A complicated choice : making space for grief and healing in the pro-choice movement

The decision to end a pregnancy is difficult for many women. Religion or spirituality should provide a place compassion and guidance to anyone facing this choice. Katey Zeh (a Baptist minister) brings compassion and understanding to the pro-choice movement with her 2022 work A Complicated Choice: Making Space for Grief and Healing in the Pro-Choice Movement. Zeh guides the reader through numerous first hand accounts of women: coming to the decision to have an abortion; their experience having and recovering from their abortion; and how their lives were affected by their choice.

I greatly admire how Zeh approached her misunderstanding and personal prejudices with in the prochoice movement. She discusses her time volunteering with a woman’s health clinic where she helped provided emotional support for women receiving care in the clinic. She addressed her preconceived notion about why a woman would seek an abortion and who that woman was. How can we provide support, compassion, and empathy to someone in crisis if we judge their choice on a misguided stereotype?

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States, we all need to change our understanding of reproductive health (especially birth control and abortion). We must listen to women and to medical professionals. This book is the perfect first step for those who never think about abortion or think they don’t know anyone who has ever had one. You may find that the women who chose to share their stories in Zeh’s recent book may have very similar experiences to the women in your life today.

Even though I am not a religious person, I can not speak more highly of this book. It’s refreshing to see a religious official speak so compassionately about such a controversial topic. Zeh’s work is the perfect marriage of compassion and spiritual connection. This could be the perfect book for a religious individual struggling with any difficult choice in their reproductive health.

Anxious People

Fredrick Backman sets up a punch line for the longest joke in history in his 2020 book Anxious People. One wouldn’t typically imagine yourself being held hostage when viewing an apartment, but that exactly where eight anxiety ridden idiots find themselves on New Years Eve. (It probably would be accurate to describe all the characters in this interesting saga as idiots.) After a bank robbery goes wrong (in the most unexpected way), two police officers must find the identity of a masked bank robber and figure out exactly how they were able to escape capture.

Backman has created a very likeable cast of characters in Anxious People. The characters were all very well developed and had an endearing dynamic between them. Their hilarious conversations, worries and fears, and rich back stories made them all the more relatable and loveable. As a reader, I often times found myself both sympathizing with the struggles of each character while also finding myself laughing out loud at their antics. Any reader will see themselves in at least one of these loveable idiots. If you are looking for a hilarious and heartwarming read, Anxious People is just the book for you.

Base notes

Is anyone entirely good or entirely evil? Lara Elena Donnelly makes us question this with their new book, Base Notes. The cost of rent is soaring across the country and is becoming a crushing burden to many, especially in New York City. A perfumer, Vic Fowler, has no choice but to rely on new steams of income to make ends meet. After receiving an offer they couldn’t refuse, Vic must convince (threaten) a few friends to assist in a bloody errand. Willing to sacrifice anything and anyone to further their business, no one is safe from Vic’s dangerous ambitions. 

I found the character of Vic to be very enthralling. For years I have wanted a story from the perspective of the villain and I may have found that in base notes. At the start, Vic is a very enjoyable and sympathetic character but as the story progresses we see Vic making more questionable choices until everyone  they know and love pay the price. Apart from Vic, all characters are extremely rich and dynamic. As a reader, you wont find a single character in Base Notes, that is entirely good or evil. Even the most likable of characters have their dark sides. 

Even with the most obvious antagonists in the story, its hard to pin down the real villain and it’s even more difficult to find the hero of the story. That may be why I found Base Notes to be such a great read. The biggest threats in story aren’t assassins in the middle of the night but crushing medical debt, student loans, and the ever rising cost of rent.


A story of self discovery and healing is told through Bruised by Tanya Boteju. We begin the story with Daya, who recently lost her parents in a car accident. After meeting a few new friends at the skate park, Daya tries out for a roller derby team to help distract her from her grief. After realizing that roller derby is much more than getting knocked around and bruised, Daya finds herself on a journey of healing and self discovery.

The cast of characters presented in Bruised are nothing but diverse and supportive. Boteju’s characters are relatable to readers of all ages. Daya; the main character; is a teen girl who just wanted her parents to be proud of her ( a feeling all of us have experienced at one point in our lives). One of the most refreshing aspects of the book is that it normalizes characters of different sexual orientations and gender expressions. Bruised, shows young teens and young adults that having a supportive community can help one though the most difficult of circumstances.

Bruised provides a brilliant depiction of a good community support system. Daya’s extended family and friends support her during a time of self discovery and devastating grief. In addition, they support her passions and outlets while holding her accountable for her detrimental habits. Boteju shows readers of all ages the support we should be giving our loved ones and the support we all deserve in times of hardship.

The King of Infinite Space

Hamlet as you have never imagined before, The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye is a modern retelling of Shakephere’s classic with a plethora of modern twists and turns. Centered around three lovers and friends: Ben, Lia, and Horatio as they confront their changing relationships, addictions, and illnesses all the while working to solve the mystery sounding the death of Ben’s father.

The King of Infinite Space, is like no other Shakephere reboot that you have read or watched before. All of Faye’s characters are so rich and dynamic with mysterious backstories, it leaves the reader yearning to keep turning the page. Each chapter of Faye’s work is so uniquely formatted that I provides a dynamic view into the mental state and development of the star cast. Each chapter centers around a singular characters plot line and hints about their future plot collisions.

Faye’s writing style is engaging and dynamic. Each chapter is uniquely written to allow the reader to become better acquainted with each of the characters mental state, conflicts, and plot lines. Every reference to Hamlet is a pleasant little tidbit to be enjoyed by any Shakespeare fan ( previous reading of Shakespeare is not a requirement for enjoying Faye’s work). The King of Infinite Space keeps even the most well read Shakespeare fan on their toes and repeating, “just one more chapter…”