- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1253 KB
- Print Length: 212 pages
- Publisher: Entangled: Teen (2 Oct. 2017)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B075QKN1T9
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
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A Messy, Beautiful Life Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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A Messy, Beautiful Life was a lovely read. It wasn’t the snot-fest, ugly cry I thought it was going to be. I mean it did make me cry but not for reasons I expected.
The biggest thing I took away from this book was its humour. It’s an incurably funny book.
I loved the “ah-ha” moments when the title and that beautiful cover finally became significant. That’s always fun.
Ellie was quite a young, carefree teenager before her diagnosis. She matured some as the book progressed. I really appreciated witnessing how her relationships with her friends and family, especially her step brother, evolved. Single mom/daughter relationships always resonate with me too. This one was no different.
I really enjoyed this debut book from Sara Jade Alan and look forward to reading more from her in the future.
After a few days I read some of the reviews and realised that it wasn’t going to be a full on cry-fest and went back in. Once I did I couldn’t put it down. I loved it.
Ellie is very funny and is very positive about life. The writing was fantastic and I really felt a part of the whole story.
It did move quite fast, but then I am a speed reader so I didn’t find this too much of a problem. I know other people might not like that as much.
I would definitely recommend this book to my friends and will give it 5 tars. I was giving this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
*WARNING: Potential Spoilers*
Going into this book I had very mixed feelings, having only truly read about cancer in the form of The Fault in Our Stars, I was trying to prepare myself for a cancer story that would have me crying from start to finish and I wasn't sure I was prepared for this.
However I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had me laughing more than crying which I found to be such a great sense of relief.
Yes I have said the words Cancer and Laugh in the same review and it was rightly written.
This book had me both laughing and crying as I found the characters and the plot to be very complex yet still easy to follow and a great read.
I absolutely loved the fact that improv was used as a plotline as it is not something I have even read about in a ya novel in such a way as this. It brought the humor and allowed you to see the different sides of the characters which may not have been seen in any other way.
I found that the characters where enjoyable to relate with and that their friendships were definitely something that everyone can relate to. I admired that Ellie was down to earth and that she was unwilling to let cancer stop her from doing this she enjoyed.
I absolutely loved Jason, due to my own personal experiences I was able to connect with him so well, I loved the way he was always willing to help and how while he was rich he wasn't a character that was too into the money. I also loved the connection you could see and feel between Ellie and Jason.
The brother-sister relationship growth between Ellie and Craig was also amazing, I was so happy when they started becoming friendlier!
The writing was amazing and it without a doubt brought you into the story and kept you hanging on until the final page to find out how everything was going to turn out. It is without a doubt a page turner anyone would enjoy.
The only slight annoyance I had was that the plot moved along so fast, I began to get a little lost in some parts if a couple of days were missed and there would be something new major going on. I also felt that the inner dialogue of the main character was a little whiny about such normal things.
Overall however I would think anyone would love this take on cancer and the way Sarah Jade Alan made such a serious subject mix with such good humor and fun.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
A teen dealing with a devastating medical diagnosis while finding her place in the world, worrying about her future, and finding love provides a solid structure for a story. But it’s the details, the actual writing that makes this book the gem that it is.
The author did not choose the easy route of populating her story with stock characters, or well, stock anything, really. Every dialogue, every friendship, every gathering-around-food-and hobbies scene feels genuine and true.
New writers are advised to go past the first three or twelve details that come to mind when writing, to dump out the cliches, to keep seeking better ways to arrive at the truth . It is clear to me that the author have dug deep and reached far.
I met the author at the 2009 Pikes Peak Writers Conference. We had been talking about the (then) current situation of YA lit and I wondered aloud about the disproportionate number of books about protagonists dealing with medical problems and how I thought the trend should end soon.
And then I asked Sara what her book was about.
She obviously could see the foot-in-mouth moment coming a mile away, judging by the twinkle in her eye. (Side note: Sara would not have been satisfied with “twinkle in her eye” and come up with something delightful yet not contrived.) She showed me what it meant to be gracious.
I marvel at the author's comedic prowess, I admire her writing ability, but I am most touched by the grace.with which she has infuse this story
I know probably that my life will not change tomorrow morning: I'll watch TV, have another ordinary day, and not even think about how incredibly awesome my legs are.
Aimed at YA, A Messy, Beautiful Life has both action-oriented (like “walking on sand”) content and thought-oriented (like "walked out of the crew pages of an Ivy League college catalog") content. So, combine an absorbing plot told in a draws-you-in sort of way, and you have just spent a couple hours transfixed, laughing and crying. With a couple take-aways:
I come away feeling an underlying spirituality that elevates the significance of the book: For example, on pain and exercise and yoga p84 "Pain is sacred. It can be our grade our greatest teacher and our greatest Protector. That is why you must respect it and listen to it so closely.… Most people are so scared of the pain in their life, they do anything they can to avoid it, to not feel what it really is there. Ignoring it nearly causes a different kind of pain."
You can learn some lessons as well. –Think about how “Fearlessness is not the absence of fear, but going forward anyway even with that fear, handling the fear.” p191
Part of the backdrop is that all the main characters are in an improv group.
Improvisation is a cohesive gel that nicely carries the characters lightly through the plot. And now I know why I like to watch improv so much. Like Ellie, the main character, says, “On stage you can create anything. You can pretend. No one gets hurt.”
Alan packs a lot of meaning into few words:
The you-just-know-what-they-mean adjectives add a quick richness, like when reading about Dr.-No-People-Skills! My absolute favorite phrase is about an “aspartame kind of sweet: promises of sweetness, but ultimately leaving you empty inside with a bad taste in your mouth."
--And reread the description of Ellie's first kiss on page 58, for the memories!
I like the medical explanations, definitions, so necessary to the storyline, that are not too technical to understand, Nor too detailed, but clearly explain the term. Like enchondroma is a benign bone tumor that originates from cartilage.
...I laughed ‘til I cried, then, when I was done, hugged my best friend a little harder. Thank you Sara!
A great story that sheds light and hope for all of those who have or are suffering with cancer.