Book Review: The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

34111673I recently read another book I picked up via NetGalley last year/earlier this year, called The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse. When I opened it up I had no recollection of what it was about, or even whether it was fiction or nonfiction. Turns out it’s a novel, and a fairly heavy one at that. I briefly considered putting it down, because I sometimes struggle to read emotionally taxing stories, being prone to depression and anxiety, but I quickly found myself too engrossed in the story.

The protagonist, Nina McCarrick, is left to raise her two sons when her husband unexpectedly dies in a car wreck. Having married young and into wealth, Nina has never had to fend for herself as a mother and adult. The novel is Nina’s story at its heart: her journey to self-awareness, self-sufficiency, and self-respect, as a woman and as a mother. Though I started out identifying with Nina, as the story went on I sometimes found her incredibly frustrating — I found myself judging her and asking how on earth she let herself get into such a ridiculous situation! That said, I came to admire her perseverance and her ability to both provide for her sons AND pay attention to her own needs.

It’s an emotional story of loss, so the reader must be prepared for some weightiness. But it’s also a story of love and triumph, with many important life lessons taught (in a very unpreachy fashion) along the way. I’ve included below some of my favorite quotes from the book, those that resonate most with me (for varying reasons) and that I think show some of the depth of the story and insightful life lessons learned by the characters throughout the book:

“But here’s the thing, Nina. I think happiness lies in being content now – right now! Every day! That’s not to say you can’t plan and work for change, but if you are constantly waiting for happiness to start, waiting for the change that will make it happen, then you just might miss some really good days along the way.” (Kindle location 3253)

“Hardship eroded his sense of entitlement and in its place a nicer, humbler boy was emerging.” (Kindle location 3953)

“I’ve been reading a lot about people who are depressed. People who live with extreme stress and those who only see one way out… They often fall into two camps. Those who fall apart externally, seek help, battle it publicly, and then there are those won don’t, can’t. It’s this group of people who interest me most. They are skilled in the art of hiding. I think that my dad must have been like that.” (Kindle location 4105)

I’m sorry it took me so long to read this book and I definitely think it’s well worth reading (just not if you’re feeling in a fragile frame of mind). I’ll definitely be interested in reading more from Amanda Prowse!

4 stars!

Buy it now for only $0.99!

Misplaced Monday – The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger


So this is a new meme I learned about from The Cozy Pages, and hosted by Merv Reads. The idea is to review a book you read a long time ago — either before you started blogging or from early in your blogging career, or that you just plain forgot to review (more info here). I’m also going to borrow the bullet-format review from Merv (which I also discovered at The Cozy Pages) this week (with commentary, of course!), because I don’t have a lot of in-depth stuff to say about this book since I read it in January of 2016. Bottom line, though, is that it is phenomenally well-written. I remember thinking, at the time, that it was one of the best-written books I had read in a long, long time. So, without further ado — my bullet review of The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger:

The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea


○ i have a physical copy
○ read an e-version, will definitely purchase physical book
○ read an e-version, a physical book will be appreciated
● read an e-version, not interested in its physical book — Mostly because I own waaaaay too many books and I’m trying not to be a hoarder
● a page-turner — I remember reading it in the backseat of my in-laws’ car on my Kindle in the dark on the way home from Disney. I read it any chance I got.
● less than 500 pages
○ diverse in any way
○ something’s lacking
○ took me a long time to finish
○ an LMAO read
○ i laughed more than a few times
○ it’s j u s t awkward
○ gave me goosebumps
● one of the best books I’ve read — Like I said, SO well-written. Also, the story is particularly gripping because it’s true, and it’s incredibly well-researched. I learned so much.
● painful & sad — If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s about a fishing boat that disappeared in a huge storm. Junger recreates what happened, including the rescue efforts. It’s a tragic story by its very nature.
● tear-jerker — Like I said – they disappear at sea, lives are lost. Enough said.
● a roller-coaster of emotions — Junger catalogs the emotions of the crew, the rescuers, and the surviving loved ones, which packs in a lot of ups and downs and varying coping mechanisms.
○ thrilling
○ confusing
○ sooo relatable
○ it is kind of annoying
○ it has a lot of flashbacks
● it moved me
● would recommend!
● great even for a reread
● definitely a YAY
○ i’m sorry it’s a NAY
○ it’s between YAY and NAY

It’s been over two years since I read the book, but I still think of it as one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s definitely one of the best non-fiction books. I would, at some point, love to see the movie but I know that it’ll be an emotional one…maybe I should wait until I’m not a pregnant emotional mess! Ha!

Five stars!!!