What I Read This Week – 4/18/2013 – 4/24/2013

24 Apr

fever

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

This is the third book by Laurie Halse Anderson I’ve read this year. Yeah. I’m trying to get caught up on the important YA authors of the past decade all at once.

Fever 1793 felt like the most traditional of the books I’ve read by her. This is a straight up historical fiction novel about Mattie, a fourteen year old girl who lives through the horrible yellow fever epidemic that swept Philadelphia in the summer of 1793. Although, yes, the book is a traditional YA novel, it really does not hold any punches when it comes to describing how the epidemic killed indiscriminately, leading to general panic and suspicion. I hadn’t actually learned about this period of American history, so I found it fascinating. Anderson put in a lot of research, which with her really skillful handling of character and plot, makes the book a quick, engrossing read. Maybe I should learn all my basic history through YA novels. Couldn’t hurt.

defining decade

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay, PhD

I should’ve read this book when I was 20. Really. Reading it at 27 (almost 28!) means that I’ve already made a lot of the decisions that the book is discussing. Jay is a therapist who works almost exclusively with privileged, somewhat spoiled twenty somethings. Honestly, this book is all about first world problems. First world problems are still problems, but it does get a bit wearing to hear about a girl’s hook-up issues. ANYWAY, through all this work, she has come up with some advice for us troubled young adults.

Basically it boils down to:

Don’t waste time. Get a job. Be in relationships that work. AND DON’T FORGET ABOUT THAT BIOLOGICAL CLOCK!

Yeah, I found the book off-putting. Most of the research was things I’ve already heard, so I didn’t find myself ever being shocked at any stats. Also, her idea of success seems very hetero-normative and conventional…and this is coming from a fairly conventional girl! Maybe I’m just tired of hearing that I should’ve gotten pregnant 6 months ago. Maybe I’m just grumpy.

To give the book props, it did make me think about some issues that do tend to come up in my social circle, so I guess it hit home more than I’d like to give it credit. But still. I think there are probably some more interesting books about young adulthood out there. I just need to do a bit of searching to find them.

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2 Responses to “What I Read This Week – 4/18/2013 – 4/24/2013”

  1. Courtney April 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    Ug, The Defining Decade sounds like it would make me want to pull my hair out. While I definitely wish I hadn’t wasted so much time in my early/mid-twenties (I’m 28 now), I learned a lot and have no regrets. A lot of people (myself included) really need that time to figure out what they really want, and so long as they have no pressing reason to secure a great job right away, I say take the time if you need it. I understand that some people have situations where they really need to bring in money (they have people depending on them and such), but not having the perfect job or relationship in your twenties is hardly the end of the world.

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  1. The Plot of The Story | Project On The Book Yellow Fever - May 8, 2013

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