Book Review: How To Make Friends With The Dark by Kathleen Glasgow

dark

Here is what happens when your mother dies.

Release Date: April 9, 2019

Pre-Order on Amazon

Price: $12.91 (hardcover)

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Plot Summary:

It’s the brightest day of summer and it’s dark outside. It’s dark in your house, dark in your room, and dark in your heart. You feel like the darkness is going to split you apart.

That’s how it feels for Tiger. It’s always been Tiger and her mother against the world. Then, on a day like any other, Tiger’s mother dies. And now it’s Tiger, alone.

Here is how you learn to make friends with the dark.

Grade: A

Review:

Having read Glasgow’s heart-wrecking debut, Girl In Pieces, I had an inkling that perhaps her second novel would be another emotional rollercoaster. What I didn’t know is just how much of a wild, heart-breaking ride this would be. Last year, I finally got around to reading White Oleander (about a girl who goes into foster care once her mom is sent to prison for murder), so when Tiger’s mom dies, and she goes to foster care all I can think is, “OH NO BAD THINGS ARE GOING TO HAPPEN NOW!” Because some crazy shit went down in White Oleander that made me grateful that I never had to be a foster child, but at the same time made me feel extremely sorry for those poor kids who do end up becoming wardens of the state. And although I had only known Tiger for a couple of pages, I instantly liked her and was fearful of her future without her mother.

The prose in this book is amazingly STUNNING, even when events happen that leave you feeling like you’re repeatedly getting sucker punched with the most horrible reality. The author has a way of writing that makes grief and despair appear simultaneously poetic and yet very harsh. This book doesn’t lull you with a false sense of security, instead, it pulls the rug out from under your feet making you fall painfully hard. This book isn’t for those who are looking for a casual YA because other than the protagonist being a teen, a lot of the tough reality of life wasn’t glossed over nor sugar-coated. Glasgow wants you to see how difficult it can be to lose the only person you have in life, even if that reality makes you feel uncomfortable at times.

This book will make you feel in ways you didn’t think you were capable of feeling. It will also absolutely shatter your heart to pieces. Not to mention that ugly crying will be in your near future once you pick up this novel. You’ve been warned. But it’s well worth it.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Losing Luke Perry Means Riverdale Loses Its Heart & Soul

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It’s only been one week since the actor, Luke Perry passed away due to a massive stroke at the age of 52. The death came unexpected, and fans worldwide mourned him. For the older generation, he had been the iconic Dylan McKay, the brooding bad boy who oozed effortless cool and charm in Beverly Hills 90210. He was the sort of person that all the girls wanted to date and all the boys yearned to be. At the height of his fame, he was bigger than Robert Pattinson during the Twilight craze stage of his career.

Like anyone growing up in the late ’90s, I too fell in love with Beverly Hills 90210. Being twelve years old living in Naples, Italy at the time, the halls of West Beverly High seemed as alluring and unreachable as attending the Met Gala. I yearned to be as gorgeous as Brenda (Shannen Doherty) and Kelly (Jennie Garth), and could only pray that my future high school boyfriend could be as charming, generous, kind, and gorgeous as Dylan (spoiler alert, it didn’t happen). Although the show was probably seen as merely a teen drama, Luke’s portrayal of Dylan, the fatherless rebel was always intense and pulled at the heartstrings. Towards the last seasons of the show, I wasn’t really a fan anymore but continued to watch because the characters seemed like old friends and I wanted to know how it would end. I was happy when Dylan returned in the remaining last seasons, although I’ll admit that I don’t know if I ever liked the assumption of the finale that Kelly and Dylan would’ve become a couple again (probably because I had always been Team Brenda).

As the years went by, I rarely saw Luke Perry again, probably because I don’t watch much TV or simply because I wasn’t tuning in to the shows he was in. But all of that changed when Riverdale aired. Let me premise that I’ve been a huge fan of Archie Comics since I was 8, so to finally see the characters I grew up loving in comic strip form come to life was a dream come true. At the same time, I was very hesitant, because what if they screwed it up? I almost didn’t want to tune in to the show until I discovered that Luke Perry was going to be playing Fred Andrews, the dad to the show’s protagonist, Archie Andrews (played by KJ Apa). I thought, how bad can a show screw things up when if they excellently cast Luke Perry in it? I was also intrigued to see him play a father figure since the last time I saw him he was still a very sexy Dylan McKay.

Upon viewing the first episode of Riverdale, I was hooked. Luke Perry brought a certain wisdom and kindness to Fred Andrews that couldn’t be said of any of the other parents on the show. In a town that is filled with shady parents, campy plotlines, and a 1950’s Americana nostalgia, Perry’s presence was a balm of calm in the midst of craziness. If in the 90’s we envied Brenda Walsh for dating Dylan McKay, in 2017 we envied Andrew Andrews for having Fred as a father. I think we all wished we had a parent who was as sage and loving as Fred has always been with Archie. Even when in Season 1 Archie was hung up on pursuing music despite it not giving prospects to a college scholarship, Fred was more concerned about Archie lying to him about football, rather than choosing not to be on the team anymore. Anytime Archie has done anything stupid, Fred has never belittled him, but rather be patient and nurturing.

When the Season 1 finale ended with Fred Andrews being shot, I thought, OH NO! FRED CAN’T DIE! WHAT WILL RIVERDALE BE WITHOUT FRED?! Sadly, we’re going to be forced to find out very soon (I don’t know how many more episodes Luke Perry will appear in Season 3). But I can assure you that Riverdale won’t ever be the same without Fred. Luke’s furrowed brow may have seemed too mature for the high school Dylan, but it conveyed all of life’s hard battles in Fred’s gaze. Riverdale has lost its heart and moral compass, without Luke as Fred, both the town and the show is going to be a cold, dark place. R.I.P. Luke, you are missed.

luke

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3 Symbols You Missed While Watching Hereditary

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After the family matriarch passes away, a grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets.

*SPOILERS ALERT* if you have not seen the movie yet, DO NOT read further!

Hereditary is Ari Aster’s first feature film, hailed as the “scariest horror movie of the year”. The film is packed with unsettling visuals and a creepy atmosphere. The movie sees a superb Toni Collette as the troubled Annie, who has to deal with the recent passing of her mother. But as viewers will soon see, it isn’t that death that is the catalyst moment of the movie, but rather a second more dramatic death that occurs shortly, that of daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro). This second death is the one that begins to tear the family apart at the seams, pitting Annie against her son Peter (Alex Wolff), and husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne).

toni

The movie is riddled with symbols and foreshadowing galore. During a class discussion about the flaws of Greek mythology Heracles, a student states: “The characters are all just pawns in this horrible hopelessness.” Which heavily foreshadows how every single character in this movie are simply just pawns of King Paimon, and that they will all be met with tragic deaths.

Here are THREE SYMBOLS that you may have missed whilst watching the movie:

001. Chocolate – Back in the early 1600’s, chocolate was referred to as the Devil’s elixir, hence where the name for the famous chocolate on chocolate cake comes from, Devil’s Food Cake. This symbol is used from the very beginning in the movie, suggesting that Charlie may already have been possessed by King Paimon (one of Hell’s kings) or just a foreshadowing that she will be possessed.

002. The Red Doorknob – Charlie’s room has a red doorknob, similar to the one shown in The Sixth Sense, symbolizing the presence of spirits or possible spirit possessions.

003. King Paimon’s Symbol – This is present from the very beginning of the movie, first seen as a pendant that Annie’s mother is wearing whilst in the casket at the funeral. Another instance where we see this symbol is on the pole that decapitates Charlie the night of the accident, as well as in Joan’s home after she has placed a curse on Annie’s family, and also in blood on the roof of the attic where Annie’s mother’s body has been placed. Lastly, at the very end, when the audience finally sees the idol representation of King Paimon, wearing that same symbol.

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Have you seen this movie? What did you think? Let me know below!

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Remembering Dolores and the Summer of 1999

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While the majority of the world became a Cranberries fan with the iconic song Zombie, I didn’t become a fan till 1999, when their fourth album Bury the Hatchet was released, preceded by their single, Promises. Something about that angry revenge anthem spoke to me (I was an angsty, angry teen) and I also loved the music video cause the wicked witch of the west resembled Fairuza Balk a little. Someone else who was equally a fan of that album was my cousin Melody.

I remember how she and I would listen to the album and daydream about living in London or Los Angeles. That we felt that maybe, in cities like that, our mutual weirdness would be better understood or at least not scoffed or poked fun at, as opposed to where we lived.

My cousin was a bigger fan than I was, to the point that she said, “I wish my name could be Dolores at least it would be better suited for me than Melody. Do-lo-res…just saying it sounds darkly poetic.”

We’d sing along to Animal Instinct whilst applying makeup and drinking conspicuous amounts of coffee and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Clouds of smoke would circle above our heads as we shared lipsticks and secrets, all the while Dolores O’Riordan’s voice at times aggressive, other times ethereal playing in the background. We’d stroll the cobblestone streets of our small Sicilian town, humming Just My Imagination, and dreaming big dreams. This was before selfies were a thing, so I don’t have photos documenting those moments of us together, but they’ve remained engrained in my mind, milk fresh as though they’ve only happened several months ago, and not years ago. How we’d lie both in bed, our long hair meshing together, her’s bleached blonde, mine strawberry blonde, and how it created the perfect sunset hue, and the notes from the songs would transport us elsewhere, somewhere we were convinced that we’d be better versions of ourselves.

On Christmas Eve of 2013, Melody committed suicide—and although I hadn’t seen her in years since 1999 (I had moved to America and she had moved to Turin), I couldn’t stop thinking of the last summer days we spent together. Of how everything seemed possible—when we were young and fearless. And we didn’t know it then, but maybe, we already were the better versions of ourselves but we were just too blind to see it.

Now, with the recent and unexpected death of Dolores O’Riordan, I can’t help but think about how Bury the Hatchet had been the soundtrack of my last days spent with Melody. And how often, these last five years, I’ve found myself listening to the familiar songs as a way to feel closer to my cousin, as a way to be transported back to those careless summer days.

And now, I’m merely left with the songs and the memories of a summer that’s gone and with it its dreams.

By: Azzurra Nox

Chris Cornell: Black Hole Sun – When the Darkness Swallows You

Many people were surprised this morning to wake up to the news of the death of Chris Cornell, frontman of rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave. He was also known for being a member of Temple of Dog, a tribute band dedicated to his late friend Andrew Wood who died of Heroin overdose.

Like, Nirvana, Soundgarden were one of the most popular bands to come out of Seattle in the late 90’s, carrying the torch for the grunge movement. But apart from having the staple grunge growl, Chris was known for his near four octave vocal range and being a prolific songwriter.

His love for music began during his teenage years, when he found a box of Beatles records during a time he was really depressed. He rose to prominence with his band Soundgarden, and gained international recognition with their sophomore album Superunknown, that featured singles Black Hole Sun and Spoonman, which both won Grammy Awards. Superunknown is listed #336 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 500 Greatest Albums of all time, while VH1 listed Black Hole Sun as #25 on the Top 100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s.

When Zack de La Rocha left Rage Against the Machine, Chris Cornell was asked to join the band, which soon became Audioslave. Apart from being the frontman for two bands, he was also known for his solo work, especially the song You Know My Name, the song written for the Bond film Casino Royale. His most recent songwriting endeavor was the charity single The Promise written for the ending credits for the movie of the same name about the Armenian genocide.

Chris was touring with his original band, Soundgarden when he committed suicide by hanging himself in his hotel room after a show in Detroit. Although this may have come as a shock to many, perhaps the darkness the singer experienced as a teen may have resurfaced again. Or maybe, like the ancient Greeks, he wished to have a most glorious death, meaning to die right after experiencing one of his best days because who wouldn’t want to end it on a high? The truth is, in these circumstances, we never know why someone decides to take their own life. But one thing is certain, too often the music world is plagued by the darkness that consumes their artists.

But after all that is said and done, at least we’re left with the music to remember these tortured artists by. And I like to believe that maybe they have found some peace in an after world that burns a little brighter than the one they left behind.

If you or anyone you know are feeling suicidal you can seek help at American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or Suicide Prevention Lifelife. You are not alone.

By: Azzurra Nox