This was some book. Filled with humor at every other line and at the same time addressing loss, heartache and moving on. This book was a real joy to re...moreThis was some book. Filled with humor at every other line and at the same time addressing loss, heartache and moving on. This book was a real joy to read - quirky humor that kept my laughing almost all throughout.
Charlie is a beta male extremely devoted to his wife. In her hospital room after delivering their baby, Charlie sees a man in a green mint suit who shouldn’t have been seen by anybody. And that’s when Charlie's life changes. His wife has died, he has a new baby daughter he doesn’t know how to care for, and now people are dying around him - all too much for a Beta male's imagination to handle. But then, Beta males are conditioned to endure and make it - "The Beta Male gene has survived not by meeting and overcoming adversity, but by anticipating and avoiding it"
Moore creates an interesting concept on the soul. Put simply - you aren't born with one but you get one when you're ready for it. Charlie is now a Death Merchant - someone who collects souls from the dying (the soul vessels are material objects that the dying person was senti about. Materialism and the soul - talk about irony) and passes them on those who don’t have souls yet. He needs to collect the souls before the Gods of the underworld get their hands on them and feed off them to grow stronger and eventually bring darkness on us all.
Read this book - in its happy pages it brings up a lot of thinking material (hospice nurses taking care of the dying, the feeling of loss and pain when you lose a spouse, the concept of death and a whole lot more)
Some of the lines:
Charlie: “A speech disorder! A speech disorder! A cute lisp is a speech disorder. My daughter kills people with the word kitty. I had to keep my hand over her mouth all the way home. There’s probably video somewhere. People thought I was one of those people who beats their kid in department stores.” Minty Fresh: “Don’t be ridiculous, Charlie, people love the parents who beat their kids in department stores. It’s the ones who just let their kids wreak havoc that everybody hates.”
Charlie: "I don’t think she’s seeing anybody, but since the world is about to be taken over by the Forces of Darkness, you may not have time for dating
And my favourite: Can a conscience be greedy?(less)
I read this back in November, and then forgot about it, which should give you an idea of how this review is going to be.
To be honest, I did like this...moreI read this back in November, and then forgot about it, which should give you an idea of how this review is going to be.
To be honest, I did like this book while i was reading it. Christopher's quest to do all the snazzy things he does and the narration in the quirkily autistic way makes a charming reading. The numbering of the chapters in prime numbers was innovative. The drawings, not so much. From what I've read/heard about autism and reviews on this book so far, it apparently does give a pretty accurate account of what dealing with an autistic kid would be like, and that should make this a good book.
But a great book? errmmm No.
An award winning book? I wouldn't think so.
The language was easy flowing and simple and hence made me think this would make a good read as a text book in 5th grade. In fact, my Sis had been asked to review this one as part of her college projects. Ok, now I'm not sure how that helps explain my point, but, well, never mind.
I guess what I'm trying to say is I was maybe expecting too much out of it and it delivered something completely different and unexpected. Not bad unexpected but was-hoping-for-much-more unexpected
Guess that's a lesson for me. A book doesn't have to be 300+ pages, have intricate plots or lots of things happening on many different levels and all those other things. A thin volume from a childs point of view might also do (typing it out didn't help. I still don't believe it. this book won an award!)
Another lesson for me is to try and find a library so I can borrow books like this and not spend money on a book just cause it has a fancy jacket or (lately) 'Winner or ___ Award' written on the jacket cover. (Yes, yes. I admit it, I'm a sucker for fancy and/or weird jacket covers - not always a happy ending to that story but I'll never learn)(less)
I don't know what to put down in this review. I'm not even sure what I feel about this book - This isn't one that is going to make any lasting impact...moreI don't know what to put down in this review. I'm not even sure what I feel about this book - This isn't one that is going to make any lasting impact or that I'm going to be remembering for long Its different when you see things from a kids point of view. When you're too young to be expected to understand what is going on and so only get half the information and then with a child's innocence start looking around for your own experiences to fill in the missing blanks. Which is what this story is about. Then again, if this story is for the YA category, then it doesn't begin doing the Holocaust justice and I'm not sure you want to leave a kid with this version of a tragic history. A lot of the reviews that I've read slam this book. I find I cannot find any emotion at all. If the author intended for this to be from a different POV and childs' at that, then yes, he did but it could have been so much more. The writing was simple, which it had to be since it was from a kid's point of view. I'm not sure what there was so much emphasis on Bruno not getting the pronunciations right. Despite being corrected throughout the book, he kept calling Auschwitz as "Out-With" and Der Führer as "The Fury". Even for a kid, that was just plain annoying. And then for a kid who speaks German to think Heil Hitler means "Goodbye for now, have a pleasant afternoon"!! It's a short 224 pages. Read the book and make your own opinion. (less)
Wow. This was an amazing read. There are just so many layers to this story; it really does affect you on some level. It leaves you thinking about the...moreWow. This was an amazing read. There are just so many layers to this story; it really does affect you on some level. It leaves you thinking about the book long after it is over. Dina Dalal, the widow is trying to make ends meet. Manek Kohlah is leaving a peaceful loving life in the mountains to come to the ‘City by the Sea’ so he can study and survive in this world. Uncle and nephew, Ishvar and Omprakash Darji, tailors now, leave behind the cloak of untouchability to earn a living in the city, hoping they’ll make enough to go back and live comfortably at their village. Four different lives join together – find family in each other and connect with you in such a way that you hope it will turn out well for all of them. In a backdrop of Indira Gandhi’s emergency, dreams and hopes get shattered. Despite knowing how futile it is, you still continue reading till the end, you still wish for a happy ending for all in this story
My favourite lines:
(But he went so far away) When you go so far away, you change. Distance is a difficult thing
(The secret to survival) is to maintain a balance between hope and despair (less)
ok, So.. twins are born. From 2 different eggs. They have twin-ly tendencies. They behave like children and accidents and other things happen. Around t...moreok, So.. twins are born. From 2 different eggs. They have twin-ly tendencies. They behave like children and accidents and other things happen. Around them other events unfold. Family, love - Forbidden Love, Politics, tradition...all come together centred around the arrival (and then) departure of Our Sophie Mol.
This is the basic gist of this book. but the way the story is written really makes it a very good read. I first tried reading this one ages ago and had quickly put in down then. Those initial pages didn't make a lotta sense then to want to continue.
So when I picked it up again this time (mostly for lack of anything else to read at home in India) I wasn't expecting much. I don't think I've read anything with this style of writing before, and that's what makes this an awesome read. The parts where the children make observations on the things around them and the way things are learned by rote and not understood and hence the emphasis on Prer NUN sea ayshun was awesome and also relatable in many ways.
The capitalizing Significant Words and runningtogether other words did the trick. Like the parts about the Bar Nowl and when Ammu tells Rahel to Stop-it and so she Stopiteds. The story goes back and forth in a very easy manner, and its only the style of writing and flashbacks that make this story a remarkable account of how the small things build up to a tragedy that changes lives forever. I can see why this book won a Booker Prize.(less)
"The story of a poor man's life is written on his body, in a sharp pen." I did not expect to like or enjoy this book. As an Indian, I usually don’t li...more"The story of a poor man's life is written on his body, in a sharp pen." I did not expect to like or enjoy this book. As an Indian, I usually don’t like books written about the poor where they're describing abysmal living conditions or other horrible situations. It isn't a question of whether these things happen or not, but more a case of sensationalising and exaggerating the poor with the intention of gaining literary recognition or popularity as an author. All under the guise of showing the world the 'Real India'. I think its crap Its sad that they never write about the good stuff or the people who've had good lives and made it better. Good stuff doesn't sell books though. Besides, I think you can't know poor unless you've lived it or seen it - and I doubt any of these authors have.
Getting back to the book now, like I said - I thought I wouldn’t like this book. But I did. There wasn’t anything in there I could identify with as an Indian - but at the same time I can see a lot of it could have happened to different people. This was a refreshing read. The book is written as a series of letters to the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao who is supposed to be visiting India soon and is meant to show a side of India that the premier would not be privy to otherwise. It is written by Balram - a man who grew up in one of the nameless and faceless villages in India and made it out of the Darkness of his existence into the world of the rich - or the Light. "India is two countries in one: an India of Light, and an India of Darkness. The ocean brings light to my country. Every place on the map of India near the ocean is well off. But the river brings darkness to India - the black river "
Balram is ambitious - a trait a poor man is conditioned not to have. He's a thinker. And he uses these skills to make it out of his village and the rut every poor man is in. By observing. By thinking. By killing his employer. And building a new life for himself. His letter to the premier Wen describe how he came to be the entrepreneur he is today. With words that you wont forget long after you've finished this book.
Balram writes a lot about the relationship between a servant and his employer - and on some level this doesn’t apply only to the poor and their richer masters but to everyone who depends on another for their livelihood.
Balram's thoughts when his employer Ashok is contemplating life after his wife has just left him: - "The point of living? The point of your living is that if you die, who's going to pay me three and a half thousand rupees a month?"
- "It squeezed my heart to see him suffer like this—but where my genuine concern for him ended and where my self-interest began, I could not tell: no servant can ever tell what the motives of his heart are. Do we loathe our masters behind a facade of love—or do we love them behind a facade of loathing?"
And a very interesting way of describing why the poor stay poor with an analogy on chickens in a rooster coup: Hundreds of pale hens and brightly colored roosters, stuffed tightly into wire-mesh cages ….jostling just for breathing space…On the wooden desk above this coop sits a grinning young butcher, showing off the flesh and organs of a recently chopped-up chicken, still oleaginous with a coating of dark blood. The roosters in the coop smell the blood from above. They see the organs of their brothers lying around them. They know they're next. Yet they do not rebel. They do not try to get out of the coop" . . "Every day, on the roads of Delhi, some chauffeur is driving an empty car with a black suitcase sitting on the backseat. Inside that suitcase is a million, two million rupees; more money than that chauffeur will see in his lifetime. If he took the money he could go to America, Australia, anywhere, and start a new life. He could go inside the five-star hotels he has dreamed about all his life and only seen from the outside. He could take his family to Goa, to England. Yet he takes that black suitcase where his master wants. He puts it down where he is meant to, and never touches a rupee. Why? Because Indians are the world's most honest people, like the prime minister's booklet will inform you? No. It's because 99.9 percent of us are caught in the Rooster Coop just like those poor guys in the poultry market."
And some more interesting lines: - "You were looking for the key for years / But the door was always open!"
- But what is the use of winning a battle when you don't even know that there is a war going on?
This isn't a book to read if you want to know the "real India". But it is entertaining. And what makes it a good book are words like the ones I've quoted above - observations that you realise have a grain of truth in them. Observations that are put in a unique manner that made me turn the page and realise this is good fiction.(less)