Sunday, March 1, 2015

Review: Vitamins and Death by Medeia Sharif

March 1st, 2015
Vitamins and Death by Medeia Sharif

 What an interesting ride. I have to say, this book deviates very far from my typical "whimsical" reads. I do like edgy and gritty, and since I enjoyed this, I'd definitely look for more books for all age categories(though it's always more intense coming from YA) as it has characters you just loved to hate so much.

Vitamins and Death followed the exploits of Deidra Battle, a seemingly depressed teen. She's forced to move away from her home based on her mother losing her job, to a rougher area, and counts down her days until the end of the school year.

As her story unfolds, you find out, everything is due to her mother having an illicit relationship with a student.

The plot itself was very intense. It's well written. The characters were the ones you looked out for most though.

Deidra had to carry a lot of weight, as even though she was the child, she often parented herself. Her mother was by no means a good influence. Nor was she a woman who could take responsibility for her actions. She was a teen mother, so physically, she still appeared bonkible to young men, and take advantage of that often after her divorce with Deidra's father.

While Im not policing a woman's choice to live life, very little of her time spent went to actual parenting. She was an excellent antagonist, in the way, where her goals were always just, and in no way hurting others.

Deidra was depressed and contemplated suicide in the both on numerous occasions, but Mommy Dearest was still shot up on the boy she'd lost her job for in the first place. Maybe it's premature to say, but I had it in my head, that her mother was a bit of a pedophile/ephebophile. Even Deidra wasnt sure if her attraction to younger men would deviate if her students became younger.

Deidra recognized that her mother suppressed her own sexuality, while expressing her own freely, despite it's consequences. Deidra was a victim in many senses of the word, and there was so little she could do about it until she was 18. But she still loved her mother, and felt helpless in that pull her mother had on her.

A complaint I have, is I would've liked to see her father more involved in her life. I cant think of a good father, especially one who was there for her before a divorce, allowing her to stay in a household with such negativity. He seemed like he had stable financial means, and if his daughter's mother had issues, I wondered why he never offered to keep her sometimes, even just on weekends.

Also, the diversity was a more ambiguous. It's set in Miami-Dade county, and I lived in Miami, so I'm going to kind of take a guess here, but it seemed like most the people antagonizing Deidra were Latino and Black. It's never stated explicitly, but it seems like it's more in between the lines.

Anytime I feel a little uncomfortable with that, I just feel as though I'd like to point that out, because Im a Black-Latino, so a small part of me felt some kind of way about that.

Deidra and her mother were never racially described, but Deidra mentioned having dark long hair. She could've been Latina, she could've been anything, but since I wasn't sure, my brain defaulted white. I think her love interest could've possibly been Black. But no one is ever described in that way, so I couldn't tell. Socio-economic diversity was present, but mainly because Deidra's mom had to get a job where no one knew her, so they had to live in a rough area, which I interpreted as a Black/Latino area. Deidra also seemed miserable because of it, so Im also not sure on how to feel.

Overall, it was a gritty, dangerously honest, and edgy YA novel. I hope any teen could read this, and see their own life in front of them, and get help if they're in need of it. This story teaches, that just because you have kids, doesn't mean you're rightfully a parent. You have to earn that title.


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