Thursday, July 2, 2015

every mornin' every evenin', ain't we got fun...: a book review

Isn't the cover gorgeous, though?

   I recently won a very generous giveaway for Emily Chapman and Emily Ann Putzke's new book, Ain't We Got Fun.  Thanks so much, you guys!  I was lucky enough to be one of the people who got to read the Ain't We Got Fun on their blogs before it was edited and published in book format.  I've got to confess, I had fangirl attacks each time their was a new letter posted on their blogs and I got to find out what happened to the characters next.  As you can imagine, I was ecstatic when I heard they were getting published, and even more so when I won their fabulous giveaway. So, get ready for my first ever book review full of fangirling and rainbows and glitter and general happiness.

Can you believe that this beautiful copy of Little Women and the
coffee and several other lovely items came in this giveaway?
   Ain't We Got Fun is a compiled correspondence between two sisters, Bess and Gi, during the Great Depression.  It tells the story of their joys, sorrows, and adventures in love and life.  When Gi leaves for New York to seek her fortune, she knows she'll find adventure, but not necessarily in all the ways she's expected.  At home, Bess is having some unexpected adventures as well.

    I can't tell you how charming and wonderful this book is!  You might call me biased because I've been reading along since it was first shared on their blogs, but once you read it, you will be just as attached! If you're not already convinced by the summary, I will try to describe as coherently as possible what a lovely book this is. 

The Characters
    The main characters Bess (Elizabeth) and Gi (Georgiana) Rowland, although sisters, are almost opposites, but are still best friends.  Gi is feisty, adventurous, loves coffee (like, really loves coffee), and dreams big.  Bess is a bit of a homebody with brave streak; she finds beauty in the little things, and has a habit of twisting her ankles at the most inopportune moments!  I can't decide which character I loved more.  I love how they both grow and learn things throughout the book.  I feel like they not only became wiser,  but they also became better people.  They each had their own unique voice, and funny little quirks.  Gi can drink multiple cups of coffee in one sitting, and she makes impetuous decisions (probably due to all the coffee) like auditioning for a Broadway play without thinking, "Hey, I don't even know how to tap dance..."  Bess thinks things through, but still manages to get into mishaps (which often involve twisted ankles).  Bess is a really sweet and caring soul.  Although she doesn't make anything of it, she always seems to be helping people.  The Rowland sisters felt so real to me that I wanted to jump into the book and have coffee with Gi and discuss Little Women with Bess.
    And I haven't even mentioned the supporting characters.  A lot of times authors pay so little attention to the supporting characters that no matter how realistic the main characters are, the story doesn't seem quite convincing.  Emily and Emily gave even the smallest character life.  Speaking of which... I LOVED Tom and Will! Let's just say, I was a fan from their first minutes of screen page time.  And no, I'm not going to tell you anything more about them. You'll just have to read the book. (-;
{via pinterest}

Historical Setting
    Is it weird to say that I love the Great Depression? Well, it is a really cool time period, even if things were tough back then.  The descriptions in the letters really gave a feeling of the 1930's and of the poverty of that time, but they also focussed on the joys of life, like ice skating in Central Park, the feeling of reading a favorite classic, or stumbling across an unexpected sea of wildflowers.  Although the characters had some pretty tough financial problems and difficult decissions to make, they didn't bemoan them all the livelong day, they took time to enjoy life.  I think that was what made this book so charming.
{via pinterest}

The Plot
    I'm a sucker for a fabulous plot or a wild plot twist.  But then again, I love a book that feels more like real life.  I feel like I often connect more with the story, which I find very important while reading a book.  Ain't We Got Fun didn't have any crazy plot twists, but it was engaging and really encouraging to read.  Bess and Gi's struggles, joys, and adventures were so captivating that I had a hard time putting to book down.  I had fangirl moments in which I shipped people and lost the ability to even.  I know this doesn't have a lot to do with the plot, but I just wanted to say, this is probably the best piece of Christian literature that I have read in years.  It was entirely clean and wholesome, but without a moment of preachiness.  I've got to admit, preachiness is a huge turn-off for me, and that's why I don't read a lot of Christian books, but even the moments when the characters talked about God, it was genuine without being at all preachy.  

The Writing
    You guys have no idea how badly I want to be as good at writing as the two talented authoresses are.  And this is only their second book!  (Seriously though, if writing only improves with practice, can you imagine how fabulous their writing will be in ten years?)  The prose (for lack of a less pretentious word) flowed together beautifully, and the characters each had their own voice and rhythm.  I also noted a satisfying lack of adverbs.  (Currently one of my pet writing peeves. ) The writing had a classic and homey feel about it that made me want to just pop into the story and be part of that world for a little while.  I think that Miss Emily Chapman and Miss Emily Ann Putzke have excellent chemistry as writers.  Sometimes more than one writer can make a story sound choppy or patched together.  Transitions between the two sisters voices was natural and didn't make me feel like I was jumping from place to place, which can be particularly annoying for a reader!  So kudos to the authors for a fabulous job writing this book!

My Rating of This Book:
Five stars! Five Thumbs up! Five children! 
(If you didn't get that random Studio C reference, watch this hilarious video)

    Thanks again to Emily and Emily for this fantastic book! I would recommend it to anyone who loves a wholesome, delightful and well written novel. Ain't We Got Fun now has a specially place in my heart and on my bookshelf.  So if you haven't already read it, read it now and join the Ain't We Got Fun fanclub.  (Because it is an inevitable part of reading the book. XD) And if you've already read it, tell me what you thought in the comments below so we can fangirl together!
Photography credits go to my lovely sister, Sarah!
    xoxo, 
         Lizzy




12 comments:

  1. Congrats on winning the giveaway, looks like it came with some pretty awesome stuff.
    Great first review! I just finished this book as well and I loved it! :)
    Oh, and I totally got the Studio C reference! ;) haha

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    1. Thanks, you're so sweet Hannah! And it was really exciting to win, Emily and Emily put so much thought into it. (-: Haha, isn't Studio C awesome?

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  2. Totally agreed! I read the story on their blogs and had to hold in squeals every time there was a new installment. It is fun and clean and super sweet. Great review. You captured it well.

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    1. Wasn't it so fun when they posted the letters on their blogs every day? And I love how family friendly it was without being prim at all.(-: Thanks for the sweet comment, Susanna.

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  3. Great job on the review, Lizzy. This book sounds amazing!
    I love the title. To me, good books should always have incredibly awesome titles. Always. And I agree about modern Christian fiction sometimes being a little overboard on the "preachiness." It's nice that this one isn't like that.

    P.S. The Studio C quote....ROFL.... :') :') :')

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    1. Aww, your so sweet Audrey! I loved the book, and I can totally loan it to you the next time I see you at church if you'd like. Yes! Good titles are a must! And this book is definitely not too preachy. (--: You'd like it a lot I think. Hehe, Studio C always makes me giggle.

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  4. This post makes me so happy!! I'm glad you enjoyed AWGF! Thanks for the lovely review! =)

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    1. YOUR book made me so happy! Thanks so much! And it was the least I could do to write this review. (-:

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  5. The Studio C quote, you sporting Bess' headband, all your sweet words ... I might be biased, but I love this. ^.^ Thanks so much for the review, Elizabeth! I love that you love the book!

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    1. Thank YOU for the book and the other lovely items in the giveaway! And I'm glad you liked the review, I was a little nervous since it's the first one I've done on my blog. (-:

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  6. Isn't AWGF just the loveliest thing? I love these authors and their story. Great review, Elizabeth!!!

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    1. It is though, isn't it?! I can't wait to read more of their books. And thanks for the delightful comment, Hannah. (-:

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Please share your thoughts with me! I LOVE to connect with my readers, and I promise I don't bite.

xoxo Lizzy

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