I cannot tell you how often someone has come up to me and said they love to read, and then it turns out that the only book they've read in the last fi...moreI cannot tell you how often someone has come up to me and said they love to read, and then it turns out that the only book they've read in the last five years is Da Vinci Code. I thought of it more like a short-attention-span movie script than a thought-provoking or even that entertaining of a book. BUT if it caused more people to try reading again, that is the one good point I will give.
In my opinion, it was written only to make money, which it did very successfully. This is much like the radio song that artists release on their album to capture the masses for a couple weeks. It did not convey any historical facts and instead made up "facts" that leave most of the population even more confused than before on religious history. I do have some children's books that I still enjoy as an adult because they make me see life in a new way or introduced me to a world of imagination, but I outgrew the repetitive Nancy Drew series style of predictable page-turners and fillers years ago.
The closest thing I can compare it to that I do like is Grisham novels, but I enjoyed the growing personalities of the characters and the legal world I would get introduced to during those books. I didn't feel connected to these characters or that I learned anything of interest.
This is an entertaining and quick read that aims to analyze the effects of various aspects of pop culture on people. Each chapter has a different them...moreThis is an entertaining and quick read that aims to analyze the effects of various aspects of pop culture on people. Each chapter has a different theme (such as the Real World, soccer, When Harry Met Sally, the porn industry, country music, Sim City, even religion) and while you may not agree with all of the opinions presented, it is easy to identify with at least some of them and I found myself laughing out loud more often than I can remember laughing at a book in a LONG time. These are only a few of my favorite quotes:
“No woman will ever satisfy me." - pg 1
“Every relationship is fundamentally a power struggle, and the individual in power is whoever likes the other person less.” –pg 9
“By now, everyone I know is one of seven defined strangers, inevitably hoping to represent a predefined demographic and always failing horribly.” –on The Real World, pg 28
“…Ebert makes a tangential point about whether or not film characters are theoretically ‘aware’ of other films and other movie characters….Could Harrison Ford’s character in What Lies Beneath rent Raiders of the Lost Ark? Could John Rambo draw personal inspiration from Rocky? In Desperately Seeking Susan, what is Madonna hearing when she goes to a club and dances to her own song? Within the reality of one specific fiction, how do other fictions exist?” –pg 36
“To say that you love soccer is to say you believe in enforced equality more than you believe in the value of competition and the capacity of the human spirit…. I would sooner have my kid deal crystal meth than play soccer.” –pg 95
“What’s most disturbing is the amount of Internet porn that has absolutely nothing to do with sexual desire and everything to do with cartoonish misogyny, most notably the endless sites showing men ejaculating on women’s faces while the recipients pretend to enjoy it; this has about as much to do with sex as hitting someone in the face with a frying pan.” –pg 115
“We’ve all heard the argument that there is an eternal double standard about promiscuity: The cliché is that girls who sleep around are inevitably labeled ‘sluts’ while guys who make the rounds are dubbed ‘studs’ (in fact, I hear people making this particular point far more often than I hear anyone literally calling women ‘sluts’ or men ‘studs’). What’s interesting about that argument is the way it’s been absorbed by my generation and all the generations that have followed: The consensus is that this double standard is wrong, so – therefore – we should all have sex with as many people as possible, regardless of our gender. Somehow, this became logical.” –pg 179
“Nothing offends me more than those who claim they wish they could become blindly religious because it would ‘make everything so simple.’ People who make that argument are trying to convince the world that they’re somehow doomed by their own intelligence, and that they’d love to be as stupid as all the thoughtless automatons they condescendingly despise.” –pg 234
I was fascinated by his views on abortion, but I felt a lot of the rest of it was obvious or unsubstantiated...either extreme. The section on names we...moreI was fascinated by his views on abortion, but I felt a lot of the rest of it was obvious or unsubstantiated...either extreme. The section on names went on way too long. (less)
The main character intentionally chokes on food in public places to make people feel good about saving him and they become attached to him and send hi...moreThe main character intentionally chokes on food in public places to make people feel good about saving him and they become attached to him and send him gifts and such. The voice is classic Chuck and the characters are interesting, but the sexual angles are a bit over the top. (less)
I can't recall reading another book where the point of view is from someone in heaven. The author takes on this unusual perspective to show the afterm...moreI can't recall reading another book where the point of view is from someone in heaven. The author takes on this unusual perspective to show the aftermath of a young girl's rape and murder by a neighbor in their suburbs. Intentionally setting the story in the more and more common cookie-cutter suburbia housing, Sebold uses the everyday scenery and familiar surroundings to make you feel like it could just as easily be your family. The main character, Susie, tells the story from her point of view in her heaven. Sebold creates and describes the way she believes everyone's heavens to interact, and it fits perfectly with her story's purpose. While revenge and anger seem most appropriate, Susie and her family must learn to gather strength in their remaining family and find peace with the past. The handling of grief and separation as powerful emotions is well done.
"...you have to look harder in the suburbs, past the floor plans and into the human heart."