Winger – Bookish Thoughts

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Winger
By Andrew Smith

Rate: 3.5 / 5 stars

What I Thought:

This book was a doozy.

So it was definitely far from perfect. At times the main character annoyed the ever living shit out of me, and the story in itself just seemed totally unbelievable. To be honest, the whole novel was like a mediocre version of John Green’s Looking for Alaska. The plot line felt unbalanced, the most of the characters were bothersome, and the story just had no drive.

However.

I did manage to read the 400+ page book in about 24 hours. I absolutely fell in love with Joey. Even the main character Ryan Dean won me over by the end. Actually, the ending saved the entire book for me. I found myself attached to the story enough to cry at the end, and I even did that book hug thing where you just sit and grieve while clutching the book to your body for like five minutes after finishing it.

I just wish that some of the magic that I loved at the end was more evident throughout the entire novel. It did feel like it was being written by an immature 14 year old, and although I guess that was what Smith was going for, it was a bit of a turn off for me. Regardless, I made it through to the end mildly amused, and ended up liking the book and appreciating the ending.

So there you have it: nothing spectacular from this one, but likable enough.

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P.S. We’re just not going to talk about how long ago my last post on this blog was. You get it. Life is hard.

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What Being a Fat Woman Is Really Like

The article Cosmopolitan published a couple weeks ago has been circulating the plus size blogosphere with force. Many gals have taken to answering the questions themselves, and I want to follow suit. I know I’m younger that most of the ladies that have done it, but I thought my readers would be interested in knowing the story behind my body and how I feel about it. So let’s get right into it!

How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat?

I really don’t like it. I understand that each person has internal struggles with their body image, but it still gets to me. I’m always thinking, if they see themselves as fat, then what do they think of me? I just try to surround myself with people that don’t make these comments. If they do, I tell them to embrace their fluff and move on. People know me for being a jokester, so they’ll laugh at me and do just that, move on. Pretty effective, and keeps everyone in good spirits at least for a little while.

How has your body image changed since high school? College? 

Ever since being on my own at college, I’ve embraced my personal style, and my body image has greatly improved. With it, my mental health and sociability have gotten better. People will love me despite my size, and if I’m confident and happy, people around me will be as well.

However, it’s obviously an on going battle. I still have really bad days both with my body and my head. I don’t think that can ever go away for anybody. It’s getting better, though, and that’s all I can hope for.

Have you tried dieting? What happened? 

Actually, not really. I never stuck to anything for more than like 2 days. I just love food too much. And my dad’s an amazing Italian chef; how am I supposed to pass that up? At school I have more well-rounded options, and I definitely make a conscious decision to eat healthier, but that’s about living a healthy life, not about losing weight.

Do you think in your case your weight is partly or entirely genetic?  

There’s a pretty good possibility. Thyroid problems are prevalent on my mom’s side, and most women on my dad’s side are big and strong. I come from big, beautiful Italian women, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people assumed you were unhealthy? 

Like I said, I’ve been making sure I make healthy choices. However, I love rich and fried foods, and you can’t get me to give them up. With colorguard I’m pretty active, but I could probably stand to make more time for the gym. But that just really doesn’t appeal to me, and I’d rather be plump and happy rather than thin and stressed.

Are your parents both supportive of you at the weight you’re at? Have they always been? 

They never seemed to have a problem. Like previously mentioned, I come from two families of strong Italian women who appreciate food. It’s kind of expected. I think they care more that I’m healthy and happy.

How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus-size people? 

I just wish I knew how it felt to walk into a store, see something I like, pick out my size, and buy it. That just doesn’t exist for girls of my size. I have to search online for hours just to find something cute in my size that I can afford. Yesterday I went to Target and was incredibly annoyed with the fact that there were practically no 2x’s in stock. It’s frustrating to have a personal style that no one seems to make clothes for. And if you’re a fat girl that likes trendy/edgy clothing? Well then you’re completely shit out of luck because that just doesn’t exist in our size.

Also… one size fits all sweaters and leggings?! Yeah, no.

Do you think plus-size women are judged differently than plus-sized men are? How? 

You see a fat guy lounging with no shirt on at the beach? No problem! You see a fat girl lounging in a two piece at the beach? Ew how dare she! I don’t feel like getting into this. It’s just disgusting how judgemental people can be.

Do you think there’s an assumption made/stereotype that exists about plus-size people? How would you respond to it?

People think we’re lazy, unattractive, unsuccessful, that we lack self control… The list goes on and on. I know plenty of girls that are sexy and successful all while rocking their curves. I have plenty of friends, and I’m doing extremely well both in and out of school. Every person is different. No one else dictates how I live my life. Stereotypes practically exist to be broken.

Do you think there’s ever a right way or time to express concern about someone’s weight? 

I say it’s better to just mind your own business.

What are the worst things people have said to you about your body? 

Back in middle school I was called every name in the book. In high school it was never really directly said to me; it was more snickering behind my back as I walked past a table. However, it never really got to me. Sure on bad body days they echo in my head, but overall, I couldn’t care less about those people who have nothing else better to do than call a girl out on something she sees everyday in the mirror.

What have people said (or do you wish they’d say) that would compliment your body or appearance?

Since about senior year of high school, I’ve been getting a fair share of compliments. When I wear a nice outfit or do my hair pretty or take time to do my makeup, there’s always a handful of people who comment on it. I’ve surrounded myself with people who genuinely care about me and think highly of me. It does wonders for one’s self esteem.

Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?

Actually no. I have a lot of friends, and they all vary greatly in body types and sizes. I don’t care about someone’s appearance. I care about whether or not they’re an asshole.

How has your weight affected your sex life, if at all? 

Oh boy.

I don’t have a sex life as of yet. I’m not sure if it has anything to do with my weight. I’ve never been in a relationship, and I’ve never been in an intimate situation. This really doesn’t bother me though. I like being independent and not having to worry directly about anyone other than myself.

When you’ve been single, has your weight affected your dating life?

It might. I’m sure there have been people that have been attracted to my personality, but my appearance held them back. I’m not really looking for a relationship though, so I can’t say I’ve been directly rejected recently. There was an ongoing… something or other… with someone, and I think my appearance made him uncomfortable. Sucks for him, I’m an amazing gal.

Do you feel weird if the guy you’re with only dates larger women?

Not really? A guy likes what he likes I guess. Nothing wrong with that. Just so he treats me well and doesn’t objectify me. You wouldn’t judge a guy for dating only skinny girls, so why would it be different for fat girls? Each person is different, and choosing to be in a relationship with someone goes past their physical characteristics.

Do you feel weird if he’s only dated slimmer women before you? 

Nope. Obviously I’m fabulous enough to have broken their streak. I take that as a compliment!

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So that’s it! This did get a little TMI, but I have nothing to hide. This is my fat life and I’m embracing it!

xoxo Gigi.

Allegiant – Bookish Thoughts

Rate: 2.5/5 stars

Disclaimer: This will contain spoilers. Also, I wrote this at 5 in the morning right after closing the book and wiping the tears in my eyes. That might show in my writing.

One word: Bullshit.

I can’t say I hated it, because I didn’t. There’s no way I can finish a 500+ page book in 2 days if I hate it. But wow. This was some proper bullshit.

The entire book was one huge cop-out with some character death thrown in for flavor. The death at the end of the book was devastating, yes, but it was just so unnecessary to the theme! If you’re going to kill someone important, there needs to be a very concrete reason. AND THERE JUST WASN’T ONE. There was just so much information and action in the book, and none of it really added to the plot or progressed the book. It was a flat out frustrating read.

Also, I hated reading from Tobias’s point of view. Now that I know the ending, I know why that was needed, but I’m pretty sure that was the ONLY reason, which isn’t good enough.

I just do not even know what to say. It was anticlimactic. 500 pages leading up to nothing. Sure everything was worked out in the end, but there was no climax, no falling action, no anything. It just happened, and someone got killed in the process. Yes the ultimate selfless sacrifice. Never really getting away from your abnegation faction, huh Tris? Oh love before faction… bullshit.

It was just poorly constructed and written. I loved the first two books! I thought they were written really well! But this one… I never did get a concrete image of the Bureau. Every room was half described, leaving me confused when a character moved or did something. The entire Allegiant thing (which was the name of the FUCKING BOOK) was left kind of unexplored, along with their surroundings. The big plot twist (I guess sorta) was so badly handled. I saw it coming, and then it was shit for the next and last 50 pages. I don’t even want to fully get into Tris and Tobias’s relationship. And the forcing of “equality” down our throats.

I could go on, but I’m just super disappointed. This review is making it sound harsh. It wasn’t absolutely terrible. It’s just when I wasn’t cringing or crying, I was bored, and that was about 85% of the time. It finished the series. It resolved it, I guess. The epilogue wasn’t complete shit. It did make me feel something, so that’s kind of the point right? I’m just…. It could’ve been done much much better.

What is it with all these awesome Dystopian trilogies completely shitting on the last installment? I know endings suck to write, but damn.

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(I keep telling myself that I am going to crank out intelligent, poised reviews. But I’m just so fired up after finishing a book that I cannot contain myself. Maybe if I make this a more regular thing I’ll tone it up. Maybe.)

xoxo Gigi.

I Can’t (But I Can)

Writing this for one of my classes is what made me spiral further into my really depressive mood last Thursday. I really thought it was worse that it is. When I reread it to make any last adjustments before submitting it, I realized that it was actually pretty good, and I should have been more proud of it than I had initially felt. Anyway, I thought I would post it here so anyone can read it, despite what I might think of it. Not everyone does things perfectly on the first try or at all. This is my example of that.

Have any criticisms or pieces of advice? Leave ’em in the comments!

As I went to open this from our submission website I saw that my teacher made a comment saying that she wants me to work on this so it can get published in our literary magazine at my school. I can’t even believe this! It goes to show I guess…

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The shades are drawn tight and the shadows of the room are deeper than the bags that have developed under her eyes. The only light comes from the monitor in the corner across from the bed. The girl sits cross-legged on the wheeled chair, tapping her right fingernails on the cold wood next to her laptop. Why is this so hard,  she thinks to herself.  There’s a low rhythm of rain falling on her rooftop that almost falls in time with her fingers’ beat. The blinking cursor on the screen joins in, and soon there is a silent symphony so loud that it drowns out her heartbeat and she can no longer take it. She slams her laptop shut and stands up.

She can’t do it. There is so much she wants to write about; so much that she cares about, but she cannot get it down. What does this world want from her? She can sit on the internet for hours, constantly surrounded by political activists and strong opinions of people that are as young as she, but yet she feels like no one cares about her small words on her unpopular blog. The world is changing faster than she can write about it, but she doesn’t struggle to keep up; she struggles to start at all.

After pacing the room, rubbing her dry hands over her face, she finally sits back down in her desk chair. She stares at her laptop for a moment too long and then opens it for the second time that night. The words I can’t do it parade around in her head just loud enough to make bumps rise up on her arms and tears brim in her eyes. The harsh white of the blank screen in front of her illuminates the drop that falls from her right eye before she can wipe it away.

She just wants to be good at something for once. She wants to have confidence in something that she has created. She desires the satisfaction of not only pure creation but of pure inspiration that comes from documenting her life and the lives of others around her. She cares so much about everything, but at the same time doesn’t care nearly enough. She wants to live while telling others about it and watch others live while she scribbles away her thoughts. The pressure of society fuels her while simultaneously stifling her passion and replacing it with fear. The doubt is constantly pressing against her skin, fighting to tear her down at the structure.

She lifts her head and dries her cheeks with her sleeve. Her hands jerk unsteadily to the keyboard and hover for a second before finally settling on the keys. She writes for a short time and then stops. Disappointment creeps in before she can block it. She rereads what she just produced and decides it’s not good enough. Nothing she has done has ever been good enough. Why can’t I just do this?

She sits back and puffs her cheeks out with a loud sigh. I just want to write, why is it so hard? I like writing. I care about these things. This shouldn’t be so difficult.

She closes the window and opens her blog. She scrolls mindlessly, sometimes stopping to read a quick blurb about some television show she’s watched too much of. She opens her document again: nothing. She grabs a book she’s read too many times off of her shelf and reads a chapter. She opens her document again: nothing.

Her world is too big and her life is too long and her existence isn’t enough. She wants to spread the word and tell somebody something about anything but she can’t get the words out of her fingertips and just before she screams she shuts her laptop for the last time that night. There’s too much to say and no one to listen to her anyways so she decides for the night not to bother.

The room is now completely dark and there is no longer a soft patter of rain drops falling. This time the silence is quieter, but the girl sits there as if stunned by a loud sound. She didn’t do it. She couldn’t do it. Her thoughts were abundant but she could not sew them together no matter how hard she tried. She walked to her bed and curled up while slices of stories and silver linings floated around without a purpose in her mind. Her disappointment consumed her. Frustration embraced her.

She had nothing of which to call her own. She had nothing of which to be proud. No support, no confidence, nothing to cushion her failure. She sits alone in the dark room, eyeing the corner where her laptop sat. After staring for far too long with dry eyes she stands up and sits herself back down in front of the computer.

She had to have something to say and it was about time she said it. The world didn’t want to listen to a young girl who was obviously too oblivious and not educated enough but she decided this was finally it. Society might not care but she did, and no matter how raw and unfinished her work was, she was going to finish it. This was about her. This was about what she loved, not who loved her. Maybe no one else will read it. Maybe one day millions will. For now, though, the most important and influential person will: herself.

She opened the laptop once more and focused on the soft white page and slow blinking cursor. The small black strokes on the page were no less intimidating, and her thoughts were no less chaotic, but she took one last breath as she for once let the words come.

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So what’d ya think?

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My Optimistic View on the Upcoming Generation

(photo source)

So nothing that I’m going to talk about in this post should be considered new news to anyone out in the blogging atmosphere (except for maybe a blogging mom that is extremely blind to the developmental internet around her). Yesterday I came home for a nice long weekend away from my hectic life at school, and my mother and I ended up at the dining table and having a 2 hour long discussion about the future of our country, and why I see it turning out a bit more optimistically than she might have.

There’s this thing I like to call the Age Barrier, also known as the blurred line between my mother’s generation and my generation. Most people in their late teens and 20s are completely aware of this. I have come to notice that the up and coming generation is MUCH more intelligent than the Baby Boomers like to give us credit for. Everyone focuses on the immature preteens (which is pretty redundant, because most preteens ARE immature, it’s a part of growing up). My grade level has always soared high above expectations, and I don’t see that stopping or slowing any time soon. The young adults of this generation are more in tune and knowledgeable than people realize. The development and popularity of the internet and other likewise technology has allowed for us to become extremely updated and in turn, involved.

So how does all this affect my outlook on changing and improvement of our society? Well that’s pretty easy to explain… sort of. We might have to go a bit further back first.

Let’s be brutally honest for a second, my mom’s generation was lazy. After all the hullabaloo after decades of two world wars, depression, and numerous civil rights movements, the population was tired. They settled into what I like to refer to as the “Entertainment Age.” Television became more important, music became a lifestyle, and the idea of a stationary, stable, and satiated family became the most coveted. No one wanted to push anymore, they just wanted to be satisfied. With all the new developments that struggled out of this era, the new generation thankfully doesn’t want to sit around anymore. And that’s where I lead to my main point.

People today are constantly advocating for liberal political standpoints: pro-choice, feminism, gay rights, public education. The thing is, there’s not many people my age that are completely against any of these. My generation is for the majority, extremely liberal and open-minded; very much more than our politicians that are responsible for our policies. This is where the Age Barrier comes in. The upcoming wave of politicians, teachers, writers, musicians, lawyers, etc. are completely ready for the liberal switch, but the older generation refuses to break the barrier and let the change happen. Why am I so optimistic then? Because this happens all the time. Every few generations the bucket has to tip back over. Ideals and society change, and eventually the old white guys won’t be able to hold on anymore.

My generation is smart, hard-working, and active. While a large portion of us are still getting an education, in the next five years or so this civilization is going to experience a huge flip, and I truly believe that it’s going to cause a wave of acceptance, equality, and progression. I’m excited for all of this to happen and to be part of it all. As a writer, I plan to be a strong voice as this unfolds, and I cannot wait to see how my generation steps up and makes this society something worth living in and worth being proud of.

Some of the pros to hiring a Gen Y or Z
(photo source)