When you need to remember you could be making worst choices- Wish I Were Here, Book Review

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I was going through a rough emotional patch these past few days. I was feeling like I was making the worst choices and expecting too much out of people, or people weren’t meeting my expectations. Due to these sentiments, I decided to search for a book where someone was going through something worst than me, and did this book pay up.

Wish I Were Here by Erin Lavan is a short novel in which the main character, Savannah Waters, finds herself in a roller coaster of a journey. Savannah is a painter who around the time of her 40-year-old birthday finds out that her ex-boyfriend has died. This ex had a self-portrait of her naked, which she wants back, but it has already been sold. She has a breakdown of sorts, landing her in jail, ending up with her going to a psychiatrist. Her and the psychiatrist have this weird relationship which leads Savannah in combination with a whole bunch of weird characters to be part of a motorcycle trip through Europe.

The meat of the book is this European Journey and its cast of characters. Before Savannah goes on this trip, the book mostly focuses on her ordeal after finding out her ex-boyfriend is dead. The first few chapters are really intriguing, making you want to find out what the end-result will be between her and the psychiatrist, between her and her search for the self-portrait. Once the actual trip begins and the weird cast of characters gets introduced; they are all rich, in their late 30’s and over, and mostly being treated by the psychiatrist, it gets a little confusing.  It becomes like a weird acid trip. There’s aliens, WWII theories, prescription drugs, and weird sexual tension.

Savannah Waters is an interesting character, she makes lots of sexually inspired comparisons and makes a lot of questionable decisions. Savannah is one of those characters that you want to meet, but not necessarily be friends with. She is self-centered and she is the one taking you on this crazy journey. It does make you wonder how much of a reliable source she can be. Overall, it was a fun read, but I would have liked more character development, specially for the psychiatrist. There were times when I wasn’t sure if the situation presented was social commentary disguised as dark comedy or if it had no intention at all.

You can find the book here:

Wish I Were Here

Books that have inspired me so far this year

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At this point in the year I have read 48 of my 75 books goal for the year. Which means I have read a variety of books; fiction, non-fiction, thrillers, fantasy, graphic novels, romance, young adult, autobiographies, etc. Out of those 48 books there is a few that have struck a cord, that have inspired me in times of doubt. I will be brief, I will only mention the books that have really stayed with me. Here goes:

britt marie

  1. Britt-Marie Was Here, by Fredrik Backman (published in 2016)

What is it about: This book follows Britt-Marie a woman that is passed her prime and obsessed with keeping things clean. She finds herself in a small town, holding the first job she has had in a while and recently single. She surprisingly becomes involved with the local children’s soccer team and she starts to feel like she might belong.

Why did it make my list: Britt-Marie finds herself by being thrown into these uncomfortable situations. She finds herself having to make decisions for herself for the first time in a long time and she starts to question how she has lived so far. It pushed me to examined the life I was living and question how much I was doing to actually accomplish the things I craved to do.

Favorite Quote: “At a certain age almost all the questions a person asks him or herself are really just about one thing: how should you live your life?”

all the light

2. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr (published in 2014)

What is it about: This is a WW2 story, about a blind French girl and a German boy. Their paths don’t really collide for most of the book, but their stories are connected. Marie-Laure is the French girl and Werner is the German boy. They live really different lives, Marie-Laure becomes blind early on in her life and her and her and her father escape Paris before the Nazi’s occupy it, Werner is trained in an Academy for Hitler Youth and is really talented with radio receivers. It is a story about how the decisions we face in life have consequences and how some people when faced with hard decisions will still try to do good by others.

Why did it make my list: One of the main reasons this book was so special to me, is because of how beautifully written this book is. It was so emotionally draining and it took me a while after reading this book to be able to pick up another book and connect to it. The reason why it inspired me was that in the book, some of the characters are challenged to make choices that they normally wouldn’t make for themselves. When the going got though, they rose to the occasion. Some characters, like Marie-Laure’s great uncle were scared of the decisions they knew they would have to make, but in the end (even if they were a bit hessitant) they did what was needed of them. I associated it with putting my money where my mouth was and the current political climate that we are living, it’s not enough to say that you support certain things, it’s time to act.

Favorite Quote: “Don’t you want to be alive before you die?”

on living

3. On Living, by Kerry Egan (published in 2016)

What is it about: This is a non-fiction, written by a hospice chaplain. It is part memoir, part inspiration/lessons on living. She talks about her own personal issues  and the lessons that her patients have taught her. It is a beautiful book about how everybody can be broken at times, about different things, but we all have the strength and the courage to heal. It is a short book with so much advise on living our best life.

Why did it make my list: Because it is a book about finding the courage to accept your flaws and make amends with yourself and others. It is a book that is packed with stories of what others fear and regret in their deathbeds, and it reminds us that we are given this one life. Instead of wasting it with regrets, let’s live it.

Favorite Quote: “I try to be loveful.” I asked her what she meant. “We shower so much love on babies and children,” she said. “But as we grow up, it stops. No one showers love on grown-ups. But I think we need more love as we get older, not less. Life gets harder, not easier, but we stop loving each other so much, just when we need love most. I—” Her voice caught in her throat, but she took a big breath and kept going. “I need more love now that I’m so old. I need love.”  (This book is just full of quotes to inspire you. It was hard to pick just one.)

These are just some of the books that have really moved me at times this year when (even if I didn’t know it) I need it a push. I firmly believe that you can learn so much about life and yourself by reading and it doesn’t have to be self-help or religious books. They are so many lessons and perspectives in each book I read, that there is always something to take away.

If you haven’t read this books, I recommend them. If you are not a reader at all, give it time, you just haven’t found your book yet.

I would love to hear about other books that have inspired you through tough times.