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.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. 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....more
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 characteCarolyn 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!...more
Featuring the whimsical prose of the introspective young main character, this book sets a mood for heavy poetic descriptions and laments into her thouFeaturing 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....more
I read the whole thing, so that's saying something. (And also why the 2 rather than 1) I got this as a Kindle Freebee and selected it at random to reaI read the whole thing, so that's saying something. (And also why the 2 rather than 1) I got this as a Kindle Freebee and selected it at random to read next. While gripping, I can't really say (even now) what it was about: what we were supposed to learn and what there is to gain from reading this book. It wasn't entertaining enough to be just for entertainment's purpose and the lessons, though important, weren't anything new (seeing beyond a person's body to their true selves etc...) I didn't like any of the characters and didn't identify with any of them. The premise was decent but executed in a way that was hard to take seriously. I would read this paragraph of not brilliant but at least decent prose only to find "Pig Face" and "Liver Eater" put into the text which threw me off so much that I just couldn't help but laugh. It seemed very immature of a name to use given the fact that the book was definitely not for children or even a young adult book. The rape scenes, torture scenes, and all definitely were able to highlight this observation.
And the names of the characters were the first of many off-beat ideas that were hard to take seriously. A videotape of the main character having some sort of sex with a painting and the way it was revealed to her ... I was like what the mess? Magical mirrors and angelic creatures that looked like plush dragons or dollar bills, having sex with angels as well as ghots and other things like that didn't do much to enhance the core story which seemed somehow lost in all of the rest of the talk.
Some scenes, even within the framework of the book's rules in this fantasy world, didn't even make emotional sense.
Intellectually, 10% into the book, I had no idea what it was about. I only know that because I was mindful of what percentage I was into it based on what my Kindle told me and made the connection and shared that with my husband.
Anyway, I think some people may like this. I just would be really hard pressed to find someone who I know who would. Read the reviews if this sounds like something you'd like to invest in, go a head. Even though it was free and my kindle is in no way close to being filled up, I'm going to delete it from my kindle.
I suppose I can say at least the author wasn't afraid to take risks. In my experience, these risks didn't work. ...more
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 inaccessI 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. ...more
I read this book (romance?) in one sitting, without much strain at all. It's a quick and easy read, and while I didn't enjoy it, I'm glad that I readI read this book (romance?) in one sitting, without much strain at all. It's a quick and easy read, and while I didn't enjoy it, I'm glad that I read it.
The positives: Stream of consciousness style poetic prose and strong character descriptions, vivid imagery and a lesson in photography, for anyone interested in the field. This romance novella had a sweet story that for some may be thought of as heart wrenching and erotic.
The negatives: The book was lacking in editing. One example is that one paragraph switched from first to second to third person all in a row. Another paragraph included the phrase, "I could care less" while the correct phrase is "I couldn't care less." In addition to these obvious errors were more subtle grammatical errors such as dangling modifiers which had me re-reading sentences to catch what was intended to be said.
I also couldn't decide if this novella was meant to be a romance or was intended to be purely erotic. By the end of the book, though, it was clear that its intent to be romantic would have been achieved better without some of the all too vivid erotic parts.
By the end of the story, I had a problem with character consistency not within the romance story, but with the way one character handled her children.
I thought some of the metaphors and similes were far reaching and two of them made me laugh out loud. One particular sex scene lasted a good 3 pages or more and had me feeling ill at the attempt to depict a sort of spiritual side to love making.
This book was meant to evoke strong feelings, but I remained non-plussed and consider myself a very emotional and reactive person.
In all, read it if you would like a quick read, but skip it for Nights in Rodanthe if you would like to read a more well polished novel that will tug at your heart and cause you to feel. If you are not one for grammatical consistency and like far reaching metaphors and don't mind reading some (in my opinion) ridiculous sex themes, go for it. ...more
Quick read, entertaining stories, most of which had me laughing out loud. While reading, though, I thought that my husband would probably appreciate iQuick read, entertaining stories, most of which had me laughing out loud. While reading, though, I thought that my husband would probably appreciate it a bit more than I did.
Even though I did like this book, I did see some likeness to the whole "chicken soup for the soul" stories which sorta put me off. Every story seemed to have some sort of moral or whimsical observance of humanity. And the structure for each essay took away from the reading in my case. I also don't love baseball enough to be able to identify with the author's sentiments about the sport. I understand the parallels to life and the extended metaphor that baseball was for he and his son, though, and I appreciate that.
In all, though, I'm glad that I read it. It's nice to read a collection of essays from the same person so that I can get a feel for it as a writer - and a reader - as to what makes collections like that "good" or "bad". In this case, I just know that I enjoyed it. : )...more
I was not expecting the subject matter to be as compelling as it was. The prose, sometimes bordering on stream of consciousness, flowed rhythmically aI was not expecting the subject matter to be as compelling as it was. The prose, sometimes bordering on stream of consciousness, flowed rhythmically and with purpose; it was written with creative metaphors that anchored the story in a vivid depiction of its message (which there were a few; all worth while and wholesome). This book is more than a book about boxing, but more a story of a man's struggle to balance past with present and instinct with ration. The main character, plot, and backdrop of boxing is real which makes this book so gripping. Very impressive and I'm thankful that I got the opportunity to read this book.
I must say that I was most amazed and touched by the last few pages, a masterful ending that left me quite satisfied.
I must admit that I did find myself blushing a bit too frequently at some of the language and such. It really is more a "guy" book than a "girl" book, but that certainly didn't take away from the story for me - just distracted me a bit from time to time since I'm not used to that sort of language. : )...more
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-factThis 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. ...more
I really wanted to like it better. I wanted to be wowed by the unique voice, the characterizations, the prose. However, the premise just wasn't strongI really wanted to like it better. I wanted to be wowed by the unique voice, the characterizations, the prose. However, the premise just wasn't strong enough to carry all of the other literary nuances which I felt were lacking.
Was the voice unique and well done? Absolutely. But it was hard for me to believe that the character was 5. The voice just wasn't consistent enough for me. Were the characters interesting? Absolutely. But the way the book was written, I found them mostly psychologically unbelievable and hollow. Perhaps this is an effect of the lofty goal of writing this premise from this point of view.
Nuances aside, I found this book more than interesting. I also found it hard to put down. Instead of being a free-flowing stream of brilliance as I hoped, the brilliant parts came in fleeting moments, a piece of a sentence here, an observation there and those moments definitely made reading this book worth it.
Addressing the psychology of this book is difficult to complain too much because it was obvious that the author did her research. I can't say that there was anything out-right wrong with the psychology of the characters, but there was a hollowness; a lack of authenticity that seemed to follow some of the characters which I found made them psychologically flat and hard to believe. Again, it might have been the voice, watering down the enormous forces in which the characters were going through. And while understatement works very well, especially with psychological forces this large, for this reader, the book just missed its mark.
I must point out, though, that a lot of people who I hold in extremely high esteem really enjoyed this book and found its literary nuances amazing. My best review would just be the following: it's an interesting book, an interesting subject and a unique voice. You probably haven't read anything like this before, and if you're interested in it, have at it. Chances are, you'll like it better than I did....more
Scott Adams' introduction promises a lot and I was really looking forward to reading a book that lived up to the expectations that the introduction suScott Adams' introduction promises a lot and I was really looking forward to reading a book that lived up to the expectations that the introduction suggested. Unfortunately I found myself really let down with another book that reads a lot like any religious-type philosophy based on quantum physics. It's just a tired subject and it doesn't matter to this reader what came first, but with The Secret, What the Bleep do we know?, Waking life and any other "yeah, mans" movies and publications, I'm all burnt out. What this book will give you is a conversation between two people (which really is a conversation that reads as if it is really just one person's diatribe) that might make you think a bit. The logic that this book presents does not follow even the basic formulas of logic and thus has way too many holes. In fact, there are rare facts stated in the book. Instead, the author presents various opinions citing scientific explanations that are weak enough to see through but strong enough to miss if the reader isn't looking for it.
What this book did offer is some unique ideas and creative ideas based on logical (though faulty) ideas. And for the creativity and risk it took to even attempt to write a book like this one, that's why I give it a 2 rather than a 1.
I think many people will find meaning is this book. And many people will recognize it among a series of media available that presents things in this way and will pass it up just based on the fact that they've heard it many times before and have found for themselves what works and what doesn't in their own authentic lives. I think that questioning one's reality, looking for the truth, analyzing and such are very important parts of being human and I think these activities should be encouraged. But I would like to see a new way of looking at the world rather than this idea that seems to be on repeat for the past decade (and more, possibly starting with The Celestine Prophecy).
The typical college aged pseudo-intellectual preaching at me with half-truths to present "logical" explanations for things that don't exist on a logic plane isn't the kind of person that I want to hang out with anymore because I've grown out of the questioning stage in my life - on that level. And believe me, it's not that I don't get what is being said nor that I don't accept some of it as true; I do. I just no longer think that any of this "wisdom" is special or known only by the truly enlightened. I just, you know, know, you know?...more