Amanda Reads: Trainwreck

Happy Tuesday, internet people! This week, I’ve hopped back on the nonfiction train by listening to Sady Doyle’s Trainwreck on audio (see what I did there?). The book’s full title is Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear… and Why? so naturally I knew I was getting into some heavy stuff with this one. Choosing to read it simultaneously with Roxane Gay’s Hunger was a decision I do not recommend outside the cheer-making sunshine of summertime.

So, this book. It’s been on my TBR for a while, and a friend mentioned it to me again, so I decided to put it on hold pronto. It examines the phenomenon of the female trainwreck, the most famous example of which is, of course, Britney Spears.
Trainwreck Sady Doyle
What I didn’t expect was to learn how far back the practice of scrutinizing, mocking, and throwing hate at women in the public eye really goes. Did you know Mary Wollstonecraft (of “Vindication of the Rights of Women” fame) was once regarded as a scandal? Or that Charlotte Bronte wrote embarrassingly desperate letters to a lover who old-timey ghosted her? I sure didn’t!

This book was full of fascinating stories of the trainwrecks that have been redeemed in our modern eyes, as well as the trainwrecks we’re still glued to watching. For some reason, I thought that the practice of treating women this way was a new phenomenon as the media became more widespread and easily distributed, but in some ways women who defy our expectations have always been regarded with hatred, mockery, and, yes, even fear. I mean, it makes sense–just look at the Salem Witch Trials.

As a woman, it feels a bit weird to say I loved this book, but I did. It breaks my heart the way we treat women in the public eye differently from how we treat men (whose scandals so rarely break their careers–can I say Johnny Depp?). But the book is compellingly written and fascinating to read, in spite of how frustrating it is. It made me re-examine my own perception of women like Britney Spears and Amanda Bynes and re-consider my self-perceptions, as well.

I think this book is an essential read and that you should stop reading this blog post and go read this book.

Amanda Reads: Internet Famous

Hello, internet people! This week’s book is Danika Stone’s Internet Famous, which just so happens to come out today (June 6th, 2017)! Happy book birthday, Internet Famous!

(Full disclosure time: I received an egalley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.)

I grabbed this Swoon Reads title because I was in the mood for something fluffy and light, complete with a love story. Also, I grew up right as becoming “internet famous” started to be a real thing and people started earning money doing the YouTubes, etc.

Internet FamousOverall, I enjoyed this read. I definitely had my “old person” hat on a few times, mainly regarding her parental units’ choices. Let your high school daughter ride the train to New York to meet up with a college dude she met on the internet? Sure! Encourage said daughter to “handle” her younger sister who requires a little extra attention because she’s on the spectrum? Obviously! Spoiler alert especially ridiculous thing her dad does at the end? Why not?!

I liked that the parents played a role in the storyline of this YA story rather than being largely ignored as they often are, but I did question some of their actions and the plausibility of those actions. Sure, her mom is a busy academic and her dad and overloaded journalist, but… hmm.

Madi, the main character who runs a “rewatch” blog called MadLibs, definitely reads like a teenager on the page. She’s overly dramatic and giddy and constantly on her phone or the internet. In fact, the book is comprised of straightforward narration intermixed with blog posts, memes, and text message exchanges with her love interest, Laurent. It felt like a true to life portrayal of the experience of being a teen in the internet age (which, admittedly, is probably different now than it was back in my day where we all had Xanga and Myspace until Facebook came out).

The main plotlines follow Madi’s family drama as well as a cyberbullying situation on Madi’s blog. Both of these issues are real and important, and I liked the visibility of having a character on the spectrum who does (eventually) become a character in her own right, not just a problem Madi  has to solve.

While the whole foreign exchange student blog fan turned love interest thing was a bit implausible, I suppose that’s why one reads a YA romance–for the implausibly beautiful idea of falling in love in a  romantic whirlwind.

All in all, I enjoyed the book, though I can’t say that I’m likely to reread it. If you’re up for a bit of internet-age romance, though, definitely give it a go!