A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is my absolute favorite book of all time.
While the story is set at the turn of the century (1902-1919) and contains many hist...moreA Tree Grows in Brooklyn is my absolute favorite book of all time.
While the story is set at the turn of the century (1902-1919) and contains many historical elements that may feel alien to the modern reader, the message that is subtly and intricately woven into the fabric of the story is one that I feel not only transcends the ages, but also one with which many of us can identify.
The protagonist, Francie, and her family represent the sort of wonderfully complex characters who come alive in the reader's mind as fully as if they were old friends. Detractors say that Francie fits the depressing Pauper archetype, who spends the vast majority of the book being beaten down by her unfortunate circumstances. For me, however, she unfolds into a delightful character who is easy to love; a heroine who strikes a delicate balance between sinner and saint, full of humor, wit, compassion, strength, imagination and a unique perspective on the world around her.
Altogether, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a fantastic book that is engrossing, evocative, poignant and inspiring.(less)
I used to love these books when I was a kid. Felicity was my particular favorite, though, with Molly ranking somewhere behind Samantha and Addy, and p...moreI used to love these books when I was a kid. Felicity was my particular favorite, though, with Molly ranking somewhere behind Samantha and Addy, and possibly also behind Kirsten. Sorry, Molly. But at any rate, I think I can safely point to the American Girls series as being the catalyst for my lifelong love of historical fiction, and this is book especially stands out in my mind. It's a cute story, with an Obvious Message, though not so Anvilicious as to turn off the target audience, I don't think. And it's a quick, light read too, with just enough history woven in where it's needed to make things flow smoothly, which should be a plus if you're struggling with a reluctant reader. (It's worth a quick read for grown-up girls, too, if only for the nostalgia.)(less)
Another cute installment in the series, designed to teach kids the benefit of working together. I particularly liked this book when I was a kid becaus...moreAnother cute installment in the series, designed to teach kids the benefit of working together. I particularly liked this book when I was a kid because it was interesting to see how school was different for kids in the 40's, and because I found the discussion about war efforts fascinating, since we never had anything like that when I was growing up. This generation, on the other hand, has parents and siblings and other relatives fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, so many young readers will no doubt be able to understand wanting to feel like you're doing something to help, which I think will make this a book they can easily relate to. I think most little girls will like it anyway, though, especially if they're into history.(less)
Apparently, Queen Margot was originally published serially in several newspapers and magazines of the day, and I imagine that it was basically the 19t...moreApparently, Queen Margot was originally published serially in several newspapers and magazines of the day, and I imagine that it was basically the 19th century French equivalent of a soap opera. It certainly reads like one. But guess how many fucks I give? None! Not a single fuck.
Don't get me wrong--I'm really not the kind of girl who enjoys that sort of thing. Space operas, yes. Soap operas and generally similar things? Not so much. But come on, how can I not love this book? Courtly intrigues! Dastardly plots! Clandestine love affairs! Poisonings and assassinations and duels, oh my! Queen Margot is a fast-paced, high-spirited, romping adventure revolving around the 16th century French court.
Let's not kid ourselves, though. Obviously dear Alexandre took liberties with history and blurred the line between fact and fiction. But again, the number of fucks I give is holding steady at zero. After all, I didn't snatch this book off the shelf at the library because I thought it would be a comprehensive and historically accurate account of the life and times of Marguerite de Valois. If that was what I wanted, I'm sure there's no shortage of texts available to me. But no, I chose this book because it combines so many of my favorite things: history, batshit royals, intrigue, daring heroics, and swashbuckling adventure. (Oh, and a pretty epic bromance, but I didn't know that until later. Bonus!*) I figured it would keep me entertained during the long hours at the hideously boring and uneventful job I was working at the time, and I was not disappointed.
So, here's the thing: if you like historical fiction, you'll probably like this book. And if you like The Three Musketeers and other similar type stories, then you'll probably especially like this book. Just don't go into it expecting it to be anything other than what it is. Queen Margot is a fun, ridiculous, over-the-top adventure story that doesn't take itself too seriously, and if you can appreciate it as such, then you will, I hope, enjoy reading it as much as I did.
*Your mileage may vary. As another reviewer points out, there is a pretty squicktastic moment toward the end.(less)