Saturday, May 30, 2015

ARC Review: Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting

Publisher: Gallery Books
Publishing Date: February 3rd, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Coming of Age
Pages: 368 pgs
ISBN: 9781476780016
Source: Received from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
Praised as a tender exploration of friendship, families, and first love  (Liane Moriarty, New York Times bestselling author of The Husband’s Secret), this coming-of-age novel from bestselling author Frances Whiting is equal parts heartwarming, accessible, and thought provoking. 
Tallulah de Longland she said slowly, letting all the Ls in my name loll about lazily in her mouth before passing judgment. That, she announced, is a serious glamorgeous name.
From the day Annabelle Andrews sashays into her classroom, Tallulah (Lulu) de Longland is bewitched: by Annabelle, by her family, and by their sprawling, crumbling house tumbling down to the river. 
Their unlikely friendship intensifies through a secret language where they share confidences about their unusual mothers, first loves, and growing up in the small coastal town of Juniper Bay. But the euphoria of youth rarely lasts, and the implosion that destroys their friendship leaves lasting scars and a legacy of self-doubt that haunts Lulu into adulthood. 
Years later, Lulu is presented with a choice: remain the perpetual good girl who misses out, or finally step out from the shadows and do something extraordinary. And possibly unforgivable not how far you fall, but how high you bounce.

My Review:

This book came out in February and I got it for review a few months before that and shamefully I am only now posting a review. This is horrible. To my credit, life has been ridiculous lately. Alright, onto the book review. 

This is a book that I hadn't heard much about. I knew that it was about two girls, Tallulah and Annabelle who met in middle school and grew up into young women. The book begins in such a crazy way. It is the morning after Annabelle's wedding and the groom is waking up in his nice cozy hotel room bed. The woman next to him however is not his wife but Tallulah. This set the tone for the book and it made me think that it would be much more scandalous than it actually was. The book is so much more than the story of a childhood friendship gone awry. I thought there'd be a whole lot more than of Annabelle in the book. There is a decent amount of them growing up but after the climax of the book she kind of drops off and the focus of the book is on Tallulah and her supporting cast of characters. 
I think that I loved the secondary characters even more than Tallulah at times. Throughout the book Tallulah is trying to get over something that was heartbreaking to her and sometimes it got to be a little more. I wanted to shake her and say please, please, please just take some steps to move on. That being said, if I sat down and actually thought about it, I'd have a hard time moving on too. In fact I do struggle with this from time to time when I think of past friendships. When I thought about it, I felt a little more sympathy for Lulu.

The secondary characters are eccelectic and so fun. The begin, there are Lulu's parents. Her father owns his own plumbing company and her mother struggles with depression. She names her dresses and wears them according to her mood. Her parents are everything I wish my parents were. Even though her mother is dealing with some serious mental health problems, she tries her very best and when she is on her A-game she is so sweet and caring. Her father is supportive and able to give Lulu a swift kick in the behind when she needs it. 

Annabelle's parents also make several appearances. They are both well known artists and with that comes a bit of quirkiness. They are self centered at times but I did feel for the father a bit. The mom I could do without that's for sure. 

Along with the parents Lulu becomes good friends with her boss Duncan. He is a cocky, arrogant celebrity who tends to treat people horribly. Lulu is feisty and puts him in his place and their friendship develops. He is several years older than Lulu and acts as a surrogate father at times. I think he was my favourite of the cast.
This book has been out for a while yet it hasn't gotten much love/buzz. I have been recommending it to everyone I can. It is so well written and the story is engaging. It will make you smile but it will also give you all the feels. I will admit to shedding a couple of tears at times. I will definitely read whatever this author puts out. Please go out and pick it up.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


So I feel like most of my posts start with "I know I haven't been around much lately" but that's exactly what I'm about to say again. The past couple of years has legit been one crisis after another after another. Today I am here to bring awareness to an issue to something that doesn't get enough attention. Addiction and mental illness affect 1 in 5 people in this county. There have been many people in my family and in my life that deal with addiction issues.
My grandparents, Gavin and a cute younger Meaghan
On April 26th my cousin Gavin, passed away from complications due to alcoholism. He was 3 months younger than I am and so he was 32 years old. Being 3 months younger than me, we pretty much grew up together. I will say that he had a rocky upbringing as his mother was an alcoholic and his father wasn't around. He lived at my grandparents' house and had no siblings.
As I have an overabundance of siblings (five, yes five) we always used to say that Gavin was the 7th Smith kid. I used to look forward to going up to my grandmother's house and hanging out with my cousin. Our main game was trouble and we used to get into a lot of it. About 5 years ago, he began falling down a dangerous path. He was lonely and depressed and drinking a bottle of vodka a day became a habit. When he drank he was angry and violent and so in order to protect myself and my family I had to take a step away. I didn't want to enable his drinking and I told him when he was ready to get help I'd be there in an instant.
To my surprise a month before he passed away I was told he was in a medically induced coma and he was suffering from failed kidneys and liver. I got a chance to spend a lot of time with him in the hospital and so did the rest of my family. When he passed he was surrounded by so many people that loved him.
I've been struggling with guilt, sadness and anger. I feel guilty because I keep wondering if I should have helped him more when I had the chance. That I didn't tell him I loved him when I could have. Intellectually I know that this guilt is not helpful and that I did what I could do at the time. Emotionally it has been a lot to process. I keep wondering if he knew that I cared or if he thought I abandoned him easily.
My cousins and I with my grams. Gavin in back on right.
The anger comes from wishing that he could have stopped a horrible cycle. Alcoholism is a disease that I truly believe is genetic. There are too many alcoholics in my family for it not to be. I can't believe that someone would watch his mother go through this addiction and then proceed to follow suit. I am angry that he wasted his life and pushed away everyone who could have helped him. I am angry that his parents didn't really give him a chance in life. They left him on his own to raise himself from the time he was an infant.
I am sad that I will never see him again. I am sad for the time that I missed with him. I am sad that he was a recluse with not many friends. I am sad that he never felt like anyone loved him or that he didn't deserve love.
Overall it has been a shitty month of grieving and dealing with quite a few emotions. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I know it's not your typical post but I thought that to incorporate the books I'd post a few books that deal with addiction. It's like a shameful secret that people don't often talk about and I would love to change the stigma and maybe then we can make some changes.

These two are memoires. The first one is about drugs and alcohol while the second focuses on alcohol. I have't had a chance to read them yet but they are now on my TBR (which may or may not be about the size of Mount Everest).

I haven't read The Basketball Diaries but I have seen the movie so if that's any indication it should be good. Rachel's Holiday is one of my favourite Marian Keyes books. It is serious but it also has some humour in it.

I loved Spin. It is about a woman who goes to rehab to spy on a celebrity but she is also is need of some recovery. The Spectacular Now is another seen the movie before reading the book. I know the shame!

 I remember Where it Began being on my list of books I wanted to read but for some reason I never got to it. I think it'll have to be added to the list again. Crank was intense but so so so good. It's about meth addiction and very eye opening.

The Glass Castle is written like a fiction book but it is a memoir of growing up poor and with parents who had some alcohol issues. Parched is another memoir which I haven't read but plan on reading soon.

Well, there is my post. This started as a way to get it all out and I have found it to be cathartic. I hope that the next few years are not as chaotic as the past few have been. This year alone I've been to 5 funerals, lost my niece because it turns she was never actually my niece, dealt with some martial things and dealing with the fertility stuff. The next time I write a personal post I am hoping it's a happy one :)

Happy Reading, thanks for listening.