Short Summary: Victor Frankenstein is young, intelligent, and quite full of himself. He discovers through his studies the methods of creating life, an...moreShort Summary: Victor Frankenstein is young, intelligent, and quite full of himself. He discovers through his studies the methods of creating life, and does so. The creature he creates is of enormous size and strength and is hideous to behold. Terrified of what he has made, he flees, leaving the creature to fend for itself.
I just finished re-reading this book, it has been over 10 years since I read it the last time. My memory of the book was a tremendous feeling of sadness and compassion for the creature that Frankenstein created. In this re-reading I was shocked at the change in my feelings toward the characters. Though everything seemed the same it evoked an entirely different set of emotions in me. After doing a bit of poking about the internet I discovered that there are two versions of the story that Shelley wrote, one the first one, which is the one I just read, is much harsher, the creature is much less amiable, and Victor is much less forgivable. The second version she wrote, which I understand was written about 10-15 years later, evokes more sympathy for Victor and his creation.
Both are almost identical, starting with the gentleman on the ship in the Northern Ice who meets Victor. Victor relates his tale to the young seamen, this tale often becomes a tale within a tale within a tale as we shift points of view, always related to the young sailor through the stories of Victor. As I read this book I found myself thinking that this may be one of the few books that manages to encompass all 5 versions of Conflict, Man vs Man, Man vs Self, Man vs Nature, and Man vs God. Shelley's prose can at times be difficult, not to read, but to focus on because of the style and time frame it was written in. It is very easy to find yourself skimming, which you do not want to do.
The story is one of love and loss, creation and our relationship with our creator, the faults of man attempting to become God, and the cruelty that lies with our society to that which we perceive as ugly, frightening or hideous. When Victory abandons the monster he leaves him to learn of the cruelty of our society and to react to it as inappropriately as he does. This tale is NOT what you watched on TV, it is not found in the movie you watched. This is a story that can only be found in this book.
Did I love it? Not really, in the version I just read, Victor is a whiner, who considers himself a genius though he stands aside while his family and friends are killed. The monster, though more understandable, is also a contemptible character as he murders one after the other with little to no remorse. Yes it is well written and filled with interesting comparisons, warnings, and meaning... but as for a fun filled entertaining read, the characters were a bit to whiny and non-committal for me to really have anyone to root for. Still, they were full characters, completely rounded and interesting even though they were pathetic. The story is so filled with meaning that you could discuss it for days. And the concept of the feminine in this book is very interesting to read... I recommend this book, but I won't say that it ranks above Dracula in my mind. (less)
Life as the middle sister can be tough, especially when your big sister is pretty and very very smart. It’s even tougher when your Mom is a waitress a...moreLife as the middle sister can be tough, especially when your big sister is pretty and very very smart. It’s even tougher when your Mom is a waitress and you have to teach everything you know to your little sister – even the things you don’t know.
PK is the middle sister, between Megan and Rabbit. Even though Megan is now “almost-a-teenager” and Rabbit is starting Kindergarten, everything seems to be going fine – until their Mom decides that they need to move into a bigger apartment. Suddenly everything PK knows and relies on is going to be left behind. The Big Blue Chair that they loved as if it were a family pet is too big to fit into the new apartment with the new sleeper sofa, and the built in hamper where all of PK’s magical stories come from – can’t come with them either. How can a new wicker basket hold all of the stories? It’s full of holes and all the stories would fall out!
“Maybe Yes, Maybe No, Maybe Maybe” is a sweet story about three little girls having to move and make what they consider a major life change. Told through the eyes of PK, we see how the girls learn not only to accept change, but also to learn how each of them is special in their own way. Though the voice of the story is young and the tale is geared toward 9-11 year olds, there are some large words that may require a lot of sounding out and some parental help defining. I don’t know of many young children who know what “repast” is. Even though they may have some difficulty with some of the words, I believe that most children will be able to identify with the characters and enjoy the book. This book will appeal mainly to girls, though if they are able to look past the three sisters as the main characters, boys may enjoy it as well since PK is a bit of a tomboy.
There is some talk of hormones and mention of a uterus as a female body part and it’s having to do with “becoming a woman” – though it is not fully explained. If you are against your child reading about that then you have been warned. There is nothing explicit nor will your child come away with any additional knowledge on that topic, but it may illicit questions that you will want to have answers for before they get to that point.
This is a sweet book that many kids can identify with and will enjoy reading. (less)
This is one of the most brilliant works of satirical genius I have ever read. I read it back in 6th grade and didn't get it. Now that I'm 30... I get...moreThis is one of the most brilliant works of satirical genius I have ever read. I read it back in 6th grade and didn't get it. Now that I'm 30... I get it and love it. How powerful and funny at the same time. I could only dream of having the wit and genius that Swift had.
Before you run out and buy this anywhere... you can find it for free on the internet.
Back in high school I read this book and absolutely hated every page of it. The other day I decided that it was time for a re-read so I pulled it back...moreBack in high school I read this book and absolutely hated every page of it. The other day I decided that it was time for a re-read so I pulled it back out and started reading.
Short Summary: Jurgis and his extended family migrate to America from Lithuania in search of the American Dream. When they arrive they discover that the American dream may not be available to them, what is available to them is scam after scam, starvation, freezing winters, and slave labor for pitiful wages.
The first chapter of the book is generally enough to make all but the most dedicated readers consider turning back. It is an extended wedding scene with little to know explanation as to who these people are that we are reading about. Though we do meet up with many of the characters later in the book, it's really not the most desirable place for us to leap into the story. The wedding between Jurgis and Ona is a happy affair that nearly breaks their pitiful bank. After this chapter we leap back to the family coming over to America, fumbling about to find a place to stay, trying to learn enough English to get by, and attempting to find jobs.
The family does not have an easy time of it... there are thousands of people in the Chicago area starving for lack of work, the slaughterhouses have their pick of employees, can pay them almost nothing, and can turn them out to the streets with no notice. Women and children are forced to work as well, trying desperately to make ends meet, keep food on the table, and keep coal in the stove for heat.
The bulk of this novel focuses on the horrors of life in that time, particularly the atrocities committed by the slaughterhouses and the meat packing industry. I assure you that after reading this book you will think before you take your next bit of beef or pork (especially sausage). The horrors that this novel brings to light are almost unbelievable in this day and age, but they were true. One cannot even imagine going through the days and nights as this family does. Every time they begin to believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it is extinguished again. This book follows the tragic breaking down of the human spirit, the death of the soul, and the degradation of humanity on such a scale as to be almost unbelievable. Sinclair takes us to the brink of despair, we want this family to make it, we want their spirits to soar! We want to see hope glimmering in their eyes and food in their bellies. Such vivid characters and such terrible scenes will stick with the reader long after the book has been closed.
But that is just the first 3/4 of the book... of all of the classics that I have read, both modern and ancient... so far this one has the least satisfying ending. In the last 5 or so chapters of the book, Jurgis is swept up by the socialist movement, and from that point on the reader simply reads speech after speech of socialist propaganda so thick that Sinclair almost leaps out of the book and bashes you over the skull with it. Page after page of brand new, came out of nowhere characters - people we know nothing about theorizing and pontificating over the joys and hopes that the socialist movement is bringing to the people. Page after page of how material wealth should be government run and intellectual wealth should be free, and how the whole concept of Socialism will solve everyone's problems and we can all live happily ever after should we vote socialist.
Now I have nothing against socialism, heck the good old US of A is a socialist country, even though they'll fight you rather than admit it. But I don't like anyone's theories jammed down my throat... especially after they have just drug me through the gutter and have me all emotional about the horrible lives the poor characters are living. I almost took offense to the ending - Jurgis and his family deserved a better ending to their story than than!
I am giving this book 3 stars, the first 3/4 of it is 5 star material, the last couple of chapters was 1-2 star material the appeared out of nowhere, so I'm splitting the difference. I remember now that my hatred of this book back in high school was for the same reason, and I recall arguing with my teacher that this book could have been great if he had let me rip the last 3 chapters off of it... or if Sinclair had woven his socialist theory throughout the book rather than slapping it on at the end. Still I highly recommend reading this book, even if you don't bother reading all of the speeches at the end.(less)
I had previously owned 3 ferrets, who were quite a wonderful business to have. Now that I am a Stepmom, I am considering getting a ferret for my son....moreI had previously owned 3 ferrets, who were quite a wonderful business to have. Now that I am a Stepmom, I am considering getting a ferret for my son. I called the local ferret rescue and spoke with the woman for about an hour discussing what we were looking for and what she had. She informed me that she would feel much happier if I purchased this book and read it with my son since it has been over 10 years since I have owned a ferret.
I purchased the book used and my 7 year old and I sat down and read a chapter a night. On this whole, this was a very good beginner’s guide to owning a ferret, though I did have some minor problems with it. The over all information was fairly accurate and should give someone who has no clue what they are getting into, a better idea of what a ferret is.
What I would have liked to have seen that wasn’t there: 1) This book reads an awful lot like a sales pitch, extolling the virtues of ferrets. Though I personally love them, they really are not the right pet for everyone, and I feel that a much more unbiased reality check on what a ferret is and is not should have been included to deter people from getting a pet that would not be right for them. The book glosses over the scent issue, saying “its not and worse than a dog or cat” well sorry to say, ferrets have a VERY distinct, musky odor and the room you keep them in is going to have that smell. It didn’t bother me all that much, but I had friends who wouldn’t even enter that room in my home when I had them in college. And I cleaned their litter box daily and cage weekly. 2) The Poo factor – ferrets create a LOT of poo, and unlike a cat, they aren’t going to bury it so you need to scoop out their box daily. Also they like to dig, so there is a good chance that they will play in their litter box and you will find poo on the floor around the cage. 3) The colored poo factor – The book tells you that you can feed your ferrets cat food, which you can, but nowhere does it mention that if there is dye in the cat food their poo will contain all of the dye (I thought mine were dying because their poo was neon red) also the dye WILL stain anything the poo touches. 4) Deafness – Many ferrets with white heads are deaf, I had one, it wasn’t a problem for me, but we didn’t know he was deaf for a long time. 5) Baby ferrets WILL nip, you have to teach them not to, and it’s not as easy as they imply in the book. 6) Ferrets have no fear and will commit suicide if you aren’t careful. They will climb your bookcase and leap from the top, they will get under your oven, and they will end up in your neighbors apartment by climbing through a hole in the back of your cabinets that you didn’t know was there. They CANNOT be left unattended – EVER. 7) There should have been a chapter on how to make appropriate toys for you ferrets, and more on what you should NOT give to your ferrets to play with (IE paper towel rolls can suffocate and kill them) 8) More on ferret proofing – IE pictures of places that almost all homes have which need to be taken care of, but that you may never notice until your fuzzy has made it known to you. Like little holes up under your cabinets, blocking off your kitchen entirely, holes where people have run their cable themselves, etc. 9) Updated section on ferret diseases, particularly warning signs. Too many people think of ferrets as giant hamsters that never need a vet visit.
On the whole this book gave okay starter information on the colors of ferrets, their history, what kind of cage you should buy, and some basic diseases they can get. But in the end it felt more like a sales job to get people to purchase a ferret. And they do a great sales job, my hubby was against a ferret purchase, read the book and was suddenly sold on them. I hope that there will be a future version that is a little less like a sales pitch and a bit more informational. (less)