Reviews tagging 'Drug abuse'

Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou

17 reviews

flowchelle's review against another edition

Go to review page

dark informative mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

alexandrabelze's review against another edition

Go to review page

funny reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

omfg i don’t even know where to start. very funny, super dramatic, and at times satirical. it was not AT ALL what i was expecting, but then again i didn’t read any type of summaries before starting it lmao. it didn’t have me hooked until the first major plot twist, but after that i was dying to see how it ended. kind of an anti-climatic ending, but sadly realistic. ingrid + eunice besties 4 ever <3 stephen is the bane of my existence. every time he spoke i wanted to rip my hair out. i WISH he knew when to shut up. 
the SCHOOL GIRL COSTUME??? oh my god i was gagged. nothing could’ve prepared me!!! i had to put the kindle DOWN and reflect.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

wenwanzhao's review against another edition

Go to review page

challenging dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

Elaine Hsieh Chou's writing is so sharp and precise. I felt physically uncomfortable at some points in the novel. Chou does not hold back at all. The most shameful and awkward parts of Asian Diaspora™ are laid bare in an excruciatingly honest way. I liked how Chou did not sanctify any of the characters. There is no one we are meant to see as truly good. Everyone exists on a gradient scale, some more flawed than others, but all kind of fucked up in some way. Great novel!

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

olive_lol's review against another edition

Go to review page

funny reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

This novel's satire lends itself to sharp social commentary as the story ramps up in intensity and scope. It does a great job of utilizing humor and illustrates authentic themes through absurd scenarios. I loved Ingrid's development and how heartfelt it was. Overall, this book is great for someone looking for a funny book with a lot to say.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

ramalam98's review against another edition

Go to review page

adventurous challenging reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

An excellent dark academia-adjacent satire. 

It talks about so many things, from yellowface and cultural appropriation/fetishism to internalised racism, academic burnout, and more. 

It was entertaining throughout, definitely a ‘food for thought’ kind of book. 

My only gripe is with a couple of characters. I found Ingrid to be frustratingly naive and stupid ay times though I believe this was intentional. Eunice also felt underdeveloped and I would have liked to have seen more of her storyline. 

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

digestives's review against another edition

Go to review page

adventurous dark emotional funny fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

Pretty funny in a sad way and exhausting to read because SO MUCH happens.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

amaezone's review against another edition

Go to review page

adventurous dark emotional inspiring reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

A clear five-star novel :
• one for the look inside "a regular person's" mind starting to reflect on their own position and attitudes regarding race,
• one for the description of academia as it works today,
• one for the great friendship and
avoidind the "they leave the bad guy and shortly after gets with the good guy" scenario
,
• one for the nuanced and clear explanation and depiction of the personalities of all the characters (which to a certain extent, avoids the bad person/good person characterization, although the sides are clearly defined,
• one for
the ending out of academia as perfectly legitimate

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

ilyevebabitz's review against another edition

Go to review page

emotional funny inspiring lighthearted mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

archiveofrasa's review against another edition

Go to review page

funny informative reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75

this really came for academia's throat. for the JUGULAR. the twists also held me and shook my South Asian ass by the shoulders to not trust white men ever and I agree!

this was the first satirical work of fiction I had ever read and honestly? a good way to start. what made it super fucking hilarious was how accurate the shit they were saying was. Ingrid, Vivian, Eunice, Alex, even the ass white men. among that, Ingrid's development was so satisfying to read. she goes from this literal pick-me East Asian into what realistically many people of colour are in this day and age (not the exaggerated stereotype that the right love to make fun of, though you do get that with Vivian in a sort of love letter manner). I love reading flawed women in fiction and their shenanigans, it's what makes me fly by these things so quickly. the discussion of white men fetishising (East) Asians is 100% a conversation that needs to be had and this book handles it so so well.

I also loved how not only the antagonistic characters had flawed views.
Alex points out how easily Eunice and Ingrid throw themselves at their white counterparts but is also super hypocritical in the same sense.
very realistic and refreshing to see! it also just outwardly spoke about issues that a lot of us are too scared to bring up, so if you're white, I highly recommend reading this book to fully grasp what we mean by fetishistic racism.

I definitely agree the pace slowed down a bit in the middle but personally was okay with it! I think what maybe knocked this down a 0.25 was how heavy it was on the satirical aspects. the characters really had no room to breathe and neither did I (out of laughter? maybe) but I'm not sure how else you would've gone about it, so it doesn't affect me too much.

the detailed writing was my favourite too, how Chou built so much character in what Ingrid describes. definitely gonna reread this again to fully absorb the prose. third person definitely fits the narrative style of this story, I think if it was in first person, Ingrid would've annoyed me too much to continue reading. and the ending was incredibly gratifying, never felt myself cheer for Ingrid harder. 

overall very much looking forward to what Chou writes next!!

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

k_aro's review against another edition

Go to review page

challenging emotional funny hopeful inspiring reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

On the level of how articulately and beautifully this book manages to encapsulate so many disparate Asian-American experiences, it really deserves the biggest props.

Unfortunately, as an Asian-Canadian... I wish I could say this (that is to say, any of the bigotry) was shocking to me. It's really rewarding to watch Ingrid grow both not only as someone who can articulate her own desires but also come to terms with the oppressions she faces now and perpetuated when she was younger (and at points in the book!). I do have to say, the first... third? Is truly frustrating as someone who had to grow up and grow through these feelings myself.

I mean, half the time I feel like I'm staring at a mirror of myself. There really is something about how immigrant narratives are so often circular in nature.

However, the other thing that Disorientation should get props for is how it manages to express that every single person has at least one little piece of the puzzle, even if they're pretty horrible in other ways. Take, for example, Alex, who really does understand the fetishization of Asian women - but is also an MRA/appropriates Black culture. He only understands it through this very myopic lens (at first), but he really does get it. And, for how it sympathizes with Ingrid for her desire to close her eyes and just go along with it, because it is easier than anything else.

I have some... weird feelings about how Vivian Vo and the POC Caucus are talked about - I don't think Chou is always wrong about it, mind, I just think certain framings are a bit weird given the overall story's conclusion.

That said, it refuses to excuses both the institutions and the people who perpetuate them. For John (the true identity of the elusive poet Ingrid agonizes over), Ingrid is possibly (or possibly not!) tricked into sympathizing with him, but when it is revealed he really is a fucking scumbag (and he is!), Ingrid has no qualms in her irritation and hatred with him.

I also appreciate the perpetuation of the system, even if it isn't the "happy ending" I may have wanted. There's an article that for the life of me I cannot find, but it talks about how Babel (by R. F. Kuang) and Portrait of a Thief (by Grace D. Li) try and deconstruct academia, but still have their main characters assume academia as the inherent natural high point they work to, with Kuang and Li alike hailing from T10 schools. Even beyond not attending a T10, Ingrid's decision to move out of academia is interesting.

That said, I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. Everyone seems to consolidate their opinions - not a bad thing! - but it does come very quickly.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings