A Review of My February 2021 Reads

Hey friends,

I’m sure many of us are thinking the same thing right now – how is it already March??

This year is flying by, but I’ve managed to stay productive with my reading. I finished five new books last month and am excited to share my thoughts on them.

So, let’s dive right in! See below for a review of my February 2021 reads, as well as links to purchase the books if you want to get any of them for yourself.

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

This is a really interesting story about how an everyday working woman can gradually fall into drug addiction. I remember hearing a lot about this book years ago when it first came out, and the plot seems just as important and relevant now as it was then.

I really like the clear writing style that Weiner uses and the relatability of the main character as we follow her on her journey. Said journey actually goes a lot farther than I expected it to, but I think it’s very true for a lot of people who start taking prescribed pain killers innocently and then eventually find themselves in a place they never thought they’d be.

Overall, I really liked this book and it kept me interested all the way through. Here is a favorite quote of mine:

“You know how they tell you on planes, in case of an emergency, the adults should put their oxygen masks on first? You’re not going to be any good to anyone if you’re not taking care of yourself.”

The Husband Hour by Jamie Brenner
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

This book was so different from what I initially thought it would be and, while I did figure out the main twist a bit early, I found myself taken by surprise a few times throughout the story.

Our main character is the widow of a famous hockey player and soldier, who keeps herself closed off from both family and the public for years. That becomes a bit of a challenge when a filmmaker who’s set on telling her husband’s story shows up and won’t leave her alone.

This book mainly takes place at the Jersey Shore, which I’m very familiar with. There were plenty of fun easter eggs for anyone who knows the area, which were a nice surprise since I didn’t know the setting of the book before I cracked it open.

This novel takes you on an emotional journey and also explores different family relationships; I particularly enjoyed the story arc of our main character and her older sister. It’s told as a braided narrative, so we get the perspective of several different characters.

A short, but favorite quote from the book is:

“They say a mother is only as happy as her most unhappy child.”

The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Yes, another 4-star rating. I really did enjoy a lot of books that I read in the last month!

This one started off a bit slow for me, but I got into it after the first couple of chapters. It’s the story of Phoebe and Jake, who dated as teenagers and spent decades together as a wealthy married couple. The story is inspired by the Bernie Madoff financial scandal.

We go back and forth between Phoebe and Jake’s perspectives, and one of my favorite things about this book is how three-dimensional the characters are. Through their thoughts and narration, we get to see the strengths, hopes, and flaws of each, and we get to see how the story unfolds based on those things.

I’m not too interested in stocks or investing, but you don’t need to be into that stuff to enjoy this book. There’s a lot of exploration into family and marriage, as well as business and putting on airs to fit in with the rich, Wall Street crowd. Here’s a quote that I liked:

“Honestly, all I need is for us to do three things in this world: take good care of our family, do good work we can be proud of, and concentrate on bringing out the best in each other.”

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
My Rating: 5/5 Stars

This was definitely the best book that I read last month.

It’s told from the perspective of Kambili, a 15-year-old girl who lives in Nigeria. Her father is a very high-up man there in terms of both religion and wealth. We follow her and her family over the course of some very eventful months in their lives, mostly seeing the dark secrets of her household, but the political struggles of Nigeria are woven throughout, as well.

Adichie is one of those authors whose writing and characters draw you in and make you feel a bit emptier when they’re gone. I really got into this story and was surprised by the ending.

Another thing I love about this book is that it takes place in Adichie’s native country. I enjoy reading books that give you a glimpse into other cultures and life in other places around the world. This book was a great read but also a great reminder to be thankful for growing up the way that I did.

Since this was my favorite of the month, I’m going to share two quotes:

“There are people…who think that we cannot rule ourselves because the few times we tried, we failed, as if all the others who rule themselves today got it right the first time. It is like telling a crawling baby who tries to walk, and then falls back on his buttocks, to stay there. As if the adults walking past him did not all crawl, once.”

“She seemed so happy, so at peace, and I wondered how anybody around me could feel that way when liquid fire was raging inside me, when fear was mingling with hope and clutching itself around my ankles.”

Life After Life (image from Audible listing)

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

This was the only February read that did not come out of my book jar; I got a 2-for-1 deal on my Audible subscription and so I added this extra book to my library. It has an interesting premise, a girl named Ursula is reborn every time she dies and given the chance to do things differently.

Ursula is born in 1910, so there are plenty of things that happen to her throughout her childhood that cause her to “start over,” and once she makes it to adulthood, we see her living through World War II in Germany. The story does get a bit repetitive at parts, since we see her being born and living out her childhood multiple times.

However, I did find the lengthier chapters where we see her taking different paths in adulthood very interesting, and I loved to see Ursula change with each “new chance” she got at living life. The different characters of her family and the friends she came across also kept my attention.

Overall, I think this book was a bit more drawn out than it needed to be. I liked the premise and enjoyed most of the middle part of the book, but by the end I was feeling a little tired of it and not too invested in how things would turn out.

Here are a couple of good, short quotes:

“Ursula craved solitude but she hated loneliness, a conundrum that she couldn’t even begin to solve.”

“What if we had a chance to do it again and again, until we finally did get it right? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”

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