The whole plot line related to racial/ religious tensions in small-town Maine was just a ploy to suck us into a soap opera. Characters were often into...moreThe whole plot line related to racial/ religious tensions in small-town Maine was just a ploy to suck us into a soap opera. Characters were often intolerable, on the whole unlikable, and yet I don't really feel I even got to know them (aside from their obvious flaws). No heart. Probably being generous with three stars but she is a talented writer.(less)
Gearing up for a move out of state this month... I certainly need to dump a lot. Let's call it "borderline pathological" ;-]
A technical assessment of hoarding from a psychological-scientific perspective which, according to the authors, has been lacking until very recently. They advocate a set of hoarding-exclusive diagnostic criteria for the next edition of the DSM, as chronic hoarding is currently classified under OCD or addiction, since there is some overlap of symptoms and underlying causes. However, the authors' thorough evaluation of pathological hoarders proves that they often don't have the same motivations or afflictions as those with OCD/ addiction, so it appears to be a one-way association and ultimately a miscategorization of hoarding in that the current characterization lacks specificity. Let's be honest, with the rising incidence of hoarding of late, it very well does deserve its own set of assessment criteria so people can get the appropriate help they need. I also believe devoting a DSM diagnosis will raise awareness of the illness in both the professional world and among those unwittingly plagued by the behavior.
The authors examine a great number (perhaps too great) of case studies while maintaining the anonymity of those they've interviewed and engaged in treatment. The case studies are fairly extensive and detailed, beginning with the infamous Harlem Collyer brothers who died buried in their STUFF (floor-to-two-feet-from-the-ceiling stacks of YEARS of compressed/ decaying newspapers, 5 defunct grand pianos, rusty tin cans, etc., in their family mansion at the turn of the century. Turns out they were collecting trash with the belief that it was enabling them to be self-sufficient. Certainly a unique delusion in its own right.
Despite the anonymity of everyone aside from the Collyer bros, I felt like a lot of it enabled self-indulging a guilty pleasure of violating the pathological's right to privacy. Then I eventually felt like the case studies became redundant and there was less focus on their motivations, which I find more interesting and useful, and more focus on their symptoms and the details of how their hoarding manifests and the obvious hurdles it presents to carrying on a social life or establishing intimacy. Yawn. That much is self-evident.
Reading this certainly amassed the fruits of my own purging! Cathartic, indeed. I think this could prove to be inspiring for those of us who have a tendency to hold on to things by attaching unworthy deep sentiment to material objects or making space for things that have been out of use for years under the guise that "someday" they could be brought back into regular rotation. It is as good a time as any to gain control over our fleeting impulses and attachment to all that STUFF at the back of the closet [[occupying valuable and limited space]] that we haven't used/ worn in years. Admittedly, much of that is often simply out of laziness or even apathy.
Once we see the immense quantity of things that have gone into disuse over time, we may gain valuable lessons going forward that will reduce our own consumerism. Donating/ discarding all those items one by one will be a reminder to forego the buying and will invariably prove to be a strategy for future $$$ savings. Win-win. ERRR--- win-win-win.
Sadly this book will almost certainly be the last checkout from my current Alexandria, VA library, which I will miss dearly. Onward to Portland's amazing library! Maine, here we come!(less)
Great way to introduce a very young child to the power of color and a snippet of the vast Van Gogh repertoire. A surefire way to inspire lifelong curi...moreGreat way to introduce a very young child to the power of color and a snippet of the vast Van Gogh repertoire. A surefire way to inspire lifelong curiosity for visual arts.(less)
Some conventional must-sees alongside some off-the-beaten path cultural sites (the jazz era influence on U St NW, for example). Good tool to get a kid...moreSome conventional must-sees alongside some off-the-beaten path cultural sites (the jazz era influence on U St NW, for example). Good tool to get a kidlet (or even an adult!) excited about a trip to the US Capitol. Lots of historical lessons thrown in as well. Engaging illustrations and the "from A to Z" format will maintain a child's interest.(less)
Chuckle-chortle, chortle-chuckle. It is what the title claims to be. Bravo to the collage-layered illustrations making use of book pages in unexpected...moreChuckle-chortle, chortle-chuckle. It is what the title claims to be. Bravo to the collage-layered illustrations making use of book pages in unexpected ways.(less)
Poet Laureate goes kiddie, but the environmental themes will resonate with any conscientious adult. And it all centers on a serendipitous inanimate ob...morePoet Laureate goes kiddie, but the environmental themes will resonate with any conscientious adult. And it all centers on a serendipitous inanimate object.
Imagery abounds, with clever symbolism: "It was a bag for carrying groceries, just the color of the skin of a yellow onion..."
"clouds like enormous black leaf bags"
Great early lessons in reusing, recycling, and figurative language. Relatively advanced vocabulary for a bedtime story as well.(less)
Not going to miss reading the fanciful, elaborate descriptions of "Manpower" AKA "Penis Power" at all. Very illuminating to say the least (if you read...moreNot going to miss reading the fanciful, elaborate descriptions of "Manpower" AKA "Penis Power" at all. Very illuminating to say the least (if you read/ have read it I'm sure you'll understand the reference). I'll leave it at that because any insight as to what it represents could spoil it all for you. (Tragic.)
Didn't really get into it at first, but the plot picked up throughout the middle and onward to the end. Despite:
(In stanza!) Never felt acquainted with the killer // Feels like a gaping hole in this thriller
(stanza unplanned but as I was formulating the thought it seemed so rhyme-y I had to)
Countering with: For the most part I enjoyed the voice of the woman detective and her perspective through which the story unfolds, even though I often balked at her characterization of women (perhaps influenced by this "man's world"?) -- was even more dumbfounded since the author is a woman.
"She smiled apologetically and tried to look female and scatterbrained" (p. 183).
Aside from this and a few other gaffes, the writing, slow reveal and ending were well executed.
2.5 stars (rounded up) for this perverse, gruesome thriller. Emphasis on gruesome. And perverse.(less)
1. All over the place. Individual chunks of the narrative never really connected, so I never felt it ultimately culminated in much. Also...moreMy six cents:
1. All over the place. Individual chunks of the narrative never really connected, so I never felt it ultimately culminated in much. Also cut off rather abruptly at the end.
2. Depressing and hard to swallow but that doesn't weigh negatively for me (though it may for you!).
3. Female inequalities plaguing the era in which it takes place (early part of the 20th C. USA) played a big part, such as culturally-acceptable bar from formal education (consequently illiteracy), limited opportunities, even illicit access to reproductive autonomy and associated risks. Caveat: I didn't think they were handled with laudable finesse.
4. Content excluded, I find the dedication “For New York” a bit uppity.
5. A lot of reviewers have said they don't care for the drawing style, but I found the art to be uniquely stylized, innovative, and one of the better facets of this work, even if not aesthetically palatable/ "appealing" in a conventional sense. So I'll grant it ~2.5 stars since that's a pretty important consideration for a graphic novel.
6. Countering the praiseworthy illustration STYLE, I feel like the bulk of the characters were drawn as caricatures, exaggerating features that are stereotypically lumped as "ugly" Jewish features (EVERY Jewish character, not just the twin main characters). For the record, I do not find these features ugly and it is very likely that even the author does not --BUT-- coming from an illustrator who has the quintessential attractive Millenial(ish) look down pat ---and shows us as much with her author bio page (not judging that; it's what she looks like), this aspect almost felt like a parody. I'll grant her that perhaps that wasn't the intention, but it's definitely a worthy point of discussion. (less)
Much educational value in terms of exposure to the traditions of the Lakota tribe, and specifically Sitting Bull's humble beginnings and [generically...moreMuch educational value in terms of exposure to the traditions of the Lakota tribe, and specifically Sitting Bull's humble beginnings and [generically addressed] significance in history. Though I wasn't really "sucked in." Perhaps an inherent consequence of it being written for third graders? Note: I have no children and don't otherwise find third graders particularly relatable, so take any remarks on its inability to engage me with a grain of [delectable pink Himalayan] sea salt.
I also wish it would have gone into detail about his later life and leading his tribe in resistance to policies leveraged by the US government.(less)
Includes a transcript of a call with conservative wing-nut, ridiculously judge-y Dr. Laura Schlessinger! Gotta be worth a laugh. A worthy story, to bo...moreIncludes a transcript of a call with conservative wing-nut, ridiculously judge-y Dr. Laura Schlessinger! Gotta be worth a laugh. A worthy story, to boot. Family secrets, deception, and an inspiring, quirky woman's quest to uncover the truth triggered by a serendipitous visit to a psychic. So much conveyed in relatively few words. Damn fine illustrations. (less)
A small slice of Frida's life while living in San Francisco, emerging from the shadow of Diego Rivera and finally coming to the limited critical and p...moreA small slice of Frida's life while living in San Francisco, emerging from the shadow of Diego Rivera and finally coming to the limited critical and public acclaim she received in her lifetime. Great illustration captures Kahlo's overall style and serves as a worthy homage. Surprisingly, some of the illustrations of Frida, especially those in profile, didn't quite capture her likeness in my opinion, and self portraiture is such a critical component of her work. Slight detraction. I also wish it were longer.(less)