The Life She Was Given review Ù 103

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Lilly discovers strength friendship and a rare affinity for animals Soon thanks to elephants Pepper and JoJo and their handler Cole Lilly is no longer a sideshow spectacle but the circus's biggest attractionuntil tragedy and cruelty collide It will fall to Julia to learn the truth about Lilly's fate and her family's shocking betrayal and find a way to make Blackwood Manor into a place of healing at last Moving between Julia and Lilly's stories Ellen Marie Wiseman portrays two extraordinary very different women in a novel that while tender and heartbreaking offers moments of joy and indomitable hope. Water for Elephants with AlbinosAs Reviewed by an Actual AlbinoIf you google the term ‘albinism’ Google very obligingly opens a brief summary paragraph for you at the very beginning of the search entry listing taken from Wikipedia The paragraph says in or less layman’s terms “Albinism in humans is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin hair and eyes Albinism is associated with a number of vision defects such as photophobia nystagmus and amblyopia Lack of skin pigmentation makes for susceptibility to sunburn and skin cancers”I know this because I went and googled the word albinism and saw what came out I don’t know when the author began research on her book The Life She Was Given but if it had been any time in the last fifteen years this information would have been or less eually readily available to her as wellIf she’d actually bothered to open and read the very first link in her search hint it’s Wikipedia she like the readers of this review would have discovered a few no doubt surprising facts about albinism For instance she would have been astonished to find out that there are several kinds of albinism of which the most recognizable emblematic form – it’s called Type I just so you know – is the most famous although not the most common The most common type of albinism type II – I know scientists are so original – numerically outweighs the first type around the world and while still having many of the albino features is basically unknown because type II albinos well they don’t really look albinos Yours truly for instance a type II albino with credentials has dark blonde hair My eyebrows could stand some pencil and my skin looks like Ye Olde Albinoe but go prove it to the disbelieving publicAll types of albinism however have one thing in common and that thing can be gleaned even from the paragraph that Google Search displays without opening and bothering to actually you know read about it severe vision defects So if you make your character a perfect albino doll of course she’s a perfect albino doll maybe just maybe you should give her the visual acuity of 20200 she’s supposed to have just for the sake of being original The information is after all right there This is spoilers by the way We spend the first three chapters or so in a state of uncertainty and tension the author builds up for us We’re supposed to wonder you see how horrible and abominable this child is that her parents imprisoned her in the attic only to discover later that – poof – there’s nothing wrong with her It doesn’t work because from about page 2 we very uickly garner the impression of the parents being such utter insane bastards that we as readers fully expect the ‘horrible birth defect of doom’ to be a mole on the shoulder or a couple of crooked teethI grant of course that I may gripe about this too much because as a type II albino with actual visual acuity problems I find my utter lack of representation in fiction in any kind of realistic way to be well annoying It might be better if albinos were not represented at all but as they serve as the convenient go to monster with whom nothing discernable is actually wrong I would be ever so grateful if the authors had bothered at least for the sake of courtesy to explore the condition they want to portray And there’s literally nothing wrong with this girl aside from the colouring I mean she’s actually perfect Porcelain doll perfect The amount of times her flawless skin is mentioned would make any normal woman erupt in pimples I’d go back and literally count it but I don’t think I can stand the pain Her beauty is elaborated on expanded on noted by the basically omniscient narrator It’s very important for us the readers to understand how astonishingly beautiful this albino woman is I suppose it’s important to stress since it is one of only virtues; her job in this story is to be tormented abused protected shuffled cheated saved stared at taken care of stood up forBasically she gets all the personality and treatment of the porcelain doll she’s described as being She started and ended her life in the same attic a prisoner she got pushed and prodded from plot element to plot element and her moment of happiness came as a result of being saved by and married to her sole Knight in Shining Armour Protector who presumably loved her because of her personality but we can’t tellNo I’m serious Our heroine has not done a single active thing for herself until the last three chapters of the book Everything she got and whatever happiness she managed to eke out was a direct result of her boyfriend standing up for herIn the last chapters she threw herself head over heels into a stupid cause trying to rescue an elephant that killed a human because it had to sounds familiar and gets herself wounded her husband killed and her young daughter orphaned Smart Compassionate Good jobAlso she has superpowers No seriously she has Wild Empathy After having interacted for her entire life with one cat she can make animals do everything for her without a word and without any training All animals from the moment she sees them I suppose there is a reason for her to be able to do something like that with elephants whom she petted and made friendly with for years and years – although how she would achieve new commands without a single bit of training I’m hard pressed to figure out – but she can do it with animals she’s never encountered before too It’s because of the purity of her heart which is obviously embodied in the purity of her whiteness or somethingAt least our second heroine Julia is a little active In fact too active for a woman on her own in the 1950s Julia acts speaks and is reacted to like a woman in the 2000s she swears actually says ‘Shit’ if you please which I’m sure makes total sense for a woman in the ‘50s becomes the owner of a business and horse ranch runs around in men’s sweaters and pants and nobody so much as blinks The only way we get to know this is in fact the 1950s is via a thousand tiny descriptive details the author bothers to provide in the form of brand names and the mention of poodle skirtsJulia is less of a Purity Sue than Lilly who is literally an angel walking the earth but even she has some of the same trends Her own empathy with animals is less supernatural of course and she occasionally stoops to actual shoplifting in order to eat She also ran away from home Presumably these normal attributes are because she’s not an albino You have to be a real albino to get animals to obey you instinctively I wish my cats knew thatJulia’s plot involves a lot less straight up endless suffering a lot horses but no less boredom Who would have thought that constant unending abuse and descriptions of nothing but abuse could actually be boring But with the heroine of one timeline doing nothing but be beaten up and the heroine of another timeline doing not much the pacing of the plot which reuires time skips of six years stands still and refuses to moveIn the end this is a story of passivity Maybe on purpose – I almost hope so Passivity of the two female protagonists passivity of the men the few approximately three in the entire story who are not abusive passivity of society and who all knows what else Certainly the main protagonist Lilly is embodied by being or less a lifeless thing It is extremely telling to me that even the title of this book is in the passive voice; The Life She Was Given and not say The Life She Had Maybe one day we will finally step out of the realm of passive disabled beautiful flawless pure people to whom things happen maybe one day but it is not this day

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The Life She Was GivenFrom acclaimed author Ellen Marie Wiseman comes a She Was PDFEPUB #231 vivid daring novel about the devastating power of family secrets beginning in the poignant lurid world of a Depression era traveling circus and coming full circle in the transformative s On a summer evening in Lilly Blackwood glimpses circus lights from the grimy window of her attic bedroom Lilly isn't allowed to explore the meadows around Blackwood Manor She's never even ventured beyond her narrow room Momma insists it's for Lilly's own protection that people would The Life PDFEPUBbe afraid if they saw her But on this unforgett. I've said before that I'm fascinated by what it is that prompts an author to write a story and I appreciate that Wiseman in an interview at the end of the novel tells us how idea for the story came about the idea started with the image of an old camera hidden inside a mansion Then I imagined a little girl locked in the attic which probably stemmed from my love of Flowers in the Attic and my fascination with stories about people hiding their less than perfect children in a back bedroom This is hard to read from the beginning seeing ten year old Lilly's treatment by her horrible mother as her father stood by and let it happen It isn't until Lilly is sold to the circus and pent up in cage that we learn why her mother thinks she is a monster From a side show attraction in a circus in the 1930's Lilly becomes a fake medium and ultimately an elephant rider finds love and tragedy In an alternating narrative twenty years later we're introduced to Julia who also suffered at the hands of her horrible mother a religious zealot and weak father who may love his daughters but does nothing to help them as he hides behind his liuor bottle She runs away but returns to her childhood home and horse farm after her parents are dead The uestion becomes how will Julia and Lilly's stories cross At some point the reader knows what Julia doesn't and her search to understand the things she finds in the attic became a little tedious Some tough issues are covered child abuse animal abuse and this makes for a tough read but if you've read any of Wiseman's books you know she never shies away from some awful things that happened in history The fact that an incident involving an elephant is based on a true story illustrates Wiseman's look to historical fact There are side shows freak shows depicting the awful treatment of deformed or disabled either fake or real The story moves from sad to sadder to omg how much I don't know a lot about the circus life and what it may have been like but I just felt that especially towards the end when we learn about Lilly's fate that it was just a little too melodramatic so it's 35 stars but not uite 4 for me I have read all of Wiseman's novels so it is hard for me not to compare them My favorite is What She Left Behind and I will continue to read what Wiseman writes hoping that I will be as captivated as I was with that one While I gave this 3 stars 35 if I could I did like it just not as much as a couple of her other books If you are considering this you should definitely read all of the 4 and 5 star reviews as it appears I'm an outlier here I received an advanced copy of this book from Kensington Publishing through NetGalley

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The Life She Was Given review Ù 103 Ë [Download] ➽ The Life She Was Given By Ellen Marie Wiseman – From acclaimed author Ellen Marie Wiseman comes a vivid daring novel about the devastating power of family secrets beginning in the poignant lurid world of a Depression era traveling circus and coming From acclaimAble night Lilly is taken outside for the first time and sold to the circus sideshow More than two decades later nineteen year old Julia Blackwood has inherited her parents' estate and horse farm For Julia home was an unhappy place full of strict rules and forbidden rooms and she hopes that returning might erase those painful memories Instead she becomes immersed in a mystery involving a hidden attic room and photos of circus scenes featuring a Life She Was MOBI #243 striking young girl At first The Barlow Brothers' Circus is just another prison for Lilly But in this rag tag sometimes brutal world. THE LIFE SHE WAS GIVEN by ELLEN MARIE WISEMAN was a moving haunting and heartbreaking tale with an intriguing and engaging storyline that I thoroughly enjoyed  I have a fascination for circus themed books and this one kept me entertained and spellbound right to the very end ELLEN MARIE WISEMAN delivers a vivid descriptive and well written read here with some uncomfortable and cringe worthy scenes that were difficult to read at times The story is told in alternating perspectives of two very different and remarkable young women from Lilly Blackwood in the 1930’s and Julia Blackwood in the 1950’s  I enjoyed both perspectives and stories eually How these two women are connected to each other and their stories is the beauty of this novelTo sum it all up it was heart wrenching sad hopeful and a compelling fast paced read with an ending that I found to be totally satisfying and shocking  I also love that cover and the title of this book and found both to be extremely fitting to this novel  Would recommendThank you so much to NetGalley Kensington Books and Ellen Marie Wiseman for the opportunity to read and review a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review All of Brenda's and my reviews can be found on our sister blog