Book thoughts

Searching for Thrills

I never thought I would see the day that I would like these white women thrillers. It all started with Gone Girl. I read it ironically. I had no intention of watching the movie. I just had a healthy curiosity of why this book was so popular. Gillian Flynn is my girl! I also read Sharp Objects (actually read a physical book!) and really enjoyed that too. The show wasn’t as good, but it was still good.

Then I moved on to Girl on the Train, another white woman thriller with a movie starring basic A-B list white actors and actresses. That one had me even more on my toes. I wasn’t ready.

When I say white woman thriller, I mean a thriller in which a white woman is the protagonist. I mean, yeah, the primary audience is white women, but this genre is my guilty pleasure.

Man, there’s just something about a good plot twist that gets me going. I guess that’s why I enjoyed Lost so much (the TV show from 2004. I won’t give anything away because miraculously I didn’t start watching until 2014 and I never encounter spoilers).

And then I discovered Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok. Like I said before, I just get (audio)books without reading the descriptions; I just see non-white sounding author names and I want to give them a chance. Not because I don’t like white authors, but because I don’t think authors of color get as much popularity and they deserve a chance too.

Anyway, back to Searching for Sylvie Lee. It was everything I love about my white-woman thriller with main characters of color! And they weren’t just characters of color; they actually acknowledged their complicated relationship with race (bonus points for race relations in another country besides the US!). Also, it had hints of elements from one of my favorite authors growing up. I would say who that author is and what series I’m referring to, but that would give away the main plot twist.

It was refreshing to read something where Asian people are reckoning with racism. Many people think of Asians as the model minority. How can they experience racism when everyone just thinks they’re math and science nerds? Well people are dumb and Asian people (which I hate even saying because I feel like Asian people usually get lumped together as all being the same even though they come from different countries with vastly different cultures) do experience racism. White supremacy doesn’t discriminate (that was totally a joke because discrimination is a huge part of racism lol).

And then on the flip side of that, the book takes place in the Netherlands, one of those 99.9% white places that claim to not have racism. Just because you didn’t have slavery or burn crosses in people’s yard, doesn’t mean your citizens don’t participate in interpersonal or systemic racism. 

I just don’t understand why people don’t think that stories featuring people of color are interesting. I think the stories get more complicated in the best way. I’m not Chinese, but there are still parts of the characters’ experiences that I could relate to.

I think reading books centering around people’s experiences that are different from mine (and are not about white people because we see plenty of those stories) has been pivotal in my growth as a human. I think more people should experience those perspectives as well.

I need more race remixed or gender-bent book recommendations. Share them with me in the comments if you got them!

3 thoughts on “Searching for Thrills”

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