a pandemic themed novel… seems appropriate during a pandemic

The Stand: Complete and Uncut Edition – Stephen King

Pandemic, outbreak, survivor, thriller, horror, fiction.

Rating 8/10

Charlie is going AWOL with his family due to some disease or sickness like flu that killed most of the base he was enlisted at. They travel east, while his symptoms got worse. His wife and child got the illness. They crash at a town in Texas where their bodies were exhumed and sent to the Health Department for further examination. Stu Redman is taken in to be observed as to why he didn’t catch the flu like sickness. They perform tests and examinations on him. The state patrol catches whatever Charlie, his wife, and child had caught. From there, the sickness spreads outwards affecting more people like wildfire. Fran tells Jesse she’s pregnant, uncertain of what she wants to do, she goes to her dad for advice, he welcomes whatever she decides whether her mother agrees or not. Fran’s father tells Fran that her mother is really sick with a flu like illness. Larry, a famous singer, finds himself in trouble returns home to his mother to stay until he can get back onto his feet. During Larry’s stay, she gets extremely sick with this deadly flu. Nick finds himself robbed and assaulted, he is found and brought into be cared for. The deputy asks him information and realizes that Nick is deaf and mute, a birth defect. The deputy helps Nick catch the people who robbed and assaulted him, locked them in the jailcell. The deputy gets sick with the deadly flu. Each person who had caught the flu results in a fatal death where no one is immune. Randall Flagg senses a rebirth of society and he is ready for his own rebirthing. Survivors must come together and become a community to rebuild society that was nearly destroyed by the Super flu. Stu, Fran, Nick, and other survivors meet, and they decide to follow the old lady, Mother Abigail to Boulder, Colorado to build a community. Some plans go as plan whereas some are disrupted by people who don’t want organized society.

I had been wanting to read this novel for years. I tried many times to read it and couldn’t find myself going beyond a couple hundred pages. I guess the perfect time to read this novel was during a quarantine where I hardly had much to do. To much of my surprise I couldn’t believe I waited so long to read this novel. I am thankful I read it and this novel was a bit scary for me especially since there is a pandemic going on. This novel made me feel thankful that things weren’t too bad, and things could’ve been worse. I love and enjoyed this novel a lot. The pure size is overwhelming but reasonable because of the genre and style of storytelling. King’s novel starts off slow but then picks up the pace then slows down then picks up the pace. I was on my toes while reading this. I came to love some of the characters like Fran and Nick because of their personalities and their interactions they had with other survivors. The old lady, Mother Abigail was sweet. I do recommend this novel but not for the faint of heart.

An Incredible Survival Tale

A Sucky Love Story: Overcoming Unhappily Ever After – Brittani Louise Taylor

Survival, dating apps, human trafficking victim and survivor, memoir, nonfiction.

Rating 10/10

YouTube personality, Brittani Louise Taylor, shares how her innocent Tinder date that led to her and her baby son, Rex, to be involved in some sort of human trafficking scheme in a romance gone wrong. Taylor met Milos on Tinder and they both were mutually interested in each other. As time progressed, they became closer and she allowed him to move in with her. Even though she did not want anything to do with him, but nonetheless he persisted and pursued her. Her and Milos had ups and downs like any other relationship. Things immediately took a dark turn when Taylor found out she was pregnant with Milos’s child. The mother of Milos was being utterly creepy and terrifying, Taylor had to put her foot down and told Milos he and his mother had to leave the house. When Milos came back, he said he had some form of cancer, pulling the ultimate scam to make Taylor feel utterly sorry for him until she saw a flaw in his very lame lie. She had to break up with him and take Rex with her. The police had to get involved after an incident and Milos landed in jail. She found out the hard way that she and her son were about to be human trafficking victims but survived without going through the horrors.

I am a fan of the YouTuber Brittani Louise Taylor and had always loved her unique style and form of entertainment she produced on that platform. I had always wondered about how mysterious her videos became to be and this was the answer in the form of a memoir. I had seen also Shane Dawson’s conspiracy video he included her in, and I had cried. I feel so bad that such an amazing human being went through this. I am glad that she, her mom, and Rex are safe and sound. No one should ever go through that. Be careful whenever one is looking for a date on these dating apps. It can go south easily.

Not Another Teenage Cancer Novel!

Brave Enough – Kati Gardner

Young adults, fiction, cancer survivor, drug addiction, recovery

Rating 10/10

Meet two teenagers, Cason Martin and Davis Channing, both have some characteristics similar. They both lack control of their lives and fighting cancer as well as addiction. Cason Martin, a ballerina dancer, not by her own choosing but her mother’s choice for her finds out she had a cancerous tumor on her leg. Her mother thinks this is an easy fix and her daughter will be a ballerina dancer again after this quick fix. Davis Channing, a recovering cancer patient who is free of cancer and a recovering narcotic addict, is serving his time at the hospital volunteering. Davis meets Cason and helps her deal and cope with her new condition as well as dealing with her overly controlling mother. After Cason loses her leg, coping becomes a daily routine. Everyone is encouraging her, and she finds a group of individuals her age who went through a similar situation. On the other hand, Davis struggled with the death of his ex-girlfriend, a dope dealer after him, and trying to remain sober. Davis and Cason become closer and closer as time goes by, both helping each other recover and cope with things that were out of their control but at the same time get control they never thought they would have had. Cason goes through the routine of physical therapy and still cancer treatments just to make sure there were no cancer in any other parts of her body as well as fitting for a new prosthetic leg. In the end, Davis became one year sober and Cason learned that she didn’t need both her legs to dance but found a new form of dancing with silks.

Usually when I read a young adult fiction book that has teenagers with cancer, I shrug off the whole cliché. This book however is different as it were more empowering than other books I’ve read of this genre. I did love this book a lot and possibly will for sure reread it as it does have a happier ending than The Fault in Our Stars by John Green which is about teenagers with cancer and one of them dies. Maybe in the future I will do a book review of that book as inspiration of this book review. I seriously don’t find teenage cancer or any cancer that impacts the youth is something to joke about but I hope this brings awareness to those who struggle with cancer that there is ways to empower themselves at such distressed times.

Gardner, Kati. Brave Enough. North Star Editions, 2018.