I have been touched three times in my life. Intentionally touched. Firstly by my mother, although I don’t remember much affection when I was small...more2.5
I have been touched three times in my life. Intentionally touched. Firstly by my mother, although I don’t remember much affection when I was small and certainly none after I was sent away to school. The second instance was at boarding school. It involved a fellow student. I was fourteen years old. The third time of purposeful physical contact was with Mr. Gregory, under the makeshift bomb shelter of the dining-room table at Mrs. Royce’s London boarding house.
One’s first experience of love is either love received or love denied, and against that experience all our future desires and expectations are measured.
My mother touched me on the head. She said, “At least you have beautiful hair.” She rubbed my chest with liniment. My mother held my hand one year when I was afraid of the bull in the back field, and wouldn’t hold it the following year, even though I was still afraid. She wiped the crumbs from my lips. “Learn to cover your mouth,” she said. Once she brushed the rain from my forehead. She spanked me. She pulled my arm too hard trying to make me keep up with her. She slapped my hand away from the cakes at tea. She dressed me. She undressed me. She soaped me in the bath, rubbed my scalp fiercely when washing it, clipped my toenails impatiently with rusty scissors. The last time I saw her, when she was small and sick and dying in the hospital, she held my head in her bony, shaky hands and said, “At least you are useful.” (ch5 -- beginning)
Ever since Jane made that remark at dinner about the Land Girls being akin to potatoes, this is how I have thought of them. I can’t be bothered to learn their real names, but I have given each of them the name of a potato. (ch10)
Before, when I’d read the book, I liked the character of Mrs. Ramsay, but now, hearing Jane read it from behind the door, I find her pessimistic self-centredness very unsympathetic. Her great gift is that she responds to life, lives in the moment. She is spontaneous and enthusiastic, gets swept up with what is happening. Most of the other characters aren’t capable of this and so they are drawn to her. But she often connects to people emotionally by feeling sorry for them. I don’t approve of this at all because I am always suspecting people of this in relation to me.(ch29)
I have debated about the filling in of my particular space on the curtain. There I am, a vertical rectangle next to the Lumper’s piece of music. The black of the drapes seems so funereal that, at first, I think I should use the space to do some sort of memorial to my mother, or to London. But although I did love both my mother and the city I lived in, I no longer suffer any illusions that I was loved much in return. So I fill my space with what has responded positively to my love. Flowers. I fill the space with flowers. I pin them onto the fabric and make a garden. And because I don’t want to be limited only to flowers that will dry well, I change what is pinned to the curtain almost daily.(ch30)(less)
the plot was enganging and also the reason i was drawn to it, the writing not so much. and because of the way the author chose to write it, it always kept the reader at arm's length. the result? i did not care for any of the characters. as a reader i should have been able to connect on some level to the book or at least one single character. as it was not the case here, i dreaded having to actually finish the book, two months have passed by now and i still have not finished the goddamned thing. so i am just letting it go .. (oh, what a relief!)(less)
sam climbed into his berth, and i squeezed in beside him, so he could see the pictures and follow along as i read. [..] i read sam a tale about someone named jack, and it struck me as i read that they are all jack -- the guys who are simple and despised by their smarter brother but who always figure out how to follow the princess into her enchanted realm and bring her and all her sisters back. then jack marries the princess and gets half the kingdom and everyone lives happily ever after.
sammy, nearly out by the time i finished, murmured to me, "jack finded her. like you find me, sarah. you're my jack."
i smiled. "you mean i'm not the beautiful princess in our story?" but he was already asleep.
notes on two problematic things: one: female protagonist, miranda relies on male counterpart (whether it be a friend or father figure) for her hap...more1.5/5
notes on two problematic things: one: female protagonist, miranda relies on male counterpart (whether it be a friend or father figure) for her happiness. she defines herself dependent on males (due to her own family, marak, but also herself). it remains this way till the end, with no change in her nor does she gain much on self-confidence.
two: miranca inflicts injuries (view spoiler)[dunkle mentions it a couple of times (hide spoiler)] on herself when she's (a) lonely, (b) waiting for marek to shower her with attention and heal her, (c) both. okay, got it ... but why didn't dunkle touch upon this issue further? this is a young adult book, as such i'd have hoped that the aspect of miranda participating in self-mutilation would have been addressed at least in the end. what happens? will she continue to inflict injuries or not? does she at least seek help? the reader has no way of knowing.
bantering between the sisters: My mood does not improve at dinner. Mrs. O’Hare’s fish chowder is as awful as I’d anticipated: salty and ill seasone...more1.5/5
bantering between the sisters: My mood does not improve at dinner. Mrs. O’Hare’s fish chowder is as awful as I’d anticipated: salty and ill seasoned. She’s an excellent housekeeper but a poor cook. I spread fresh butter on thick slabs of sourdough and ignore the bowl in front of me. Tess holds Father’s bowl in her gaze, and a moment later he’s declaring it a wonder. I frown at Tess until Maura kicks me under the table. I kick her back harder, and she jumps in her seat. The bread in my mouth turns to peppery ashes. I gag and reach for my glass of water. “All right, Cate?” Father asks, looking up from his miraculous chowder. “Fine,” I choke. Maura gives an angelic smile. She knows I won’t fight back magically, I never do, but I’m hard-pressed not to lean across the table and slap her.
i feel like i should hide behind a bush before y'all are coming at me with pitchforks and everything. the first quarter was a definite 4 stars,...more2.75/5
i feel like i should hide behind a bush before y'all are coming at me with pitchforks and everything. the first quarter was a definite 4 stars, but (especially) later as the story unfolds it was kind of eye-rolling how a lot hinges on her supposed 'soulmate' and she (view spoiler)[ decides to run to the man/alien she's never met based purely on the bunch of dreams she had with him playing the male actor, so he can save her or whatever (hide spoiler)]. which i should probably understand, as terra, the female lead grew up into a pretty screwed up family, but maaan i wanted to slap her so many times i lost count ...
other things that DID work for me are that terra is into art. i dig that. and that she's a botanist. and it's a space opera of sorts. you see, i have a weakness for these kinds of things. also, the characters had lots of onion layers and i had to grudgingly put aside my hate for a couple of characters and empathize with them. some wonderful descriptions of terra doing her thing:
hardly anyone knew about my drawings. my father always told me it was a waste of time. art was a luxury. it did nothing for our lives on the ship. it wouldn't help us once we reached zeheva. i was doing nothing for tikkun olam. and sure enough, my first efforts were terrible, the pencil all smeared, then erased, then heavily layered in again. but over time i'd gotten better. the lines were looser now, more expressive. i'd learned to block in broad shapes first before squeezing in the details. now when i sketched out the crocuses that poked their heads up through the snowy ground, or the vines that twined through the oak trees beneath the dome, the final outcome actually looked close to what i'd intended. [6%]
some passages baffled me though, like these e.g.:
but a thin birdsong was the only thing that answered. [11%]
our house was blue gaps of silence punctured by the white light of the arguments my father and i had [..] [39%]
new terms (for me): talmid • asherah • l'chaim • tikkun olam
no matter the quibbles i had, i'll be sure to pick up north's sequel as soon as it comes out!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
random notes it's got bits and pieces of different books thrown in like ...
* a soul/totem which manifests itself in an animal form(the golden compass), * on a mission to find the lost (twin) brother (blood red road) and * a dark tinge not unlike that of the dark angel trilogy(view spoiler)[come to think of it .. the red garden too (hide spoiler)] * various myths, * aborigines culture and * the magical feel (including the relationship between humans between animals and nature) of miyazaki films woven into it (particularly princess mononoke, imo) * and all of that in a post-apocalyptic setting, talk about random. it definitely sets itself apart from other ya-books, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. still, the gorgeous cover begs you to pick up the book and take a peek["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)