Title: Keri: the shocking true story of a child abused
Author: Kat Ward
Number of pages: 745
Genre: memoir, non-fiction
Book Number/Goal: 24/52
My Rating: 3/5

Review:
Young Keri was considered a problem child and a pathological liar, but in fact, she was systematically abused by her psychotic, hateful mother and violent step-father, by bullies and even by social workers. No one believed her (at least no one who could make any difference). This is the first book in the series, it covers Keri's life from birth to the age of 15.

The book delivers exactly what is advertised - it's shocking and realistic. Obviously the author can't be blamed for not having exciting magical adventures, never encountering any celebrities, or lacking the gift of turning pain into poetry. If many pages of depressing details of an ordinary child's life in a disfunctional family is your thing, you might enjoy it.

The weird part is that the author provides extensive descriptions of many events, scenes and long conversations no normal person would be able to remember so precisely, being so little. Most likely she is embellishing the memories to make them more vivid and real for the readers; but then the question is, how much of it is indeed true?

The story has no obvious "moral". Perhaps it's calling for a change in the structure of child-caring institutions, as many more children may be suffering under similar circumstances. For me, it reinforces the idea that children are a burden, and no one should be allowed to breed unless they want a child more than anything else in their life; and forcing a person to keep a child they do not want can ruin many lives.
Title: We
Author: Yevgeny Zamyatin
Genre: sci-fi
Book Number/Goal: 25/52
My Rating: 5/5
Notes: reread
Download: English | Russian

Review:
This classical dystopian story is a diary of D-503, the chief engineer of the spaceship "Integral" being built by the One State. He lives a happy life, with the state controlling every aspect of the citizens' behavior, up to hourly schedule, and enforcing everyone's fervent devotion to the leader, the Well-Doer. D-503 is a mathematician and he often reflects on the glorious order, so much more beautiful and reasonable than the barbaric customs of his ancestors. However, one day he meets a mysterious woman, I-330, who turns out to be a deviant and a rebel. Falling in love with her shatters his comfortable world and releases his dormant human instincts.

The writing style is unique - a little stilted like a scientific treatise and in the same time, poetic and full of vivid imagery. The writing becomes more and more disjointed, incoherent and intense, as D-503's mental stability deteriorates and the chaos breaks out.

Much of the story is devoted to romance, but the best part is the world-building and especially the brilliant descriptions that give the reader a glimpse into the insider's mind. The premise of the diary being written for aliens unfamiliar with the One State's way of life allows the author to provide some amount of the background info without distracting from the plot. This world is both horrifying and fascinating. I can't even help feeling a little envious.
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