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Wednesday, 3 April 2013

***Blog Tour Review*** Love Sandwiches by Annie Zhu

A shopgirl volunteers to hand out sandwiches to the homeless, but helping others does not eradicate her self-hatred. After every act of charity, her long-distance boyfriend Paul suffocates her with his unconditional love.

Between running into a childhood friend who has reinvented herself as a music video vixen, and confronting an unhinged homeless man, her evening snowballs into a night of self-destruction.

Set in Toronto, Canada, this 6,300-word literary short story is about the nature of giving and receiving love . . . and sandwiches

I’m choosing this because

I was approached to read this as I was approached to read it as part of this blog tour. I said yes because let’s face it, that title is so cute! Oh and the synopsis sounds good!! I have to say a bit of a motivation is that this is a short story so won’t take up too much time to read and review and I do need a break after all those Malorie Blackman books!!

Judging a Book by Its Cover:

I have to say I don’t know how I feel!!! Ummm... I love the sandwich and the love heart but the title needs a more eye-catching font for me and a nicer background colour would also be good. While I do think it needs some work it’s not the worst cover I’ve seen in the world and is lovely... ish.

Pricing the (Possible) Awesomeness:

I tirelessly searched Amazon (I put the book title in the search thing) and discovered that this can be yours for the cheap as chips price of £1.02 (random price!) I got this for free though in exchange for this review, which will be fabulous. Probably. 

I’m not entirely sure what to say about this. I was instantly pulled into the story, the self hatred I felt from our narrator came through so well. We all do things to try to see ourselves in a new light or to run away from what we feel our life is, (I’m a doormat. I’m not even joking.) and this short story follows that experiment. I can understand her feelings towards giving the sandwiches to the homeless, I’d actually feel the same. I actually understand the smothered feeling too. Okay, let’s just say I relate to our lead. I personally think ‘Love Sandwiches’ is pretty well written and in 17 PDF pages I found a story that tells us about a woman who’s unsure of who she is and what she does to make herself feel good.

The only other character we get to see in any depth is Tranh or Mya as she now calls herself. The thing about Tranh is that most of what we get from her is what happened during one art lesson with our narrator but they say our experiences in childhood shape who we are and who we become. (At least, I think they do.) Now from what I gathered Tranh’s childhood was... well not good to be fair. The end of the book sees a realisation for our narrator, I’m not sure if it’s life changing. I’d like to think it was an epiphany caused by Tranh’s chosen life path.

Overall, I’m really not sure how I feel about this, but in a good way. It was really something but I’m not sure if the meaning of it went straight over my head (which wouldn’t be hard, I’m only 5ft!). The characters felt realistic in a way that I rarely come across in my chosen genre of reading. They were real and flawed and hated themselves. I mean this is a short story so it really took no time at all to read. There was one scene that chilled me to the core with its realness and my understanding of that situation.

I just want to point out that I’m at a loss for words when it comes to this so that’s why this review is so short but I think that goes to show the quality of what I’ve stumbled across.

I just went with my gut there because after 5 hours of debating I was veering wildly from 3 – 5 so I just decided to go in the middle. This is a story that will stay with me, partly because I want to know what happens after the end, partly because the subject matter hit quite close to home (self loathing is something I really can relate to!) and lastly because I’m not entirely sure I’ve got it right. Never the less, great book, great writing, exemplary characters and I liked it. A lot.

I just want to take this chance to thank Sage’s Blog Tours for allowing me to read this and giving me a free copy of the story in exchange for this review. So yea, cheers! Hope this makes it worth it.

Annie Zhu was born in Nanjing, China, and moved to Canada at the age of seven. She has a BFA in Film Studies from Ryerson University and a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She lives in Paris.

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