Reviews tagging 'Drug use'

Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou

17 reviews

alexandrabelze's review against another edition

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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.

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luna_bear's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging funny informative 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

4.0


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carbs666's review against another edition

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challenging dark funny 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? It's complicated

4.5

This book was genuinely so smart and funny and weird and if you've spent any time in the ivory towers of academia (especially studying the humanities) or have been to grad school it will hit especially hard!

Ingrid is such an interesting character - the way she wakes up and looks around her life one day and wonders how the fuck she got there is extremely relatable, and while her inability to decide for much of the book if she's going to bury her head in the sand (or in over the counter narcotics) or stay painfully, horribly awake is a bit frustrating it's also realistic and understandable. Who among us hasn't debated with ourselves whether we really want to see what going on or pretend we can't - because once you see something, it's harder to do nothing about it. Additionally Ingrid's awakening to the experiences of racism in her life and the lives of her peers (and her hilarious learning curve of social justice terminology) felt extremely real in the context of a small liberal arts college campus. I loved it. 

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wenwanzhao's review against another edition

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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!

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amaezone's review against another edition

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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

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ilyevebabitz's review against another edition

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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


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bedtimesandbooks's review against another edition

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hopeful fast-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

4.75


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arireadsitall's review against another edition

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

4.0

Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou is a unique mix of hot mess, academia, and satire and I really liked it. Tbh it’s not something I would normally reach for but as someone that grabs books based on covers, this one caught my eye. 

Ingrid is a 29 year old Taiwanese American woman working on her PHD on a dissertation on the late poet Xiao-Wen Chou. Just when she thinks she’s lost inspiration she discovers a strange note in the archives of the poet and down the rabbit hole she goes. The journey this note takes her on is messy and unexpected but also eye opening for Ingrid. The writing read like a fever dream which makes sense since a majority of the time Ingrid was in an allergy medicine brain fog.

I appreciated that this book felt “smart” but that I didn’t feel dumb reading it. It made me think and it was eye opening social commentary of racism in the academic world. I also liked that the three female characters were all strong and could stand on their own unlike the men characters.



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k_aro's review against another edition

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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.

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annoyedhumanoid's review against another edition

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reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.25

(adjusted from 3.0 to 3.25)
the courtroom tableau was brilliantly executed, definitely my favorite part
the plot summary was so fucking promising, but i found the writing to be lacking. i feel like it addressed its heavy topics through regurgitations of already finished conversations, rather than playing out those conversations in real time, if that makes sense. i know it's supposed to be absurdist, but the plot was just off the rails at times. Vivian's character development was very good though, shout out to that. also, the audiobook narration was very bland
cover review: ★★★★½. the illustration is gorgeous, just not a fan of either the typeface or the color of the title and author's name

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