The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life by Dani Jansen

I try to read challenging books because worthy causes deserve support. It’s the least we can do, to read these books, especially if we are privileged enough and/or lucky enough to have never experienced sexual assault, residential school, racism, war or other horrors that people in our world face. However - especially with the uncertainty of living during a pandemic -  sometimes a reader hits a wall. One just wants to read something funny. If you are there - or you know a young reader who needs a break - look no further!!

I listen to audiobooks while running. Listening to THIS book – available in MP3 Audio - I laughed out loud. And then I literally stopped running and bent over and laughed. And yes. I do worry sometimes what my neighbours might think. Anyway. I really just had to stop and laugh. People say LOL a lot, but I - for one - actually DO it infrequently. So, mostly this book is absolutely hilarious.

It also succeeded in getting me to empathize with drama kids. In my high school I… um… did not empathize. The author presents mostly objectionable characters whom our protagonist – Alison - also finds annoying if not insufferable. Nevertheless, as she does, we the reader come to love them, in all their arrogant and/or socially awkward and/or rude and/or self centered glory. Eventually, Alison and the reader come to understand that most people are doing the best that they can.

For bonus points, this book features LGBTQ characters, including Alison, this book is a debut and the author is Canadian. Alison’s romance is surprising and charming. Some LGBTQ themes are handled extremely well; but, nothing didactic here. There are many more things I’d like to say about this book. However, I’ll settle on one. Please be kind to yourself. Please read or listen to this brilliant debut.

YA Fiction pr5871706 / Audio CD pr6406137

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