If I were to ever recommend a manga to anyone, be it a friend to stranger, this would be the one that would firsThis is a review of the entire series.
If I were to ever recommend a manga to anyone, be it a friend to stranger, this would be the one that would first come to mind. It's a story that could be told in a multitude of forms - novel, film, manga, play - and still have the same effect. A story of love, fear, holding on and letting go. A story about growing up. A story about finding your place in the world.
I re-read this series over the past few days and now that I'm a bit older (nearly ten years older) than the first time I read it, it struck me how absolutely well-organized this was. Takaya doesn't mince words. Every scene happens for a reason. There is this subtle build up that you don't even realize is happening until it's practically on top of you, and by then the suspense is just killer. The characters' growth and maturity are so subtle and well-done that if you were to compare their personalities from Volume 1 to Volume 23, there'd just be no comparison.
Overall, putting the absolutely phenomenal plot and characters aside, what makes this manga truly stand out is the wisdom it imparts on the reader. There is such a focus on empathy and Takaya sets everything up to the point where you can't help but feel for the "villain" of the story. She reminds you that empathy is the most important thing. It's good to meet people halfway and to hold out your hand to them. If you want the world to be kinder, you must start with yourself.
This is a story where I found myself in break-down mode. Looking back at it, it would have probably been funny to have witnessed. I even remember what I said (it's not going to make any sense): "Awhhh! Loves! I just... I don't know. Oh. Oh. Sob." The emotions you'll feel while reading this will be extreme, from happy and giddy to sad and tearful. Sometimes it might even be hard to read. But I can guarantee you that it will be worth it if you open your heart to what Takaya is saying....more
Paradise Regained, while not at the same level of rhetoric and literacy as Paradise Lost, does offer an interesting insight into Jesus' temptation inParadise Regained, while not at the same level of rhetoric and literacy as Paradise Lost, does offer an interesting insight into Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. Milton uses language in order to assert Jesus as the Messiah, and Satan as an agent of evil, which is being used by God, to help that assertion. Paradise Regained is largely static. There is no real rise and fall of tension and there is no real climax, either. Rather, all of the stress is placed on the importance of language and silence.
When comparing Satan and Jesus' speeches, there is an immediate difference: Satan's speech is clouded in "persuasive rhetoric," whereas everything that Jesus says is plain and accessible. Jesus does not need fancy language in order to convey His message. Instead of trying to make Himself more confusing, the Messiah takes language back to its roots and uses it as Adam did (in a way that would be able to communicate with God directly) by keeping it as simple and as close to God as He can.
In his brilliant essay, "The Muting of Satan: Language and Redemption in Paradise Regained," Steven Goldsmith argues that the language Jesus is using is not the same as the language Satan is using. Rather than stay silent while Satan tempts Him, Jesus uses the fallen language in order to thwart Satan and beat him at his own game. In the process of using this language, Jesus is paving His way towards becoming the Messiah by silencing Satan so that His voice will be heard. Underneath all of Satan's fancy word plays lays absolutely nothing. He is the "linguistic anti-christ," who "has nothing to express."
Jesus finally asserts Himself as Messiah and readies Himself to be "all in all" with God towards the end of the poem:
"To whom thus Jesus: Also it is written, Tempt not the Lord they God, he said and stood. But Satan smitten with amazement fell."
At first glance, it is easy to see that Jesus and Satan are opposites: one is standing and the other is falling. However, the fact that Jesus "said and stood" is important. It parallels God's perfect speech during the creation of the world: "God said... and there was." This is the pinnacle of the poem - the point where Christ has officially triumphed over Satan and can now go public as Messiah. Satan is allowed to roam the fallen world and has even created a kingdom of his own in Hell and in the sky (according to Milton) where he perversely "blesses" people with wealth, glory, etc. Jesus has to enter the fallen world and first silence its biggest voice before He can redeem it.
"Queller of Satan, on thy glorious work Now enter, and begin to save mankind."
According to Goldsmith, "the process of verification that is the purpose of Paradise Regained has been accomplished." By using language, Milton paralleled Jesus' own entrance into the world as Messiah by silencing Satan and glorifying Christ.
While I still believe this is not nearly as fascinating as Paradise Lost (and is also much shorter), it's still well worth the read if you've read the former. They really are two parts of a whole. Satan's temptation of Christ not only mimics his temptation of Eve, but it is also referenced throughout the entire poem whenever he feels foiled. This is the finale to Paradise Lost....more
Memory is the only witness that Remembers the women of Juárez Now statues, Scattered bones, Heads and little ears.
Haunting. Melodic. Tragic. HearthbreakinMemory is the only witness that Remembers the women of Juárez Now statues, Scattered bones, Heads and little ears.
Haunting. Melodic. Tragic. Hearthbreaking. Necessary. These are the words I would use to describe this book of poetry.
Secrets in the Sand: The Young Women of Juárez is a collection of poetry written by Marjorie Agosín about the missing women of Juárez. From 2008 to 2013 over 211 girls have gone missing, but the murders have been going on since the 90s. The most disturbing issue of all is that the government has done nothing about it. In the introduction to these poems, written by Celeste Kostopulos-Cooperman, she writes that Mexico is a country with a "machista" culture that "often accuses women of provoking their abusers." With this kind of victim-blaming perpetuating the minds of those who are in charge, it's not surprising to see that there hasn't been much progress made towards stopping these murders.
She dreams about borders A knife parts her in two North and South The body of a woman lies In the middle of the night In the middle of the day In the middle of the light On the border no one finds her The desert petrifies her memory The wind erases sounds Everything is a darkness without sunlight.
She has crossed borders And doesn't return home Her mother wanders about crying And looks for but does not find her
She crosses borders Wakefulness and dream Ashes and bonfires.
Agosín's goal was to give these women a voice. They have been permanently silences and are suffering a second death because of the negligence of the government. These murders have been going on for over 20 years with no change in the system or in the enforcement of the law. Agosín uses free verse, often conflating herself with the victims and reminding all women that in another time, in another place, or even tomorrow in your home, it could be you.
The news report of Ciudad Juárez Announces another death The child says that it looks like the same woman All of those women are the same, the father replies The mother prepares the food She sees herself in those women The news report continues They announce the winners of the soccer tournament The child asks his mother why They always kill the same woman The mother's voice is strange Like that of a little girl And a well of silence Forms on her sad mouth.
By using free verse, Agosín is able to give a voice to the traumatic experiences of the women who were murdered and the women who have been left behind. Sometimes I had to read a certain poem over and over until I understood it, and other times I read it over and over because it was just that powerful. Combining the Introduction, Poems and Afterword, there are only 143 pages in this book. (Which you can also cut in half because half of it is in Spanish on one side and English on the other, so if you're not bilingual, it will go even faster.)
This book has easily become one of my personal favorites. I really appreciate the accessibility of Agosín's style. Had she tried to make her poems more complicated, she may have run the risk of taking away from the violence. Instead, she made sure her poems were succinct, easy to understand and straight to the point - given the women of Juárez and the women who are terrified for their lives a powerful and booming voice.
To summarize this book in one sentence:The Yellow Wallpaper is about a woman's descent into the harrowing grasp of Post Partum Depression while her hTo summarize this book in one sentence:The Yellow Wallpaper is about a woman's descent into the harrowing grasp of Post Partum Depression while her husband and sister-in-law ignore her growing issues out of ignorance, blind righteousness and fear.
This story starts out seemingly harmless enough. A woman and her husband move to the countryside so that she can recover from a mysterious ailment. Her husband seems to be careful, even overprotective - "He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction."- but with good intentions. The narrator wants to stay in the downstairs bedroom, but her husband insists on her staying in the ex-nursey with the horrendous yellow wallpaper.
As the story progresses, she becomes more and more fascinated, and frightened, by the wallpaper: "There are things in that paper that nobody knows but me, or ever will." As she continues her narration, the reader quickly discovers that there is something, very, very wrong. However, it is only the reader who notices this. All those around her seem to casually overlook her issues and they continue to grow and consume her.
Being trapped inside the head of a woman who is spiraling out of control is a terrifying experience. Her obsession with the wallpaper grows, she begins to see in it a woman who "wanted to get out", she becomes an insomniac, falls into paranoia and yet nobody does anything about it. The frustration I felt towards everyone around her, everyone who was seeing the effects of her PPD firsthand was something unlike I've ever felt while reading.
Towards the end, she conflates herself with the woman she sees in the wallpaper, signaling her final break:
"I've got out at least," said I, "in spite of you and Jane. And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!"
I was honestly surprised by how chilling this was. I knew, going into it, that it was about PPD and I knew that it was a disturbing read, but I didn't expect it to affect me as strongly as it did. The honest truth is that PPD is still a very ignored problem among new and older mothers. We still live in a world where a woman suffering from PPD is forced to have more and more children and never get any help - which ultimately leads to her being jailed for trying to drown them, but her husband getting off with a simple slap on the wrist for ignoring her mental issues. The Yellow Wallpaper while written over a hundred years ago, holds a message that is still very relevant and important today.
Highly recommended. 82 accessible pages and maybe an hour of your time that will be well spent.
Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories contains 22 short stories about the female experience, from one paged drabbles, like "My Lucy Friend Who SmellWoman Hollering Creek and Other Stories contains 22 short stories about the female experience, from one paged drabbles, like "My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn," to short stories that are so long they could be considered novellas, like "Eyes of Zapata."
This collection is less than 200 pages yet packs more of a punch than 500 paged novels I've read. Sandra Cisneros is extremely readable an accessible. I read that her goal was that anyone could pick up her books and understand them, and I believe she accomplished that desire. That's not to say that there aren't layers to this, because there are, but at the same time her meanings aren't shrouded or concealed. The more you read and re-read the stories, more aspects are revealed.
For this review, I wanted to focus specifically on her story, and the namesake of this collection, "Woman Hollering Creek." This short story follows Cleofilas, a young woman who moves from Mexico to Texas for marriage. In a very short time, her dreams of living in America happily are destroyed when her husband turns out to be abusive and a cheater.
Close to where Cleofilas lives is a river called Woman Hollering. Because of her experiences, she believes that the only time a woman hollers is when they're angry or sad. As her life gets darker and more abusive, she begins to relate to the sorrow that she sees in the river.
Two women end up liberating Cleofilas and on her way out of Mexico, one of them lets out a whoop of triumph. She hollers in joy, and suddenly everything Cleofilas has thought about herself, about women and about the creek are challenged:"Then Felice began laughing again, but it wasn't Felice laughing. It was gurgling out of her own throat, a long ribbon of laughter, like water."
There are more aspects to this story, like feminine displacement, oppression, La Llorona, motherhood, etc. And each time I read the story, a new part jumps out at me. This is just one story, and not even my favorite one! (My favorite is "Eyes of Zapata.") I love that Cisneros is easy to read, but not afraid to portray a powerful, even controversial, message. Highly recommended....more
"United States, your banner wears, Two emblems, - one of fame, Alas, the other that it bears Reminds us of your shame! The white man's liberty in types Sta"United States, your banner wears, Two emblems, - one of fame, Alas, the other that it bears Reminds us of your shame! The white man's liberty in types Stands blazoned by your stars; But what's the meaning of your stripes? They mean your Negro-scars."
This book has changed my view on nearly everything. In 58 pages, William and Ellen Craft managed to tell their story, the story of their family and the story of slavery.
Recommended for everyone. Right now. I have to process all of this.
John Milton is the sassiest person, I swear. He sure does like to test the limits of what is or isn't allowed, doesn't he? And he sure does like inserJohn Milton is the sassiest person, I swear. He sure does like to test the limits of what is or isn't allowed, doesn't he? And he sure does like inserting himself into his poetry and prose, even putting himself on the level of Christ.
As one of my classmates said, "I could totally see Milton coming in with a leather jacket and an undercut, acting all high and mighty and saying, 'Don't worry, guys. I'm here and I'm great. You may not know I'm great, but I am.'"
Frederick Douglass was born into slavery. With a slave owning father - who was presumably his first master - and a slave mother, all Douglass ever kneFrederick Douglass was born into slavery. With a slave owning father - who was presumably his first master - and a slave mother, all Douglass ever knew was slavery. However, even though he was a slave, he knew he was being denied his basic human rights without anyone telling him: "The white children could tell their ages. I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege."
Douglass also offers an interesting insight into the emotions of slaves:
"Slave sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears. To those songs I trace my first glimmering conception of the dehumanizing character of slavery."
This is before Douglass has learned how to read or write. There is something innate in people that tells them when they are being wronged and Douglass knew that his condition as a slave - and the entire enterprise of slavery - was wrong. But it wasn't just wrong for himself. When describing his owner's wife, he describes her as angelic, as one of the first people who ever looked upon him with kindness and sincerely smiled at him. However, "The cheerful eye, under the influence of slavery, soon became red with rage; that voice, made all of sweet accord, changed to one of harsh and horrid discord; and that angelic face gave place to that of a demon." (Emphasis is mine.) He goes on to explain that when it came to Sophia Auld, the aforementioned woman, "Slavery proved as injurious to her as it did to me." Douglass explains that she wasn't a born slave owner and that in the power of owning another being she became as corrupted as the worst of them. The slaving system is detrimental not only to the slaves, but also to their masters.
Douglass also sheds a light on the hypocritical nature of the slave holder. How the most pious of Christians turn out to be the worst of slave breakers, using the example of Mr. Covey: "Added to the natural good qualities of Mr. Covey, he was a professor of religion - a pious soul - a member and a class-leader in the Methodist church. All of this added weight to his reputation as a "nigger-breaker."* He then goes on to compare Mr. Covey to God, in what I can only imagine was meant to be a sardonic and ironic comparison by saying "His comings were like a thief in the night" when he went to go check on the slaves and make sure they were doing their work.
Throughout the narrative, Douglass is trying to establish his identity. He is forming himself from nothing. He has nothing to remember except a mother who used to sneak in to his plantation even though it was miles from his own to visit him, a grandmother who was left to rot by her slave owners and a father who may or may not have been his actual master. When it comes time for him to find a name, he changes his surname a few times, from Bailey to Johnson and then eventually to the last name Douglass, which was actually given to him. But when Mr. Johnson, the man who named him, gave him his name, Douglass told him that "he must not take from me the name of 'Frederick.' I must hold on to that, to preserve a sense of my identity." At this point Douglass is a free man in the North, and his identity is that of an ex-slave, now married, and living a life where he can be his own master. But there is power in that first name, as I believe it reminds him of where he came from and how hard it took for him to get to where he is. There is power is names.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a narrative that is well worth the read, and I understand why it is required reading in high schools and colleges. This review is a brief overview of the amount of subjects offered up, the themes involved and more. To properly explain this book it would require multiple dissertations, but I hope it gave you interest in wanting to read it. This narrative offers an in-depth and personal look into slavery from an ex-slave's point of view while also being incredibly accessible and readable. Highly recommended.
* I'm sorry to have had to use the "n" word in a review. Please understand it was in the quotation and does not reflect my own speech.
RUMBLE, by Ellen Hopkins, tells about the life of 18-year-old Matt, who has been on edge ever since his younger brother Luke commi 1 controlling star.
RUMBLE, by Ellen Hopkins, tells about the life of 18-year-old Matt, who has been on edge ever since his younger brother Luke committed suicide. Since then, his life has gone to shambles. He's lost his brother, his best friends, his parent's marriage is falling apart and his own relationship with his girlfriend is being tested to an uncomfortable point. Acting out in anger is one of the only ways that Matt can cope with all of these issues and he begins a steady cycle into self-destruction.
I admire what Ms. Hopkins tried to do in this novel. She tried to showcase the after-effects of suicide, the importance of forgiveness, and the destruction of relationships all within 500 or so pages. There is a strong chance she could have done this successfully as well if she hadn’t warped, perhaps, the main point of her novel: Control.
Matt is suffocating himself with his desire to control. He wants to control his parent’s marriage, he wants to control his girlfriend, he wants to control his environment (“I need order. I’m used to order”). And who can blame him? He has lost his brother, which was out of his control, his parents are at each other’s throats, something else that is also out of his control, and his own relationship is slowly, but surely, disassembling itself. With all of this pressure, it’s no surprise that the only way he feels like he can regain his life is to enforce every bit of dictatorship he can muster.
There were many passages referring to his girlfriend, Hayden, that reek of Matt’s desire to not only control her, but to literally possess her:
“Hayden turns, waves and her smile is all for me. I think. She gives Jocelyn a quick hug and as she starts away the guy touches her arm, redirecting her attention toward his goodbye. I definitely want to kick his spindly ass.” (Jealousy over innocent gestures by other men.)
“Any guy with a libido and half a brain would want to possess her…” (Trying to justify his powerful feeling of possession over her.)
“Arm still firmly wrapped around Hayden’s waist…”(He is even controlling in his body language.)
“The way she believes every word. The control that gives him.” (This basically spells it out for the reader.)
Perhaps the most frightening of all:
“Having no one to rape and nothing to pillage but myself, I step into the hot water stream, lather up with Mom’s fancy rosemary bath gel, and when I close my eyes, it is Hayden I imagine ramming into, take extreme pleasure in her pain.” (Rape is one of the ultimate forms of control.)
Hayden can feel this control, jealousy and possessiveness in him. It, quite rightly, scares her.
“But sometimes I worry if I tell you what’s on my mind, you’ll freak.” “Sometimes you scare me.”
All of this control, all of this jealousy, finally culminates into a stand off where Matt physically forces his possession onto Hayden,
“Our hands unlace and I think our lives have, too, and I just can’t let that happen. I maneuver her back against the building, place one hand on each side of her face and repeat, ‘What are you saying?’” (Here he has quite literally trapped her in place, as he's been trying to metaphorically trap her into their relationship the entire time.)
As the book goes on, Matt learns to relinquish some of that control. This comes in the form of forgiveness. All of this time he has been playing the blame game when it came to his brother’s suicide. He blamed his father, his mother, his friend’s, his girlfriend, her friends, himself and, most importantly, a book that is based on interpretation. These grudges he has been holding (which are also a form of control) one by one slip lose and he steps back into the light of forgiveness.
“I blamed the Bible, when its words were not at fault, only the way they’re interpreted by those too willing to wield them like chain saws, cutting other off at the knees.”
However, the rest of the control remains, especially when it comes to his relationships with women, and it is covered up and sugared over, which is where this book lost its merit. Matt never realizes he has a control problems in terms of intimacy. Yes, he acknowledges his OCD-like issues with cleanliness, but there is so much more under the surface that he needs to deal with, and never does. Instead of working on his problems, he finds a girl who will perfectly suit his needs for possession, a girl who is desperate enough to be whatever he wants her to be, unlike Hayden.
“’They say puppies are good for mending broken hearts,’ she joked once. ‘Woof, woof. You can pet me if you want.’” (Willing to change herself for his benefit.)
“She winks. ‘Anything I can do to entertain you, my dear.’” (Willing to demean herself for his benefit.)
The worst part of this is that the author never mentions it. She leaves her character blind to this particular short coming and expects the reader to forget his earlier problems with control and Hayden. I don’t think the author was blind to his controlling personality. Why else mention the fact that he has OCD tendencies? Why else mention how he wants to literally possess Hayden and spend every waking moment with her? My issue is that she did not even attempt to resolve it.
Perhaps the worst part of this is that by the end, after Matt has forgiven himself and those who bullied his brother, he thinks: “Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned through all this, it’s to have faith in love.” He mentions his parent’s loss of love and how his father had found it in someone else, and how Matt found a new, and supposedly better, love with Alexa. I cannot believe that his innate issue with possession gets thrown to the side to try and make this novel about him not trusting love.
This was never about love. This was never about forgiveness. This was never about faith. This book was about a young man who needs to learn how to live his life without having to control every aspect of it, and that was not given the proper attention. Matt should have been in counseling for his control problems, not his problem with forgiveness,because his problems with forgiveness will go away as he learns to let go of wanting to be in charge of everything. He should have never entered into another relationship without even fixing what went wrong in the first.
This novel had the opportunity to convey a strong message but, in my opinion, never reach its goal.
I've decided that when it comes to books I listen to, I'm only going to post mini-reviews, because I feel as if I can't properly dissect a book unlessI've decided that when it comes to books I listen to, I'm only going to post mini-reviews, because I feel as if I can't properly dissect a book unless I can see the text of it.
What I liked about this book:
-Amy's adventures in Fort Black and the total patriarchal structure they've established there. Talk about the destruction of patriarchy. -The climax and last fight with the Florae. -Jacks' character What I disliked:
-The inappropriate love triangle and it's even more inappropriate conclusion. I'm supposed to accept the fact that the boy who wasn't chosen is just a-okay with this predicament? -How Amy never seems to learn from her mistakes. She runs from Tank, he finds her, they fight, she lets him go. Lather, rinse, repeat and yawn. -Baby's storyline and her sudden progress. That's not how brainwashing works.
I recommend this for those who are in the mood for a fast paced, action adventure, those who like novels about the corruption of the government and those who loved the first novel.
I don't recommend this to those who want more fleshed out characters, those who dislike post-apocalyptic fiction or dystopian novels, those who dislike love triangles, and those who felt mediocre about the first novel....more
Imagine having to live in silence. You must walk without shoes, keep your lips pressed tightly together and breathe as shallowl3.5 flesh eating stars.
Imagine having to live in silence. You must walk without shoes, keep your lips pressed tightly together and breathe as shallowly as possible. Imagine having to do this for hours, then days, and then years. Imagine living in constant fear that if you breathed too loudly, if you dropped something, if you even sneezed, then you would die. Could you do it? Forever?
In the After is about the destruction of humanity as seen through the eyes of a teenage girl. Humans have been killed off by creatures called “Florae” which annihilated entire cities in the span of months. Florae feast on human flesh and if you meet one, you either kill it or it kills you. Before, Amy was a normal- if not ambitious - tween girl, doing well in school and preparing for her future which would probably have been in politics. After, she is a survivor, living day by day scrounging for food and keeping to herself. She finds herself the reluctant “older sister” of a toddler she names “Baby.” Life in the After is difficult, and staying alive becomes even trickier after Amy makes an error in judgment.
One of the best aspects of this novel is Amy Harris’s characterization. From the beginning, she is more intense than the typical 16-year-old girl and brief glimpses into her past show that she has always been an intense student and child. This intensity, which led her to earn great grades in school, is what also helps her stay alive. She’s quiet, resourceful and observant, which also leads to her being a quick learner. She is not the most empathetic character, nor the easiest to like, but given the circumstances her personality is necessary. I was glad that Lunetta created a character focused on staying alive and not focused on getting people (or readers) to like her.
The mystery that appears halfway through the novel is where I actually began to really enjoy myself. It’s interesting because most people seemed to have enjoyed the first half, which resembles a survivalist apocalypse novel, but I preferred the second. Watching Amy unravel the mystery of the path month that she has been unconscious/out-of-the-picture was, in my opinion, handled delicately. I am a huge fan of slow reveals and each chapter led to more and more build up.
Granted, the “big reveal” at the end became obvious, but that didn’t deter me from my enjoyment because it became more important to see how Amy would take the development, not how I would react to it.
The characters are not as fleshed out as they could’ve been. Amy was the only one I felt like I really understood, but Baby is in most of the novel and, other than her “strange-ness,” I never got the opportunity to know. Other examples of this are all of the characters that are introduced in the second half of the novel. I never felt as if they had their own unique voices, with the exception of Dr. Reynolds – and even then, while his plans were made clear, his intentions or motives never satisfied me.
Because of this 2D characterization, the romance that developed never struck any chords with me. However, by the time it rolled around, I was so immersed in the mystery of the novel, that whether or not I liked the romance was not on my list of priorities.
And, since this is an audiobook, a rating of the reader would be appropriate. This audiobook was read by Julia Whelan, who I thought did an extraordinary job. I am looking forward to hearing her again in the next novel, In the End.
Overall, I feel this was more successful as an audiobook than it would have been had I read it. The build up and reveals are perfect for narration and the story is the kind that you would enjoy listening to late at night when you find yourself most susceptible to fear. ...more