Brave Enough to Try Again: The Parable of Little Julie

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I'd decided to only buy one book and chose Mother Tongue as it sounded the most unusual. The story is set in Russia in and is told from the viewpoint of Darya, a teenager who is looking forward to September, when her little sister will be starting school. Darya has cared for Nika since she was born and is looking forward to starting her own life maybe get a job.

A devastating tradegy unfolds based on the true story of the school siege at Beslan and everything gets turned on its head. This is a beautifully written book in which we see the emotions of Darya, and how she, her family and her fellow townspeople deal with the aftermath. The descriptions of life in Russia are evocative and I spent the whole book rooting for Darya to find happiness or at least acceptance.

Apr 28, Jay rated it really liked it. I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way changes my opinions, and all of the words below are my own. It is a heartwrenching story and full of lots of small and large disasters that people, unfortunately, have to face in the real world. However, I felt little to no connection to the main character. The writing was fine, it was a short and easy read, and as I said the story itself was quite well done. Yet it I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Yet it felt unremarkable, and not very memorable.

With all that said maybe I'm just the wrong audience for this book, or read it with the wrong mindset. It jumped between so many different things in the main characters life and yet none fully hit home for me, despite obviously being something that would for others. So I'm going to leave this review short, and say that I would recommend it to others but maybe those with more connection to the story.

Oct 21, Paula Vince rated it really liked it Shelves: young-adults-fiction , contemporary-fiction. This novel is based on an actual event in Russia, the Beslan School siege of Over hostages were taken in the terrorist attack, and many were killed. In this story, main character Darya Ivanova loses her cheerful little sister Nika, who was starting her first day of school.

The first half of this novel deals with ways in which different family members cope with their intense grief. Darya takes up smoking, distracts herself with housework and cooking, and longs to make a fresh start as a This novel is based on an actual event in Russia, the Beslan School siege of Darya takes up smoking, distracts herself with housework and cooking, and longs to make a fresh start as an office worker or secretary in Moscow where she believes she might be able to shake off the pain. Her ambition is to 'sit at a desk in a good blouse and skirt, learn to type and have a glass pot with sharpened pencils.

Their mother falls into heartbroken inertia. When they think they've dealt with the pain, they find that simple triggers have a way of returning it stronger than ever. This is all described with sensitive and heartbreaking detail. Darya makes friendships with aid workers Zlata and Vitaliy. She develops a crush on Jonathan, a handsome journalist from New York who is teaching English to a group of young women.

One day Jonathan offers Darya the chance to fulfill her dream of looking for work in Moscow. The second half of the book shows how she fares, and the results of his generous gesture. It has a 'City Mouse, Country Mouse' sort of feeling. Initially wide-eyed and eager to assimilate, Darya becomes disenchanted enough with her experience to consider returning home. You have to read the book to find out whether or not she does. The people she meets include Viktoria, a street-wise girl who takes her under her wing, and Ekaterina, a young waitress who longs to leave Moscow to live in Venice, although she already possesses Darya's dream of living in Moscow.

The irony of this is not lost on Darya. The brief descriptions we get of lifestyles in Moscow whet our appetites to learn more. Julie Mayhew weaves great metaphors into her writing, such as likening the Hotel Alexander, where Darya is staying, to a living being with a heartbeat and veins. It's done with a subtlety that you could blink and miss, but gives the story great texture.

I really liked her writing style. The issue in the end isn't whether or not Darya should stay in the city or return home. That becomes irrelevant. Having the free choice to make that decision for herself is what the book is really all about. Darya realises that Viktoria paints bright, exciting pictures with her words, 'and her ambitions for me began to paper over mine. Well-meaning though it is, she learns to ponder whether or not it will fit her deepest needs. Some readers may think that Darya hasn't experienced enough of the city to make such a definite resolution.

Another interesting questions she finds herself asking is whether or not she dismiss one specific chance of happiness, just because it's originally her father's choice and not her own. Although the package may not look appealing, there's a feeling that she's on the verge of getting rid of prejudice and deciding it might be just what she wants.

I love that. So after the horrific event at the start, the book ends on a hopeful and positive note. Although she was really only in it in person for a very short time, little Nika was one of the strongest characters of the story. She lives powerfully in Darya's reminiscences, memories, and the spontaneous dreams she has at night. They are a great blend of physical and personality attributes. We see a cheerful little girl who was always ready to embrace simple pleasures, and with her imagination, transform her drab surroundings into something wonderful. Darya even reflects, 'how perfect to be her.

Funny and silly, yet focused and true. I was given this novel to review for the Book Curator magazine for school libraries. Oct 09, Amanda rated it it was amazing Shelves: uk , europe , octoberrelease , for-review , i-have-a-copy , cultural , hot-key-five-mile , family , grief , ya-lit. I've been wanting to read Julie Mayhew's books for years now, so when I heard about the release of her third book, Mother Tongue , I knew I had to read it. Set in Saratov in , eighteen year old Darya Ivanova is preparing for her future. She has cared for her little sister since she was eleven years old, after her mother developed post-natal depression.

Darya loves Nika, but she is ready for her to start school so that she can finally get a job and start her own life. But a siege at the schoo I've been wanting to read Julie Mayhew's books for years now, so when I heard about the release of her third book, Mother Tongue , I knew I had to read it. But a siege at the school changes everything. I was immediately captivated by Darya. She hasn't had the easiest of childhoods, but she's borne it well, rarely showing Nika how hopeless and lonely she feels.

She feels abandoned by her mother, but still loves her family. She grew up speaking Russian but when they moved to town, she learnt Ossetian, and it's the language Nika grew up speaking. She's a character that is easy to relate to and empathise with. Her grief and guilt after the attack was absolutely heartbreaking, as was watching the different ways in which her family members chose to cope with their pain. Darya's story felt timeless. At first I thought this was set further back in history, perhaps in the 70s or 80s. But, the mention of electronic items like laptops gave me a hint that this was a lot more recent, and towards the end of the book the year is finally revealed to be When I started reading, I had no idea the story was based on the real events of the Beslan school siege.

There's a lengthy author's note explaining her interest in the subject and why she decided to write this story. It's not a decision she made lightly, and this was shown through her sensitive and respectful narrative. The Russian cultural elements felt well researched and were vetted by natives, so the story felt authentic.

Mother Tongue is the story of a girl coming of age after facing a tragedy. It's about finding your true home and deciding on what you want for your future. It's beautifully written and will leave you sad but hopeful.

But here’s her plan to win anyway.

Initial thoughts: Mother Tongue is based on the Beslan school siege, and the aftermath. Needless to say, that made it a difficult book to read. Knowing that children were killed, thinking about the families left behind, recalling the despairing faces I saw on TV in made it all the more heart-breaking. The pain, however, does not compare to that of people who were there. That's why I'm glad that Julie Mayhew continued to wonder in her afterword if this was a story she should tell. Was it her Initial thoughts: Mother Tongue is based on the Beslan school siege, and the aftermath.

Was it her place to write this book? I don't have a concrete answer either, though I don't think that she sensationalised any aspect. That's an important factor that made me appreciate Mother Tongue. Mayhew focused on one person, Darya, and how she was affected — the post-traumatic stress disorder she was struck with when she lost a her sister, whom she had raised like her own daughter.

The pace felt a little dissonant, Darya's character introspective yet not always fully present. That slowed down my reading of Mother Tongue significantly. Usually that would've bothered me but given the subject matter, it seemed fitting. View 1 comment. Jan 23, Michelle Fluttering Butterflies rated it liked it Shelves: books-read-in , british-reading-challenge , ya. It was beautifully written and engaging, but I didn't connect emotionally to the story or characters.

Apr 21, Summer rated it really liked it. With a mentally unwell mother and an otherwise occupied father, for seven years teenager Darya has been the only caregiver of her little sister, Nika. There were times I found Darya frustrating, times when I became annoyed with her for not making better choices, a With a mentally unwell mother and an otherwise occupied father, for seven years teenager Darya has been the only caregiver of her little sister, Nika.

Gradually, as I turned the last few pages, I came to appreciate the beauty in where Darya ends up, in the peace of mind and heart she finds there, and how achieving that peace was actually a whole lot more important in the grand scheme of things than the kind of surface achievement that I initially thought her ending needed. I received this ARC through a giveaway.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from and Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Mother Tongue is a fictional account of the family of one of the victims of the Beslan school siege in I will admit my ignorance — before reading this book, I was entirely unfamiliar with the event. Also, I was 14 and admittedly no Disclaimer: I received this book for free from and Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review.

Also, I was 14 and admittedly not following the news. The Beslan school siege was a three-day siege at a Russian school where approximately people were held hostage on the first day of school for three days. Over three hundred people were killed, half of which were children. In Mother Tongue, we see the morning before the siege, then the siege itself and the aftermath. The technical aspects are all well done and shocking. The cultural attentiveness is there. I genuinely wish that there were more emotional depths in Mother Tongue.

This story is super important to bring to life. Darya is flat and directionless. There was a point where I thought that the story was going to turn and she was going to grow, but she constantly turned tail and avoided opportunities of growth. That was a theme here — I felt like the storytelling kept stopping short. As far as the plot goes, its meandering. The book star s strong — getting ready for school and a sister conversation. As a reader, I felt like I was being lead in circles, and the conclusion was not fulfilling. Mother Tongue had a lot of idea potential and tells what could be an important story, but I personally did not feel it was told successfully.

May 09, Rachel Glass rated it really liked it Shelves: arcs. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Thank you to the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion. I only have a vague memory of the crisis in Beslan taking place so it was interesting to read a novel about it, although really this is a coming-of-age novel which discusses what childhood and adulthood are, and the effects of trauma. The infamous event itself actually takes up very little of the book. I began by finding Darya quite a frustrating character.

She blamed herself for a lot of things that it was clear Thank you to the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion. She blamed herself for a lot of things that it was clear were not her fault survivor's guilt? I actually found myself distrusting most of the characters myself, almost as though to protect Darya as she seemed to have very little way to protect herself.

However the story, and Darya's odyssey to Moscow, did eventually draw me in, even if I couldn't believe how naive she was! The emotional journey Darya went on, and her ability to forgive and love despite disappointment and grief, was very moving and I'm glad I read this book. May 06, amber rated it liked it.

Darya Ivanova is an eighteen-year-old girl who takes care of her seven-year-old sister Nika. Her mother never comes out of her bed since Nika has been born. He returns, repentant from all he has done, and his father, a righteous man, greets him as a special son. He finally understands that true happiness is there, in that simple life with his family.

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All who seek full happiness can find it in the gospel of Jesus Christ, taught in His Church. As we keep His commandments, we are blessed and come to know true happiness. We learn that happiness lies in doing small things that build us up, that increase our faith and testimony. Small things we do in our everyday lives, such as:. We are happy as we pray every morning and every night, when we can feel that the Lord hears us and is always willing to bless, forgive, and help us. We are happy as we go home after a stressful and tiresome day at work to the arms of our families, as they express love and appreciation for us.

We are happy to talk to our children, to enjoy the family, to get together on family night. In short, we can feel happiness every day in our lives through little things we do, and we are fully happy as we keep the commandments of a loving God who cares about us. True happiness comes from keeping the commandments of God. I have witnessed this happiness in the lives of many members of the Church. Several weeks ago I had the assignment to preside over a stake conference in Cali, Colombia.

I met a very special young man there who is a member of the Church and can well illustrate the meaning of true happiness.

brave enough to try again sigh

His family belongs to the Church, and he learned of the plan of happiness when he was just a little boy. That avenue was a route for many city bus lines.

Corsham Baptist Church

His parents took him to three different hospitals that indicated they could not treat him. They continued looking for help, and upon finding the proper medical assistance, they learned the prognosis was not very good. After undergoing multiple surgeries, the doctors informed the family that the damage to his feet and legs was so extensive that to save him, they had to amputate his right leg. He slowly learned to control his body balance and to walk with the help of crutches. He went to school and had the support of his teachers and friends.

Some people used to mock him, but he soon learned not to care about the jokes they played on him. He wanted to participate in all physical activities, and did so frequently. This is universal. We all have this heart that just aches to be held and fears being pierced. As a writer, how have you stayed motivated to meet your deadlines? How was that shift from a more traditional career?

I am terrified and exhilarated pretty regularly. I experience both. I am my own boss. It is up to me. I have a team of people around me who help me do stuff. I have a social media manager. I have a publicist. I have people whose work is my work. Their work is about getting my work out there. Yet, none of them are going to fire me. I have had to self-motivate and it has not been hard. This urgent phase, and so the motivation is there.


  1. Walt Disney, A Life.
  2. Microsoft Zune (2006 -2012).
  3. See a Problem??
  4. How to Breathe Underwater!
  5. Allegros Mushroom.
  6. Memories!
  7. The Flowret from Forest Idyls.

I signed a two-book deal, which is great in terms of my financial forecasting and all of that, but they want me to write that third book. My deadline is Labor Day. How audacious is it to write a book for a generation of people? I was one of the earliest adopters of Facebook of people my age. Stanford was the second node. It jumped from Harvard to Stanford in a month. Then I started getting friend requests. It was going to be a thing. Our students were dwelling there and hanging out. If we were going to remain credible, and visible, and relevant to them, we had to start using this thing.

My older colleagues just poo-pooed me. The slow adopters are just so behind.

---- 2016 ----

This matters to the students, and it needs to matter to us. The world started joining. I had to contend with who I was online: a dean, versus a person or a mother. We have let a company like U.

Fun and Happiness

Everybody knows that. The fact that the median SAT score of the class is, I think, It has become the community standard. There are plenty of other fantastic places that for all kind of reasons are better than those places according to different measures. When you can come to the truth of that, look at your kid, and try to figure out where they would thrive. Are they a St. Lawrence kind of kid, or a Syracuse kind of kid? Do they need sports, or do they need an artistic community? Do they need rural or urban? We do higher education very well in this country. We offer so much.

There are better lists.


  1. Bryce Smart (Author of Brave Enough to Try Again).
  2. Dragon Warrior (Dragon Wars Book 1);
  3. When Granny Comes Marching Home for Thanksgiving - Dr. Julie Barrier Christian Blog;
  4. Editor's Picks.
  5. Stacey Abrams Always Knew They’d Try to Cheat.
  6. Im Goldland Kalifornien: Roman (German Edition).

My greatest learning came as I was finishing How to Raise an Adult. I was in revisions in the fall of We bought this house here so he could do that, all of that.

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He went to Bing Nursery School. I met Dan at Stanford. I probably never said it out loud, but I hoped my kid would gain admission to places like Stanford that really require a perfect-to-flawless childhood stacked with stuff. He thinks, he reads—he reads mythology, he reads science, he reads current events. This kid was struggling with the workload at school. Five hours of homework a night, sophomore year, only fall semester sophomore year. I was thinking, We have the rest of fall, all of spring, all of junior year into senior year.

It was crushing him. It was too much, and I could see him trying to keep his head above water, and going through the motions, and doing the work. Then not even doing the work. I realized he was letting Google Translate tell him the answers to his Spanish—so cheating, just not learning. We finally decided to ask him if he needed to drop a class.

This was after weeks of watching him endure five hours of homework a day, and homework on the weekends, and no pleasure reading. He had stopped being the kid who brought a book to every meal. Do you think you might need to drop a class? What matters more than any of that is you. We began talking through what that would be. That night, my husband and I accepted the fact that our kid might not be able to weather these storms.

---- 2017 ----

Some kids can handle all of that. We had to care more about what was right for him. Too many kids are being forced down that path. I widened my own blinders that night to the truth that I was already writing about in my book—that there are plenty of great colleges. I went from talking the talk quite well; that night, I began walking the walk. My son is at Reed College, which is a school for thinkers. Many of them go on to get PhDs.



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