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Memoir / Autobiography

  • Plot/Idea: In her memoir Jesus Christ Is Real, Deir-Boyette ecstatically conveys how the blessings of Jesus and her connection to a higher power have deeply influenced her life journey. Readers may crave additional details to flesh out the narrative. As it stands, the work reads more like a book of praise than a memoir of a life guided by all encompassing faith.

    Prose: Deir-Boyette capably conveys how her faith has driven many aspects of her life and her story may prove cathartic to readers of faith. As a memoir, however, the book is lacking in narrative depth. Details about the author's emotional life and personal decision making feel glossed over, which will lead many readers to become disengaged.

    Originality: Jesus Christ Is Real is a highly personal story of triumph and a celebration of the author's faith. 

    Character/Execution: The author's faith in God is ultimately the most memorable aspect of her story. Readers may crave a greater sense of Deir-Boyette herself, as her exuberant beliefs overshadow any true sense of her character.

  • Rasputin: The Memoirs of His Secretary

    by Delin Colon

    Rating: 0.00

    Plot/Idea: Colon's translation of Simanovitch's journals will be a welcome addition to the vast trove of literature that focuses on Rasputin. Colon's helpful introductory material provides helpful contexts for understanding the world in which they lived, including the rabid anti-Jewish hatred and the precarious political position of the Tsar.

    Prose: Colon's translation brings Simanovitch's words to life, and the footnotes provide helpful context.

    Originality: The journals themselves, translated into English for the first time, offer an original look into the world of Rasputin and the ill-fated royal family.

    Character/Execution: This is a fascinating, well-executed translation of an important historical document.

    The reader noted some tension between the Journal's focus on Rasputin (as interesting as this is) and the author. In fact, the excellent introductory material made the reader want to know more about Simanovitch -- who he was, what he and his fellow Jews were dealing with, etc. -- than his journals, since they are focused on others, permit. The brief afterword that mentions he was murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau during the Shoah was especially heartbreaking to read, but still left the reader wanting to know more about his life in the ensuing years.

  • Unquiet Spirits: Essays by Asian Women in Horror

    by Angela Yuriko Smith and Lee Murray

    Rating: 0.00

    Plot/Idea: This intriguing and multi-faceted anthology highlights voices from women of Asian descent on the topic of the supernatural, including ghosts, spirits, shapeshifters, and more. Essays reflect on the role of mythology, urban myths, and folklore in shaping or being shaped by Asian identity.

    Prose: While writing styles may differ, each contribution features quality, instantly engaging prose, detailed and at times academic, but consistently clear and inviting. Entries combine personal stories with lore passed down through generations, ultimately offering an appealing blend of insight and familial history.

    Originality: This work offers a deep dive into an uncommon subject. Lovers of horror and the supernatural and cultural anthropologists alike will find these essays to be illuminating, while their subject matter will inspire greater study and fascination.

    Character/Execution: The contributors offer intimate stories drawn from a wellspring of experience, but remain faithful to their shared subject matter. These stirring and beautifully articulated essays will leave a lasting impression on readers, as will, from hungry ghosts to "tumor-covered ghosts with long curling tongues that lap at their own pus," the spirits and creatures examined therein.