Throomers’ Recommended Reading
This month, we take a look at two ends of the spectrum – – a first-time author who is generating buzz rarely seen in the industry, and a three-part series that you may recognize due to a movie released in 2018, and starring Jennifer Lawrence.
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls, by T Kira Madden
T Kira Madden, an acclaimed literary essayist, photographer and amateur magician, released her first book, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls, on March 5. The book is a memoir about her coming of age and reckoning with desire as a queer, biracial teenager amidst the fierce contradictions of Boca Raton, Florida, a place where she experienced cult-like privilege, shocking racial disparities, rampant white-collar crime, and powerfully destructive standards of beauty hiding in plain sight.
As a child, Madden lived a life of extravagance, from her exclusive private school to her equestrian trophies and her designer shoe-brand family name. But under the surface was a wild instability. The only child of parents continually battling drug and alcohol addictions, Madden confronted her environment alone. Facing a culture of assault and objectification, she found lifelines in the desperately loving friendships of other fatherless girls.
Although I am unable to offer my personal opinion as of yet, the reviews have been nothing short of phenomenal, ranging from “gripping and gloriously written” (Elle Magazine), to “Madden . . . pulls a rabbit out of her hat and turns her life into this gorgeous reckoning” (Washington Post), to “nostalgically sweet, stingingly sour, and unnervingly satisfying” (Oprah Magazine), to “truly stunning . . . Not many memoirs can get away with calling themselves page-turners, but T Kira Madden’s sure AF can” (Cosmopolitan Magazine).
Red Sparrow Trilogy, by Jason Matthews
The movie is based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Jason Matthews. In my opinion, the movie was pretty good, but the book is better. The trilogy began with Red Sparrow, and was followed in 2015 by Palace of Treason, and The Kremlin’s Candidate, which was released in 2018.
It’s the story of a Russian prima ballerina, Dominika Egorova, who suffers a career-ending injury, and becomes a member of the Russian intelligence service. She is forced to begin her journey in Sparrow School, a place where she is trained in the art of seduction to elicit information from unsuspecting people. After several successful operations, Dominika is assigned to a CIA officer, Nate Nash, who is intimately involved with handling highly sensitive Russian intelligence.
While Dominika and Nate enter their relationship seeking information from one another, they soon do the unthinkable, at least in the world of intelligence – they fall in love, beginning a journey that threatens their careers and consumes intelligence agencies in Russia as well as the United States. Dominika soon becomes the most important double agent for the US as she rises through the ranks of the Russian government, ultimately becoming a member of President Putin’s inner circle.
If you like the spy thriller genre, you will enjoy reading the trilogy. Each book is filled with action, intrigue, suspense, sex, and violence as the two intelligence agents confront a variety of assassins intent on destroying them while trying to protect themselves and each other.
The author, Jason Matthews does a brilliant job of keeping the action flowing so that the reader is never bored, not even for a moment. Perhaps this is due to his 33- year career as a CIA officer, engaging in clandestine operations throughout the world. Matthews specialized in “denied-area operations,” which is defined by the US Department of Defense as “an area under enemy or unfriendly control which friendly forces cannot expect to operate successfully within existing operational constraint and force capabilities.”