Alcohol & Advil: White Fur and Do Not Become Alarmed

June 8, 2017 Mini Book Reviews 12

Alcohol and Advil Literary Style

Welcome back to Alcohol & Advil, where I pair a book likely to cause a “reading hangover” (i.e. the alcohol) with a recovery book (i.e. the Advil)! For me, the “alcohol” is usually a book that I either absolutely loved or one that punched me in the gut in an emotionally depleting way…and, in this case, it’s the former.

The Alcohol

White Fur by Jardine LibaireWhite Fur by Jardine Libaire
Fiction (
Released May 30, 2017)
384 Pages
Bottom Line: Read it.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon 
Source: Publisher (Hogarth Books)

Plot Summary: Jamey Hyde (a wealthy Yale student from the Upper East Side) and Elise Perez (Hyde’s New Haven neighbor who grew up in Connecticut public housing) embark on a relationship, which Jamey’s family is determined to destroy.

My Thoughts: The premise of this book sounds completely cheesy and I’m normally not a fan of love stories in my reading, but I loved this one! It’s raw, gritty, edgy, and uncomfortable…while also managing to be a study of class in America. And, it features the most gorgeous writing I’ve seen in months! The settings of 1980’s New Haven and New York City certainly account for some of the grittiness, but Libaire’s writing and storytelling takes care of the rest. And, Libaire’s spot-on and perfectly worded social commentary about the wealthy provides a nice change of pace from Jamey and Elise’s dark and intense relationship.

Binkie, the one and only. He can hear her rings clacking on the plastic phone, and he chuckles, envisioning with amusement the bejeweled and suntanned manicured grip his grandmother thinks she has on his balls. And she does.

I don’t normally describe love stories as suspenseful, but this one kicks off with a Prologue that had me dying to know how Jamey and Elise would get from Point A to Point Z. My only complaint is that the actual Point Z didn’t work for me…it didn’t fit well with the rest of the story. Nevertheless, White Fur is one gorgeously written, highly literary, and totally unique (so unique that I can’t think of a single book to compare it to) love story…and is one of my favorite books so far this year!

The Advil

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile MeloyDo Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy
Fiction (
Released June 6, 2017)
352 Pages
Bottom Line: Read it.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Publisher (Riverhead)

Plot Summary: While on a holiday cruise through Central America, cousins Liv and Nora’s children (along with two friends) disappear during a shore excursion.

My Thoughts: Following the gorgeous writing of White Fur, I was looking for a purely plot-based book and I found it in Do Not Become Alarmed. Though the plot requires the reader to suspend belief a few times, I flew through this novel.

The bulk of the action takes place in an unnamed Central American country that’s supposed to be “the Switzerland of Central America” and very safe for tourists…based on clues in the novel, it sounds like a fictional Costa Rica. The story is told from the perspectives of the different sets of parents (who have their own dynamics and are experiencing cracks in their relationships with each other as a result of the children’s disappearances) and the missing children. It’s a “shit hits the fan on an International vacation” story in the vein of Siracusa (my review) and would be a perfect vacation read…as long as you’re not traveling with young children through Central America! And, it’s going on my 2017 Summer Reading Guide.

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12 Responses to “Alcohol & Advil: White Fur and Do Not Become Alarmed”

    • Sarah Dickinson

      And I’m now having the same issue AGAIN after reading Beartown! Have not been able to truly get into a book since…

  1. Susie | Novel Visits

    Those book hangovers are a blessing and a curse! It’s so great to read a truly amazing book, but then everything else pales in comparison. The one with White Fur has been bad, and now I think I’m going to have another one after Eleanor Oliphant. I only have an hour and a half left on the audio and am already feeling sad about that!

    Do Not Become Alarmed is on my TBR list. We’ll see if I get to it this summer!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      True that! White Fur has been unexpectedly bad. A few books have gotten under my skin since (Beartown for one), but nothing consistent. I’m on the library hold list for Eleanor. But I’m #65 so I’m guessing I may end up buying it sooner.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Though it is kind of cliche, the way she executed it was anything but.

  2. Sarah

    White Fur was my BOTM pick! I am impatiently waiting for it to come in the mail. I can’t wait! PS – Just picked up Behind her Eyes at the library. I know it was meh for you, but I wanted to be able to participate in your spoiler discussion.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Thrilled to have you participate in the discussion…that’s kind of why I read it too! I was pretty sure I wouldn’t love it, but was curious enough!

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