To say this has been a hard year so far is an understatement. To take someone (such as myself) that has self-esteem issues, a hidden anxiety complex, an ADD brain, and an intolerance for the general public, add in an unexpected diagnosis of breast cancer at age 30 and you get an absolute mess of a human being.
I use reading as a distraction. It’s a chance for me to escape my current surroundings, and transport myself to worlds that could not possibly exist, but somehow nestle in nicely on the creative side of my brain. But how could I possibly concentrate on my hobby with something as monumental as cancer bouncing around in my head. Between each line of fiction there was an internal dialogue full of questions; the why’s, the what ifs, the hows of this absolutely stupid diagnosis.
I gave up trying to read. Although my brain longed to be inundated with beautiful words, and prose, and descriptions, it was absolutely impossible for me to retain anything I had read. On a whim, I downloaded Audible- and no, this isn’t a plug for Audible. Again, having an ADD brain does not make it easy to just listen to something. I purposefully chose books I had hard copies of so that I could follow along with the narrator. I also chose books that I did not necessarily HAVE to do a book review for, it was more of reading for pleasure (not that all reading ISN’T pleasurable, but there is a lot of stress in writing book reviews).
After surgery it seems as though we were hit with more bad news- I had a cancer on top of a cancer. . . just my luck. And because of this new diagnosis, I had to go through chemo. I should really consider myself lucky as I was only prescribed 4 rounds- accelerated rounds, but still. I lost my hair, my dignity, my boobs, my nipples, my sanity. I had a calm exterior, but in my mind I was in a straight jacket, yelling at the top of my lungs trying to be heard, to be understood- even though I didn’t fully understand what was going on.
During chemo there’s really not much to do. I don’t like hospitals to begin with, so being stuck in a room, surrounded by a bunch of other “sick” people drove me nuts. I utilized Audible to it’s fullest potential, completely tuning out the sounds of medicine around me and promptly ignoring people so I could be anti-social. I started book review blogging again- although it really wasn’t pretty. Chemo brain is a real thing. I forget the simplest of words, heck I even forget what I’m saying or talking about in the middle of a sentence. The simplest explanation is completely lost on me, and it can take minutes or even hours for me to remember one word that makes a difference in something I am trying to say.
Add that into book blogging and you get an utter mess. There are days where I am eloquent, clear, and concise- giving absolutely no spoilers. IT JUST FLOWS! Other days I’m on the ground begging and pleading to have my words back. There is nothing more frustrating than knowing what you want to say, not being able to communicate them, and having the receiving party not understanding what point you are trying to get at.
Another scary thing from this whole ordeal is all the medications I have to deal with. If I could, I would rather go without medicine- I’m not saying I’m a holistic person (THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!) but what should be natural things, like sleep, I would much rather NOT be medicated for. ANYWAYS! While on certain medications, I feel it helps the creativity come back- the eloquence, the clear, concise flow. Then there are days even on the medications that I couldn’t even write a hello without it sounding like something else.
Every single one of my reviews is an honest opinion- whether that opinion is favorable or not. I am not paid to give a book high remarks- to me that is 200% unethical. I am not here to blow smoke up an author’s butt just to revel in their praise. My reviews are as eclectic as I am. I work with indie authors, I work with best selling authors. I work with publishing companies, as well as self-publishing authors. Just because a book is popular does not mean that book is for everyone. On that same note, just because I rate a book a lower star rating, does not mean that book is garbage. On the contrary- that particular book is just not for me, but other readers might find it to be their cup of tea.
Recently, I had a few reviews that I guess I put “too much detail” in. I honestly try to give each book review a fair description. I take notes, I take my time in the review, and try my hardest not to give any spoilers, although sometimes, that’s bound to happen. Add in a fan base to certain books, and I feel as though a lower rating is equivalent to a crucifixion. Just because there is a large fan base, who predominately gives a five star rating, does not mean I should tip toe around, afraid to step on people’s toes for my personal opinion.
Growing up, I felt as though I never fit in. It turns out, the world is just as unkind, if not worse, for adults as it was for kids. And it’s only grown worse with technology. You can hide behind your computer, bolstered enough to have your own opinion, but God forbid anyone disagrees with you.
All I can say, is I try my absolute best to give a fair, and honest book review. Unfortunately, I do fail sometimes- it’s called being human. Unfortunately, I struggle sometimes with getting my point across, or telling too much information (but give fair warning if there are spoilers), or not being able to think of the “right” word. A lot of that has to do with the diagnosis I’ve been dealing with since December. A lot of that has to do with my inability to concentrate for long periods of time because I’m too preoccupied with thoughts of breast cancer. A lot of that has to do with the affects of chemotherapy on my brain. What matters is I try. And I keep trying.
So I may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But I’d rather be the unpopular shot of whiskey to the few people that matter, that understand.