Thursday, February 9, 2012

Miss World Tour Stop

I was ten years old when Kurt Cobain died. I remember the moment I found out so vividly: my best friend (a boy) and I were walking back from school and he just sort of mentioned it in passing, like it was not a big deal at all. Having lost someone extremely important to me at a very young age, I had a pretty unique concept of death and I was far beyond the point of taking anyone’s tragedy lightly, let alone someone who’d already been so present in my life. (To make things just a little bit clearer, I should mention that I grew up with two significantly older siblings, both musicians, and that I was a somewhat unusual child to begin with.) At that moment I felt that ache in my chest for the first time, the ache that will become as familiar as breathing and in many ways comforting in years to come.
As I entered my teen years, both my siblings moved to a new town, and I was suddenly an only child in new, frightening surroundings, with no one to stand up for me. I went from being the youngest, cherished and protected to being all on my own in the matter of days. But through it all there was this beautiful, blue-eyed guy, who seemed to be intimately familiar with every form of grief in this world, including my own. As his hoarse, mesmerizing voice sang about pain and anger, my own pain quieted down to listen. There was just something magnetic about this man who tried so hard to be happy, but simply didn’t know how. I think every miserable person on the face of the Earth could somehow identify with him, if only they tried.

So you see, I didn’t even have to read the entire description of Miss World to know that it’s something I desperately want to read.
I started reading Randi Black’s debut as someone who still remembers what being a misunderstood teen feels like, but somewhere along the line I began reading it as a mother instead. Let me tell you, this book is every mother’s nightmare. It is a horrifying example of failure as a parent and as a human being. A 16-year-old girl who’s been told again and again that she’s ugly, clumsy and worthless by her very own parents doesn’t really stand a chance – she is bound to get caught up in self-destructive behavior, just as our heroine, Kim Ho, did.

How often do we use the words raw and uncompromising to describe a novel? I, for one, will think twice before using them again. Randi Black took raw realism to a whole new level. She didn’t hold anything back. Even though her prose seemed disconnected at times and despite several flaws I noticed on a purely technical level, her book needs to be out there and it needs to be read. Although Miss World tells the story of two young adults (and quite a few messed up adults), it is in no way a young adult book. If you have problems with swearing, extremely graphic sex scenes and abuse, maybe you should skip this debut. It’s not easy to stomach at all, but I dare say it’s worth it.
Just one more quick and shallow observation: I loved the little bombs that marked breaks in the chapters. They seemed somehow appropriate since this is a book that really blows up in your face.
Alright, darlings, you can now enter not one, but TWO giveaways: the first to win a signed copy of Miss World (woohoo) and the second to win an iPod Shuffle. All giveaways are international! Make sure to visit the other tour stops for more chances to enter the second giveaway. Go HERE to check out the tour schedule.

A big thank you to the lovely ladies at Paranormal Wastelands, but most of all, thank you to the amazing Randi Black for having the guts to write something that most people won't have the guts to read.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This was a really sweet post, Maja, it sounds like you really connected with this book. I've never heard of it but it's definitely going on my to-read list

  2. Thanks Maja for sharing such a heartfelt story with us and a wonderful review :)

  3. I honestly don't remember exactly where I was when he died. I was in college but I don't remember the details. Still love his music. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  4. What a lovely post, Maja. Thanks for sharing that and introducing me to Miss World. You have me convinced I need to pick this up! Thank you for the fabulous giveaways. ;)

  5. Ahh, thank you, my darlings!
    But we have Randi and the lovely ladies at Paranormal Wastelands to thank for the giveaways.

  6. YES! This. I also strongly identified with Miss World as a formerly misunderstood teen who found solace in grunge and boys. As an adult with no children, I'd never stopped to consider that this is a scary lesson in parenting as well. Excellent food for though.

  7. Maja,

    Thank you for being part of this tour, and for sharing where you were when Kurt was found dead. Things like this have always been a strange source of comfort to me, and I appreciate it.

  8. OH MY GOSH, MAJA! <3 That was such a beautiful post! I love it when you can connect to a book that strongly. And I'm already sympathizing with Kim -- being called names by other people is one thing, but being called names by your own parents has to be even more awful! I can't even imagine it!

    Thank you so much for the amazing post, Maja! <3 Any book you say is worth the read is one that I definitely need to pick up! :)

  9. Thanks for these two amazing giveaways! :D

    Angie @ Pinkindle Reads & Reviews

  10. Great post Maja I'm so curious to start this later today! I've heard it was raw and emotional so I'm all set and mentally ready! >.<

  11. I'm not a parent yet, but I can't wait to be someday. And it's always heartbreaking to know that there are children, or even young adults that because of their circumstances, have to grow up much faster than they should. Kids should be allowed to be kids, and they should have the support and love of their parents to help guide them into adulthood.

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  13. What a beautiful post! Thank you for the giveaways!


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