The Inexplicable Logic of my Life – A Meaningful Story turned Hurtful and Offensive

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Publication date : March 7th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Clarion Books

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 464

Synopsis : Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican-American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

Rating: 2 stars

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*I received an Arc of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault – Successive Deaths.

(All Spoilers are hidden)

Oh boy I’m mad. When I first started reading the book it felt like I was finding a new favorite, I knew that I was going to be giving it a 5 star rating, but as you can see that didn’t happen. The Inexplicable Logic of my life took all the wrong turns when they could’ve been avoided, it was problematic, hurtful and ruined a story that could’ve been amazing otherwise. And I’m disappointed in the author. And sad. So prepare yourselves for one of my rants. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?

The writing is good, beautiful even, it’s Benjamin Alire Saenz so what else can you expect? The prose is lyrical and that’s what saddens me. ALL THE WASTED POTENTIAL. The beauty of it was ruined by a whole bunch of offensive sentences that played on bad stereotypes. Especially when it comes to the gay representation. I lost count of how many times I cringed because the author used sentences like “For a gay guy, my dad was pretty straight”, “That’s so gay”, and “You ARE gay” referring to a gay character that chose a cute dress for his friend.

Oh and we can’t forget about how it would probably even hurt Mexican-Americans who are already trying to figure out their identities with phrases like “All three of us wouldn’t make one whole Mexican” and “You’re not a real Mexican”. Last but not least, the all so overused ableism like “Emotional Anorexic” and “Schizophrenic dork”. The only thing that comes to mind when I think of all this mess is WHY? These sentences can easily be deleted and it wouldn’t change anything to the core of the story.

I’ve read around that the book has no plot which in a sense is true, but it’s a character driven story, focusing on the growth of the main character and his close entourage, so I didn’t mind that, I actually liked it. It is about family, friendship, grief and love in all of its forms, I liked how it put emphasize on how love is expressed differently by different people. The characters all had separates plotlines -or journeys- of their own that explored them as individuals and made them ultimately grow, even the secondary characters.

Now onto the part of it that enraged me. This is about how the sexual assault scene was handled and I’ll be blanking it for multiple reasons. Sam who is the main character’s bestfriend was dating this guy that wanted to rape her but she managed to escape and call Salvador (the MC) who came to the rescue. All is good. He often thinks about beating him up. All is good. When he finds her talking to the rapist -and the guy apologizing- he’s about to do it but she slaps him. What I have a problem with here isn’t the fact that she slapped him, because she did it for him not for the rapist. But why was she talking to him in the first place? Why was she listening to what he had to say? What he did was sexual assault and no apology can make it alright, and it’s wrong to make people believe anything else. But the WORST, is how it’s dealt with for the rest of the book. Or how it’s NOT dealt with. The author never calls it what it is -rape, sexual assault- he kept saying that he tried to hurt her. For 1, he DID hurt her. For 2, THAT WAS SEXUAL ASSAULT, saying the words won’t kill you.

Salvador, the main character, is a very sweet guy, but a very lost one. He starts having these urges to punch people who hurt him or the people he cares about and he doesn’t know where they come from. His relationship with his bestfriend is the softest friendship ever with cute banter.

But Sam, oh Sam! She has some really good qualities, she’s very caring, and a smart-ass witty girl but as all the good things in this book, she was ruined. The author tried so hard to make her “not like other girls” (which I hate) that here again he played on some really wrong stereotypes. She was made to be this girl who calls other girls bitches, didn’t befriend them and didn’t respect other people’s privacy, being very pushy and invasive at times. Oh there’s also the all so famous “One thing about Sam is that she didn’t throw like a girl”. Someone tell me what throwing like a girl looks like, because I sure don’t know. Lord have mercy.

Vicente -the dad- would be, if this book wasn’t so problematic, my favorite parental figure in YA. He’s such a gentle wise man who’s so generous and knows how to be the kids’ friend while still being the dad and having them not cross boundaries. I also liked how the family was so close knitted. It just felt real and authentic.

I think that’s it for this review. I’ve talked about it all. To be honest, I’m very frustrated with this book, because it’s wasted when it could’ve been beautiful. It honestly doesn’t feel like Ari & Dante and The Inexplicable Logic of my Life were written by the same author. Just because of how unproblematic and representative (the words of people who are represented in that book) the first was and how messy and hurtful this one is.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read The Inexplicable Logic of My Life? If so, what did you think?

If you have an #Ownvoices review, please let me know so I can link it here.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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33 thoughts on “The Inexplicable Logic of my Life – A Meaningful Story turned Hurtful and Offensive

  1. I am LIVING for your blog’s new look, Fadwa!

    It’s such a pity that you didn’t enjoy this one. Granted, it had its issues. I might give this one a try, since I enjoyed Ari and Dante!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it ! This is an interesting post especially because the author is Gay and Mexican. So I’m always curious how to approach problematic things in OwnVoices. I can related to the things they said about not feeling fully Mexican because growing up in diaspora I felt the same way about being Moroccan but as I got older I got over it . It was especially true as someone who is biracial and I had a very big identity crisis all the way through college where I said similar things lol, I wonder if that’s what the author was trying to convey? It sounds like the book had a lot of problems that need to be addressed and it’s disappointing to hear how the assault was handled 😕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, since the author is from both minorities I don’t get how he messed up so much.
      I can definitely see that but the author is an adult, who writes for teens, so he should be able to set an example. So if those things were challenged in the book I might’ve understood, that would actually be really good, but they really weren’t so it was just a bunch of problematic sentences that just filled up space. I think that even as #Ownvoices authors, people may have a lot of internalized things to unpack.
      The assault was like a slap to be honest :/

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I read the book around the same time that you did, but you’re quicker at writing reviews than I am haha. And I am glad you are, because this makes me see the book in a whole other way. I enjoyed the writing style and the character development, even if there is basically no plot, the characters’ journey is interesting to follow and that’s what I enjoyed the most. I agree that there are some issues with language and it’s a bit stupid, and about the sexual assault…To be honest it was one thing in the middle of the big book and it wasn’t adressed too much – like it wasn’t a major plot point, so I didn’t overthink about it while I was reading it – but you’re so right. It really should have been called out for what is was, and that’s really, really wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha, I actually have a lot of other books I read before that I haven’t reviewed yet 😂 I just wrote this one first because the release date is close.
      I’m glad this made you see the book’s flaws. I’m so mad because it had so much potential, it could’ve been AMAZING.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What is the deal with not making sexual assault clear in some YA books… It’s really annoying and so harmful. People who experience assault in real life, might not think that it is assault because of the messages they get through media. Certainly won’t be reading this book, even if it’s just a small scene.

    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Mexican references made me so angry. Like, WHY? Why includes that kind of sentences? So useless and offensive, as you rightly said. And the rape not dealt with is perhaps my 1st pet peeve, just, no. I’ve been eager to read this one but nope, I won’t. Thank you for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. haha “lord have mercy” – that made me laugh. I’m sorry that this book was so terrible! That sexual assault paragraph….uh….I don’t even understand the logic on that one. Anyways, I actually had never heard of it before I saw the negatives about it circulating on Twitter. So, needless to say, I’m not going to be adding this one to my TBR. Thank you for reading it & reviewing it to save others from enduring the awfulness of this!

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting review! I still definitely want to read it and see how I feel about the issues you pointed out. Sometimes characters say stupid things but it’s not the author talking, it’s the author being true to the character, as some people are problematic and not everyone can have perfect opinions. Obviously I can’t say if that’s the case here, as I haven’t read it, but I’m curious to see what I think. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

      • To be fair I’ve read some texts for uni where it’s not clear if the author supports the opinion of his character or not – but those were older texts, and I agree that most newer books tend to challenge problematic ideas. 😃

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorry that this was so disappointing for you, Fadwa! I didn’t read the blanked out parts of the review because I’m still interested in reading it (and I have an ARC), but I’ve heard so many people say that the tougher issues were dealt with insensitively. I read around 40-50% of it when I originally borrowed an ARC and also noticed how offensive some off-handed comments were. :/ Disappointing because Ari & Dante was SO wonderful, and I don’t expect anything short of great from Saenz now. Great review! ♡

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is super disappointing. It’s a shame that the problematic aspects weren’t challenged later on or answered. I understand when authors use slurs ect. because it’s a harsh reality that certain people have to deal with, but it should at least be clarified that it’s not okay and not just left to be ambiguous. I didn’t read the spoiler-y paragraph, but seeing the comments it’s so frustrating when sexual assault or rape isn’t handled properly. Ari & Dante was such a beautiful book so it’s unfortunate that this didn’t live up to it 😦 Thanks for posting such an honest review, Fadwa ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I get that, sometimes the slurs and offensive phrases are used specifically to be challenged or adressed but it unfortunately wasn’t the case here :/ they were used until the end of the book with no call out whatsoever.
      You’re welcome ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It really surprises me that Benjamin Alire Saenz would write something so problematic like this being that he is an openly gay Mexican-American… You would think he would know better. Is it possible that the author was trying to highlight how people use problematic language without realizing it? BUT from what you are saying he did not handle the sexual assault properly either. So disappointing 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes exactly, him identifying with both, I expected nothing short of amazing.
      I thought so at first but when they’re highlighted they’re also challenged and delt with in the book which sadly wasn’t the case here. 😣

      Like

  11. I finally finished this book yesterday and I agree with so many of your points, Fadwa. I was so disappointed with how offensive and stereotypical certain comments were and I remember scoffing at the whole “For a gay guy, my dad was pretty straight” part. Not to mention how mad I was when the schizophrenic and anorexic comments were made. And I feel exactly the same as you about how the sexual assault scene was handled. I was not happy with that at all. I ended up feeling so mixed about it because I loved parts and then hated others. It definitely had a lot of potential but then ended up being a let down. Which sucks considering I was so excited for it. 😦
    Great review as always! ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Award #15: Here comes the Sun… | Word Wonders
  13. Oh my gosh I am so thoroughly disappointed. I was just about to preorder this one but it definitely sounds like there’s a lot of terrible stereotyping here that definitely could be harmful. I loved Ari & Dante so much! *cries* Thanks for the review Fadwa.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: ARC Review: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz – BookNerdMomo
  15. Pingback: To sum-up: March 2017 | Word Wonders

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