This is an amazingly well organized true crime story about a small cult leader and the horrible crimes he committed. I appreciated the matter-of-fact...moreThis is an amazingly well organized true crime story about a small cult leader and the horrible crimes he committed. I appreciated the matter-of-fact way the author presented information, the way the author was able to convey facts without being partial to either the perp(s) or the victims. This book should appeal to anyone interested in cult mentality or psychological brainwashing as well as someone interested in psychological case studies of the cult-leader type.
The only reason I gave it the vote that I did and not a 5-star is that I did find the writing lacking at times and the very end, after being so objective, through me a curve ball as it became biased towards a philosophy that I do not believe in personally, which left a bad taste in my mouth. I think had the ending been presented as factually as the rest of the story this book would have gotten a 4/5 review.
Be warned, that due to the nature of the crimes committed, this book may be triggering for those with a weak stomach. (less)
Featuring the whimsical prose of the introspective young main character, this book sets a mood for heavy poetic descriptions and laments into her thou...moreFeaturing the whimsical prose of the introspective young main character, this book sets a mood for heavy poetic descriptions and laments into her thoughts. The reader will travel with the character and learn of the epic story of Rebecca, revealed piece by piece. The subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) pieces are enough to aid the reader in figuring out Rebecca's startling story on his or her own, but some of the twists of the book are beyond the imagination of even the most clever reader.
The strengths of this book are its remarkable organization, its prose which often times caused me to stop to ponder a quote or a particular idea, the brilliantly vivid descriptions, some literary risks that the author took that worked, and most of all, its stabbing ending. While it has often been described as a page turner, I can say that I was able to put it down during the first half relatively easily, but the last fourth of the book I could not put down.
The weaknesses of the story is more a matter of personal preference. I personally don't like traditional British writing for its wordiness/over descriptions. However, the descriptions were bearable as they were poetic and charming. I also had a hard time identifying with the characters and was a bit frustrated with the main character at times, but this all ended up serving a greater purpose in the end.
In all this book went beyond expectations in its story line, and fell short of some (it didn't turn out to be my oh my goodness favorite book ever). No doubt that fans of British writing style should love this story which has definitely earned its place among the classics.(less)
Carolyn Parkhurst has got to be one of the most skilled writers I have read. She uses various literary devices effortlessly and pulls off her characte...moreCarolyn Parkhurst has got to be one of the most skilled writers I have read. She uses various literary devices effortlessly and pulls off her character's believability by focusing on the things that make us real: emotions, mistakes, regret, uncertainty. It is from these things that the characters emerge, and what reader can't identify with these things? This book holds within it many special gems. It certainly is a book that I'd recommend to anyone and will begin to as much as I recommended another one of her works, The Dogs of Babel (my favorite book in the world).
Carolyn Parkhurst has wowed me again. Anyone who wants to be a writer I'd encourage whole-heartedly to study Parkhurst's works.
Only question - where is her cult following? She certainly has earned it!(less)
The premise of this book is absolutely compelling. I have to admit that I didn't understand the full scope of the premise until I had started reading....moreThe premise of this book is absolutely compelling. I have to admit that I didn't understand the full scope of the premise until I had started reading. A story told in multiple perspectives, the perspectives were down very well for each character. However, the "inner voice" of each of the characters ... some were less defined than others. One thing is for certain: every single character had the same sense of humor, and that's a bit of a peeve for me. I also found some of the wording confusing or sloppy. Still, upon re-reading the sentences that confused my mind, I couldn't find anything technically wrong with them - they just didn't flow as naturally as the rest of the text. There were times when it was very difficult to believe that these people existed.
So why did I give it four stars rather than a lower rating? Because, as is her trademark, this served a greater purpose of the novel. As the reader, we were supposed to think that there was something wrong with the characters, we were supposed to feel as though something was a little off. And whether you do or not, unless you've heard the ending somewhere else, the ending shouldn't disappoint.
I had been complaining about the book to my husband during the time that I read it that it just wasn't as good as Nineteen Minutes, but that the premise was good. When I finally got to those last few pages, my husband was in the room doing something boring and when I started crying he was in shock seriously. So I can't say that the book didn't move me or shake me up at all.
I have great respect for a writer who can totally convince me that things are or might be going one way and then startle me with a truth so clear and precise that I can't help but nod because that's more the way life really is.(less)
I need to start out by saying that I am not as well read in Science Fiction as I am in other genres.
Stanislaw Lem writes with a style that is inaccess...moreI need to start out by saying that I am not as well read in Science Fiction as I am in other genres.
Stanislaw Lem writes with a style that is inaccessible for me, but I could see as being accessible for other people. This book, published in 1971, was too psychedelic for me and consisted of too many sexual themes. Upon coming to the conclusion of the book, I was disappointed not with the ending but that the ultimate message of the book was such a great message that I wish it had been told in a different way because the ultimate message would have stood out more with better focus and direction and I believe could have been told without the strong sexual references. Also note: I do not believe that my evaluation of the book and the way it was structured had anything to do with the translation, too.
Bottom line: If you're interested in experimental Science fiction, a quick read, and are prepared to read some sexual and psychedelic themes, then as a reader you should not have a problem with the book. (less)
What was most fascinating to me was how well researched (though it's fiction) the book was. People who are familiar with "new age" and scientific disc...moreWhat was most fascinating to me was how well researched (though it's fiction) the book was. People who are familiar with "new age" and scientific discoveries on research into the afterlife from different perspectives won't fail to recognize many influences into this story. In addition, Matheson adds a bibliography of all the books he read before writing this work.
What most find memorable and touching about the story, which is the story of the way people who love each other strongly cope with life after death, what I found more clever was the way that Matheson wove so many theories on the afterlife together to paint a harmonious picture of what life after death could be for one person as he adjusts to what has become of his spirit after his death.
While this book should appeal very much to the romantic at heart, I also see the appeal to anyone interested in a fiction based on a depth of research into the afterlife phenomenon and also it should appeal to anyone who has questioned what the possibilities are in the afterlife. Matheson did well to cover just about every notion that has been presented in written works up until the publication of this novel.
Also, for lovers of this movie, this book should not disappoint as I found it even more beautiful and vivid and more conclusive. The movie made some changes that enhanced the story, though I think that Matheson's original telling of it had some elements (such as the power of prayer) that would have made the movie better if it had also been included in the movie. While there were many differences between the book and the movie, I do believe that anyone who appreciated the movie would appreciate the book equally, if not more.(less)