Monday, October 12, 2015

Black Dog of Fate, by Peter Balakian

The memoir Black Dog of Fate, by Peter Balakian, recounts his life growing up as an Armenian-American. It combines perfectly what it means to be an Armenian-American, perfectly describing the assimilation of Armenians but also the preservation of Armenian culture, not only with language, but with food and traditions. While growing up, Peter never knew or heard about the Armenian Genocide and cannot understand why nobody in his family will talk about it with him. In the memoir, Peter struggles to learn exactly what the 1915 genocide was and how it effects his family so much that they fear to speak of it.

I have never been able to connect to a book as much as this. Coming from an Armenian family who was effected deeply by the genocide, I felt like I was Peter. I grew up never understanding the full concept of what the genocide was because it was essentially a family taboo. Peter’s writing really resonated and connected with me personally and I recommend this book to people who are interested in learning about the genocide and the true consequences of such a disastrous event and how it lead to a huge migration of Armenians.

Reviewed by Nayri T., Grade 12
Casa Verdugo Library

Nana Volume 5, by Ai Yazawa

In the manga Nana Volume 5, by Ai Yazawa, a chance to visit home knocks on Nana Komatsu’s door as she receives a pair of free tickets to watch Trapnest live in VIP seats! But clever Hachi (Nana Komatsu) plans to hit two birds with one stone. Not only will her wish to see her favorite band member Takumi Ichinose will be granted but she also plans to drag Nana (Nana Osaki) with her to see the hot new bassist of Trapnest who happens to be her Ren. Merely that is a plan Hachi creates not a solid decision. That part remains on Nana’s wish which doesn’t seem to be in favor of taking a turn back to her ex lover.

As things seem to have calmed down in room 707, we take an insight onto the other half of the story to Nana’s life. This series can either show the two parts one’s life or the difference between the people we are. Nana’s heartbreak and relationship issues seems a whole lot more critical and really makes you think and connect. Whereas Hachi’s problems are like the times we eat chocolate and go on a shopping spree to ease the depression of the childish troubles we face at times. Therefore, both cases are very magnificently written to connect the readers to their deepest emotions and actions.

Reviewed by Anonymous, Grade 11
Glendale Central Library