Aiden Graves : 60% muscles, 20% shrugs, 20% being An Absolute Softie
Vanessa Mazur : 20% repressing her anger by counting, 20% planning ways to murder Aiden, 20% starring at Aiden’s ass, 30% getting out of toxic familial relationships and Becoming, 10% A Secret Softie.
TW : domestic abuse, unhealthy and abusive familial relationships
The Wall of Winnipeg and Me is about Vanessa Mazur, the assistant to football player, Aiden Graves. Due to an expiring visa, Aiden asks Vanessa to marry him, so he can become an American citizen. One thing leading to another, they get married and progressively develop feelings for each other.
I loved The Wall of Winnipeg and Me and it was much better than what I expected. First of all, I absolutely loved Vanessa’s personality and inner monologues. The writing was good and fluid, and I think Mariana Zapata did an amazing job at portraying Vanessa’s evolution and her inner struggles. I also wanna add, this could’ve been smuttier and we were denied something we deserved but I’m not mad because I really enjoyed the story. Even though this story was around 600 pages, it absolutely did not felt like it.
“Life was all about choices. You chose what to make out of what you had. And I wasn’t going to let it make me its bitch.”
✔︎Vanessa is a strong lead and a great main character. She’s had quite a traumatic childhood, living with an absent mother and abusive sisters. She’s managed to make a life for herself and get out of toxic relationships. At the beginning, she plans to quit her job to pursue her dreams and I overall really enjoyed reading about her. Vanessa was funny, angry (in her own words) and knows a scary amount about committing crimes which I adored.
✔︎Aiden Graves could, to put it simply, “get it” and I’ll repeat it LOUD and CLEAR. That being said, for the first half of the book, this dude had the emotional range of a wooden spoon. I liked his evolution and how he lets himself be emotionally vulnerable with Vanessa.
✔︎I wish we had seen way more of Diana or Zac because these two characters seemed beautiful and had so much potential, had we gotten the opportunity to get to know them more.
Usually, I like to downplay my reviews of contemporary romances by adding that I have a dead cold heart that nothing will melt but that logic becomes inherently flawed with this book. I also apparently am an Absolute Sucker for fake marriage leading to real love. That trope will end me. But I think that more than that, it’s the Healthy Relationship portrayed that ended up winning me over.
“Because fuck it, what was life if you didn’t live it and make the most out of it? What was life without loving someone who cared about you a lot more than he cared about anyone else? That was my truth.”
Books dealing with complex familial relationships are sooo important. The hypothesis that because family is blood it should be put on a pedestal is imo flawed and I loved that this book showed that you can choose your family, which is what Vanessa did.
Healthy relationship and communication : the reason why I stan Vanessa and Aiden is because they allowed each other to be vulnerable with each other, and actually communicate about what they were feelings. I really liked Aiden for this.
Accepting/Embracing your anger and Getting Out : this is linked to the first theme but I’d like to dive deeper. I’m really passionate about family relationships and I want to promote nothing but Healthy Ones. Unfortunately, most families aren’t perfect and I’d go as far as say they are Fucked Up (obviously not all of them). I admired Vanessa for getting out of this toxic relationship she had with her mother and her sister, Susie. I was truly surprised to see this theme be implemented in the story and I think it goes to show I have been a terrible judge of character when it comes to Contemporary Romances and I’m Sorry. I loved reading about Vanessa’s relationship with Diana and I truly wished we had seen more of the latter because she seemed amazing.
That’s it for today !
Have you read The Wall of Winnipeg and Me ?
What did you think ?