Michelle’s Review: We’re All Infected edited by Dawn Keetley


I received this book for free from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Michelle’s Review: We’re All Infected edited by Dawn KeetleyWe're All Infected: Essays on AMC's the Walking Dead and the Fate of the Human by Dawn Keetley
Published by McFarland on 2014-01-29
Genres: General, Performing Arts, Television
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Source: LibraryThing
Goodreads
one-star
This edited collection brings together an introduction and 13 original scholarly essays on AMC's The Walking Dead. The essays in the first section address the pervasive bloodletting of the series: What are the consequences of the series' unremitting violence? Essays explore violence committed in self-defense, racist violence, mass lawlessness, the violence of law enforcement, the violence of mourning, and the violence of history.

The essays in the second section explore an equally urgent question: What does it mean to be human? Several argue that notions of the human must acknowledge the centrality of the body--the fact that we share a

If I’m being honest, I quit even though I was so, so close to finishing. I just couldn’t stomach it anymore.

No, I’m not talking about gorey details or facing the implications of humanity raised by its authors.

Unfortunately, I’m talking about the inaccessibility of this collections of essays to the common reader.

The cover, the title, and even perhaps the synopsis made me think that I was in for another one of my strange enjoyments of learning more about a series that I enjoy and discussing the various issues and wider implications that can be made by it. What does it mean to be zombie? Are the zombies in the series really zombies? What does it mean to say that we’re all infected?

And while, yes, it’s safe to say that I -think- these questions were answered this anthology of academic essays on AMC’s The Walking Dead seris, I cannot tell you for certain. I literally have no idea what most of the essays were about, despite taking my time with them. I had to use the comment feature of Goodreads just to document what each essay was sort of about so I could understand that I was making some amount of progress.

I am in my first semester of graduate studies. Okay, it’s no PHD program and I’m no genius. But I’d like to think that I am fairly smart and well-read and can understand most things. But I had the hardest time with this book, as each essay went into theories and philosophical depths of thought that I simply could not follow. Perhaps if I had more of a background in some of the theories that were mentioned I would have had an easier time reaching the same conclusions as the authors. Instead, I found myself locked out.

Perhaps I wasn’t the intended audience for this anthology. But I’m disappointed because I really would like to debate some of the larger issues presented in The Walking Dead.

pj - michelle

Michelle’s Review: Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night by Barbara J. Taylor


I received this book for free from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Michelle’s Review: Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night by Barbara J. TaylorSing in the Morning, Cry at Night by Barbara Taylor
Published by Akashic Books on 2014-07-01
Genres: Family Life, Fiction, Historical, Literary
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Source: LibraryThing
Goodreads
four-stars
Almost everyone in town blames eight-year-old Violet Morgan for the death of her nine-year-old sister, Daisy. Sing in the Morning, Cry at Nightopens on September 4, 1913, two months after the Fourth of July tragedy. Owen, the girls' father, "turns to drink" and abandons his family. Their mother Grace falls victim to the seductive powers of Grief, an imagined figure who has seduced her off-and-on since childhood. Violet forms an unlikely friendship with Stanley Adamski, a motherless outcast who works in the mines as a breaker boy. During an unexpected blizzard, Grace goes into premature labor at home and is forced to rely on Violet, while Owen is "off being saved" at a Billy Sunday Revival. Inspired by a haunting family story, Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night blends real life incidents with fiction to show how grace can be found in the midst of tragedy.

Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night treaded water to avoid becoming too dark but never broke the surface of being completely happy. True to its title, it remained balanced precariously above that water level that makes a sad symphony into complete darkness. Yes, I am calling this book a sad symphony.

And I mean that in a good way! The book follows a family that is surely being plagued by some bad luck, between the recent loss of their eldest daughter, the mother descending not just into a depression, but what could easily be called more than a little mentally disturbed, the father taking to the drink, which essentially leaves the remaining daughter an orphan. I don’t even have to try to defend how this book could be sad.

But what I can state is how the book stopped itself from descending too far down that depressive hole and instead managed to tell a story about the resiliency of people and the town. There were a lot of delicate layers in this book: the town’s preparations for Billy Sunday and religion in general, the mining industry, addiction, mental health, and family. These were all layered in such a way that it at no point felt preachy, or overdone. I think it benefited from a third person narrative with different chapters or sections from different characters’ perspectives.

So yes, the title could not have been a better fit for this book.

pj - michelle