Advance reader reviews of Something Like Beautiful by Asha Bandele.

Something Like Beautiful

One Single Mother's Story

By Asha Bandele

Something Like Beautiful
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2009,
    208 pages.

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There are currently 33 member reviews
for Something Like Beautiful
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  • Sue (Wauwatosa WI)

    Interesting Memoir
    The author and poet Asha Bundele, has a definite gift for the English language. Unfortunately, she becomes repetitive throughout much of the book. She gave me an understanding of how someone could be married and conceive a child to someone in prison. While working through her problems, her daughter helps her rediscover the beauty of life.
  • Lynette (San Antonio TX)

    Something Like Beautiful
    Over all I found Asha Bandele’s Something Like Beautiful to be an engrossing story. I liked reading about what happened to her, and how these events made her feel; I sympathized 98% with the author, even as I wished she had made other choices; and I loved meeting her precious, precocious daughter. The message was uplifting as the book ended, and I can imagine this work will be a boon to other single parents, especially women.

    Although the author never made the point in so many words that children of single parents are often, of necessity, more mature than other kids of their ages, I do believe this to be true. The relationship this mother and daughter have is truly a beautiful thing, and I think Bandele fails to give herself enough credit for this fact. On the other hand, one wonders about down the road, how difficult it may be for them to separate in the normal, healthy way of all kids and their mothers. It’s a poignant fact of life for just such families that growing up to be independent may be more problematic for children like Bandele’s daughter and for the parents, also, that cleaving may be particularly painful. In other words, I believe this book is an important sociological portrait, given the prevalence of single mothers.

    I have only one reservation about Something Like Beautiful, which may not even be fair, considering that the book I read was not the final edition. And this is that, despite the fact that Bandele has won awards as an author, I found her language to be vague and/or ambiguous in numerous places. I am not talking about typos or repetitions of words, or misspellings. Instead I found pronouns whose antecedents were not clear, or sentences such as the following, which I found by opening the book at random: “ ... we revealed ourselves to ourselves wholly ...” rather than “... we revealed ourselves to each other wholly ...” and instead of “After five years ... we did what most people who are in love are want -- and able -- to do,” I certainly hope she meant to say “are wont ... to do.” OK, the latter may have been an editorial error, but there were many, many sentences that I had to read several times in order to find the meaning in them. Here’s an example of an awkward sentence (the last one): “You can still make it out,... but you have to squint. And even then, blurs.” Does she mean, “And even then it blurs” or “And even then, you see a blur”? Sometimes I chalked up the ambiguity to her being a poet, but I usually enjoy reading the prose of poets, so maybe it’s just that the work is still in need of a firm editorial hand. (I suppose that editing one’s own writing is different from editing that of another, since the author has also worked as an editor.)

    Despite the foregoing paragraph, I found Something Like Beautiful, by Asha Bandele, to be well worth the reading.
  • Michelle Cinncinnati, OH (Cincinnati OH)

    A Mother's Memoir
    This memoir grabbed my attention from the very first page. I read the book in one sitting. The reader experiences the author's memories of her husband, her daughter and herself through a very strong and focused emotional lens. I think what pulled me to finish the book in one sitting is I wanted to know the "why" of her choices: loving a man in prison and having a child together. I am not sure if I really have "the answer," but I think Asha does a good job with holding the reader's attention. Plus, I now have her first memoir, The Prisoner's Wife on my reading list.

    I Really did not enjoy this book at all. The main character made one bad choice after another and tried to blame it on the fact that she is a black oppressed woman. I felt sorry for her daughter. In case she hasn't heard the news we have a black President. This book really irritated me!
  • Brenda (Farmington MN)

    A Bit of A Disappointment
    I did not know that asha bandele was a poet, although I realized that fact within the first two pages. If there was a story to be told, I missed it. The feeling of accidentally reading someone's diary that was not meant to be opened came over me several times and remarks were made that indicated this book was clearly a project of self-indulgence. Although Something Like Beautiful could possibly be discussed and analyzed by a book club, the reading is not for an individual looking for some meaning between the front and back cover.
  • Ginger (Chandler AZ)

    Something like mediocre
    Within the first few minutes of reading this book I knew I would have a difficult time finishing it. I found Asha Bandele's memoir only middle of the road. Her style of writing was ho-hum and plain. She never fully developed her relationship with Rashid. I would have liked to have seen more of that. Her story is the same as so many women out there who are single moms and struggling. I didn't find her life unique at all. She just wrote about it. I would not read any more of her memoirs nor would I recommend this book to other readers.
  • Ruth Harris (Tyrone GA)

    Something Like Beautiful
    One Single Mother's Story is Asha Bandele's memoir dealing with motherhood.

    She fell in love and married a prisoner serving a 20 to life sentence. A memoir ensued.

    She got pregnant and had a beautiful baby girl. Another memoir.

    Asha is adopted and has issues with her birth mother; I imagine a memoir dealing with her search for her birth mother might be next.

    This book is well written and has some lovely thoughts beautifully expressed but at the end of the story I felt I'd been a fly on the wall during a very long therapy session.
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