From the moment you begin reading Love That Dog by Sharon Creech, you realize this isn’t going to be your typical novel.
The reason? It’s not written i...moreFrom the moment you begin reading Love That Dog by Sharon Creech, you realize this isn’t going to be your typical novel.
The reason? It’s not written in prose, but rather, free verse. The entire book is written as one long poem.
That poem is written by Jack. He’s a student in Miss Stretchberry’s class. And from the very first page, we come to realize that Jack is having poetry forced upon him against his will when he says:
I don’t want to
Don’t write poetry.
As the book progresses, we follow Jack on his journey of discovery of the wonders of poetry. At first he write poetry begrudgingly, but slowly we begin to see Jack’s progression as a poet and someone who appreciates poetry. We first begin to see his transformation when after Miss Stretchberry reads a Robert Frost poem, he says:
I really really really
Did NOT get
The pasture poem
You read today.
Somebody’s going out
To the pasture
To clean the spring
And to get
The little tottery calf
While he’s out there
And he isn’t going
To be gone long
And he wants YOU
(who is YOU?)
to come too.
I mean REALLY.
The irony of this tangent is that Jack says he doesn’t understand the poem, but as he’s talking through it, you come to realize he understands more than he lets on. And it’s through his development as a reader and writer of poetry that we soon discover he is able to write through a painful experience he went through to help him better understand his feelings about what happened.
However you feel about poetry, this book has something for both sides of the argument. When I first read this book a few years ago, I was not a fan of poetry, and this book changed my mind. Even if you still hate poetry I guarantee you by the end of this book you at least appreciate the way this book was written (i.e., since it’s written as a poem, it takes less time to read!)(less)
This book is better to be savored in a high school classroom with a passionate teacher at the helm. I have so many fond memories of sitting in tenth g...moreThis book is better to be savored in a high school classroom with a passionate teacher at the helm. I have so many fond memories of sitting in tenth grade English reading and discussing Huck Finn that listening to it on my own just wasn't the same. While the audiobook narrator did a commendable job on this classic work or literature, I think it's best left to reading, preferably in a classroom setting. This is just a book that needs, cries out to be studied and discussed (despite Mark Twain's warning at the beginning of the novel).(less)
Picking up The Catcher in the Rye for the first time in 13 years was like reuniting with an old friend - a very misguided and mentally unstable friend...morePicking up The Catcher in the Rye for the first time in 13 years was like reuniting with an old friend - a very misguided and mentally unstable friend, but an old friend just the same.
Even though Holden clearly has some psychological issues he needs to work through, you can't help but laugh at some of the things he says and what annoys him (people who have cheap luggage for instance).
Salinger makes us feel like an actual 16-year old kid was talking to us, almost like he was a teenager when he wrote it. The language wasn't poetic or over anyone's head. It was conversational and accessible to everyone - even teenagers who often are assigned to read this book in high school. I remember this being the first book I actually enjoyed reading in high school because it made sense to me. Everything was in black in white and Holden said exactly what he thought.
What I love about this book is that Holden Caulfield is one of those names everyone remembers forever. I generally forget the plot and characters of a book within a few days of reading it, but Holden is a character that has stuck with me 13 years later.
Poignant is the word that comes to mind when I think about describing this book. Wiesel not only shows us his experience of being in a concentration c...morePoignant is the word that comes to mind when I think about describing this book. Wiesel not only shows us his experience of being in a concentration camp, but he also shows us exactly how that experience made him deny the mercy of God. He also did a wonderful job showing not just the evil of the Nazis, but the underlying evil of the "every man for himself" mentality that many of the prisoners adopted in order to survive. Given this attitude by so many prisoners, it's miraculous that he was able to continue to fight to stay with his father as long as he did.
Another thing that struck me was just how close to death he came so many times. It's like he was hand-selected by God to survive this atrocity because there were so many times throughout the course of this story where he SHOULD have been killed by an SS officer or been chosen for selection.
As far as I'm concerned, everyone in the world should be required to read a book like this - one that involves a personal account of someone's Holocaust experience.(less)
On pp. 50-51: I often asked students how their poems made them feel, and I'd receive a small, quick an...moreI got a few good take-away ideas from this book:
On pp. 50-51: I often asked students how their poems made them feel, and I'd receive a small, quick answer -- "Good" or "Fine." But then what? One question I ask instead is, "Does the poem make your heart beat faster, or not?" Not all poems have to have this effect, but we should feel more than just, "So what?" The Japanese say that after hearing a poem we should feel the "ahness" of poetry; we should feel something. Sometimes I suggest that students measure what they have in their hearts against what's down on the paper; if the two are far apart, there's still work to do. Sometimes they find the "So what?" parts and try to rewrite them with more feeling.
On p. 90 Unfortunately, the two forms most teachers know and teach are haiku and cinquain. The haiku at least is certainly a legitimate form, but there are so many other possibilities. It's like serving the same two foods over and over; eventually students begin to believe this is what all food tastes like. (less)
Lovely story about family and cultural traditions. I am much more into character-driven novels than plot-driven ones and I think that's why I enjoyed...moreLovely story about family and cultural traditions. I am much more into character-driven novels than plot-driven ones and I think that's why I enjoyed this book so much. (less)
The title of this book is absolutely perfect. That is honestly what any sane, rational person asks themselves when they're reading this book. Not only...moreThe title of this book is absolutely perfect. That is honestly what any sane, rational person asks themselves when they're reading this book. Not only what was Sheba thinking, but what was the main character thinking for being friends with Sheba. If I had a friend who I knew was seducing a 15-year-old boy, I'd certainly get as far away from her as possible.
But I honestly think the main character's sticking with Sheba was her desire to be with someone who needed her. She didn't have a man in her life, so remaining friends with Sheba even though she knew what Sheba did was wrong, was her way of feeling needed. She took care of Sheba in her darkest hour and for that, Barbara's loneliness is eradicated. In her mind, it's better to be with someone who is bad for you than to be alone.(less)
While no doubt a great work of literature, the story didn't move me the way I'd hoped it would. Both the story and the characters felt very distant an...moreWhile no doubt a great work of literature, the story didn't move me the way I'd hoped it would. Both the story and the characters felt very distant and indecipherable. I don't know if this was intentional by the author or if something was lost in the German-English translation.(less)