This book unsettled and frustrated me. Unsettled because it makes me think about what damage I could already be doing to my infant son (sigh). Frustra...moreThis book unsettled and frustrated me. Unsettled because it makes me think about what damage I could already be doing to my infant son (sigh). Frustrated because I feel like, despite all the theory Bechdel incorporates to kind of *prove* her case, I felt I never really penetrated the relationship between her and her mother. This book is sadly much more fragmentary and disjointed (though I commend its ambition) than her earlier book. She's going to have years of therapy over the negative comparative reviews of the two ('have I peaked?' Here's a dream I had about mountains'). A bit yes, but also a bit no, for me.(less)
**spoiler alert** Hmm, lots of food for thought in this one. It's strange, it's ostensibly about three characters but they're not evenly characterised...more**spoiler alert** Hmm, lots of food for thought in this one. It's strange, it's ostensibly about three characters but they're not evenly characterised. Madeline is less clear (or less deeply penetrated) than the other two. Is it because she's female? Somehow she tends to remain the object - or is it just that she's portrayed as the least troubled of the three? Somehow she is defined by her love for Leonard and her beauty, and Leonard is defined by his brilliance and his illness, and Mitchell is defined by his love for Madeline but also his spirituality. I think because I have been a female university student too, I wanted to know what she was questing for. And actually the eighties were a really long time ago, and marrying young is probably something women of her class commonly did then. She quests through books, I suppose, she's looking for a way through the world that way, but I do feel like Eugenides sort of lost her halfway through the book. Maybe that's because for women particuarly, but possibly for everyone, the questing ends when serious relationships begin, because you need to turn your attention elsewhere. That's why those 19th century (or late 18th really if you're talking Austen) novels END with the marriage.
But actually Leonard doesn't get to quest either, he loses that opportunity to his condition; really this is Mitchell's book, and from about halfway through, actually, I really wanted to follow him. I don't specifically relate to the religious path he attempts to take, but it's so interesting following him around, watching him figure out all these little steps. Credit to the author for allowing these young characters to be real and sympathetic while making the most banal predictable post-adolescent life choices/mistakes. I can see this book becoming the kind of book read widely on campuses; becoming one of the kinds of books that Eugenides is referring to early on. It doesn't hurt for me that Franny and Zooey is such a touchstone here, it's one of my all-time favourites. I think there's a lot of Maugham's Razor's Edge in here too; perhaps I'm just bringing over some of the dated/dubious gender politics from my memories of it. Part of what's great about Franny and Zooey is that it doesn't assume women are more practical and less feeling than men. The other book I loved the use of here is The Lovers Discourse; showing Madeline the predictability (or at least universality) or her circumstances. Yes, we've all been there, even when it's new for you, Madeline. I love that post-adolescent sense of discovery about a book, that it's like someone read your mind, that later tuns into a realisation about the sameness of all lives.
And what is going to happen to Leonard? Is the DFW path the only one ultimately taken in such circumstances? I hope to god not. I kept looking for information about how to manage people in this situation, and there wasn't any (how could there be?). I suppose the take-home message about manic depression here is the isolation that it necessitates. It's just a fucking curse, insoluble. I found the descriptions of his mania very useful and fascinating, and I thank the author for sparing us too close a relationship with the darkness; it does distance Leonard a little, but that's because this is ultimately Mitchell's book, I guess.
Anyway, very interesting, really liked it. I think I'll always read Eugenides' books.(less)
**spoiler alert** Man, I knocked this over pretty much in one sitting. One long sleepless sitting. It was pretty page-turny. I kept thinking of John F...more**spoiler alert** Man, I knocked this over pretty much in one sitting. One long sleepless sitting. It was pretty page-turny. I kept thinking of John Fowles' The Collector when I read it - which was much more harrowing than Room. I think we were let off lightly by the author of this one - but if we'd not been, it would have felt sensational and exploitative. More so. I don't know ... I thought it was pretty great, but there's a hanging feeling of something missing. Maybe not as deep or dark as I feel such a story requires - not that I really want to read that story ... hmm. Very readable, anyway.(less)
Excellent. I didn't know much about the Romantic poets and their entourages, but having heard Daisy Hay talk on the radio about this book, I was hooke...moreExcellent. I didn't know much about the Romantic poets and their entourages, but having heard Daisy Hay talk on the radio about this book, I was hooked into her essential idea about the importance of sociability and the friendship groups to all these writers. What I didn't know I was going to get was such a thorough deconstruction of the negative impact of 'free love' on the women in the circle, and such a thorough picture of what it was to be an educated creative woman in that period. Basically, once you had the children, the men just ignored you and you had to be domestic while they continued with their work and fun shenanigans. Plus when your men died, you were screwed financially unless you had your own money. The expectation of all the men that the women would always be available to them in whichever ways they needed was a bit intense. Oh, also, if you split from the father of your child, he had the right to take them off you and do whatever he wanted with them, like send them to a convent and ignore them forever. Byron comes off like a total ass in this book. Leigh Hunt was also an interesting character I'd hitherto not heard of.
Hay tells it all like a really interesting story, I could see a movie adaptation rolling out in front of my eyes. Sadly I looked at all the illustrations once I reached that section, including the ones that related to incidents that hadn't happened in the narrative yet. Some paintings should have spoiler warnings on them, I don't care if the events were 180 years ago. Honestly, when will I learn this about illustrations?
It's a really really good book and now I don't need to read Shelley cause I've got the gist in a more entertaining way. (less)
Well. No review yet; absorbing the book still. This might go up to five stars. Will think about it for a bit ... OK, I'm really happy I read this book....moreWell. No review yet; absorbing the book still. This might go up to five stars. Will think about it for a bit ... OK, I'm really happy I read this book. I resisted initially the short chapters on different characters, then once I realised how they linked together this became exciting ... a new angle for each chapter. And the time shifts worked very well for me to, it's got an overarching view of the lives of these very modern (as in 'right now', not as in Modern) people, a view that they could not have themselves but that the book has. That's kind of it; the book makes you feel like God. She's also just a really engaging writer, I felt invested in every single chapter and that the destiny of each character was Very Important, even as they occupied themselves with singularly worldly fuck-ups. I just always wanted to keep reading. And I love a good exercise in exploring ye olde human condition. What's a novel for if not that?(less)
Lovely ... it took me a while to warm to the drawings but once I did I really did. The faces are really expressive. Dropped off a little at the end, I...moreLovely ... it took me a while to warm to the drawings but once I did I really did. The faces are really expressive. Dropped off a little at the end, I thought, having to tie up all the threads, but overall very moving, and resonant.(less)
I really enjoyed Shady's memoir; it's honest and moving. She nuts out the natural logic of her relationship with her boyfriend, confronts and accepts...moreI really enjoyed Shady's memoir; it's honest and moving. She nuts out the natural logic of her relationship with her boyfriend, confronts and accepts the reality of the disappointment that her father was, she's warmly nerdy about her love of Elvis. Her writing was very open and filled with a readiness for love, and to love. It was such a pleasure to spend more time with Shady after all these years.(less)
**spoiler alert** Brutal. After about 15 pages when he starts to 'run' I realised I was not going to be taken where I had thought I would be. Oh, it's...more**spoiler alert** Brutal. After about 15 pages when he starts to 'run' I realised I was not going to be taken where I had thought I would be. Oh, it's brutal. And I don't even mean the main tragic event near the end. It's the casual cruelty and the thoughtless carnage inflicted by Rabbit's obliviousness. Awful, brutal. But just a wonderful, astute, cutting and precise book. (less)
I wish more men would read this book (and all women with any ambition should read Tannen's 'talking from nine to five'). My partner, a very educated p...moreI wish more men would read this book (and all women with any ambition should read Tannen's 'talking from nine to five'). My partner, a very educated professional liberal type seems to think it's Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and refuses to touch it, which is simply ridiculous and not at all what this book is like. All of Tannen's assertions are grounded in research, and she's careful not to stereotype, despite what some reviewers here think. She is clear about the limitations of generalising. I particularly found convincing Tannen's evidence drawn from single-gender groups of children and her deconstruction of how they learn to interact from one another, and how they learn to successfully operate within single-gender contexts.(less)
Interesting book - I think the sub-title is a bit of a misnomer. It's kind of more a memoir of Thomas's sexual relationship with the love of his life,...moreInteresting book - I think the sub-title is a bit of a misnomer. It's kind of more a memoir of Thomas's sexual relationship with the love of his life, eight years or so after her death. Thomas doesn't come across too well in his memoir, he seems to be unapologetic about his selfish behaviour to his his many partners. It seems he ends with a 'happy marriage' with a much-younger woman because he is too elderly to continue to pursue his habit of infidelity, except in vivid dreams with his beloved Denise. These were the best part of the book, I think, the most human and compelling. The 'Hollywood saga' took place almost never in Hollywood, but I guess is the loooong story of the twenty year or so development hell that Thomas's novel The White Hotel fell into. This part of the book doesn't really go anywhere as the film was never made, and it's kind of difficult to spend so much time in the company of the insincerity of this process. At the same time, I'm pretty interested in any behind the scenes movie production narratives; but this one was so arrested that it became a bit of the albatross for the book to keep on with repeating email after email from producer, director, etc etc. I really enjoyed hearing about Thomas's encounters with William Golding, Dennis Potter, et al, and wonder if a straight memoir might not have worked better. But this was still a compelling read, as Thomas is an excellent writer, and very honest (if not necessarily that reflective). A side note: aside from being a dirty old man all his life, Thomas enjoyed Margaret Thatcher's "bracing radicalism". Cripes.(less)
I always wish his works were longer. This one is great, kind of time travel, gen x angst noir. Mostly I just love the lanky characters he draws, and H...moreI always wish his works were longer. This one is great, kind of time travel, gen x angst noir. Mostly I just love the lanky characters he draws, and Hubert's gorgeous colouring should not be underrated in terms of the visual success of Jason's work.(less)
**spoiler alert** Very modern-looking graphic style, the drawings looked a bit like they could be on album covers or in hip-advertising, which was a b...more**spoiler alert** Very modern-looking graphic style, the drawings looked a bit like they could be on album covers or in hip-advertising, which was a bit off-putting sometimes, but ultimately didn't detract from a compelling story. Koby's character was a little unsympathetic, but I liked the technique of describing the more interesting character of Numi through his somewhat stunted eyes. It's basically a very good story of a young man who hasn't yet acknowledged the weight of the wounds done to him by his irresponsible father. Very subtle, and admirably complex in terms of how the relationships are drawn.(less)
when I've had a couple of drinks and am trekking up the sandstone steps by the Argyle Cut to go to the Glenmore, I sing to myself "oh Mudda, oh Mudda,...morewhen I've had a couple of drinks and am trekking up the sandstone steps by the Argyle Cut to go to the Glenmore, I sing to myself "oh Mudda, oh Mudda, what's that, what's that; it's Beatie Bow, risen from the dead!" and chuckle. I loved this book when I was young, it's given me a whole new way to look at the city around me, and to think about history (aside from its romance and strong, appealing characters). I think about the stockings in Abigail's mother's shop, and how Abigail knows that the past is unknowable by the present, because she's been there and she's seen.(less)