Tag Archives: Shannon H. ’16

Oh the Moon: Stories from the Tortured Mind by Charlyne Yi (review by Shannon H. ’16)

Oh the MoonOh the Moon by Charlyne Yi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh the moon made me laugh and made me cry with hundreds of pages that flew by (literally, some pages didn’t have words on them). The book is relatable, fun, and of course, mindblowing. The frankness of the stories gave me pause, waking me up from the banality of college applications. In one story, a woman who is ALL LEGS (literally) takes control of her destiny and runs away from her repetitive life. In another, two people who are in love are stuck in separate snowglobes — whatever shall they do? I appreciated Charlyne Yi’s randomness (like when an old lady gives birth to a giant on the second page), and her writing made me feel like she actually understood me and my optimistic cynicism (people say teenagers are the cross section of idealistic and intelligent/aware). Reading these short stories was an adventure in grasping odd metaphors, suspending disbelief, and finding the beauty of life.

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The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama (review by Shannon H. ’16)

The Marriage Bureau for Rich PeopleThe Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall, this book was a fun read — I enjoyed learning about marriage practices in India (although I am not entirely sure how accurately the practices are portrayed). The depiction of modern India resonates with me; I understood the ever-present inequality and the social turmoil, and I felt the heated debates between traditional cultural values and modern interpretations of humanity. However, I found that the novel dissolved from a potential critique of the system into a contrived love story between a rich Brahmin male (upper class) and a poor, but still Brahmin, working woman. I was mildly disappointed, but I still found The Marriage Bureau for Rich People a quick and fun read.

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In Persuasion Nation by George Saunders (review by Shannon H. ’16)

In Persuasion NationIn Persuasion Nation by George Saunders
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was almost addicted, inhaling this collection of dark short stories at an alarmingly fast pace. George Saunders creates a world in which advertising and persuasion overcome rational thought – his stories read like television commercials, slowly convincing the reader that the grotesque and brutal scenes are real. One short story begins with a polar bear lamenting his doomed existence to repeat the same patterns each day (he lives in a advertising scene). Each day he steals Cheetos from an igloo and is subsequently caught; afterwards, the owner of the igloo swings an ax to the polar bear’s head, and the day ends. Unsurprisingly, the polar bear engages in existential discussion and falls down the wormhole of philosophy. What a brilliant mix of realism and complete absurdism, and of course, it’s great satire. Would highly recommend to anyone looking for some grim reality mixed with a dosage of humor and science fiction.

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