My dear bookish friends!
Today I have for you a review of something a little bit different for you. A few weeks ago I read a review of From My Balcony to Yours by Nino Gugunishvili as part of #reviewoftheday by TheWriteReads (you know, the best book blogger gang, blog tours, indie book awards etc. etc. run by the ever so lovely and supportive Dave), and I felt instantly drawn to it. It’s a short collection of, well, you can’t really say stories, but more like feelings, thoughts, experiences, hopes and fears during the first few months of the pandemic in 2020.
So far, I tried to read anything that would tear my thoughts away from anything COVID-related, but reading this short memoir changed my outlook and lifted my spirits. Why? Well, it made me feel understood, less alone in a time when all we feel is more alone (does that make sense?). Nino kindly sent me a copy in exchange for my honest review (thank you again!!), and that is what I will do now! Before we jump to my review though, let’s have a look at the synopsis, shall we?
Canceled Plans? –Check!
Panic and Fear? – Check!
Self- Isolation? – Check!
Missing Friends? – Check!
Gaining Weight? – Check!
Binge-Watching TV? – Check!
Lengthy Self- diggings? – Check!
Hope? – Check, check, check!
Who would have thought that Global Pandemic, Self-Isolation, Cluster, and a Lockdown were to become the trendiest words in 2020? Who would have imagined the world would freeze and people would stay home shattered with fear, panic, uncertainty towards their future?
How do we adjust to this changing reality, when none of our questions have answers when plans turn upside down, things get totally out of control?
In her new book: “From My Balcony to Yours,” author Nino Gugunishvili shares her personal account during the first several months of the COVID -19 global pandemic in the form of short stories and observations.
Nino Gugunishvili’s writing biography includes a collection of short stories “ You Will Have a Black Labrador” and a women’s fiction novel “ Friday Evening, Eight O’Clock.”
It’s without a single regret that I have to reject your offer of taking me on a journey in which I have absolutely no intention or interest to participate.”
I love looking at this little collection’s cover, I think it’s absolutely beautiful, and it reflects the book’s content very well. I read through this book in a matter of an hour or two, but I think it would also make a lovely bed-time story read, where you read a chapter a night or something. Nino managed to captivate me from page one. I loved reading about her experiences, feelings and thoughts during the first months of the pandemic, the first lockdown, not being able to go out or seeing any friends and family outside your cluster. Making this rollercoaster ride of emotions visible on page also made it more palpable, more relatable, and helped me understand that neither of us is really alone during these hard times, even if sometimes we do feel so.
I loved that Nino went from being hopeful (while mild moments of panic already arose) and trying to make the best of this new situation, to feeling sick and tired of everyone and everything. I think everyone will find themselves in this personal account, because it is how we all felt (and continue to feel) during this global madness. It is a situation none of us have ever been through, which is what unites us, and you can find the whole range of human emotions in this book. I finally felt really understood. Oftentimes I caught myself thinking, ‘That’s EXACTLY how I feel!’, and that was a wonderful feeling to have.
“I don’t want to bake bread, for I don’t have a single idea how to do it despite the easy recipes shared by my friends who found the process of food making therapeutic and inspiring. I don’t want to exercise at home, learn a new language, or go for a walk […]. I don’t want to shuffle through my wardrobe or table, throwing away the old clothes, old letter, or notebooks. I don’t want to throw away unnecessary things.”
I always thought I needed to read fluffly romance or magical fantasy for the pure feeling of escapism to satisfy my current thirst for books, but this book proved me otherwise. You can read about Covid, lockdown, quarantine and co. without feeling terrible. Nino Gugunishvili made me realise that!
While I loved the writing style, the relatability of the narrative, and the courage of writing about something the whole world fears and / or is sick of, the editor in me couldn’t help but notice the little errors every now and then, some out of place (or missing) commas or other punctuation marks, or sentences that just don’t sound exactly right. However, all of this added to the feeling of immediacy, of honesty, underlining that this is a personal take of someone who has lived through what every single one of us has been living through for the past months. I think a round of editing would easily fix these little bits and bops that could do with fixing, but that is really the only slight negative I can even remark.
If you’re interested in finding out how other people cope with the situation we’ve all been in for over a year now and if you want to feel seen and understood, I highly recommend you to pick up this quick, diverting, thoughtful, humourous, insightful, and sometimes painfully honest book.
You won’t regret it! 4.5 stars from me!
Thank you all so much for reading!