The one scene that stuck with me over a decade later, of Polly swimming across the lake, was... less than a paragraph long. Most of the rest of the bo...moreThe one scene that stuck with me over a decade later, of Polly swimming across the lake, was... less than a paragraph long. Most of the rest of the book was just repeated conversations about what should be done.
I do think the basic themes/structure was present in the book (forgiveness, fear of death, liminality of worlds), just that the manuscript needed another five revisions to make them actually interesting! (less)
First off, a fun read :D I did enjoy it, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a light, quirky book.
The cons: - The main conflict (Mel not wanting...moreFirst off, a fun read :D I did enjoy it, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a light, quirky book.
The cons: - The main conflict (Mel not wanting Cathy to become a vampire) did not change throughout the book, and thus became monotonous within 50 pages; if that had been more dynamic, the plot would've moved more quickly;
- The LGBT references seemed to be kinda stuck in there? Which, on one level, I appreciate the casual mentions, but on the other, it also felt like they were crammed in there to get the bonus points of being LGBT-friendly. With Ty, whose bisexuality was mentioned on the last page, it felt particularly egregious.
- The quirky/humorous language was too... relentless? A little less would've had more impact, I think. I felt like the book was trying so hard to be funny at every moment it didn't give the story as much room to breathe.
- The authors mentioned that they wrote this to finally bring the girls' friendships in vampire novels to the forefront. Great intention! I love it! ...But, nah, we never do see Mel and Cathy spending much time together. Even when they do, they're mostly at odds. Mel and Anna fared better, but with that, it was mostly Mel trying to solve a mystery, and not hang out with her. The relationship that *did* get the most development was-- shocking!-- the romance between Mel and Kit. Which would be fine, but I was expecting a story celebrating friendship; if I hadn't been sold on that, I wouldn't have been disappointed.
- In the acknowledgements section, I wish they'd mentioned Twilight amongst their inspirations, as the franchise had a clear impact on this novel, from the very title itself.
- Lovely conclusion with the zombies ;___; It was sad and I was glad to see that world-building pay off at the end
Got weak towards the end-- like she forgot to tighten the narrative grip?-- but a lovely, thoughtful read that made me think about food in a whole new...moreGot weak towards the end-- like she forgot to tighten the narrative grip?-- but a lovely, thoughtful read that made me think about food in a whole new way. Very human, sympathetic, endearing, and an endless delight in food.(less)
I should have seen it coming, but the series only became increasingly dark and depressing. I'd thought the revolution would be a moment for determinat...moreI should have seen it coming, but the series only became increasingly dark and depressing. I'd thought the revolution would be a moment for determination and pride, but instead, it simply highlighted that the basic problem at hand are humans. Which is a conclusion I've reached long ago and left me in a funk to be reminded of it so viscerally.(less)
Amazing, informative, and lyrical book. I teared up regularly as I read. It is both a portrait of individuals migrating in this period as well as of t...moreAmazing, informative, and lyrical book. I teared up regularly as I read. It is both a portrait of individuals migrating in this period as well as of the USA. (less)
I couldn't finish the book. I was creeped out by the tone implying they knew every last detail when so much of the text was obviously speculation. I d...moreI couldn't finish the book. I was creeped out by the tone implying they knew every last detail when so much of the text was obviously speculation. I distrust authors who make themselves out to be more of an expert than they are, and since I couldn't tell where fiction finally became fact, I put the book down.(less)
I do have my criticisms: I would've liked more on how privilege affected treatments and research. I found...moreAn excellent, informative, and moving read.
I do have my criticisms: I would've liked more on how privilege affected treatments and research. I found it odd that homophobia wasn't at all mentioned in the passage describing the movement for AIDS research/help/medicine; surely the sadly prevalent view that ~the gays had brought it on themselves~ influenced its direction? Or how about the approaches to breast cancer; did seeing women as inferior beings back in the 1890s make it more acceptable to perform radical mastectomies, surgically removing muscles and sternums and whatever else they could? Would this practice have become so prevalent, would they have bothered to research its effectiveness sooner, had it been men at knifepoint? I'm sure these and other privileges had its impact on the development of cancer. The book is also incredibly US- and somewhat Europe- centric. Contributions from other countries are mentioned, but just barely. I know little about cancer research myself, but I remain skeptical that other regions did so little. Finally, I find it odd that he states cancer to be only four thousand years old-- that may be our earliest evidence for humans, but if it's encoded in our genome, don't other beings on this earth also face cancer? Animals today do; why wouldn't they before humanity? (I mean, think about it: dinosaurs with cancer!! ...which certainly sounds humorous, but wouldn't cancer also be lurking in their genes? I doubt it started with humans, is my point.)
Other than that, I'd recommend the book heartily. I knew so little about cancer before. I know so little about medicine, in fact! But not only does Mukherjee make the information accessible, it becomes as intriguing as a mystery novel. It's a whodunnit: who is this murderer named cancer and how did they do it? The answer is complex and incomplete (with our current knowledge/research) and yet incredibly simple. Cancer comes from changes in our DNA. By walking us through the history to that realization, Mukherjee explains the details quite well.
I also found the book helpful emotionally. Cancer is a disease, death, that surrounds us, threatening each one of us with our own lives and those dear to us. As an unknown, it is terrifying. Having learned more, cancer remains frightening, but now it is more of a known quantity to me. Knowing how it tics; how we fight it; how we might aim our future research; and, most of all, knowing somewhat to expect... it helps. (less)
I feel like I walked away from this book knowing more about David Michaelis' own neurosis than Schulz's. All texts are filtered through the writer's m...moreI feel like I walked away from this book knowing more about David Michaelis' own neurosis than Schulz's. All texts are filtered through the writer's mind and inevitably reveal much about themselves. It seems to me that Michaelis was obsessed with Schulz's unhappy marriage/problems with attractive women/ distance from his mother. As far as I can tell, Michaelis has his own issues with women. :P
Another flaw is the sheer repetition, redundancy, and random directions. One passage commented on how Schulz's mother-in-law sent Sparky baked goods and, unusually for his family, books. "Oh, goody, let's hear which book titles! :D" I thought to myself. The paragraph then went on to detail the baked goods without another mention of the books, which was the *unique* aspect of this familial relationship. Entire chapters plodded about everywhere, aimless.
It's frustrating, knowing how much material Michaelis had access to and what resulted in the biography. The current content could easily be reduced to a third or less; so much more space for other aspects! Such as more on Schulz's relationship with his children (I had to go to wikipedia to reassure myself as to Meredith's future/present-- she seems to have done quite well for herself! :)), his second wife, and friends in the second half of this life. Or whatever else didn't get in the book because it didn't fit the same themes Michaelis harped on :P
I also wished for more insights on the origins/development of other characters. Peppermint Patty! Woodstock! Marcie! There were interesting parallels drawn between Schulz's life and Lucy, Charlie Brown, and Snoopy (though I do wonder at the credibility of these) and I'd have loved to learn more about the creation of other Peanuts stars.
The read was interesting, but in great part because I wanted to see just how repetitive and obsessive the text could get. The answer: very. The book left me craving a more rounded and sophisticated examination of the Peanuts story. It also made me wish I'd left Schulz's privacy alone.(less)