Book Review · Books

Surviving Myself

Growing up I always wanted to be a part of the popular crowd. The popular girls all seemed to have perfect lives and the means to buy whatever hot new item was popular at the time: Guess Jeans, Keds, LA Gear hightops, etc. I always felt homely next to them. I’ve never been good with fashion, but I still did my best to try to fit in. Dina deals with this same challenge growing up. She’s tall, lean and from India. Her mom makes her boring lunches. Dina also, has to stay at her school’s daycare after school until her parents can pick her up. Why won’t her parents let her be more independent?

Dina discovers one way she can stay in control of her life is to monitor her eating. Doing gymnastics with her friend she sees how lighter one is, the easier it is to do the routines. Sadly this monitoring turns into full fledge anorexia. Dina’s description of this struggle is vivid and heartbreaking.

After Dina gets help for her eating disorder her life comes to a screeching halt after she’s in a car accident. She deals with PTSD after the accident, afraid of potential car crashes while riding as a passenger. The doctors discover she has a mass on her brain. The day after she’s allowed to go home.

Two months later Dina deals with some strange symptoms. She experiences numbness on her right side. Her family gets her back to the hospital ASAP where she ends up having a stroke there in the hospital.

This memoir is Dina’s journey surviving through her eating disorder, car crash and a stroke. Her determination to get through it all is inspiring, humbling and a reminder that we don’t know what life will throw at us, but that we can get through more than we think we can.

This memoir was not easy to read at times. I’ve never struggled with an eating disorder, but I did do gymnastics growing up. There is a lot of pressure to stay slim in that sport. I have been in a fender bender before and know what it’s like to flinch while being a passenger, afraid of another car hitting you again. As for the other health challenges that Dina faced I haven’t experienced those, but I have dealt with other health challenges as a baby.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Surviving Myself by Dina Pestonji with Erin McCann from NetGalley. The views expressed are mine. I highly recommend this book. It will inspire you to not let anything get you down.

Book Review · Books

Dark Blossom

Cynthia is a therapist whose still putting her and her daughter, Lily’s life back together after her divorce. When a new client named Sam comes in for his appointment, Cynthia has no idea how this man’s story might affect her own life. Sam is reeling from the sudden passing of his wife and young teenage son, William.

Lily is a teen going through her punk phase and not too, thrilled with her mother. No matter how much Cynthia tries to open up to her daughter regarding the divorce Lily just keeps shutting her out.

When Lily and Sam meet it seems they are strangely two peas in a pod, which weirds out Cynthia. Sam seems to be good at talking with Lily, which Cynthia has been attempting to for months. When Lily and Sam mention they both have secrets, Cynthia wonders just what kind of secrets they are.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Dark Blossom by Neel Mullick from Rupa Publications, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are my own. This debut novel had me hooked. I love how Cynthia has a special journal for each of her clients. That one detail as a journal addict connected with me. The characterization of Cynthia, Sam and Lily is so realistic that I wish they were real people. This is a novel that will stay with you long after the final page.