I of course found this amusing, considering I was a waitress for three years. Serving supported me through college, and the money was good. Waiter Ran...moreI of course found this amusing, considering I was a waitress for three years. Serving supported me through college, and the money was good. Waiter Rant is an extremely accurate portrayal of the restaurant industry, both in the way the author describes the customers and the staff's reactions to the not-so-great ones. (However, I'm proud to say I've never "crop-dusted" a table.) He didn't really tell me anything I didn't know, though. You don't have to be a server to know they don't like bad tips and rude customers, and sometimes the book did feel very "blog-like" (which some people might like, I don't know). Some of the anecdotes were still funny, though, even if they weren't brilliantly written.
Toward the end of the book, I did find myself rooting for the author. While the writing wasn't all that strong, he did manage to surprise me with a small glimpse into his soul on top of the very candid view of the restaurant business. He was funny and witty, too. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who's ever waited tables, just for kicks. Hell, all my friends who are still serving want to borrow it immediately.(less)
For something that has been coined as a "memoir", it didn't allow me to know the author very well. The whole time I was reading the book, I couldn't p...moreFor something that has been coined as a "memoir", it didn't allow me to know the author very well. The whole time I was reading the book, I couldn't pin down her motivations for certain things because I felt she simply didn't make a case for them. I'm not saying she should have immediately come in on the defense for being a stripper (I didn't judge her for it), but considering she was writing a memoir you would think she would talk a little bit more about why she did things or how she felt when she did them. Even when she did glide over her thoughts/feelings, I didn't feel convinced. It's like even she knew that she's great at writing a good story but weak at delving into herself in relation to that story.
That aside, however, I liked the book for what it was: good, clean entertainment. OK, so maybe it wasn't "clean", but I was thoroughly entertained by the author's perspective on the sex trade industry, and it was rather refreshing to find out that not all strippers are socially maladjusted drug addicts. (I didn't think this before, but it was nice to read the words from someone who worked in the industry.)(less)
Probably one of the best chick-lit books I've ever read. It fulfilled its job as a light read I desperately needed, but it also managed to surprise me...moreProbably one of the best chick-lit books I've ever read. It fulfilled its job as a light read I desperately needed, but it also managed to surprise me with its message. I enjoyed following Cannie throughout her transformation (and I liked the fact that she didn't end up skinny). Don't really have much else to say, as the book was just good chick-lit.
I do need to say, however, that you would think the publisher would have weeded out all the errors in grammar and consistency considering how many reprints this title has been through. A bad copy edit can sometimes take away from the reading....(less)
What an original theme, exploring what it is to be good. I don't think I've heard of a book that touches on this particular concept, at least not in c...moreWhat an original theme, exploring what it is to be good. I don't think I've heard of a book that touches on this particular concept, at least not in contemporary literature. I usually have such conflicting thoughts and feelings toward Giller nominees, but I can safely say I understand why this book was shortlisted.
Endicott has clearly mastered point-of-view, and her transitions between voices are seamless. I didn't like Clara at first but it's clear we're not supposed to, that she's supposed to seem as needy and desperate as she does. But then she becomes three-dimensional, just as everyone else does, and it's so beautifully subtle the reader doesn't know it's happening until it already has.
I don't think the last 100 pages could have been handled any more skilfully. For such a "quiet" book, I found myself on the edge of my seat throughout those last pages. Would Clara and Paul find each other again? Would Clayton leave again? The suspense was strangely subtle, which I think is just another testament to the author's great skill.
All in all, a great title. A deliciously painful read, even.(less)
Okay, so maybe that's not the most productive way to start a review. But that basically sums up how I feel about The Boys in the Trees, a book I h...moreMeh.
Okay, so maybe that's not the most productive way to start a review. But that basically sums up how I feel about The Boys in the Trees, a book I had high hopes for. It reminded me of a fiction version of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote -- and I hated that book.
The reason I gave this book three stars instead of two is because I recognize that Swan's obscure, non-linear style is a matter of personal taste rather than fault. I enjoy flowery, descriptive writing in addition to a good plot, but with The Boys in the Trees I felt that the story was being hidden behind a style that was trying too hard to be ... quiet? edgy? "beautifully" undercut? Instead it just fell flat, and I found myself wanting the book to end so I could move on to something more my taste.
Another reason I couldn't justify giving this book two stars is because I did enjoy certain parts, those rare snippets of concrete story that were sometimes allowed to roam free through the obscurity of the writing. I also loved the concept of exploring the effects of a murder through several perspectives. I liked seeing Heath's execution through Eaton's eyes, finding out what Rachel's voice sounded like, disliking a character like Sarah. I just didn't like having to chase down those parts I did like, having to sift through what I thought to be meaningless prose to get to the meat of the story.
If this book was real life and I had met Hoolboom's version of Steve Reinke, I would think he was a cult leader wannabe, a whack job with questionable...moreIf this book was real life and I had met Hoolboom's version of Steve Reinke, I would think he was a cult leader wannabe, a whack job with questionable motives and sanity. But in Hoolboom's world, the one where "The Steve Machine" has the power to "cure" disease and alter the core of someone's personality, I mildly enjoyed this book's improbable insight. (Very mixed thoughts, I know, but such is how I feel about this book.) I personally think this book is a demonstration of the placebo affect (a line in the book may imply this is indeed what it is), but I'm willing to accept that I could be dead wrong about this. I feel the book is more about the relationship between the sick and the healthy, and what kind of relationship can form out of this circumstance.
Setting all rationality and my personal opinions about the characters' motives, I did enjoy the writing. I found myself wanting to enthusiastically nod my head at certain parts where I felt the author hit the nail on the head, so to speak. However, at the same time, I'd be lying if I said I didn't want the book to end. (less)
I found myself having to be patient with this book. I always find Patchett's writing so beautiful (like in Truth and Beauty, one of her non-fiction ti...moreI found myself having to be patient with this book. I always find Patchett's writing so beautiful (like in Truth and Beauty, one of her non-fiction titles), which is why I picked this up in the first place. While the story is quite compelling at some points, I found myself struggling through other parts of the story. I'd still recommend it, but with caution.(less)