Biography/Memoir

Book Review: Food: A Love Story

Author
Gaffigan. Jim
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

This was a light and hilarious read, though probably not a good choice if you are looking for something more informational. Jim Gaffigan is a great comedian, and the care he put into organizing this book about food is evident. It was nice that Gaffigan didn't take himself too seriously in each chapter. Since most autobiographies that mention food discuss more negative pressures of food culture, this book turned it around into a positive ode to food, a reminder to never feel bad about fueling your body with good food. Unexpectedly, it was also a reoccurring theme for Gaffigan to discuss the fear of not being a good enough parent and other anxieties about social norms that relate to food. Pick up this book if you are already a Jim Gaffigan fan or you just need a comforting book.
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name
Maggie

Book Review: Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

Author
Noah, Trevor
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

Each page of this book was a joy to read, as it gives readers a glimpse into how different cultures affect the children who grow up within them. Trevor Noah is a talented comedian and an even better storyteller. Each narrative in the book felt like I was experiencing the moment with him, as he struggles with his identity in the boundaries of apartheid. The way Noah describes his mother- strong, resilient, yet strict from a place of love- is a very realistic concept that many people don't discuss. Parents aren't perfect and grow with their children, but it's their true intentions that determine whether or not they are really doing what's best for their child. I also found it fascinating how Noah communicates having to choose between two races that he isn't truly apart of. I highly recommend reading Born a Crime because of the lesson that everyone is more connected than they realize, and where you grow up shouldn't restrict who you grow to be.

Reviewer's Name
Maggie

Book Review: My Nonidentical Twin: What I'd Like You to Know About Living with Tourette's

Author
Evie, Meg
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

I enjoyed this nonfiction book a lot. This book was very informative of what Tourette’s Syndrome is. The author, Evie, walked the readers through the pros and cons of having Tourette’s Syndrome.
I follow Evie on social media platforms and see this journey documented through there too. However, her channel is not as informative as this book. I love how this book brings awareness to Tourette’s Syndrome and the people who suffer from it.
If any reader wants to be more aware of this condition, I recommend reading this well written autobiography by Evie Meg.

Reviewer's Name
Abigail

Book Review: Into the Wild

Author
Krakauer, John
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer is a nonfiction story about a young man named Cris McCandless. After graduating college in 1991, McCandless left without a trace hitchhiking around the United States. During his travels, McCandless goes by the name Alex Supertramp wanting to reinvent his life. He meets and changes countless people's lives. McCandless had his sights set religiously on Alaska, thinking it his last grand odyssey. McCandless wanted to fend for himself in the Alaskan wilderness, which inevitably proved fatal. This beautifully written book is full of adventure and life lessons. Overall, I would rate this book four out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name
Lucia

Book Review: After Life: My Journey from Incarceration to Freedom

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After Life: My Journey from Incarceration to Freedom
Author
Johnson, Alice Marie
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

This book was pretty good. The main reason I picked to read it was because I thought it was crazy that Kim K took such an interest in the author. So, the lady that wrote the book got arrested for drugs and in was in the 90s. She got sentenced to life in prison. She served 20 years and then Kim K heard wanted to help her get out since she was a non violent criminal. She literally contacted the president to get her out. I did find the story interesting because not many celebrities do things like that. She literally fought for the author who was a stranger to her. It was pretty good.

Reviewer's Name
Sophia V

Book Review: Soul Surfer

Author
Hamilton, Bethan
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

"Soul Surfer" was very interesting to read. Sometimes it takes me forever to get into a story, but with this book I liked it from the first chapter. It is the story of a 13 year old ( I'm only 14) that loved surfing and when she was surfing one day, she was attacked by a shark and the shark bit her arm off! The main story line talks about how she dealt with her new life without an arm. I liked how she wasn't negative and she didn't give up on anything. I also liked how she changed so much, like all of the different stages she went through to get to the end of the story. I am going into the 9th grade.

Reviewer's Name
Sophia

Book Review: High Achiever: The Incredible True Story of One Addict's Double Life

Author
Jenkins, Tiffany
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

I picked this book because I follow the author on Instagram, her page is called Juggling the Jenkins. She is very real and down to earth and talks about her book online. The book is her real life story of her adult life. She talks about how hard her life became after she went to jail for being a drug addict. The stories of the things that happened to her while she was in jail, made me cry! I think she is a very strong woman and reading her story made me want to be better. I am going into the 9th grade.

Reviewer's Name
Sophia

Book Review: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Author
Angelou, Maya
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, written by Maya Angelou, is an autobiographical account of Angelou's childhood. When Maya is a young child, her parents divorce. After the divorce her parents send her and her brother, Baily to Stamps, Arkansas to live with their Grandmother, where her Grandmother, affectionately referred to as "Momma", runs a convenience store. Angelou, despite her self-consciousness, appears to have had a great childhood growing up in the store. After about five years, Angelou's dad unexpectedly comes in and takes Bailey and her to their mother, who was living in St. Louis. While there, Angelou is molested by her mother's boyfriend. The boyfriend is quickly murdered and Angelou feels responsible for the death.
I liked to book because Angelou highlights how anyone can do what they set their mind to, and even in bad situations a human can grow immensely.

Reviewer's Name
Finn

Book Review: You're The Only One I've Told: The Stories Behind Abortion

Author
Shah, Meera, Dr.
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

With all that goes on in the world, politically and socially, it is important to seek out resources and educate yourself on the topics you care about. This book was that for me. I like how the author used her credibility as a doctor to share facts about abortion while also opening up a platform for individuals to tell their deeply personal stories. This book is heavy and heartbreaking and empowering. I can't recommend it enough.
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name
Maggie

Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air

Author
Kalanithi, Paul
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

When Breath Becomes Air is an autobiographical, nonfiction, story of Paul Kalanithi, a man who has worked his whole life to pursue his dreams. Kalanithi is a top neurosurgeon-neuroscientist a couple years away from graduating medical school. Even before graduating, million dollar offers pour in for Kalanithi to head new, top research facilities. However, disaster strikes: lung cancer. Kalanithi talks about his progression from seeing people in the patient's chair to being the one in the chair. Throughout his journey, Kalanithi informs the reader of the life cycle, the importance of hard work, and most importantly, family and love.

Reviewer's Name
Finn