair growing everywhere? Being super awkward and embarrassed about everything? Yep, sounds like puberty.

What I didn’t like

As much as I kind of like this book basically being like an example for puberty with a twist ending, I also don’t like this book for being basically about puberty. Reading this book like was like going through puberty and cringing about body hair the whole time. Hair just grows all kinds of weird places, especially when you have an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder. I grew a lot of hair as a teenager and it sucked, in addition to all the other things that suck about puberty, acne, being weird shaped, awkwardness, embarrassment about everything and so forth. Why does there have to be hair? Why hasn’t science figured out a way to make people go bald on their bodies and not their heads? Just switch about that bald thing and make it happen to my legs and everywhere else, except my head, eyebrows and eyelashes. Hair is awful.

Body hair was probably a close contender for the worst thing I dealt with during puberty.

Overall

Get your razors ready.

Weigh In

Where did body hair rate in your worst things about puberty list?

Did body hair make you self-conscious as a young person?

#977 Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher

Shockaholic by Carrie FisherShockaholic by Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher was depressed for a large part of her life. She tried lots of medications, both prescribed and illicit. When none of it seemed to work, Carrie decided to try ECT, or shock therapy as most people know it. What Carrie found is that it seemed to work quite well, but that she didn’t remember a lot of things. She might forget meeting you. She might forget a memory.

Carrie remembers her mother and the relationship her mother had with her father as well as her second husband in this book. One guy was a womanizer and one guy was a womanizer in a different way, but not particularly a bad person. Her father hopped from woman to woman, including Elizabeth Taylor in that line of women, so, for a bit, Elizabeth Taylor was Carrie Fisher’s step-mother, not that a whole lot of mothering went on.

Drugs and Carrie made friends, while Carrie and her father got closer when she was an adult. This was between all the drinking and drugs, but sometimes Carrie and her dad did drugs together. During her treatment, Carrie kept going back for shock therapy and it seemed to work for a while. Ultimately, some people in Carrie’s life died and she was sad about it, but she kept on moving forward.

What I liked

Carrie was funny. She poked fun at herself and the unfortunate things in life, and even if bad things had happened in her life, she made a way to laugh about it. She laughed about things that most of us wouldn’t think are funny, but really, sometimes you laugh because there’s nothing else you can do.

I really liked learning more about Carrie’s life. I had no clue she was such good friends with Michael Jackson, another person who died way too young amidst much speculation.

Carrie’s account of her ECT treatment was probably the first positive experience with ECT that I’ve read about. I was actually really surprised to read that it helped her. Most people have complained about it not really working and just erasing part of their memories.

What I didn’t like

Again, here’s the thing–Carrie Fisher had more opportunities than most of us will ever dream of, but that didn’t stop mental illness from working its crappy grasp on her. You would think someone with millions of dollars and the celebrity of Carrie Fisher could afford the best psychologists and the best medications for her condition being able to live successfully with her mental illness without having it affect large parts of her life. As is, Carrie turned to drugs and alcohol in addition to mental health treatment and she still had problems. Doesn’t that just suck? Doesn’t it just suck to know that there’s not really any effective way, no matter how rich you may become, to deal with a mental illness in such a matter that it doesn’t hugely affect your life?

While this may not necessarily be a good thing–I’m kind of glad that Carrie found some relief from her mental illness in drugs and alcohol, at least it was a break, although not the correct way to deal with mental illness at all. I can’t blame Carrie for trying though. I really can’t. If there was some illicit substance that made my autoimmune diseases more bearable, I might just be a drug addict or alcoholic myself. It is not easy having to live with a chronic condition, no matter what that condition may be whether mental or physical.

Overall

If only we could shock away our problems…sigh.

Weigh In

Would you do shock therapy if it was guaranteed to help with an issue you have?

Are celebrities that are more relateable due to mental health or chronic health conditions inherently more admirable than a celebrity who doesn’t have those issues?