Is this a must-read? If you are unfamiliar with the after-effects of going through the foster-care system and think it might be interesting in a story...moreIs this a must-read? If you are unfamiliar with the after-effects of going through the foster-care system and think it might be interesting in a story, I recommend this bc the author is a foster parent. People interested in sentiments conveyed through flowers might like this too.
Diffenbaugh's Victoria Jones had me on edge from the very first page: Misanthropy and anger personified--the other kids in her group home know to stay wary of her--just in case she decides to attack you in your sleep. And she is now eighteen years old and ready to be released from foster-care and into society.
I kept waiting for Victoria to irrevocably ruin her life. I also kept hoping she would not. For as many flaws as she has, she strives to keep one thing about herself absolutely pure and beautiful: her secret passion for flowers. How to grow, nurture, present and to express herself through them. As luck would have it, she finds a job with a florist where her passion can flourish. And flourish it does when Victoria begins using the language of flowers to help others as she teeter-totters between making one step forward and two steps back.
I enjoyed Diffenbaugh's storytelling and her multi-dimensional Victoria. This is a story with love, mystery, suspense and psychology. Having misanthropy, cruelty, anger, compassion, sincerity, love, passion, and goodness all wrapped into one--it has been a while since I have personally read a book with a female protagonist having so much complexity.
There were a couple of incidences in the plot that felt like cop-outs. This is inexcusable bc the story hinges on these incidents. Other reviewers have mentioned these: (view spoiler)[ The reason for Elizabeth screwing up the planned adoption was quite unbelievable. Or when Victoria didn't use protection during sex (and if she was, it was noticeably unmentioned). Did she believe she was infertile? She grew up in the SF Bay Area foster care system and she herself might have been an unwanted unpregnancy. It is hard for me to believe she didn't even consider protection. (hide spoiler)]
As far as what I'll take away from this book, I might consider the Victorian language of flowers next time I receive or give flowers. After all, some sentiments are not as beautiful verbally as the flower that supposedly represents it. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
**spoiler alert** This book is NOT for you if you only like to read books about attractive "kick-a**" heroines.
However, if you appreciate subtle socia...more**spoiler alert** This book is NOT for you if you only like to read books about attractive "kick-a**" heroines.
However, if you appreciate subtle social commentary, psychology of young folk, and some relatively complex character development, then you might enjoy this. With all of this, Levine still manages to make it simple enough for younger readrs to grasp. How wonderful.
After reading this book and some reviews, I came to realize several things:
1) After learning this was Snow White, I found Aza's description of herself interesting. Snow White has ebony hair, snowy skin, and rose-red lips--and these unusually striking features were renowned for years to be the fairest. But in the book, Aza describes herself to have chalky skin, frying pan-colored hair, and dragon-red lips. Both descriptions yield the same colors, but the latter just makes her sound ugly. So...is she truly ugly? Or are Ayorthaians just holding up only one sort of beauty on a pedestal?
2) I disagree with reviewers insisting that the prince would not realistically be interested in Aza's appearance. Give him the benefit of the doubt, if only because it is logical. Many of us are fascinated by what is different and get bored with what is commonplace. He might find an unassuming girl with unusual features refreshing. He is also a singer himself and can appreciate a top-notch voice--there are possibilities here for admiration. However, I have yet to meet such a mature seventeen year old boy. Then again, some people grow up fast after a near-death experience--but even then, it's stretching.
3) Agreed that there was a lot of "copping out" as far as plot devices. This is one of the reasons I'm embarrassed to admit I like the book.
4) This book is best read as a sequel to Ella Enchanted. It can be read as a standalone, but judging from other reviews, I missed out on lovely details that Ella Enchanted fans recognized bc it has been ages for me.
5) I didn't find it weird that Ayorthaians liked to sing all the time. Have people suddenly forgotten the recent popularity of Broadway and musicals? Songs and music are extremely important to this culture--they even believe in singing to aid in healing. In fact, usage of songs in the fantasy genre is really not that odd.
6) It's SOOOOO cheesy. Another reason I am embarrassed to admit I like the book. (less)
**spoiler alert** I thought The Time Traveler's Wife was a tedious read.
Why? Bc the entire book was written from the two main characters' POV. And I...more**spoiler alert** I thought The Time Traveler's Wife was a tedious read.
Why? Bc the entire book was written from the two main characters' POV. And I do not find their way of words or their thoughts interesting enough to fill up over 500 pages. Don't get me wrong: their situation and circumstances with Henry as a reluctant traveler is most certainly interesting--but their personalities, interests and their minds are not. Neither is the prose.
What really killed it was the endless amount of mundane details--some of them REPEATED. Henry and Clare are not my close friends; I don't care or need to know what they buy for their groceries or the bands they like to listen to. If all these mundane details were trimmed--I'd guess the book could be shortened in half--and the reading experience would be all the much richer for it.
So why did I plow through? Bc I wanted to see where and when Henry would land himself in next. But even so, the time traveling focused too much on Henry's own past and future so I kept losing interest anyway. I finally decided to skip ahead to the end instead of grinning and bearing through. Sooo glad it's over and that I can move on....
FYI, this is more of a love story--a romance with a sci-fi twist. Not the other way around.
I've read this manga and watched the series as well. I especially love listening to the relevant score when the musicians talk about how the score con...moreI've read this manga and watched the series as well. I especially love listening to the relevant score when the musicians talk about how the score conveys what the master composer was going through and feeling at that time--you find yourself sensing and sometimes feeling the emotions as well. It's a wonderful experience and great for classical enthusiasts (musicians or not) to make a further connection.
Additionally, this manga is much better organized than many I've read. Reading from right to left still takes getting used to but it's worth it.(less)
Two best friends of mine have already read this book and for the longest time, I was out of the loop whenever Austen was the topic. I put off reading...moreTwo best friends of mine have already read this book and for the longest time, I was out of the loop whenever Austen was the topic. I put off reading it for ages when finally, one of them bought their own copy and immediately lent it to me.
After reading the first chapter, I realized I had been missing out. I expected to read about social nuances and propriety but I didn't expect the situations or the characters to be so funny. I have not picked up a classic to be read for pure pleasure in a long time and this book shows just why I should do it more often-- there's a reason it's called a classic. I didn't want to put it down and wish there was more.(less)
I heard great things about this book, so I was really looking forward to it when I finally got around to picking it up. About halfway through, I sheep...moreI heard great things about this book, so I was really looking forward to it when I finally got around to picking it up. About halfway through, I sheepishly recalled my reaction years back when I learned a friend once lived in an abandoned bus with her mother: I enthusiastically exclaimed, "That's so cool!" My friend could tell I meant it and only thought me strange. Likely due to my sheltered life and my naivete, I only imagined the rustic, adventurous and quirky lifestyle in a positive light. I did not stop to think about the poverty, instability and the other issues that came with such a home.
The Walls family tries their best to perceive this sort of lifestyle the way I once saw it: think about the positives, and ignore or deny the negatives by playing pretend. The parents are fun, proud, and free-spirited. They are essentially society's misfits who chase after their whims, and able to teach their children the beauty, creativity, and brilliance of life, with or without poverty.
In regards to the darker side of the book, being raised by parents who grew up in developing countries, I've grown up hearing stories like how so-and-so's neighbor would sell out the family out to provide his money for his gambling or whatever. Still, Walls shocks me because I find myself thinking, "This didn't have to happen -- it's the US. They can get themselves out of it" or "Oh no, she did not! How dare she?!" I was left frustrated and continuously found myself thinking, "What screwed-up situation will the kids get dragged into next?"
Even though Walls portrays her childhood well, I must say I'm relieved to be done with the book. It was not so much as a disappointment since I found ways to connect with it, but it certainly wasn't what I expected. (less)