Cleaning These Gentle Wounds

This YA novel centers around Gordie, a 15-year-old boy who survives the heartbreaking trauma of a mentally ill mother willing to sacrifice everything to protect her children–including their lives. Five years after escaping the car his mother drove into the water, containing Gordie and three of his siblings, Gordie still finds himself  struggling for air.

As he spins into despair, he clings to the shards of reality, as cutting as they might be. Gordie views his world through the high contrast lens of adolescence – the low of high school bullying and brotherly fights, the high of first love. And it’s made all the more dramatic with Gordie’s certainty that things he is experiencing are Not Normal. Gordie lives under the persistent cloud of post-traumatic stress disorder that makes everything hazy.

The book frequently reads as though he’s still underwater. Gordie is surviving, but he’s only just starting to understand that living is something different. While there’s some resolution, there isn’t a bow to wrap up Gordie’s story. It’s as complete as it can be, while remaining sincere to Gordie and his PTSD.

These Gentle Wounds did not burn itself onto my soul forever immemorial, but it’s simmering in my mind, where teenage me bleeds and bruises with every pain Gordie knows. Present me has some perspective, and I identify more with the adults in Gordie’s life than I do with him. Such is the stress that accompanies the trauma of growing up, I suppose.

3.75/5 apples.

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Books to Read in 2015

Since graduating J-School, I haven’t had a structured reading environment. I’ll go weeks without reading and some days I’ll read two books in one sitting. I’m not faithful to one genre (despite this blog’s title). As long as there’s a story, I’m in. So, not in any particular order, here is my 2015 reading list… at this current moment in time.

1. The Birth of the Pill by Jonathan Eig

2. The First Bad Man by Miranda July

3. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

4. The Martian by Andy Weir

5. The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

6. Lock In by John Scalzi

7. The Magician King by Lev Grossman

8. The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

9. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

10. An Untamed State by Roxanne Gay

11. The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

12. How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

13. 10:04 by Ben Lerner

14. The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs

15. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

16. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

17. The Fever by Megan Abbott

18. Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

19. The Known World by Edward P. Jones

20. The Good War by Studs Terkel

21. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

22. Dispatches by Michael Herr

23. No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

24. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

25. Delicious Foods by James Hannaham*

26. Find Me by Laura Van Den Berg*

27. God Help the Child by Toni Morrison*

28. A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell*

29. A History of Loneliness by John Boyne*

30. The Sellout by Paul Beatty*

31. She Weeps Each Time You’re Born by Quan Barry*

32. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

33. In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume*

34. Tinkers by Paul Harding

35. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

36. Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

37. Paper Towns by John Green

38. The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner

39. A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

40. Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter

41. Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

42. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

43. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

44. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

45. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

46. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

47. Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet

48. Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones

49. Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire

50. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

51. Locke & Key by Joe Hill

52. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Books I plan to re-read:

1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

*Not yet published, expected this year.

What are you reading now? What are you re-reading? (is that even the correct term? I feel like that hyphen is an impostor.) What’s my list missing?

I am AshleyJeanne.

Compulsory introductory post: I like words. I like reading, I like writing, I like scratching words into the sand during long walks on the beach. Why not put my love of words into the abyss and find my ilk?

Ilk, I am here. Apparently, I’ve been here for awhile. While attempting to register for a blog, I received the angry judgmental declaration that my chosen name “AshleyJeanne” was unavailable. I got pissed. AshleyJeanne as a user name is my birthright, as someone born before the World Wide Web.

And then, I thought, maybe that AshleyJeanne is me. When I was going through my post-adolescence phase (in which I believed that all adults actually stop being teenagers in more than just age… ahem. Spoiler: We don’t.), I searched desperately for a LiveJournal replacement. Somehow, the public diary of my middle and high school years didn’t live up to the potential sophistication of my college self. One night, freshman year, I got drunk on self-importance and claimed as many AshleyJeanne handles as I could.

Fast forward 7 years and adult(ish) me found that a request for a password reset to the handle AshleyJeanne landed an email confirmation into my own email account. Good job, past Ashley. Also, jeebus. My email account could be in second grade by now.

Thus, I’m AshleyJeanne. Always and forever. Until something new comes along. Then I will be AshleyJeanne57 or whatever. Meh.

Here’s what brought me to the discovery in the first place, for the second time: I’m reading and writing more than I ever have and I want to connect with other word lovers. Not in a key party way. Gross.

Anyways. Hi. I love words. I hear you love words, too. Let’s be friends.