First, let me start this off by saying that To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all-time favorite books. So, needless to say, I was very excited to reaFirst, let me start this off by saying that To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all-time favorite books. So, needless to say, I was very excited to read this. About a third of the way into the book, I realized that there was no way I could read this book as a sequel or even as a follow-up to the original. This book needed to be read as a stand-alone. Yes, this book has the same characters. Yes, this book is set in their future. This book is has a completely different message and feel to it.
Once I got that hammered into my head, I was able to enjoy the book for what it was. This book is the journey of a young girl (and I am going stick with girl because Scout never felt remotely grown up to me in this story) who comes to see her parent for who he really is - fallible human being. What I liked about this plotline was its simple truth.
I think that most children see their parents as Scout did in TKAM, and as she did in the beginning of this book. Our parents are God-like, perfect. As children, our mothers and fathers are larger than life. They are our everything. As we age, we come to the harsh realization that our parents, like us, have flaws, and faults. In short, they are human.
As the book progresses, we see Atticus go from the character we remember from TKAM, the champion of equality and Scout’s hero, to the stereotypical Southern 1960’s racist jerk, to a scared, white male who was a product of his location and the times. Atticus is not good or bad, he simply is; and he still has much to teach his daughter and Lee’s readers. We can learn from everyone, so long as our minds are open. Just because you do not agree with someone’s viewpoint, does not mean they don’t have the right to speak it.
That said, I couldn’t give this more than an “ok” rating. The book wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t fabulous either. It was just okay. But then, I guess it wasn’t really intended to be published.
Without the background of TKAM, none of the characters would have had any depth at all. So, if you haven’t read TKAM, I wouldn’t recommend this book at all. And if you have read TKAM, I wouldn’t recommend you rush out to read this one either -especially at the cover price of $24. But if you can borrow it from the library, it might be worth picking it up if you’re curious to see what all the hoopla is about. ...more
This book was a reminder of why I love historical fiction. Set in Amsterdam in the late 1600s, Nella Oortman, aged 18 is sent to live with her new husThis book was a reminder of why I love historical fiction. Set in Amsterdam in the late 1600s, Nella Oortman, aged 18 is sent to live with her new husband Johannes (almost 40), his sister Marin, and two servants Otto and Cornelia.
As a wedding present, Johannes gives Nella a miniature dollhouse to furnish as she pleases. She requests three things from the miniaturist to spite her husband, but instead receives gifts that tell a much deeper story of the family that lives inside the larger home. This is a story of secrets that both destroy and rebuild family bonds.
This book was beautifully written and the character development of both Nella and Marin were superb. Nella transforms from a naïve new bride to a wise, caring head of household. Marin transforms from a hardened spinster that I strongly disliked, to a protective guardian that I actually felt sorry for. Johannes evoked the right amount of sympathy; Jack and Meermans, the right amount of indignation.
I think I must have missed something. I kept waiting for something deep and meaningful to happen, but it never did.
To me, this book was basically a sI think I must have missed something. I kept waiting for something deep and meaningful to happen, but it never did.
To me, this book was basically a story about a 36 year old sociopathic female who destroys the lives of people she comes into contact with, including the fifteen year old narrator. The issue I have is that there wasn't a deep relationship or even a moderately developed character to be found anywhere in the book. I didn't care about any of the people, what happened to them, or why they turned out the way they did. No one was even remotely interesting.
The first part of the book deals with the narrator when he's 15 and Helena is 36. Which is just, well, gross. Putting that aside, their relationship just wasn't that interesting. They meet, have sex, she flips out, he begs her to forgive him, he reads to her, the have sex, she flips out, he begs her to forgive him, and the cycle repeats until one day she disappears.
Part two is the trial which should be interesting, but it's not. This section is wordy and while the narrator is struggling with his feelings of having loved a monster, ultimately, I found that I just didn't care. Even the descriptions of what she did were boring (and they were supposed to be horrific). I was amazed at how even the atrocities of the Holocaust were bland in this book.
And the third part I'm assuming was his finally coming to terms with everything? I honestly don't know what the point of the third part of the book was, by then I was skimming.
That said, the author did an excellent job describing a sociopath (maybe she crossed to psychopath), and how they can run through someone's life and not think anything of it. The devastation that one person can do to another (psychologically) came through in the narration of the story, but, unfortunately, I just didn't like the narrator enough to really care.
I just can't shake the feeling that there was some deeper meaning that I was supposed to get from this book that I somehow missed. I've given this two stars because it wasn't bad, but it wasn't good. It was just... there. ...more