I enjoyed this book despite the following: I was prepared to dislike this book and Cheryl in CC NV convinced me to read it anyway which is odd conside...moreI enjoyed this book despite the following: I was prepared to dislike this book and Cheryl in CC NV convinced me to read it anyway which is odd considering that she didn't like the characters much; I am generally VERY critical of self-published works; My aunt read this and recommended it to my mom (who I mistakenly thought had read it). You'd think I would take that as a recommendation, but then you don't know my mom. If I had thought about it more I would have remembered that my aunt has impeccable taste and read this thing earlier.
Anyway, like I said, I enjoyed this book and not because the subject matter was enjoyable. In fact its depressing as hell and I probably cried through the last third of the book. But sad doesn't equal bad or not worthwhile. Its a hard book to read. The writing is fine and it is actually a very gripping novel, but its emotionally wringing and completely exhausting. I had secondary trauma (or would it be tertiary?) from this book. If you aren't in a stable emotional place or you aren't prepared to be taken on the journey of what it feels like to experience Alzheimer's disease, do not read this book. I don't usually put emotional states as disclaimers on books, but if you are empathetic at all it's hard not to be invested in the book.
Now I know that some people don't care for the characters in this book, and frankly I wasn't a big fan of Alice's husband, John. That being said, I found him and his response to be real. I don't mean rapper trying to convince us he still lives in the ghetto when we see him driving his Bentley real but real as in honest, true and what actually happens to with regular people on a daily basis real. Both John and Alice are work people. They are invested in their jobs more than their relationships when the book starts. As Alice gets sicker she begins to lose her ability to connect with her job and wants desperately to connect with the relationships in her life. John is not able to do this. Once he figures out that she isn't going to get better he cuts her out. And while it sucks, its a completely reasonable self-protective reaction to trauma and loss . I mean, I wanted him to do things differently, but I understand the need to protect yourself as best you can from loss. No one wants to be sad, to lose someone they love and to get hurt every day in new ways. His reaction isn't an uncommon one in family members of Alzheimer's patients (my mom was an Alzheimer's nurse for 10 years and we had a whole discussion about this).
The book wasn't wholly depressing. Alice and Lydia's relationship actually benefited from Alzheimer's. As Alice began to lose her memory she began to lose her expectations of her daughter and this allowed them to actually get to know each other. Because she didn't judge so much they were able to bond and develop the relationship they hadn't had at the beginning of the book. It was beautiful to watch the small bright spot in the book.
But what was most compelling was the brilliance in the way that Genova was able to make you feel like you were experiencing Alzheimer's symptoms along with Alice. The way the symptoms begin to show up, her disorientation and confusion and then feeling as though she was losing her mind were the best written parts of the book. Alice's progression isn't linear and the reader journeys with her through losing the things that matter most to her and then still having periods of clarity and insight. The part that I found most compelling was the way that Alice (view spoiler)[ planned for her own suicide. Its exactly what I would have done if I had received that diagnosis. I suspect that its what a lot of people would have done. She left herself a daily test on questions she should be able to answer and when she couldn't answer them she directed herself to a set of instructions. It was heartbreaking to watch Alice find the instructions and then not be able to remember them and be able to carry them out. It seriously made me reconsider what I would do if diagnosed with Alzheimer's. (hide spoiler)]
In all, it was an emotionally wringing book, but struck me as completely realistic of what would actually happen with Alzheimer's. If this book doesn't give you compassion for those suffering with Alzheimer's and their families you are dead inside.
Yes, yes, I know. I am the absolute last person on earth to read this book. I have been meaning to do so but I just haven't gotten around to it.
Maybe...moreYes, yes, I know. I am the absolute last person on earth to read this book. I have been meaning to do so but I just haven't gotten around to it.
Maybe I would have liked this book more if I had read it when it came out. Maybe I would have liked it more if I hadn't had a bazillion people telling me how great it was.
Yes, it was interesting. Yes, looking at math is interesting. I think that using statistical analysis to examine cheating teachers might not be the worst thing someone's done. However, it just made me think about all the cheating teachers who would use this book as kind of a guide to how to cheat better.
Also, some of the book just seemed stupid to me. I mean, I know that there are people out there who have this fantasy of all drug dealers making shit tons of money, but seriously...really? I mean, in what world do dudes who hang out on the street selling to people who are scrapping together a few bucks for a hit making tons of money? The people who make all the money selling drugs aren't even those dudes running drug distribution operations. They are the guys who are selling to the rich, hell, even the middle class. You don't get rich selling crack to homeless, mentally ill people, you get rich selling drugs to people who come to your home to get it, or better yet, to people you bring the drugs to. Hell, you can make tons more money selling pot to suburbia than heroin to urbanites.
In any case, I thought that the idea of the book was better than the reality of the book. Not to say that the book was poorly written. It wasn't. In fact, it was really readable and the authors did a good job looking at an array of subjects. It was just that I think there are better topics out there to look at and better ways to bring in stats.
I guess I might have expected more Malcolm Gladwell and less freshman year textbooks. And honestly, I think that I have been spoiled by the wonderful writing of Gladwell...the next time I try to read a book that takes a "fresh" look at problems I will try to go in with lower expectations. I promise. (less)
I read this book as a senior in high school for my psychology class. I have since reread it several times, although none have been as potent as that f...moreI read this book as a senior in high school for my psychology class. I have since reread it several times, although none have been as potent as that first reading. What struck me about this book was that it so perfectly described some of the experiences I had as an adolescent that I was dumbfounded. I wished that it had been written a few years earlier and that my parents had read it.
However, that being said, it is certainly not a scientific book, whatever research was done seemed to be purely anecdotal. And this book is no longer a current book, it doesn't address what is going on today, almost 15 years after it was written. But what is important from it is the ability to empathize with what adolescent girls go through, what they feel that they must change about themselves and how you can help them navigate the world around them.(less)
Just spit it out, Man! What is it that you are trying to tell me? What kind of book is this? Argh!!
I usually get through books quickly, I can't help i...moreJust spit it out, Man! What is it that you are trying to tell me? What kind of book is this? Argh!!
I usually get through books quickly, I can't help it, I'm a compulsive reader. This book was challenging for me to finally finish. Frazier does a terrible job with a fascinating subject and I find that almost unforgivable. The idea of a memoir laced with history and research sounds fantastic, unfortunately the result leaves a lot to be desired.
Frazier really, really needed to figure out where he was going with this book BEFORE he started writing it. If you want to write a memoir go for it (although I loathe him and I would have bailed on one); if you want to write a history/present account please do so (the topic would have been great, but his style is boring as shit). Did I mention that this book just didn't work???
And really, what is it with white people wanting to be Native American? Seriously, its a fetish that is absolutely out of control and fueled (I would guess) by unwillingness to confront racism and white guilt. Because its not just a "wow, this culture is interesting, let me learn more" kind of obsession. Its a "I desperately want to be you and let me immerse myself in the parts of your culture that make me feel interesting" type of obsession. Its reprehensible and repugnant and reading about his fanboy hero worship just made me feel fucking dirty. And yes, I feel that I can justify my opinion here. Frazier spends so much time talking about his friends, but from what he describes its not any kind of healthy relationship. They stop by drunk, they ask for money, they disrupt his relationship with his family. He's always bailing them out of trouble and they don't seem to want anything to do with him unless he's doing something for them. The relationships he has in this book just make everyone involved look bad.
You know what I would have preferred? (I mean other than literally anything else) A book about the Lakota written BY a member of the tribe. Or just a memoir of experiences/relationships on the reservation.
The actual information about the Lakota is interesting. There is a lot of history, particularly more recent history which I found interesting. I didn't have a lot of knowledge on the subject and now feel that I am at least a novice. The small dose of politics we are treated to is also illuminating and would prove for a fascinating read on its own.
I've read a number of books on race relations, racial tensions and integration in America. Every single other book I have read has been better than this one. A combination of hating the author and poor structure ruined what could have been a good read. I'm disappointed and will not be reading anything else by Frazier.(less)
I recently reread this book (and am going to reread the whole series) and my first thought when reading it was "why did I ever fall in love with the...moreI recently reread this book (and am going to reread the whole series) and my first thought when reading it was "why did I ever fall in love with the Dark Tower?" . This is a truly uncharitable thought as there is absolutely nothing wrong with The Gunslinger. In fact, there are many things that are right with this book, but loving the characters and being invested in their story is not one of them .
In his forward Stephen King talks about his desire in writing this: to have an epic, sweeping world that is reminiscent of the spaghetti westerns. He succeeds spectacularly. This novel feels like a western (without ever truly being one). It feels BIG . Not as though the book itself is epic or is going to be epic (although the series sure turns out that way), but as in the world it inhabits is FRICKIN' HUGE and sparsely populated. I don't know how he did it, but it feels like the first time you step into a desert. The sense of awe and expansiveness permeates the book. Frankly, it feels nothing like a King book.
The story itself is good, but certainly not his best if taken as a stand-alone novel. Roland isn't as engaging and interesting as he becomes in later novels. Having him age 10 years (or 10 millennium, who knows) at the end of this book is probably the best way he could come up with for the change in a) his writing and b) Roland's characterization. But the ending to this book feels...rushed. For all the build-up to the meeting with the man in black, what Roland was willing to sacrifice, it just feels like a let down. Maybe King is saying something there. Maybe its a reminder that the idea of getting what you want is always better than the thing itself. That you are inherently going to be let down by something that you have been chasing for a long time. Or maybe its just a weird ending. Knowing King, and knowing how the series ends, I'm guessing its the former.
While I loved Jake in this book (and yep, I adored that kid from the first), he alone wasn't enough to make me love this book. Although he does have the best line in possibly the whole series: Go then, there are other worlds than these . If that doesn't tell you everything you need to know about the Dark Tower, nothing will. (less)
I'm sure that there are many negative reviews of this book, and I'm sure one of the main complaints is that the author can't be impartial because she'...moreI'm sure that there are many negative reviews of this book, and I'm sure one of the main complaints is that the author can't be impartial because she's writing about her life but as a scholar. I have to say that that strikes me as total crap. This author makes no bones about her own experiences and weaves them throughout the book. Her feelings about her experiences serve to make the book richer, more emotional and more understandable. She doesn't hide her bias, she puts it right there in your face. But even better is the long list of sources that she cites throughout the book so that you know this isn't JUST her opinion. And she happens to know what she's talking about: as a woman who has lived through this and as an academic...this is her field.
What I really got from this book was a personal, emotional, first hand look at feminism from the 1930s until the 1990s. In traditional history classes the feminist movement is touched on in the 60s and 70s but its not studied in depth like the civil war or WWII. In fact, I had to fight in high school with my teacher to learn anything about something that 1) wasn't a war and 2) was after 1950. The joys of an American public school education, I guess.
Ms. Douglas really uses pop culture well. She does a great job at deconstructing the messages coming from pop culture and the mass media. I guess she should since that's what the book is about and its what she does. However, it makes it really nice to read and relate to. Some of the songs from the 60s that she argues were very feminist and have been universally panned are songs that I HATE. In fact, I hate them because they strike me as totally unfeminist and passive. My mom and I have gotten into many fights about songs like "Leader of the Pack". Luckily, she didn't mention some of the ones that really get me going or I might have set the book on fire! But she gave me a whole new perspective on what those songs and tv shows meant at the time they came out. I think I can accept both views.
But really the best thing I got out of this book was a history of what it has been to be a woman in the US. That having conflicting thoughts and roles is VERY female and pushed by our culture and the mass media. And I got a much better understanding of what it must have been like for my mom to grow up in that time. It makes me proud that my mom has never wavered in her feminism (at least outwardly) and her determination to constantly press alternative views on me.
For the record: I promise I'm going to cleanse the sentence "I'm not a feminist, but..." from my lexicon. I embrace a lot of feminist ideals, aspirations and dreams. Its ok if I don't always agree with them, or don't embrace all of them. Yes, I'm a feminist and I think there is still a lot of work to be done for women, here and across the world. (less)