Book 5 of 12
Riding Standing Up By Sparrow Spaulding
I should probably start the book review for May, with the statement that this post is only my opinion. I know everyone has differing opinions about the books they read, just as they do about movies that they watch. If you have read the content description of this book, or for any other reason, have decided you want to read it, by all means, read it. My intent is not to discourage anyone from reading anything, it is simply to let you know my thoughts on what I have read. That said, here is my review on my choice for my May book review, Riding Standing Up.
There have been very few books in my life that I have started reading, only to decide “I cannot read this”, and just stopped reading right then and there. In fact, it is probably less than five books, and one of those, I picked it up again a year later, only to enjoy it on its second chance. I am not sure that would have been the case with this book, even if I waited five years to read it.
This was not a book that was recommended to me, I picked it out completely on my own. The narrative for it sounded like something that I am usually interested in – it almost sounded a little mysterious. A memoir about a woman who overcame a childhood trauma, who fought to survive and emerged strong, despite all of the tragic circumstances she endured throughout her years growing up. It sounded good to me. In addition to being a Writer, the author is also a Therapist, so I thought the book would be written in a sort of professional way I suppose.
Without giving any direct spoilers to what happens in the book (in case someone decides they want to read it for themselves), I was, for lack of a better word, surprised, at what the tragic event was that changed her life forever. Please do not get me wrong, I am not saying that what happened to her was not traumatizing to her, it was simply not what I was expecting it to be. The description on the book leads one to believe that this early event is what changed her life forever, yet, by the end of the book, I was left feeling like I failed to see the traumatizing change it made in her life. Okay, the next paragraph is a SPOILER, so skip it if you need to, but I feel like I need to say it, to make my last statement make sense.
The traumatizing event was that her parents divorced and her biological father took her and her brother away from her biological mom, with her mothers’ parents consent, and he did not want to give them back. However, within about a year, their mom got them back, and she remained with her mom, visiting her dad throughout the book, while her brother went back on his own to live with the dad afterall. The book actually ends with her making the choice, on her own, to go and live with her dad after high school because she wants to get away from her mother. That was the life changing event. Like I said, it just was not what I was expecting. I also failed to see the trauma once I read the whole book.
The entire middle of the book was really nothing more than her walking us through her coming of age years. I will say, that she had a dysfunctional life, though probably not much different from the lives of many kids, who live dysfunctional lives. She was let down by her parents, and she learned how to use people and manipulate them. She fell in and out of wrong groups of friends, but seems to be in full control of what she is doing to herself and others, and always finds a way to justify it.
I felt let down by the whole book. Maybe because she is now a Therapist, I was expecting more from her story. I was hoping, perhaps, for something more in depth – maybe something where she not only recalled her upbringing, but also analyzed it for us, from a therapists perspective. Instead, I felt like it was simply a book full of resentful memories of her growing up. About less than a quarter of the way in to the book, I had gotten it – at (most) times she didn’t like her home, her parents, her brother, her clothes, her school, her job, her friends. If she got what she wanted, she was happy. If she couldn’t get her way, she would find a way that she could. I felt like I was reading an angry teenagers diary through most of it. It had, in my opinion, a lot of empty content. I think she makes an attempt to evoke certain emotion at certain times, but seems to fall flat.
Unfortunately, this book would have been one that I would have put down and decided not to finish. The only reason I did finish it, is because it was my review book for May. Good or bad, I decided it should be finished and reviewed. Like I said earlier, this review is just my opinion, feel free to read it and form your own.
I am giving Riding Standing Up, 2 Scouts
1 Scout – Hated It 2 Scouts – Disliked It 3 Scouts – Liked It 4 Scouts – Loved It