Book Review: All That Glitters by Liza Treviño

All That Glitters Cover

Book Details:

Title: All That Glitters – A Tale of Sex, Drugs and Hollywood Dreams

Author: Liza Treviño

Genre: Women’s Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Koehler Books 

Published Date: March 1, 2017

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1633933083

ISBN-13: 978-1633933088

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon


Synopsis:

Alexandria Moreno—clever, sexy, ambitious and, at times, self-destructive. She blazes a path from Texas to Los Angeles at the dawn of the 1980s to make her dreams of becoming an A-list Hollywood film director come true. She and her best friend arrive in Los Angeles with little more than hope and the determination to make it big. Alex, a beauty as dark and mysterious as her scarred heart, stands at the bottom of the Hollywood mountain looking up, fighting for her chance to climb to the top. Will her quest to live fast and take no prisoners on her way to success destroy her in the end?


All That Glitters is a women’s fiction Jackie Collins-type saga that introduces a strong, driven Latina heroine at the center of a rags-to-riches story spanning a decade of action. Along the way, Alexandria walks the fine line separating ambition and self-destruction, and discovers that some sacrifices will cost her everything.

Review:

I received this book from the author, Liza Treviño, as a part of  book r3vi3w tours and this is what I think.

I immensely enjoyed reading All That Glitters. No, seriously, I couldn’t put it down. The book just grips you and doesn’t let you go until the very end. It’s dramatic, intriguing, full of sex, affairs, drugs, tragedy and betrayal. 

I loved the characters. I’m a sucker for strong female protagonists and Alex Moreno was definitely one. She was sassy, sexy and managed to find her way through a sexist industry. I want to be Alex Moreno. I also really liked how Alex wasn’t shown to be invincible. She goes through a hell lot of problems and comes out stronger. Huge fan of her.

I liked the plot. It was always interesting- full of drama and I dig drama. The duration of the entire story was a bit too long. Too many things were happening and at times it was a little difficult to keep up. The time leaps happened without warning, that got a little confusing. One minute Elly was in Texas and the next she was getting married? A little more of Elly’s thoughts in between would have been nice but I do understand the length constraints. 

The book ended on such a strong and positive note. It could have been gritty and sad under the reason of being realistic but it was so much better this way. It left the reader feeling hopeful and encouraged. 

Liza Treviño has such an amazing writing style. It’s easy to read and yet so entertaining. The transgression from one point of the story arc to another is so smooth and I credit the author’s writing style for it.

Overall, it was a nice, fun read.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

I am so sorry that late BBCT post of Feb. But here’s it now.

This month, we decided to read nonfiction. The Book Blogging Challenge Thingie is basically about broadening our reading horizons and since all three of us (Sam, Tanvi and I) are new to the genre of Nonfiction, we figured it would do us good to read that genre for Feb.

My BBCT book for the month of Feb was ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’ by Katherine Boo.

 

The book cover

 

The blurb at Goodreads goes-

From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities.

In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.

Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting“ in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter — Annawadi’s “most-everything girl” — will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call “the full enjoy.”

But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.

With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers  is about the lives of the residents of Annawadi. What I really liked about the book was that the author Katherine Boo had actually made a proper effort to get to know the characters so much so that when I finally checked out their pictures, they looked exactly like I had imagined them to. The book also gave me the feeling of actually walking around in their shoes for a bit. Of course I, being a spoilt brat from the high-rises of Mumbai, cannot even begin to fathom their lives. But I can surely say that the book remained with me.

For me, the book talked about the loss of childhood especially in the case of Abdul. Due to his father’s sickness, the responsibility of the family fell on the young shoulders of Abdul and this strikes me as being absolutely not fair. He deserved a childhood. I respect him a lot because he never cribbed and almost singlehandedly sustained their business. To actually have a successful business while being a teenager, no matter how small the business is, is something astounding. What if he had gotten a proper education? He could have really excelled.

How many such Abduls are losing out on opportunities?And then we crib about why India isn’t growing.

Another character I adored was Manju. I am  actually curious about what is happening in her life right now. She is smart, hard-working and just so terrific! She stayed with me after the story.

Asha was complex. I respect her. She did what she had to in order to survive-not only survive but thrive. Yes, what she did to Mr Kamble and others was wrong. There is no excuse for that. But Asha is a fighter.

BTBF did not show the slums or its residents as something pitiable. Annawadi was a community, a mini-city and an economy-all in one. BTBF showed the residents’ struggles, fortunes and misfortunes but it potrayed them as so human. We, the overcity people, tend to the slum-dwellers off. We don’t even wait to consider them as a part of the same species. BTBF taught me empathy.

The book also talked about corruption in India. I was aware of its presence but not the degree of it. Corruption is everywhere. It scares me. What future are we going to have if this continues?

Since it was a nonfictional book, it did seem to drag on at some point. But that could also be due to the fact that I am not accustomed to reading nonfiction. Nevertheless, I did get bored somewhere in between.

I rate the book 3.5/5 stars.

Have you read Behind the Beautiful Forevers? What do you think of it?

Also, check out Sam’s post on Seriously…I’m kidding here and Tanvi’s post here.

 

 

The Spectacular Now (Book)

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According to Goodreads, ‘The Spectacular Now’ is –

“This National Book Award Finalist is now a major motion picture — one of the most buzzed-about films at Sundance 2013, starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller. SUTTER KEELY. HE’S the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually. Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee’s clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it’s up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go forth and prosper. But Aimee’s not like other girls, and before long he’s in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else’s life—or ruin it forever.”

It’s been a few days since I read this book so I’ve had enough of time to take it in. the problem is I still have no freaking idea what to think about it. I don’t know whether I should hate the book and dissuade my bookworm friends from reading it or whether I should love it and make them read it. Maybe I should do a bit of both. I do think that ‘The Spectacular Now’ is amazing. But the end! It kind of spoilt the entire book for me. So is it that I loved the book but hated the end? Nope. The end while awful was absolutely necessary. I don’t know how to explain without spoilers. So, I guess-

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Sutter Keely is an eighteen year old alcoholic who believes in living in the spectacular now and has a great sense of humor. Aimee Finecky is your typical shy nerd with a deep love for science fiction. At the beginning of the book, we’re shown that Sutter is obviously an alcoholic. He has a girlfriend, Cassidy. He does care about her. But the Sutterman does not believe in planning for the future.  He only believes in living in the now in the most spectacular way possible. Sutter is adorable but he just doesn’t get that his actions have consequences.  And as Cassidy tells him, ” For once, put someone else’s feelings before your own.”  Cassidy dumps Sutter.

Then we can see Sutter-the party king’s downfall bit by bit. No, it’s not that he starts becoming less fun.  It’s just that as graduation looms ahead, everyone around him starts growing up.

One night, after a disastrous dinner party at his sister’s place, Sutter gets absolutely trashed and wakes up the next morning in someone’s backyard with Aimee Finecky looking down at him. At first, he pities her. He thinks she’s a social disaster and takes her up as his project. He intends to grow her a backbone. But Aimee isn’t like Cassidy or Shawnie or any of the other girls.

“She’s different from the girls I’m used to dating. She doesn’t get tired of my stories and jokes or expect me to start reading her mind. She doesn’t want me to dress better or put highlights in my hair or serious up. I’m not a lifestyle accessory to her. I’m a necessity. I’m the guy that’s going to crack open her cocoon. She doesn’t need to change me – she needs me to change her. At least until her little butterfly wings get strong enough to fly away.” 

So they start dating and as expected Aimee falls for Sutter. She starts drinking and stands up to her so called best friend. She stands up to her mum about not going to community College. It’s a pretty good change for her so far. She loosens up.

But soon, it starts becoming too much. Aimee starts drinking almost as much as Sutter. Her grades start falling. And after an after-prom party, she earns a nick-name that has a lot to do with puking. Not good.

Cassidy and Ricky (Sutter’s best friend) stage an Aimee Intervention. Sutter doesn’t agree at first but after an accident while returning from his father’s place in which Aimee breaks her hand, he realizes Aimee deserves way better than he can give her.

“She’s drenched and bedraggled, but I’ve never loved anyone as much as I love her right now. That’s how I know I’ll have to give her up.” 

“See, I do have a future to give her after all, just not one that includes me.” 

Sutter puts Aimee’s feelings before his own. He does do that, for once in his life.

Now, he has no job, his illusion of his father is dashed to pieces, and all his friends are going places and growing up. And there’s no Aimee.

At the very end, we see Sutter getting drunk in a bar with a bunch of other drunks. It’s like a portal into his future. You hope that Aimee would be successful in saving him. But she isn’t. And you knew that! Somewhere, in some sick way, the ending wasn’t unexpected. We are still stuck in those Disney fairytales. Happily ever afters, huh.

So the book ends on the most perfect, real and heart-breaking note-

“I open my arms wide and let the wind flow over me. I love the universe and the universe loves me. That’s the one-two punch right there, wanting to love and wanting to be loved. Everything else is pure idiocy—shiny fancy outfits, Geech-green Cadillacs, sixty-dollar haircuts, schlock radio, celebrity-rehab idiots, and most of all, the atomic vampires with their de-soul-inators, and flag-draped coffins. 

Goodbye to all that, I say. And goodbye to Mr. Asterhole and the Red Death of algebra and to the likes of Geech and Keeeevin. Goodbye to Mom’s rented tan and my sister’s chargecard boobs. Goodbye to Dad for the second and last time. Goodbye to black spells and jagged hangovers, divorces, and Fort Worth nightmares. To high school and Bob Lewis and once-upon-a-time Ricky. Goodbye to the future and the past and, most of all, to Aimee and Cassidy and all the other girls who came and went and came and went. 

Goodbye. Goodbye. I can’t feel you anymore. The night is almost too beautifully pure for my soul to contain. I walk with my arms spread open under the big fat moon. Heroic “weeds rise up from the cracks in the sidewalk, and the colored lights of the Hawaiian Breeze ignite the broken glass in the gutter. Goodbye, I say, goodbye, as I disappear little by little into the middle of the middle of my own spectacular now” 

And we are left with indecision. I know, I was.

Now for the movie. Here’s the trailer- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDTBLSkUmYk

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