By Christina Lydia
This is a tough one; but I must be honest.
When I first saw Vulnerability by Luxi Xu, I was impressed. Here was (then) a 16 year old girl who got it. She was a writer, she was (from my assumption) an old soul, and she started writing at a young age — like many writers that I know of, including myself. I’m unsure if the book’s accompanying press release misdirected what was to be inside this collection or if I imprinted my expectations a bit high. However; I didn’t expect to dislike this book so much — and my main reason for doing so is stereotypical that I’m ashamed to admit: it was too young.
I don’t mean that her age is too young — I know at 16 I had a mature outlook on life (as do many individuals). This book was young. It didn’t hold the maturity that I’d hope was to be expected from this young writer. Instead, I read a book full of clichéd teenaged ramblings about life. I became too shocked to even reflect on what I had read. You know that scene in 500 Days of Summer — expectations versus reality? That’s all.
Another reason I disliked this book: its lens of clichéd maxims.
I also have reason to believe that most of what was written was created during moments of depression, self hate, and a bombardment of negativity — all troubling not because the reader shouldn’t bear the burden of these emotions, because these are cries for help — and it was disturbing to see that the only refuge Xu had was her writing. However; her writing didn’t reflect a catharsis. Quite the opposite; it enraged negativity and fueled an outlook on life that I believe prevented a healthy growth of maturity. If there is anything to learn from this book it’s that writing shouldn’t deter one from seeking positivity and help when most needed.
I read the beginnings of a worldview and a perspective webbed in generalization and assumption — not about a particular ethnicity, but about life and the issues that individuals must live with. I read about love and its clichéd destruction; I read about clichéd ideas about humanity and the universe; I read an overuse of metaphors that impede understanding and connection.
The most disappointing: This book failed to reflect the genius of a young writer; instead, it emphasized stereotypes about young people. And with every disagreement and saddened thought I had, it had me thinking about her age — something I normally disengage from any creative work.
To be short, I was disappointed, I was annoyed, and I was saddened.
Note: Below are links to a few other reviews that I think best capture what I was saying. To be fair, I’ve added a review by a 15 year-old young person. In response to the feedback, it appears that the publisher* may have modified Xu’s author’s bio — not in a pleasant way to those who have reviewed her book honestly, I might add.
Publisher: Author House
About The Author
Luxi Xu is a sixteen-year-old Chinese girl who was raised in Portugal and considers English her first language.
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Book image from Amazon.
*Not to diminish the quality of some self-published books (this book is a great example of a self-published book), but this publisher helps authors self-publish their writing.