Latest Entries »

Non-Fiction Is Boring, Right?

FALSE.  Non-fiction and memoirs can produce the most honest writing; I don’t mean honest in terms of “oh it’s honest because it’s true because it’s not fiction.”  I mean that it produces a genuine connection with the subject that is obvious through the writing.

How come the negative defines this type of writing?  It’s not fiction.  I think this is what turns writers off to the genre—we are so intrigued by and used to fiction that we are repelled by the thought of writing non-fiction because it is not imaginative or provoking.  Who says that non-fiction cannot incorporate aspects of fiction?  I was in an immersive non-fiction class with Daniel Wallace and the most valuable advice he gave my class is that you can immerse yourself in a non-fiction story in a way that you sometimes cannot do with fiction.  You have real subjects to draw off of and real experiences to be a part of.  For example, I went to a couple of music festivals this past summer and I wrote about my experiences.  I was immersed in the culture of music festivals for three days, so I was able to draw several observations, small and large, from my weekend there.  Another example: I hung out at a tattoo shop and wrote a non-fiction piece about the dialogue that went on, which tattoos people were getting and other observations.  It also allowed me to clear up some stereotypes that are associated with the tattoo world.

Non-fiction does not have to be straight fact— it can take facts and real experiences and then turn them into a story that can be just as intriguing and compelling as fiction.  Susan Orlean is a great non-fiction writer and is widely known for her contributions to The New Yorker.  In fact, one of her non-fiction pieces, titled Orchid Fever, was adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep!  Susan Orlean has a way of turning her non-fiction stories into a journey, one that she invites her readers to experience with her.  She invites us to share her experiences, and because she spends so much time with her subject, we get the feeling that we too have met these people and have been given some insight into their world.

Life is about experiencing other people, other cultures and ways that people thrive in life.  Non-fiction shows us these different aspects of the world in a way that makes us think about them as fiction.

In addition, most of us young writers think that we can’t write great memoirs because we’re young and haven’t had many experiences, so therefore, our lives are boring.  Again, false.  We all have at least one experience that has shaped us in a way that can be turned into a great memoir. So, here is my challenge to young writers: think of a moment in your life— it could be a pivotal moment or it could be a small action—and write a scene from it.  Stay true to your story while invoking aspects of fiction.  Draw out the scene by describing it in as much detail as possible.  Add some dialogue or some pauses for effect.  Relive this moment through all the senses.  You may find a truth within this moment that you didn’t even realize when you were actually experiencing it.

-Sarah Diedrick

Advertisements

Honor & Integrity Week: “Technology”

“File sharing” may sound like an innocuous term, but on UNC’s campus, it is a violation of the Honor Code.  Students who are caught illegally downloading material from the Internet face serious repercussions. And violations are not always as evident as one might think.

Information Technology Services (ITS) was in the Pit last Wednesday for the “Technology” part of Honor and Integrity Week, which was celebrated last Monday through Friday.  The goal of Honor and Integrity Week was to bring awareness to the Honor Code, which involves both cheating and conduct cases, says Outreach Coordinator Allison Hoover. According to a handout distributed at the event, the goal of “Technology” day was to “find out safe, legal ways to listen to the music you love while also discovering how technology applies to the Honor Code.”

However, during a discussion with Ben Bressman, an information security analyst with ITS, it became evident that violating the University’s technology policy – and the law – may not be so clear-cut. For years, campaigns have been waged against illegally downloading music or pirated movies.  However, file sharing is not always as obvious as illegally downloading a song. It has a much broader definition than many students realize.

Copyright and acceptable use policies create strict guidelines for file sharing.  In other words, “if you don’t have the right to redistribute content, you can’t,” Bressman says. When UNC students download copyright-protected content, it is shared on the Internet – a violation of the law. Copyright-protected content can include an incredibly wide range of media.  Music, movies, pictures and TV shows are often protected by copyright laws, which make it illegal to download them.  Even academic journals can be copyright protected.

Bressman says that students usually get caught downloading something they could have gotten for free. For example, students often download popular TV shows illegally that they could have viewed legally – and for free – on sites such as Hulu.

Illegal file sharing has concrete consequences.  If a copyright holder complains about a file-sharing incident, ITS shuts off the offending student’s network access.  In order to have their network access reinstated, offenders must first finish a quiz and then meet with ITS to discuss the matter.

First offenses occur fairly frequently.  According to Bressman, recently there were 45 first offenses in one week alone.  Although this number is unusually high, it does happen. After a second offense, students must take a quiz, meet with ITS and pay a visit to the Dean of Students Office.  Second offenses are less common, but they happen occasionally. However, the third offense means a painful consequence:  permanently losing network privileges. Bressman says he has yet to see that happen.

It is easy to protect yourself from facing violations of both the Honor Code and the law.  Pay for music or listen to it on YouTube.  Watch TV shows on Hulu or network websites.  Do not distribute academic journals without being granted permission.  And if you are ever unsure of rules regarding downloading or distributing content, read a website’s acceptable use policy or visit http://www.unc.edu/filesharing.

If you take the right steps now, you can avoid a trip to ITS – and possibly having your Internet access shut off for good.

-Georgia Cavanaugh

Eating Disorders Awareness Week

This is for all the people who have ever looked in a mirror and listed off numerous flaws with their bodies.  This is for every person who strongly believes he or she is not good enough.  This is for anyone who feels that the world would be better off without his or her body “taking up space.” This is for me and for you and for everyone else who does not believe they are perfect enough.

We live in a society that pushes perfectionism, and an extreme perfectionism at that.  For women, the ideal beauty is a thin but curvy frame.  For men, their ideal figure is strong, masculine and tan.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health estimates 8 million Americans (7 million women and 1 million men) suffer from some form of an eating disorder.  From anorexia nervosa to bulimia to binge eating disorders, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. Despite popular belief, eating disorders are about more than just the desire to be thin.   They are an all-encompassing illness that stems from low self-esteem and the desire to be perfect.

It is a heartbreaking disorder, one that some people don’t understand unless they have been personally affected.  As someone who suffers from an eating disorder, I have experienced the consuming cycle of eating and not eating as I try to achieve perfectionism. I have lost friends during my battle, and I have lost time. I have skipped parties because I was concerned with either not eating anything or eating everything in sight.  So much energy and time have been wasted over the past five years.

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week starts today, February 20, and goes on through February 26.  It is a time for light to be shed on an mental disorder that many people do not fully understand.

A few events are being held this week at UNC.  The movie Thin, a documentary about eating disorders, will be shown in Room 3411 at the Student Union tonight at 5:30 P.M.  Viewers will also be able to ask Dr Anna-Bardone Cone, a UNC psychology professor specializing in eating disorder research, questions.

On Monday, February 21, McAllister’s Deli on Franklin Street will donate 10% of its revenue from 5 P.M. to 9 P.M. to Carolina House, an eating disorder treatment center located in Durham.  Make sure to print off the flyer. Interactive Theatre Carolina will also be performing skits on eating disorders in the Union Cabaret on Tuesday, February 22, from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M.

Even after Tuesday, bringing awareness to eating disorders should not end.  If you have friends who are suffering, let them know that you are there for them. And if they don’t have treatment, help them find it.

If you are currently suffering, please seek help.  There are people out there that care for your well-being.  Even I am here to help support you, so don’t be afraid to contact me.  I have been in your shoes, and I still am.

There is one last thing I want to leave.  You are beautiful or you are handsome just the way you are.  You have been shaped into the way you were meant to be. You were given a unique body and your own mind.  Perfectionism is just an idea. It is never tangible.  Accept yourself and others for who they are, and remember that imperfections are what is truly perfect.

-Hillary Rose Owens

Sources:

National Eating Disorders

Mirasol

Something Fishy

Facebook Event for Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Fitness Lines

Honor & Integrity Week: “Plagiarism”

UNC Chapel Hill is among America’s greatest universities dedicated to knowledge, change for the better, and excellence (but we all knew that). From Monday, February 14 to Friday, February 18, events as part of the annual Honor & Integrity Week are taking place in the Pit, hosted by the university’s Honor System. Different themes will be addressed everyday, including the dangers of plagiarism, safe use of technology on campus, and the truths about substance abuse. The event is committed to raising awareness about the importance of following the Honor Code and university rules as well as recruiting first-year and sophomore students to join the Honor Court. The Honor Court is a selective group of UNC community members who hear cases dealing with Honor Code violations.

On Monday, Chancellor Thorp hosted the Opening Ceremony and spoke briefly about Carolina’s Honor Code. The Honor Pledge also became available to students who wished to sign it and uphold their unwavering promise of practicing honor and integrity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday’s Honor & Integrity theme dealt with “Plagiarism”. Coordinator Allison Hoover organized a trivia competition between members of the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council. The Loreleis even made a brief guest appearance at Tuesday’s H&I in order to celebrate and promote the special event. The performance was led by seniorMarianne Cheng. The all-female acapella group rocked their “Pit Sing” and ended with final shouts of “Celebrate Honor & Integrity week!”

Sample Trivia Questions (see answers at bottom):

1) What does AG stand for?

2) What is the difference between normal probation and alcohol probation?

3) What is the usual sanction for a DUI?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left to Right: Trivia Competition; Loreleis’ performance

Answers to Sample Trivia:

1) Attorney General

2) Normal probation has to do with different offenses dealing with alcohol, while alcohol probation specifically acts to penalize as well as help relieve those who engage in alcohol-related misconduct.

3) One-semester suspension

-Wendy Lu

I readily admit that I have always been one of the more dubious, skeptical types when it came to Valentine’s Day. I never quite understood the thought process behind such trivial and often, frivolous gestures for expressing love. However, a recent conversation with a friend of mine deeply challenged my views on Valentine’s Day. He shared with me that in other languages, there existed nearly forty ways of expressing the word, love, while for us English speakers, we were left with only one word. A thought then dawned upon me: I began wondering about how limited and narrow our perception and definition of love must be with only one word to represent all the various types and manifestations love can take. I propose for a more diverse and open interpretation to the many forms of love.

I am sure that I have not been the first to point out the limitations of using only one word to express love. I propose that rather than view Valentine’s Day from such a narrow definition of love, we instead take this opportunity to celebrate all the wonderful ways of expressing love. Whether that love be the nostalgia of one’s first crush to cherishing the company of good friends to treating yourself out to a manicure, take this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate the infinite facets of an emotion that goes beyond our one word for expressing love.

As an individual who identifies as gay, I know that I will allow myself, for the first time, to celebrate the nostalgia of my very first crush and how wonderful it felt. The word love in its traditional meaning evokes too strong of an emotion that cannot adequately express how much I enjoyed having my first crush on a guy, and I cannot help but use this Valentine’s Day as a moment to contemplate the wonder behind the feelings of how real and affirming it felt. Who knew how empowering celebrating Valentine’s Day could be? I know that for me it will be a celebration of the deep friendships that I have developed over the course of my college journey as well as how far I have come towards loving myself. For Valentine’s Day, I hope that each of you will find something worth celebrating for-I challenge each of you to expand the definition of love beyond the traditional sense to all the many shapes and forms it can take. Happy Valentine’s Day!

-Michael Lau

Die Arbeit

Die arbeit is once again one of those super basic German words you learn right off the bat when you start learning German because it means “work,” and there isn’t a lot to say about it.

I have officially been in Berlin for a week at this point and have only 11 weeks to go before I am done with my internship. I feel like it’s going to fly by and before I know it, I’ll be heading home. Because this is a public blog, I’m not going to talk a lot about my internship, but I will say that my first day was about getting acquainted with the workplace and I was lucky enough to have gone through training with another intern instead of by myself. If you want to see what I wore for my first day, I took a picture:

I joke that I have yet to see my apartment in the daylight, but it was true up until yesterday. By the time I get home from work, it’s dark outside and I have to bury my face in my scarf like a turtle while I scurry home as quickly as possible to get warm.

On Thursday I broke the monotony of coming home freezing and just cuddling in my blankets and going to bed by inviting the other interns over for dinner and drinks. It was really fun to just chill out and get to know everyone, and I ate way too much delicious food. By the time the last of the interns left at midnight, I was so tired that I just passed out in my clothes and make-up and woke up the next morning to find my bedroom table looking like this:

This is sadly all the pictures I have because even though I did take pictures, I left the memory card in my computer, so none of them were saved. I hope that this becomes a weekly gathering though, so then I’ll have pictures to share n Germany you pay Pfand when you buy bottled drinks, and then you get that money back when you return the bottles to the store, so I’m looking forward to some extra pocket change next time I go shopping!

On Friday, I was really lame and stayed home to watch “16 and Pregnant” on German MTV, which has German subtitles but keep the original voices. It’s really fun to see how they choose to translate certain American colloquialisms into German.

On Saturday, I awoke to a text from one of my co-workers asking if I wanted to go jogging around the city in 30 minutes or so. She came to my place and we jogged around some of the running paths in Berlin, and it was gorgeous. Even though it was windy and a little rainy, my hoodie kept me warm and we found this awesome cemetery with pieces of the wall still intact. We followed the river that runs through Berlin and goes through all the main tourist attractions. It was really awesome to run by the Berlin Hauptbahnhof and the Berliner Dom. We decided to end our jog when we got to this gorgeous golden synagogue in one of my favorite sections of Berlin (that I unfortunately don’t know the name of!)

Then we decided to go grocery shopping and eat at a Turkish restaurant that my co-worker knew of. She insisted that I try the Gözleme, which is like a quesadilla with meat but without cheese and a different kind of bread. It was so good to have warm food in my stomach, since I have been eating mostly cheese and bread since I’ve been to Germany. Here’s a picture I found of it:

If you’re ever in Berlin, you should definitely try this. Actually, you should try all Turkish food when you’re in Berlin! I can already tell you there will be a blog devoted entirely to food in the near future. Until then, Tschüss!

-Miranda Murray

How to Combat Adult Acne

Adult acne can be more than just an unsightly annoyance, depending on its severity. You’d think after the awkward pubescent high school years have passed that the pimples would disappear and reveal a flawless face the way braces are removed to expose gorgeous, straight teeth. The same should apply to acne, right? Unfortunately, acne does not always go away after the teen years, and sometimes lasts into adulthood. Sometimes women may find that their acne is related to unbalanced hormones. When acne persists and becomes untreatable with over-the-counter medicine such as Clean and Clear or Neutrogena, women can go to their doctor or dermatologist and get a blood test taken to determine hormone levels.

If imbalances are detected, sometimes birth control pills are prescribed as an effective treatment. There is a major downside of taking birth control for acne, however. Many women find that it is an excellent treatment option when they are on the pill, but a few months after they decide to get off the pill, acne usually comes back with vengeance, worse than ever. Women may feel pressured to stay on the pill for years because they worry that once they stop taking it, the red, bumpy pustules and sometimes painful cystic acne will return.

If your acne is not related to a hormone imbalance, it may be useful to develop a good skin care regimen. I suffered with adult acne for many months, which caused me immense emotional distress and physical discomfort from the cystic growths along my jawline. I tried all the products available in both drug stores and high-end department stores. I spent hours doing research on the Internet and ordered books at the library, until I stumbled upon the site acne.org. This site proved to be a tremendous tool and helped answer some of my questions and alleviate some of my emotional turmoil. I was able to compare products reviewed by other members on the site, and learn what works for majority of people and what doesn’t. I finally decided to order some products off of acne.org, whose founder, Daniel W. Kern, also suffered with severe acne. I ordered the cleanser, moisturizer, and treatment in large 16-ounce bottles, because I knew that it was the most cost-effective option.

Once you establish a skin care regimen, it is important to stick with it. No matter how comfy you get cuddling with your significant other, do not doze off without washing cosmetics off of your face. If he’s good enough for you he will still think you’re beautiful without a stitch of make-up on, so please ladies, wash your face before bed. Then, pat your face dry with a clean face towel and make sure to change the linens that touch your face (face towel, pillow case) once a week because dirt and oils from dirty laundry can cause acne flare-ups. I then moisturize and wait until it’s dry before applying treatment all over my face. Some people may prefer to apply treatment first, and then moisturize. The advantage of acne.org’s treatment is that once it has dried, it’s completely clear and does not leave a filmy residue on the face. I wash my face, moisturize, and apply treatment once in the morning and once at night.

In the morning after the treatment has dried, I can apply facial makeup with ease. I recommend a mineral powder applied with a clean brush (wash your brush once a week because bacteria and dirt build up lead to acne!). After I established this regimen in addition to taking Yaz birth control for my hormonal imbalance, I noticed a huge change in my results. Strangers and friends would come up to me to admire my nearly poreless complexion. I have finally found a host of products that work for me and even though my regimen may sound complex, it means the difference between a face with unattractive and sometimes painful bumps and grooves, and a smooth, confident appearance.

Here’s a list of products that work in my experience:

  • Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask (dries up acne pimples; rated 4.5 out of 5 stars when Googled)
  • Retin-A (Available with prescription. Makes acne much worse for the first couple months, but then uncovers beautiful, nearly flawless skin. Drawback is once treatment is stopped altogether, acne returns.)
  • Acne.org products – I cannot give enough praise to the treatment. Some prescription treatments burn the skin, making it unbearably sensitive, but acne.org’s treatment works just as effectively as prescription without the physical suffering, costs much less, and comes in large quantities.)

In my opinion, I do not think that a poor diet causes acne, but I do know that when I eat greasy foods and chocolate and then touch my face, I will get a pimple. So make sure to keep your hands away from your face, or develop the habit of washing your hands as soon as you finish snacks. Carry sanitizer or hand wipes in your purse when a sink isn’t handy, such as when taking long road trips. It is important to keep your body hydrated with water because it flushes out toxins that may otherwise result in skin problems. Also, sweating flushes away toxins, contributing to better skin. So try to make exercising a priority.

I hope these tips help you in your battle for a clear complexion and remember to browse acne.org for more information and advice!

-Kristen Cubero

White Stripes

When the White Stripes announced their break up last week, I reacted with mixed emotions. Although I was definitely upset at first, I wasn’t necessarily surprised. The rock group last released a studio album in 2007, and since then we’ve seen singer/guitarist Jack White branch out on many solo ventures and appearances. The more that I think about the announcement, however, the more monumental the band’s end has become.

When I think back to the first time I heard the White Stripes, I envision legos. I remember watching MTV and seeing the video for “Fell In Love With a Girl” hit the TRL airwaves. Until then, my music was admittedly dominated by ‘90s boy bands and a share of Britney Spears, but with that video I was exposed to rock for the first time. Clinging onto my older sister’s teenage viewing habits, I stared at the colored legos dance across the screen, reconstructing themselves into shapes and designs to the beat of the thrashing guitar and drums and Jack White’s electrifying voice.

I’m not going to lie and say that the White Stripes was my favorite band ever or that I will lament the band’s end with a candle-lit shrine and an all-black outfit of mourning. However, each time I listen to different songs released by the White Stripes over the years, I am taken back to different stages of my life. It feels like I grew up with the band, and each time I go back and listen to their work, I appreciate things that once went through my head. While I was transfixed by their mysterious looks and unfamiliar rock music when I was younger, I revisit their tracks and find how they seamlessly embody very different styles, from blues to punk to garage rock. I find myself putting their amazing covers of Bob Dylan and Burt Bacharach/Dusty Springfield hits on repeat on my iPod. I start to wonder about their rise and their background, especially after seeing a glimpse of Jack’s life in It Might Get Loud.

I feel like I owe a lot to the White Stripes. They made me love other bands that started to emerge at the time – The Hives, The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The groups that spawned from the White Stripes – namely The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather – probably wouldn’t have been possible either without the original band’s success. When Jack and Meg White announced their band’s break up, they said they did so for many reasons, “mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band.” It’s an almost noble move – quitting while they’re still ahead, perhaps keeping their legacy in gold and making this an optimistic “end” rather than a tragic “demise.” It seems as if both members are ready to move on and the announcement merely cemented their intentions. Regardless of future endeavors, the White Stripes will always remain a part of my life. Here are some of my favorite songs – hopefully, they speak for themselves:

“Fell In Love With a Girl”

“One More Cup of Coffee (Bob Dylan cover)”

“Dead Leaves & The Dirty Ground”

-Margot Pien

Getting Organized

As I flip through the TV channels on mute and listen to the clock tick quickly, I’m struck by the chaos that I’m living in.  Clothes, books and loose papers are strewn across my unmade bed.  My backpack is stuffed with crumpled-up handouts, notes and newspapers.  Although I’ve made it to each class today, I have no idea what my assignments entail for this week.

It’s time for some (early) spring cleaning.

If a messy, disorderly room is making you equally stressed out, look no further.  There are plenty of easy ways to get yourself – and your life – organized in mere minutes.

Get a planner or Google calendar. I literally can’t imagine how I’d function without my planner.  It contains every detail of my packed schedule, from classes to meetings to cocktails.    There’s nothing worse than forgetting about a club meeting, coffee date or deadline.  Putting commitments in writing, whether they’re required or with friends, will prevent you from realizing when you have to be somewhere across campus and have only five minutes to get there.

Organize your coursework. For the past few weeks of class, I’ve been taking notes for all seven of my classes on whatever paper I’ve had on hand.  My Spanish notes are in the same notebook as those from Political Science, and who knows where my News Writing notes have gone.  This system may work for a while, but when midterms roll around, it will be nearly impossible to compile all notes, papers and old quizzes. It’s essential to have a separate notebook and/or binder for each class.  You’ll be so much happier come exam time when cramming in Davis is as simple as opening a notebook and buckling down.  Though it may not be the most appealing pastime, it sounds much more appealing than riffling through knee-high stacks of papers in desperate search of the first weeks’ notes and your (unopened?) textbook.

Keep things neat. Studies have shown that it’s easier to get work done in tidy spaces.  Messes are distracting, stressful and all-around unpleasant.  Taking a few minutes to make your bed, hang up clothes and organize your desk can make studying so much more comfortable and relaxing. This applies to your computer, too.  Clean out and organize your inbox.  It will keep you from losing track of e-mails you were supposed to respond to but forgot about.  As mind-numbing as it sounds, it will help out in the long run.

Make a schedule and stick to it. It’s so easy to put off a night’s readings to hang out with friends, watch TV or catch up on sleep.  But when this happens repeatedly, you’ll find yourself hundreds of pages behind in multiple classes with one night before a test. Set goals for each day, even if it means getting up a few minutes early to read some extra pages.  It will make life so much less stressful.  Plus, you’ll be less embarrassed when the professor asks you a question in class and you can actually answer it.

Getting organized is easier than you’d think.  I just bought notebooks and binders at Student Stores.  Tonight I’m going to print out my syllabi, write down my assignments for this week and catch up on the reading I haven’t done.

…Or maybe I’ll put that off to another night.

-Georgia Cavanaugh

“Queen of Palmyra” Book Review

I just finished reading Queen of Palmyra by Minrose Gwin.  I highly recommend this book— the writing is honest and beautiful. Plus, Minrose Gwin is a Kenan Eminent Professor of English at UNC and Co-Editor of the Southern Literary Journal.

Book description:

*”I need you to understand how ordinary it all was. . . .”

In the turbulent southern summer of 1963, Millwood’s white population steers clear of “Shake Rag,” the black section of town. Young Florence Forrest is one of the few who crosses the line. The daughter of a burial insurance salesman with dark secrets and the town’s “cake lady,” whose backcountry bootleg runs lead further and further away from a brutal marriage, Florence attaches herself to her grandparents’ longtime maid, Zenie Johnson. Named for Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, Zenie treats the unwanted girl as just another chore, while telling her stories of the legendary queen’s courage and cunning. The more time Florence spends in Shake Rag, the more she recognizes how completely race divides her town, and her story, far from ordinary, bears witness to the truth and brutality of her times—a truth brought to a shattering conclusion when Zenie’s vibrant college-student niece, Eva Greene, arrives that fateful Mississippi summer. Minrose Gwin’s The Queen of Palmyra is an unforgettable evocation of a time and a place in America—a nuanced, gripping story of race and identity.*

The beauty of this book is Gwin’s style of writing.  She captures the innocence of Florence through her pure, naive observations. There is a soft spot in our hearts for Florence because she is the only character we meet who is untainted by the racial issues seeping in to her town.

Gwin also has a way of letting the reader see the larger problems before Florence does- because, presumably, we are less naive than she is.  For example, Gwin describes a box that Florence’s daddy has- a box that he keeps in the basement and brings out with him every night.  As Florence describes the box from a very young perspective, our faces start to bunch up because we realize what evil Florence’s dad possesses before she even knows it.  On the back of the book is written: “I need you to understand how ordinary it all was. . . .” We soon realize how important this statement is throughout the entire novel and, also, how heartbreakingly true it is.

This novel is so inspiring, I was so motivated to write my own stories while reading it. Gwin tells us this story from a fresh perspective.  She also teaches us that we don’t always have to pull out fancy words and the thesaurus when writing a novel.  Sometimes, simplicity is the best way to let a story shine.

-Sarah Diedrick

Source