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Thursday, April 25, 2013

General Category Finalists - 2012 Whitney Awards

The General category for the 2012 Whitney Awards is an interesting one. In a way, it's hard to compare these finalists against each other because they are so different. Looking for a commonality among them, I came to the conclusion that they are emotional, heavy reads. Some much more than others, but each of the books dealt with difficult circumstances, be it poverty, illness, divorce, death, mental disabilities, etc.

Dancing on Broken Glass Paige The 13th Day of Christmas A Night on Moon Hill The Rent Collector
Ka Hancock* Annette Lyon Jason F. Wright Tanya Parker Mills Camron Wright

While I enjoyed most of these stories, The Rent Collector by Camron Wright really stood out to me. It is enlightening and inspiring. Even through all the difficulties endured by those who live in this dump in Cambodia, there is hope. Knowing that it is based on real people makes it all the more touching. There are a few swear words, and the people of Stung Meanchey live in very harsh and violent conditions, but the positives of this story outweighed the negatives, and I'm really glad I read it.

If you prefer a lighter read, I would recommend Paige followed by The 13th Day of Christmas. Both are clean, and fairly quick reads with good messages of hope. The heaviness in them isn't overwhelming, and is more relatable than the other three finalists. Both stories show how good friends can help us, especially during hard times.

A Night on Moon Hill was a really unique story. I thought it was well written, although it was more of a downer than I prefer. There are a lot of issues in this story, and I was really bothered by the suicide-probably more so because of the emotional detachment of the main character (not that she could help it). Although the ending was pretty happy, most of the book was too down for me.

Dancing on Broken Glass was one that I actually decided not to finish. The story was interesting, but the swearing and intimate descriptions bothered me, not to mention that it just had an overwhelming depressing feel with the mental illness and physical illness included. My sister read it, so I called her to find out how it ended. I suppose one could say this book ends happily, but this just isn't my kind of book.