CBR12 Bingo: Uncannon (Becoming) and Reader’s Choice as a replacement for Yellow (Emergency Contact)
Who knows? If I get around to finishing the book I have on the song “Hallelujah,” I might actually finish a Bingo line.
Anyway, on to the reviews. I read these books long enough ago that I have forgotten a lot about them and what my thoughts were about them, but I’ll try my best. Atthough, when it comes to Becoming, I’m sure plenty of other reviewers have said it better. By the way, as a head’s up for both of these books, I’d give a minor content warning for mention of miscarriage. It hit a little close to home for me a couple of times.
First, Becoming. This could also have gone in the Book Club square because my short-lived book club agreed on this as our 3rd book (that was back in July and we haven’t discussed it. I think it’s safe to call the group defunct). I mostly read it, but I did listen to some of it as an audiobook. While that’s hard for me to do often because I’m more of a visual learner, I really enjoyed hearing Mrs. Obama read the book.
The first third of Becoming is about Obama’s childhood up through college. I appreciated learning more about her and her life. There were times when it felt a bit odd, though, such as when in middle school or high school Obama is ogling (shirtless, I think) basketball players. I get that it’s a normal thing to do, but it was hard to reconcile with the image of the very elegant First Lady.
The second and third parts are about Michelle and Barack as a couple, then as parents, and then as POTUS and FLOTUS. I loved the photos that were included in the book and learning more about Mrs. Obama’s family. Her mother seems to be quite a character. I was also highly intrigued by the details provided about having Secret Service protection and living in the White House. There was also a lot to learn about Mrs. Obama’s experiences as a woman of color. As a white woman, I try to pay attention when people of color share their experiences so that, to the limited degree possible, I can have some understanding of what things are like for them. For example, what it was like to be a minority at Princeton. Also, Christopher Hitchens’s comments on Mrs. Obama, and on her thesis at Princeton, have to be rooted in racism. I don’t think there’s any other way to interpret his comments, especially after I found part of her thesis and read some of it. Hitchens said it “wasn’t written in any known language.” Perhaps he just didn’t know anything about statistics?
So, bottom line, I recommend Becoming, and if you’re into audiobooks, this is definitely a treat to listen to.
Ok, next. Emergency Contact. I think I remember even less about this one. The main characters are Penny and Sam. Penny couldn’t wait to move away from home to start college. She meets Sam, who works at a local coffee house, through her roommate. He was briefly related to the roommate by marriage years ago. Penny and Sam then bump into each other and Penny helps Sam through a panic attack. They exchange numbers and begin texting each other regularly. Penny hides it from her roommate because Sam didn’t want anyone to know about the panic attack or what led to it. They become pretty close.
Penny is a fairly closed off person. She doesn’t really get close to people or let them get very close to her, and she can be judgmental. But she’s not unlikable and you can see why she uses this distance to protect herself. There isn’t much I can recall in terms of details about characterization, though I remember a fair amount of plot points. And I know I liked the book – I gave it 3 stars on Good Reads, which isn’t bad. So, I recommend this one, too. It seems to fall in the category of “bantery romance” that I’d been reading somewhat obsessively.