Book Review: The Story Sisters

20200427_115624.jpgThe Story Sisters charts the lives of three sisters–Elv, Claire, and Meg. Each has a fate she must meet alone: one on a country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. Inhabiting their world are a charismatic man who cannot tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his heart’s desire, and a demon who will not let go.

What does a mother do when one of her children goes astray? How does she save one daughter without sacrificing the others? How deep can love go, and how far can it take you? These are the questions this luminous novel asks. 

At once a coming-of-age tale, a family saga, and a love story of erotic longing, The Story Sisters sifts through the miraculous and the mundane as the girls become women and their choices haunt them, change them and, finally, redeem them. It confirms Alice Hoffman’s reputation as “a writer whose keen ear for the measure struck by the beat of the human heart is unparalleled”

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Being a “stan” is unhealthy.

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Fandoms can get us through some rough times, they can be our light when we have trouble finding one. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t enjoy things and enjoy them well, I’m just saying that there is a threshold people pass where it starts to get unhealthy fast.

Maybe it isn’t safe to say, but celebrities aren’t your friends, characters aren’t your friends, and honestly we’ve turned celebrities and characters into one of the same. I’m not saying that you can’t find refuge and comfort in them, but I am saying that you need to be focused on your outside life and outside relationships more than you focus on your fandoms. Being a fan isn’t bad for you, focusing all your energy on it instead of what’s going on in your actual life is.

The fact of the matter is we all get wrapped up in things that aren’t relevant to our daily lives, whether it be a fandom or marathoning too much reality TV, we get swept away in these universes. I get it, I’m a writer. I get swept up in my own universe often, but you need to be able to leave it behind and go about your day without it. You need to be able to function and be happy if a band breaks up or if the character dies in the last movie.

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Realigning your goals in the wake of everything:

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The world has shut down, so maybe some of your goals have been moved to the back burner, after all, how are you supposed to have monthly goals when you can’t even tell me what day of the week it is?

Life happens, and it happens without our permission. We don’t have a say in the matter but we do have a say in how we react and how we adjust. I said in a previous post that I think both the “rise and grind” tactic and the “panic and do nothing” tactic aren’t healthy in this pandemic, and I stand by that. You shouldn’t be trying to be the next big thing, you should be focusing on small amounts of progress so you don’t fall behind and you should add on goals that are made just with your mental health in mind and nothing else.

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On being a dependable force of goodness in a child’s life:

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Every now and then I read to much on current events and I feel the burning desire to save the children. A lot of them are doing good, but I’ve always felt a deep spot in my heart for children in situations they shouldn’t be in. It’s not because I’ve ever been in an abusive situation as a child. I had a wonderful childhood, it was tainted by some things, crippling separation anxiety in first grade, a bipolar diagnoses at the age of six, being bullied till I was suicidal in middle school, but really none of that stood a chance against how well loved and protected I was by my parents, family, and friends. My heart aches for children who don’t have that, or for adults who didn’t have that as a child, because that got me through all sorts of things.

That’s what I want to talk about, not how terrible it can be or how good it can be, but what a difference a stable source of good can make in a child’s life. It’s not a news flash, everyone knows that broken homes can do some serious damage, but as my friends start having babies and I work towards that age were I want to as well I’ve been thinking a lot about what you can protect kids from and what you can’t.

There is a ton that you have no control over whether you are the child or the adult looking after them. Bad things happen, to everyone, over and over again, but if we have enough good to counteract that bad we can get somewhere healthy and happy. It doesn’t matter if you are a parent, a family friend, a teacher, or an older sibling, being a stable source of dependability and goodness to a child can save their lives in more ways than one.

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Seven Things:

 

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On COVID-19 and Mental Health:

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Hi, it’s me, a sometimes mental health blogger who realized that I might have picked the worst time for society to stop talking about taking care of your mental health.

But the truth is, I was taking a break because I needed one. Things are weird right now, and though I’m handling it pretty well, I think I speak for everyone when I say even those who are handling it well still feel the dread and uncertainty that comes with a worldwide pandemic.

Even if you somehow were not worried about the illness itself, isolation can get to you, and so can the uncertainty when it comes to our economy and jobs. It’s great if you’re handling it well but it’s also 110% okay if you’re not. It’s okay if your spending most of your time stress eating and hiding under the covers. It’s hard times and you’re allowed to feel them. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

I feel like I’ve seen two viewpoints, the utter panic one and the “grind” while off the clock one, and honestly I don’t think either one of them are very healthy. Panic is bad for you, forcing yourself to stay up to date on the stats and the latest news can plumet your mental health. So can trying to hard to be productive in a time when stress has infiltrated everyone’s lives.

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Why we like morally grey characters so much:

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Have you ever noticed that your favorite TV or book characters are that lovely shade of morally grey. They do bad things all the time, but they are still somehow a good character. A few examples that pop to mind is Kaz from the book series Six of Crows, or Lucifer in the show Lucifer. They’re not technically good characters but we root for them regardless. Why do we love these morally grey characters so much?

They’re redeemable, whether it’s in certain actions, their tragic back story, or simply their love for other characters. They all have redeemable traits, no matter how bad they get or what they have to do to survive, and I think deep down inside, we all relate to that. We all want to be redeemable. We all strive to be redeemed.

We’re not out killing people (I hope) like a lot of morally grey fiction characters but we all have our fair share of dirt we’d rather not discuss or think about. We are all riddled with flaws, we are human after all, and when we see others riddled with flaws in our entertainment we root for them, because if there is good in them there sure as hell is good in us.

I think it’s human nature to see both the worst and the best in people. Our society likes to pretend that we normally see the worst in people, and maybe they are right to a certain degree. We as a species stereotype, we hold on to grudges, we cling to anger. But if our entertainment says anything about us it tells us that we are still rooting for the best  in people, we still want the good in everyone to prevail.

We like our morally grey characters because no matter the scale, they are relatable, and we like them because they give us someone to root for.

Self love isn’t self flattery.

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Coming in with a hot take. I see a lot of people, especially young women on social media, who have gone the wrong why with trying to find self love. It’s turned into self flattery. As viewing yourself as a “goddess on earth” or something else equally as large. It’s gotten to the point that I see women talking up this form of self love, this form of flattery as the definition of what self love is.

Self love isn’t seeing yourself as a goddess, it’s not trying to hold yourself so high up that you can’t hear your negative thoughts, actually it’s normally the opposite. It’s seeing yourself as a wonderful but flawed being worthy of love and worthy of all the time and energy it takes to improve.

Self love is more self acceptance than it is self flattery. Yes, you should look at yourself as someone worthy and lovable and good as you are, but you it isn’t just about praising yourself. It’s about loving the core of you, faults and all and knowing how to make yourself better.

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