I almost put this in my "Caution: Do Not Read" list. This was... very underwhelming. First of all, none of the characters are likable. Somewhat intereI almost put this in my "Caution: Do Not Read" list. This was... very underwhelming. First of all, none of the characters are likable. Somewhat interesting, but not likable, which makes a book pretty hard to get through. Like, in general even some villains are likable, but I was just hoping one of the main characters here would die in a horrible accident.
It was more of a snapshot in the lives of a few different characters during this alt-history 1962 United States (which, due to the US losing WWII, has become the Pacific States of America, and the Greater Reich). Not much happened at all. Most of the book seems to be a build up for something, but nothing ever came. Did I read an abridged version, or something? There was no resolution, and the ending was that magical "oh, okay, it was because of this" thing that I hate. It didn't even explain anything. It literally was "Oh, but it is real" and "I think you're a demon." I'm sorry, what?
I really liked the alt-history aspect of it. That was very interesting. The politics, the culture. All that. But I found the frame story seriously lacking.
Someone who has read this and liked it, please come discuss with me because this felt ridiculous. The ending was dumb. The writing was fine, but overall, I think I kind of hated it. Definitely felt like a waste of my time. I'll just watch the Amazon series, which I now see is only "based" on the concept and characters, but not the actual plot of this book. Thank God....more
I had somehow managed not to read this until now. It was a really fantastic (and awful) look at how war ravages the psyche. I love that it showed PaulI had somehow managed not to read this until now. It was a really fantastic (and awful) look at how war ravages the psyche. I love that it showed Paul as a young man first joining the military, to just a couple of years later, being completely and totally dead inside because of it. Going from having fun with some local girls after hours, to bequeathing a good pair of boots to a friend just in case he dies. The pragmatism, the earnestness. I highly recommend it.
I must say, though: I did listen to the audiobook, and the narrator was... not great. He was actually really boring and dry. And at one point, his inflection totally confused me. In the scene (mild spoilers) (view spoiler)[where Paul goes home, and is talking to his mother about how she's worried about him, and he's thinking about how much he would like to be a child again, safe in her arms (hide spoiler)] the narrator sounded very sarcastic and/or condescending. "Oh, mother, mother..." Like she was a silly child and he was humoring her. It totally threw the whole scene off. If I were the director, I would have demanded more urgency and emotion, and less psychopathy. ["br"]>["br"]>...more
I only found out this was a book less than a month ago. I have loved the movie for decades so I HAD to read it. It's very different. If you're expectiI only found out this was a book less than a month ago. I have loved the movie for decades so I HAD to read it. It's very different. If you're expecting word-for-word, it's not there. Some choice lines are still the same. Tucker still loves him some Burger Barn. But Gilbert... Gilbert is so much more developed. Being from his perspective, it does really help to see exactly how he feels about people. You kind of get it in the movie, but obviously way more here. Becky is a completely different character here, and I kind of hated her. But Gilbert, man. Brooding and sad and stuck. "We sit in silence for minutes that feel like funerals." It was really beautifully written. Some of the dialogue was painful, I think because the author was trying to convey the slowness of the town and mindsets, and maybe the idiocy of some of the characters. Gilbert and Amy and all the Grapes were great. You feel frustrated right there with Gilbert. It did end rather abruptly, so I'm going to pretend the ending of the movie is the real ending. But still really enjoyable. ...more
This book was pretty cute. I really loved the premise because it's so rarely done. I don't think I've ever read a book about kidnapping like this. ButThis book was pretty cute. I really loved the premise because it's so rarely done. I don't think I've ever read a book about kidnapping like this. But the characters were a little cliched and almost stagnant. Like the secondary characters had parts to them that I really wanted to know about, but the main character was a little... unself-aware. Still enjoyed it though. 3 stars bumped up to 4 because it of the subject matter. ...more
I was promised horror. There were a few moments that were a little on the creepy side, but nothing that was shockingly disturbing. Nothing that was veI was promised horror. There were a few moments that were a little on the creepy side, but nothing that was shockingly disturbing. Nothing that was very disturbing at all, really. There were even some moments that were a little silly that you know weren't supposed to be.
BUT, all that said, it wasn't a terrible story. I just think the hype didn't stand up, and so I didn't end up liking it much. I did really enjoy all the characters, though. Even the despicable ones were well-written. It's just the story that falls flat....more
This book triggered my anxiety so bad, you guys. It was really hard to get through. BUT I will say that it was written pretty well and it was interestThis book triggered my anxiety so bad, you guys. It was really hard to get through. BUT I will say that it was written pretty well and it was interesting. I liked the way the story was told, switching back and forth between POV and time. And I was totally sold on the mystery until the last 5th or so of the book.
I kind of figured out the ending about 3/4 of the way through, but it still kept me doubting myself. But when you finally get to the payoff it felt rushed and ragged out all at once. It felt like the author was like, "well, huh. I guess I have to end this thing," and then tried to wrap it up. The female characters remained pretty true to form to the end but the male characters simultaneously reacted to the full moon or something because they became crazy, and not in a good way. It was strange and strained, and when I finished I thought, "okay, done." Almost like it was a chore because it made me feel nothing but anxious and bad and like I needed a drink.
3 stars because I liked it okay, it just didn't reach its potential. And it made me SO uncomfortable to read. ...more
[Edit: was just talking about this book again and got mad about it, so I'm editing in a few thoughts I was too incensed to remember to put in here ori[Edit: was just talking about this book again and got mad about it, so I'm editing in a few thoughts I was too incensed to remember to put in here originally.]
Where do I start? I went into this knowing that it was self-published and that I wasn't going to really enjoy it. It was... worse than I was expecting? I mean, the idea was sort of there. Kind of. It wasn't fleshed out, and there were a few holes. The writing was alright. But it was very clear that it was self-published. It was almost more of a cautionary tale for making sure you go through drafts, plural, before publishing. Let me put it this way...
There were moments when reading this book that I thought "Oh, well, this author isn't so bad." But then, far outweighing those moments, were moments and scenes and chapters where I felt like he was largely losing the voice of the story and of the characters, and didn't really know himself where he was going. There is a ghost of a 7-year-old, but he alternates between seeming like a middle-aged demon and Casper the Friendly Ghost. I couldn't figure him out. Even when the character was alive, and a child he didn't talk like a child most of the time. Instead, he said things like "Not as sweet as yo' ass, Grandpa," when asked if he liked the taste of well water? I mean, FFS.
Some of the plot points bordered and then fell over the line of ridiculous. Like climbing the fence on top of a skyscraper to get a damn hat. Or (view spoiler)[Using sixteen sticks of dynamite to blow up his own house, which didn't really blow it up, but only set it on fire? Or throwing a couple of sticks down a well, where the main character's friend met an untimely death, to fill it in, but it didn't fill in? And the dude's hand was left intact? (hide spoiler)].
Maybe it can be argued that what the author was going for was an unreliable narrator. And I think it would have worked if it had been executed in a more convincing manner. Instead, the main character spent 80% of the book seeming like an idiot. So by the time we got toward the end where it could be argued he's unreliable, he just seems like an even bigger idiot. And the end wasn't a surprise at all. It was telegraphed the entire book.
And don't get me started on how big of an idiot the female character was made out to be. OH GOD YOU'RE CLIMBING A FENCE ON TOP OF A SKYSCRAPER AND YOU COULD POSSIBLY KILL YOURSELF BUT MOTHER OF GOD SAVE MY HAT. Also, what f**king idiot acts like it's no big deal to (view spoiler)[pick up the remaining pieces of her blown-apart brother and act like nothing happened and continue to call the idiot who blew up her brother "sweetie" and other pet names? (hide spoiler)] Run, girl. Run far. [Edit: Not to mention the whole forgiving him for trying to kill her by BURNING HER ALIVE IN HER HOUSE. Fuck spoilers. See this ridiculousness.]
The love interest story line was pointless and underdeveloped. [Edit: seriously, the few sex scenes were non-scenes and so awkward. As my friend Sarah is quick to point out, the author refers to a full-grown man's penis as a "curious turtle" and "Johnny on the spot." I felt violated the whole times. Also, idiot main character? You knew the girl for like 2 months one summer when you were a kid. That a "childhood sweetheart" does not make. It was some weird nostalgic lust at first sight at best, and the whole thing was very off putting.] There were countless plot points and pieces of characterization that went nowhere for no reason. Not until toward the VERY END does the reader find out why the main character suddenly showed up in whatever town this took place in (I don't care) with a sack full of money.
[Edit: HOW DID I NEGLECT TO MENTION THE DOG THAT LITERALLY UNDERSTOOD ENGLISH AND BARKED ONCE FOR YES.]
[Edit: Okay, the drunk driving bit toward the end. Spoilers and whatever: this idiot is drinking, like, whiskey and getting shitfaced and driving around. At this point the cops are on to him, and he sharing the freaking bottle with his brother-ghost. The ghost is taking fucking swigs off the bottle and it's going right through him. It was like a mix between the uncles eating in Casper The Friendly Ghost movie with Christina Ricci, and the moment in Fight Club when you find out Tyler isn't real. More the former than the latter. How dare I compare the latter to this book, but there you go. I think I'm on to something with the Casper thing. How could it not be inspiration? Seriously. It was completely ridiculous and I think there was a wreck and that's how he ended up in the hospital but not dead but I can't remember nor do I care. Ugh.]
The ONLY thing I kind of enjoyed about this book was the twist regarding how the little brother died. It's a shame that twist couldn't be part of a better book.
It's pretty clear it wasn't really edited except for some light proofreading (and even that is doubtful that it was done by a professional). The story wasn't well developed, and it was just disappointing. Don't read this book unless it's published again after a major revision.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
"A criminal is a criminal is a criminal." That's the overall message I got from Inside the Criminal Mind by Standon E. Samenow, Ph.D. The book goes in"A criminal is a criminal is a criminal." That's the overall message I got from Inside the Criminal Mind by Standon E. Samenow, Ph.D. The book goes into detail on a myriad of different criminal behaviors, and the thought processes behind them. But chapter after chapter, it was "once a criminal, always a criminal."
I actually found this quite refreshing since most other books that I've read on this subject (there haven't been many), have indicated that criminality is the result of upbringing. As a casual student of criminals (i.e., I am not actually a student; I just consume a lot of media on the subject), I hear all the time that. My thinking is more that it's a combination of factors. But, Samenow's logic is pretty sound. If a person is going to commit a crime, it doesn't matter where he grew up, what family he belonged to, or what school he attended. If he has the mind to commit a crime, big or small, he will commit it. I found that really fascinating.
The book was very broad and covered many subjects, but my one complaint was that it was a bit repetitive. That's perhaps the result of multiple revisions and editions. I felt like some chapters contained good examples, but the others gave one or three too many. I get it. Let's move on. I do also wish that there had been more named re-life examples, like Timothy McVeigh and Lee Boyd Malvo, instead of pseudonyms, just for more context. But there was one unnamed example that I remember from real-life news, so it was nice to have have that frame of reference.
Overall, I really enjoyed the author's approach to the subject, and it was an intriguing read for anyone interested in the thought process of criminals -- but be warned. It is only that: thought process. There is little to answer the question of "why."
Click here for more information about the book and the author.
This book made me incredibly sad. I have it at a 3 but I guess it's more of a 3.5.
I mean... I really like the idea of it, and I always liked those "wThis book made me incredibly sad. I have it at a 3 but I guess it's more of a 3.5.
I mean... I really like the idea of it, and I always liked those "write a letter" assignments in school. I thought the voice was pretty authentic to a high school freshman who strives to be "better" all the time. That kind of hit home for me. Her attitude about things, why she does or doesn't say things was... way close to high school me.
But the fact that this took place in modern day, I guess I had a hard time believing these teenagers were obsessed with Nirvana, The Doors and Janis Joplin. I it's possible since I lived The Doors in high school too, but it felt strange.
All the characters were pretty much stereotypes, but it wasn't that troublesome. The book was funny and sad. It made me actually cry twice, and a physical response is ALWAYS a good thing. That's the extra half a star. ...more