A novel whose plot I knew little about when I began reading; I enjoyed the shock of what happens in the first part and how it triggers everything that...moreA novel whose plot I knew little about when I began reading; I enjoyed the shock of what happens in the first part and how it triggers everything that happens to the main character, Theo, afterwards. So: I will not disclose what happens in this review, though it's included in most synopses.
Tartt has an excellent ability to let you sink into the character's surroundings. The fact that some of the book's major settings I see everyday on my way to work notwithstanding, I felt immersed in her world. As well as immersed in her characters - they are all such a great, interesting cast from the itinerant Boris to the lovable Hobie to the chilly Kitsey...I could go on. There are surprises in each, too.
The titular painting is real, and on show in NYC currently, so I've bought tickets to the exhibition. I liked the way the painting figured into the story, into the life of Theo. It became a little more far-fetched near the end, but I still loved the love-of-art theme and how it affects us, as human beings across time.
I enjoyed the book and how much time elapsed - to see from the beginning to the end. There were some things about the ending that rang odd, and perhaps weren't as fulfilling as I'd wished, but I was satisfied nonetheless. A good-sized novel that read quickly, without dragging.
Why didn't I like this book? Apparently it has tons of accolades? I've seen lots of people say they'd have their kid read this. Probably wouldn't make...moreWhy didn't I like this book? Apparently it has tons of accolades? I've seen lots of people say they'd have their kid read this. Probably wouldn't make my kids, though. Maybe it's just me.
The main character Sutter is supposed to be a charming, fun-loving guy with a few demons. Totally fine. However, having this teen character narrate the book was kind of painful (and he's so not charming). It's only his perspective. I've read teen books from the teen's POV, and this guy's voice was irritating. And I didn't get much of his emotions or caring for Aimee because she was drawn so one-note (thus demonstrating how little Sutter cared for her in my estimation) that I already KNOW the movie is better than this book because a movie is not from his POV. I kept wanting more from Aimee and less from Sutter... Sutter's unlikable narration ranks up there with Sally Jay from Elaine Dundy's The Dud Avocado. And I have nothing against unlikable character narrators (see Ford Maddox Ford's The Good Soldier).
I'm not up much on Spiderman lore, but I know about Gwen Stacy enough to know what the title is referring to. My friend left this book at my house wit...moreI'm not up much on Spiderman lore, but I know about Gwen Stacy enough to know what the title is referring to. My friend left this book at my house with a note to read it and love it, and you know what? I do. It's not without it's oddities and faults, but I love it all the more for nearly accomplishing what I think it intended to. It's an ambitious feat to take a myth-like comic book storyline and make your characters pretend (?) to be them...wait, wait, wait, stop. Listen, I can't even properly explain this surrealistic, odd, and highly inventive narrative. It's a page-turner throughout, though. By the ending pages of the books I was reading and flipping those pages so fast because I wanted to know how it all turned out. It was rapid-fire reading. And while the end may leave some people puzzled, I enjoyed it completely.
Recommended for people who like reading something a bit outside of the box, don't mind being confused for a bit of time, and like a good imagination.
I will definitely be keeping up with the author's works after this phenomenal debut...(less)
When I first started reading this book, I thought it was going to be a real 'nice' and quaint look at the way people once lived in Manhattan. I'd reli...moreWhen I first started reading this book, I thought it was going to be a real 'nice' and quaint look at the way people once lived in Manhattan. I'd relish in the romanticism for New York the way it was and the way it still is that way...
But like most people everywhere, reality isn't all shiny and happy and Mary Cantwell candidly describes the downs of her personal life in those years. I thought a lot of being a woman then and being a woman now -- and I'm still thinking about it days after finishing the book.
And New York, of course. I smiled a lot while I read this because I recognized some of her descriptions of the city as if I had remembered them myself.(less)
An interesting novel that takes on realistic bipolar disorder in the form of first-person narrative through its main character, Greyson Todd. It's str...moreAn interesting novel that takes on realistic bipolar disorder in the form of first-person narrative through its main character, Greyson Todd. It's structured in a way that jars the reader because it goes from one period in time to another, all different years in Greyson's life.
It's not quite "enjoyable," per se, because having bipolar disorder is not a pleasureable experience, and the amount that the reader is with Greyson, going along with him and what he's experiencing means it's not a feel-good book. At all.
My favorite part was the end, when he's getting a bit better. And perhaps that's how I'm meant to feel in retrospect, like Greyson, a little calmer now that he's seeking treatment. Though it's ulimately depressing, I was able to breathe a little easier without feeling antagonistic towards the main character.
Like most Jhumpa Lahiri stories, I found myself on the edge of tears for most of this novel. The characters are so well drawn, three-dimensional, and...moreLike most Jhumpa Lahiri stories, I found myself on the edge of tears for most of this novel. The characters are so well drawn, three-dimensional, and I feel like I understand them at an emotional level. I barely noticed the time jumping, I was eager to always learn more about what shaped these characters. In writing about these two brothers who go in different directions - one to America after college and one to stay in Calcutta in the 1970s - I learned a bit about India's history. As always with Lahiri, it's a story about cultural divide, but here it's also about family and what generations say and do not say to the next... something I believe to be pretty universal.(less)
Woah. I'd already seen the movie (and own it), so I know what this book would entail. It's graphic and visceral and I winced at times while I read it....moreWoah. I'd already seen the movie (and own it), so I know what this book would entail. It's graphic and visceral and I winced at times while I read it. However, it's an eerie and mysterious novel that has a good narrative. It has a couple of great characters who are very, very different but I came to love them both. Unfortunately the writing veers into corny territory at times, but I can see the potential for Heim and his future writing. Look forward to reading something else by him at some point.
Only recommended if you can take disturbing fare. I highly recommend the film, too. Again, disturbing.
First off, what a great title. The title itself may be intriguing enough to pick it up -- "What are you reading right now?" "People Who Eat Darkness."...moreFirst off, what a great title. The title itself may be intriguing enough to pick it up -- "What are you reading right now?" "People Who Eat Darkness." "Woah." Yes, the sentence gives off a chill, and it should, given the subject matter.
I vaguely remembered the Lucie Blackman case from over ten years ago, but definitely did not know the details. Richard Lloyd Parry really delves not only into the case, but the Blackman family, the accused rapist/murderer, and any and all people with insight. It's a truly fascinating look at several things: a brutal and mysterious crime, the effect of that crime on a family in grief, and Japanese culture.
I learned a lot about Japan -- I'd visited years ago and recognized some of what Parry described, but he details more than I could never understand with just a visit. There are so many frightening revelations in this book, and also sad. It's completely engrossing and well-written. I think it was best that I didn't know any details of this specific case, because I was surprised by many things; I felt sadness and anger throughout.
Recommended to anybody fascinated by Japan and true crime.(less)