3 out of 4 stars
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I Don't Belong Here by Melissa Grunow is a collection of essays describing brief events wherein some of the deepest and truest emotions are felt by people. The essays talk about love, loss, hope, disappointment, struggle and pain. For example, one essay talks about how a wife remains hopeful and keeps overlooking and forgiving her husband’s wrongful acts, until she reaches a point of exhaustion and something rather insignificant causes her to break down. Another essay speaks about how a woman slowly gets emotionally attached to a man despite knowing that they do not have a future together and how their inevitable separation (and his subsequent attraction to another woman) makes her take a rather irrational decision which is completely out of her character, just to break them apart.
There are twenty such stories in the book and each story tells a heartwarming tale. As I began reading the essays, I could relate to the events and connect with the protagonists completely. The stories are not creative or imaginative – they relate to everyday events and are stories that a person would hear all around them. However, the author has poured her heart into the book. I could feel deep emotion running through every essay.
The essays are rather short and brief. The descriptions seem crisp and no unnecessary detail has been added by the author. While each essay has a very strong plot that will grip your attention, the topics that are discussed are heavy. I could not read more than two essays in one sitting. At times, I did not feel like reading the book because I knew that it would play with my emotions and could possibly leave me feeling low. However, I believe that the author’s ability to alter my mood is a sign of an excellently written book.
In terms of language, I found the book slightly difficult to read. Certain complex and uncommon words were added which interrupted my flow of reading. I had to assume the meaning of some words based on their context. Further, some sentences were very long and most of them could have been broken down into three or more smaller sentences.
While the book seems well edited overall, I found a few minor errors. There were errors such as the use of the word “toward” instead of “towards”. In terms of formatting, there is not enough spacing between text (especially between two paragraphs) which could make the book slightly tougher to read. Further, while this could have been intentional, there were many blank pages throughout the book. In the introduction section of the book for example, there were three blank pages and three pages with just a few words on them. I found this a little unusual and distracting.
I would rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. The book had essays with very strong plots and I loved the author’s writing style. I could feel that the author has poured her heart into this book. Her effort is evident. However, I found the book slightly difficult to read due to the complex sentence structures and the use of unusual vocabulary. Further, I would have liked more spacing between paragraphs.
I would recommend this book only to adults since certain topics may be very heavy for children. This is not a light-hearted book and might significantly alter the reader’s mood. Hence, I would recommend this book to adults who can take serious topics and like reading realistic and emotional stories.
I Don't Belong Here
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