We Slay Book Club January Pick

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks 

Henrietta Lacks has been dead for more than 50 years but her cells have lived on and helped millions of people. She was a young black woman living in Baltimore when she went to the doctor and was diagnosed with cervical cancer. From there, she unknowingly becomes a tissue donor and the doctors working with her cancerous cells discover that they do not die. They just kept growing and growing. They were renamed HeLa.

The book follows Skloot as she goes on a long journey to discover exactly who Henrietta was and why the science world didn’t really know or acknowledge her existence. She meets Deborah, Henrietta’s daughter, who was always curious about her mother and is determined for her mother to be recognized. 

I’m late with reading this popular nonfiction book but it was well worth the wait. It was amazing to listen to. The voice actor does a great job of keeping the reader interested, even during the scientific chapters. The heart of the book is the human interest aspect. Following the Lacks’ family was both uplifting and heartbreaking. Skloot doesn’t try to paint them in any light; she just speaks their truth as best she can. The ending hurt to read. Hearing about Deborah’s passing was a punch to the gut. But when she moved on, she was at peace with her mother’s legacy and with herself. I know she would have loved this book.

Tracey 

 

We Slay Book Club December Pick

The Ex by Alafair Burke 

This was a nice read, not quite a beach read but instead a comfy couch read. It follows Olivia Randall Esq. Who came from nothing to get her way to the top of her law firm, she is very ambitious, very aware of how the game is played and avoids the trappings of love and a long term commitment. That is what is know about her and the first few chapters of the book, when her ex fiancee comes back into her life by way of being accused of murder is when the book gets interesting. It continues on to be a very nice read with good pacing. The characters are ok and the narrator did a good job of giving them each a nice voice (I did an audio-book this go round). Burke did a good job of keeping you guessing as to who done it, but it seemed a little flat once the big reveal was delivered. You also could not help but notice the privildge the characters possessed. Overall it was an enjoyable read, it was satisfying to see the Olivia go through growth at the end too. 

 

Kelly 

We Slay Book Club November Pick

American Gods by Neil Gaiman 

Good Lord, this book almost put me to sleep several times. I am a fan of the show adaptation so I thought I'd enjoy the book since it's (usually) better. But this time, the tv show got it right. If the pacing on the show is slow, then the pacing in the novel is nonexistent. I just kept waiting for something to happen. The ending and the Coming to America stories saved the reading experience for me. Neil Gaiman read the Coming to America parts and his voice is lovely. I was very impressed with the entire cast of voice actors. They fit their characters well. I just couldn't stand all the talking and thinking and nonevents that surrounded the few events that took place.

The stand out god for me Horus. His "mad" voice was hilarious and confusingly sexy to me. I wish he were in the book more than he was. And that bonus story with Shadow and Jesus that Gaiman took out was great. Jesus had such a calmness to him. I'm eager to see how the show will adapt the book for season two. Here's hoping it'll be a bit more action packed. 

Tracey

We Slay Book Club October Pick

Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye

This was not a satisfying read for me, the three novellas that made up the novel left me feeling confused and very stagnant. I do not expect a happy ending upon completing a book (ok, that is a bold face lie) but I do expect to feel complete. Maybe the meaning was lost in translation for me. The three supposed strong women went from pitying to pathetic  to downright sad, I can say that I will not read another book by this author. 

Kelly

 

We Slay Book Club September Pick

The Real Mrs. Price by J. D. Mason 

I love when I can finish a novel in a day, without feeling like it was a chore. This was such a compelling story. The author did a great job of making me care what each character has to say. I didn't necessarily like everyone but I liked to read the chapters from their POVs. Marlowe is the star of the show; being the character I related to the most. Even with that less than desirable ending, I could understand why she did what she did. Not everything gets wrapped up in a neat little bow. I somehow wish this could continue into another novel but the story is definitely finished. How sad for me

Tracey 

We Slay Book Club August Pick

The Regulars by Georgia Clark 

I really wanted to like this book. I was in the mood for a lighthearted read, something funny and quick to read through. This book felt like I was getting a lobotomy. It was just so boring. I didn't like any of the protagonists and didn't care about any of their issues. The style of writing and plot progression felt very juvenile. I've been told this is a great beach book but if I was reading it on a beach, I'd be tempted to throw it into the water. This is the author's first adult novel and I feel like it shows. I won't be looking for her other work but am hopeful that her next adult novel will build on her talents and have the right tone that she's looking for.

Tracey 

We Slay Book Club July Pick

Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree

I remember completely relating with Tracy. She seemed just as confused and lost about boys as I was. I thought she was such a great character for a young black girl to read about and see herself in. I still think this is a great urban classic but Tracy isn't really the best role model. I found her to be irksome and stupid in my second reading. This book is very dated with the slang and descriptions of wardrobe but it does an amazing job of showing that nothing really changes. A coming of age tale is relevant no matter the era.

Tracey 

We Slay Book Club June Pick

Douglass' Women by Jewell Parker Rhodes 

This book completely shred my emotions all up. Rhodes did a great job bringing these two women to life. Anna and Ottilie both love Frederick Douglass but both are unsure of his love for them. I related more to Anna in every way. She was overlooked, underappreciated, and unloved by the only man she'd ever loved. I found Ottilie to be too selfish to feel sympathy for. The novel barely felt like historical fiction so I'd recommend this to any fiction lover. It'll make you feel things, mostly hatred towards the famous, great Douglass.

Tracey