This book was recommended to me under the premise of it being "life changing" for the person recommending it. That's a pretty strong recommendation, a...moreThis book was recommended to me under the premise of it being "life changing" for the person recommending it. That's a pretty strong recommendation, and because of that, I immediately tried NOT to get my hopes up, as so many books that others have hyped up have fallen short in my eyes, partially because I expected so much.
While it hasn't changed my life (yet at least), I can see the potential in the future, when a decision tosses and turns in my head, for my mind to flick back to 'The Post Birthday World', and for me to give more thought to the ramifications of each decision, even a seemingly small one, just a little more. So maybe, in due time, it will actually change my life in some small way.
The premise of it is what intrigued me when my friend described it. It was a kind of "why didn't I ever think of that!" thing. One moment in time, one decision, and two stories following what might have been either way. It was definitely an interesting path to take.
At first, I thought it weird that the story wasn't split into two parts, and instead unfolding coincidly. I started to appreciate it pretty quickly though, the ability to compare the two storylines side by side during the same time frame, instead of as two separate parts.
I will admit, I had trouble getting into it. I stuck it out, because, for one, I HATE starting a book and not finishing it. There are very few times I have put a book down and never picked it back up. I have therefore read some stinkers. I always think that I might be missing out on the good part if I give up too early though. Secondly, for someone whose opinion I hold in pretty great esteem, I figured there must be something to this book, and I wanted to feel what he had felt when reading this book. I usually regret sticking it out, but in the end at least I know the book sucked, and I gave it a chance.
This time, that was not the case. It didn't suck, and I am glad I stuck it out. As the stories went on, it got better. The end was therefore, really the best part of it, when you get to see the final culimination of both stories. It was not a captivating page turner, but it held its own, and though I could easily put it down at any time, I also could just as easily pick it back up. It is not a book I would likely ever read again, but I'm glad I read it the first time, and I do think it's worthwhile to get through it.
In the future, I am not sure it will be life changing in any large sense, but I do reckon that there will be some small moment in time, where I am faced with a decision, and I will look back fondly on 'The Post Birthday World' for opening my eyes to the idea of two different worlds being right in front of me.(less)
Having really enjoyed White Oleander, I had high hopes for Paint it Black. I was disappointed. It's not that it is a bad book, I liked it well enough,...moreHaving really enjoyed White Oleander, I had high hopes for Paint it Black. I was disappointed. It's not that it is a bad book, I liked it well enough, but it's very drawn out and slow. A lot of Josie's thoughts were redundant and I really felt like a lot of what was written was padding that could have been taken out.
There was just too much that didn't affect the storyline that, if it was removed, would have made the book far more readable. I found that certain sections would have me gobbling all the words up, turning the page eagerly to find out what would happen next, and then I would hit a long, drawn out, meaningless part that bored me. Unfortunately those long, drawn out parts took up more space in the book than the riveting sections.
I was also annoyed by the authors use of the word "voddy" 29832983 times in the book. It's not as though it's a shortening of the word, there are the same amount of letters in vodka as in voddy. Never once does she use the real word, even though "voddy" comes up in the book on what felt like almost every page, and what was actually multiple times on certain pages. It was annoying, and I felt like it was such a sad attempt for a somewhat older author to try to add some hip & young language to her book and appear "cool". It didn't work, it just grated on my nerves with every single usage of the word. If it was meant to capture the vibe of the main character, it certainly fell far from it's intention, at least for me. In fact, it's pretty sad that I almost had more to say on that topic than on the entire book itself, which I guess reflects pretty badly on the book itself.(less)
It's hard to rate a book full of short stories by a variety of authors. Overall, I wasn't exceedingly impressed by them. Most were only 'okay'. Some s...moreIt's hard to rate a book full of short stories by a variety of authors. Overall, I wasn't exceedingly impressed by them. Most were only 'okay'. Some stood out though, and I really enjoyed those.
My favourites were; Ginger by Christopher Krovatin Eight Minutes by Tanuja Desai Hidler Jack and Dean by Kevin Brooks The Waitress by Matthue Roth The Birds of Fleming Park by Kevin Waltman
The rest were decent, mind a couple that I would almost categorize as bad. Honourable mention goes to "My Boyfriend Refuses to Speak in Iambic Pentameter" by Billy Merrell. It was set up as a play, not a short story, so I really didn't feel it fit in with the rest of the book. I liked it, and think it would actually make a good short skit. (less)
This book was recommended to me by a fellow blogger after I wrote an entry in my blog about my absolutely ridiculous and unbelievable family, and a si...moreThis book was recommended to me by a fellow blogger after I wrote an entry in my blog about my absolutely ridiculous and unbelievable family, and a situation that involved moving my dead uncles body and hiding weed. Seriously. (Before your mind get's too twisted, he did die of natural causes.)
This was recommended a few years ago, and sadly I only recently picked up this book. Having now read it, I can clearly see why he recommended it in response to what I had written - the incident in question could honestly have been thrown in amongst the pages of "All Families are Psychotic" and fit in perfectly. It also was able to give me a laugh, and make me say "at least my family isn't QUITE that bad".
So for those of you who honestly think the book is ridiculous and unbelievable (okay, okay, I will give you that PART of it is), the characters and some situations are sadly very much relatable, and believable to those of us who have grown up in a "psychotic" family. Families that messed up really do exist.
It's a very humourous look at the dysfunctional family dynamic, as well as cleverly intertwined plot that will keep you turning page after page. Even if you have what might be deemed a perfectly "normal" family.
Being a fan of some of Susan Minot's other work, I was kind of disappointed in this book. It started off really slowly, and I almost gave up on it ent...moreBeing a fan of some of Susan Minot's other work, I was kind of disappointed in this book. It started off really slowly, and I almost gave up on it entirely. I just could not get into it, I found parts of it seemed poorly written. I am not a fan of the pages of run on, mixed up thoughts that went on too long. The story of what happened years ago in Ann's life, while attending the wedding of her friend, is the only thing that kept the book going. The rest of it seemed thrown in at weird times, and too scattered. I know that it was all relevant, but unfortunately it wasn't woven into the story very well.
The book only picked up and got interesting about a third of the way through, and I think a lot of people would not have even gotten that far. I only did because I wanted to like the book so much. I really enjoyed everything else I have read by Minot, and that coupled with the description on the back made me keep picking the book up hoping that it would redeem itself, even if I could only get through a few pages at a time until part way through. I am glad I didn't just toss it aside, and at least finished reading it, because the second half of the book was much more captivating, but it is still my least favourite of her work so far.
I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who isn't already a fan Minot. If this had been the first of her work I had read, I would likely have never picked up anything else by her, which would be a shame. I would definitely recommend picking up Monkeys, Folly, or Lust & Other Stories before reading this.
Interestingly enough, I noticed there was a movie made based on the book, and after watching the trailer, and I think I would actually find the movie more interesting. Fortunately, and unfortunately they drastically changed the story for the movie, which I have always found annoying when they base a movie on a book and then change the story so much that it hardly resembles the book at all, in this case I think they probably improved upon the story.(less)
Reading this book was like stepping back in time. It was like snuggling under the covers with the lost summers of youth.
You do not have to be able to...moreReading this book was like stepping back in time. It was like snuggling under the covers with the lost summers of youth.
You do not have to be able to relate to the actual situations and actions in the story of Berie and Sils, to be taken back in time. The feelings portrayed in the flashbacks are so easy to grab onto and remind you of your own feelings from childhood. I can't say that I ever went through anything similar to what they did, but it was written in a way that reminded me of some of the situations I did go through, and reminded me of the friendships I had.
When this book was recommended to me, I went on Amazon.com to add it to my wishlist and read some of the reviews there. One reviewer commented that "the characters and their actions are too unbelievable and unrealistic", and then further on says that "The friendship between the two girls didn't seem strong enough to warrant Berie's actions".
I was actually finding it hard to believe that we had read the same book. Perhaps it is because she is ten years older than I, and in that decade, as she moved further from her childhood, she has forgotten those things entirely that I was reminded of, but one of the things that I loved most about this book was that the characters and actions were entirely believable. I never once scoffed at the way the characters were portrayed in their youth as I have during many books, including books that label themselves as "memoirs". I found the characters in their youth refreshing and realistic. I'm also not sure how she came to the conclusion that their friendship did not seem strong enough, as I felt the connection between them was a realistic portrayal of a girlhood friendship rather than the idealistic ones usually represented in books, TV, and movies. It reminded me of a friendship I had when I was younger, which is possibly why I could feel a really strong connection between them.
The one thing I didn't much care for in this book were the flashs of Berie's life nowadays. I wouldn't say they were unnecessary in theory, I just think that those particular scenes did not fit in. I think that scenes of her current life were needed, I just don't think that those particular one's fit in with the rest of the book. Being as they were secondary to the story being told, I didn't feel they ruined or took away from it, but I wish they were written differently as they could have lent more to the story rather than being awkwardly interwoven.(less)
Interesting read. Somewhat unbelievable premise, but very well written. Elyse Friedman seemlessly flips back and forth between the past and present to...moreInteresting read. Somewhat unbelievable premise, but very well written. Elyse Friedman seemlessly flips back and forth between the past and present to weave Michelle's story. Michelle's character is well developed. I think her brother and sister's character could have been delved into slightly more, but it didn't detract too much from the story since it revolved mostly around her. She manages to tell what could have turned into a sappy story with wit & cleverness, turning it from sappy to snappy.(less)
The back and forth between Japan and France gets dull. The book is short enough as it is, but reading basically the exact same paragraph of the journe...moreThe back and forth between Japan and France gets dull. The book is short enough as it is, but reading basically the exact same paragraph of the journey over and over is monotonous. The story that unfolds is somewhat interesting, but it feels like he just copied and pasted and churned this book out in a month to meet some deadline. It had the potential to be a far more interesting story.(less)
I only picked up this book from the library because they didn't have the specific books I was looking for in, so I walked through the aisles and rando...moreI only picked up this book from the library because they didn't have the specific books I was looking for in, so I walked through the aisles and randomly selected a few so the trip wasn't a waste. When I saw it on the shelf, I remembered that someone a while ago had recommended that I read it and "The Notebook" by Nicholas Sparks, and because books are almost always better than the movie versions, I decided to give it a shot.
I actually liked the movie when I saw it. I am a sappy girl like that sometimes. I don't read romance novels, and I don't watch chick flicks like they are going out of style, but Dirty Dancing will always be one of my favourite movies, because I grew up watching it over and over. So, sometimes I fall in love with a sappy story.
In some ways I prefer the movie to the book, which might be only because I had seen it before I read it. I struggled with whether to give it two or three stars, because I felt like it was more than just "ok", it was decent, but when I look back at other books I had given three stars to, I really did not feel like it was on par with them. I would have probably loved this had I read it when I was thirteen or fourteen. Maybe I have gotten more cynical over time, or maybe it's just that I would have related more at that age, I don't know, but as sweet as the storyline was, it just didn't pull on my heartstrings like it clearly was meant to. I know I teared up during the movie, but the book didn't do it for me for some reason. I don't think it was because I already knew what was going to happen - it would have been pretty obvious where it was heading had I not ever seen the movie, and I have re-read books before and still been as touched as the first time. I think it just fell slightly short in capturing the tender moments, and that is where the movie was able to pick it up and elaborate.
I wouldn't recommend it necessarily to anyone, but I also wouldn't suggest to someone that they shouldn't read it. I've definitely read worse.(less)