It took me a long time into reading this to decide that I did, in fact, like it enough to keep going to the end. I appreciated her original sentence s...moreIt took me a long time into reading this to decide that I did, in fact, like it enough to keep going to the end. I appreciated her original sentence structure and style of writing, and once I got started, realized that the point of the story was just to show how the family's life unfolded day to day...it was, overall, a pretty good read. I just couldn't shake the fact that I was at least half-bored throughout the whole book.(less)
I tried for the first 200 pages to get into it...and just really could not. I ended up scanning through the second half just to get a gist of how it e...moreI tried for the first 200 pages to get into it...and just really could not. I ended up scanning through the second half just to get a gist of how it ended. Overall, it was a disappointment.(less)
For the first 100 pages or so, I loved loved LOVED the story. Its a scary portrayal of the breakdown of America.....more**spoiler alert** This book is weird.
For the first 100 pages or so, I loved loved LOVED the story. Its a scary portrayal of the breakdown of America...and the story of a family that lives out in the middle of nowhere, right on the edge of a forest. They end up having to survive on some canned food they harvested from their garden. The dystopian aspect of the story is captivating, horrifying, and poignant. Basically...it half scared the crap out of me, and half made me want to dance around my house hugging everything from my clean socks to the light switches.
Then, the characters take over the book, and it is downhill from there. The only character I liked was the father, because he was hilarious. Once he died, I wasn't a huge fan of the story. The two sisters never grew on me, and...I don't know. Their personalities were both just WEIRD. I imagine that the way they acted would probably be somewhat realistic if you really did lose all the things we take for granted, but still...they just didn't captivate me like the background of the story did. Especially when they "made love." (Sorry for the spoiler, but I sure wish someone had warned me about it.)
So the portrayal of a dystopian America gets 5 stars...and the characters get nil. I compromised and gave the book 3 stars. I still recommend picking it up though, because its pretty short and the story's backdrop is fascinating.
Update: okay, nevermind. I'm changing the rating to 2 stars, hehe.(less)
I decided to read The Other Side of Us by Sarah Mayberry because it seems like her name has been popping up everywhere lately. Some of my favorite blo...moreI decided to read The Other Side of Us by Sarah Mayberry because it seems like her name has been popping up everywhere lately. Some of my favorite blogs have read, reviewed and enjoyed her books. I decided to jump on the bandwagon and see what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately, this didn't work for me so much...
You guys. This is going to be a tough review to write, because to be honest? I didn't enjoy much of anything about The Other Side of Us. The characterization, plot and writing all had glaring flaws that I couldn't get past.
Let's start with characterization. Oliver and Mackenzie meet while both of them are trying to overcome unfortunate pasts. They both have divorce issues - Oliver more recently. Also, Mackenzie was in a horrible car accident that she is still trying to come back from physically. As I got to know them, I never felt like they were real people.
When things about them were revealed - used to be a musician, loves dogs, TV producer, etc...it all just felt like a "Personality Trait Checklist" that was being listed, not like actual facets of someone's personality coming out. I mean, my lack of feeling for these characters got to the point that I couldn't even read the sexytime scenes. I skipped them because I felt almost voyeuristic or something, watching something happening between two people I cared absolutely nothing about.
A couple of other things about the writing in The Other Side of Us bugged me as well. For one thing, EVERY SINGLE TIME THEY INTERACTED, one or both - usually both - of them waxed poetic about the other character's ass. I'm not kidding. Like every few pages: there it was. "That tight packed butt" or "well formed rear end" or something like it.
Next was the way the scenes were written. Oliver and Mackenzie would interact, then once they went their separate ways we'd see each of them dissect the minutia of what just happened. Usually in the form of self-torture. "Could I be more of an ass-hat?" and "God, he must think I'm a harpy!" and so on and so forth. Not attractive at all. Also EXTREMELY repetitive to see basically the exact same things happening three times over.
As for the plot...um, what plot? The Other Side of Us basically involves us getting to know the crap cards both Oliver and Mackenzie have been dealt in the past and then watch their fumbling attempts at socially interacting with each other. Then they fall into bed and bing bang boom. Things wrap up with minor "I don't know if I can do this!" drama that left me feeling distinctly unsatisfied.
Basically, The Other Side of Us didn't work for me at all. I'm left wondering if maybe Sarah Mayberry's shorter novels are more successful? If I'm not mistaken, this is one of the first (if not the first) full-length story she has written. (Am I wrong? Feel free to let me know.) I'm not ruling out trying some of her shorter stories in the future, but I think I'll be letting the disappointment of this one fade for awhile first.
To Sum it Up:
-Cardboard characterization, the odd and repetitive writing style and the lack of central plot all left me extremely disappointed with this read.
-I've heard so many positive things about Sarah Mayberry in the past, so I AM curious to see if this is a one-off or a real representation of her other writings.
-I don't think I've ever actually felt so uncomfortable and weird about characters to the point that I had to skip the sexytime scenes - until now.(less)
**spoiler alert** I don't deal with death well, and Aidan was my favorite character. Obviously I knew SOMETHING was wrong and that he wasn't in the pi...more**spoiler alert** I don't deal with death well, and Aidan was my favorite character. Obviously I knew SOMETHING was wrong and that he wasn't in the picture in the present part of the story...but I didn't want him to be dead :( So I finished Part 1 and have no desire to keep going.(less)
Ugh. This was a horrible book, I haven't disliked something this much in a long time. I'm giving it two stars because I was at least compelled enough...moreUgh. This was a horrible book, I haven't disliked something this much in a long time. I'm giving it two stars because I was at least compelled enough to read the whole thing.
First of all...the writing. There were WAY too many awful similes that had me rolling my eyes and snorting with distaste. I don't really care that much about writing styles...so for me to say the writing was bad really is saying something. I felt like she was making the characters do things to fit into the story, and that has always bugged me. I think the story should fit the characters...you shouldn't have to make them do things that seem unnatural.
The plot, somewhat interesting...but not carried out well at all. About halfway through I realized it really wasn't going to get better and thought "oh well, at least things with Jace and Clary are somewhat interesting." Then (major spoiler ahead, so don't read on if you plan on picking this up)...they turn out to be brother/sister?? What the heck, they had kissed and had wonderful chemistry and they are SIBLINGS? Their relationship was about the only thing interesting or captured well in the story...and even that was ruined.
I really had high hopes for this too. Bummer.(less)
I'm not sure what the deal is...I LOVED Gardner's writing in I, Coriander but I just did NOT connect with this book. I have no desire to finish it, an...moreI'm not sure what the deal is...I LOVED Gardner's writing in I, Coriander but I just did NOT connect with this book. I have no desire to finish it, and there are too many books in the world (and on my shelf) to force myself to read something I don't want to.(less)
I had high hopes for this, and the first half was interesting enough-and gave the story the ability to be great, but I think it just f...moreI didn't get it.
I had high hopes for this, and the first half was interesting enough-and gave the story the ability to be great, but I think it just fell through, at least for me. It was such an odd story anyway, and instead of making it better...the twists and turns just made it even less interesting for me. I just kept thinking "huh?" and "oh brother, that was dumb."
That being said, if you're into creepy dreams and the Civil War...go for it. Maybe you can explain it to me.(less)
Maybe I would have liked this more when I was a kid, but...I was bored. Very bored. I got to page 80 and couldn't stand it anymore, I read the last co...moreMaybe I would have liked this more when I was a kid, but...I was bored. Very bored. I got to page 80 and couldn't stand it anymore, I read the last couple of chapters and called it quits.(less)
Yeah I got less than 200 pages into this one and I'm stopping. Its boring and there are too many books in this world (and in my home, for that matter)...moreYeah I got less than 200 pages into this one and I'm stopping. Its boring and there are too many books in this world (and in my home, for that matter) to struggle over this one.(less)
Man, I am bummed. Several of my friends (AND Patrick Rothfuss for that matter) rated and recommended this book very highly. I was excited to start it....moreMan, I am bummed. Several of my friends (AND Patrick Rothfuss for that matter) rated and recommended this book very highly. I was excited to start it. As I was reading I kept thinking "seriously, this has to get better..." Only I read a little over half and it never did, so I had to give up. I skipped to the end and didn't even care about that either! This book and I just didn't click. Sad.(less)
You guys, I’m not gonna lie. I have been excited about reading Banished : Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church by Lauren Drain for months...moreYou guys, I’m not gonna lie. I have been excited about reading Banished : Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church by Lauren Drain for months! I pretty much freaked out when I first saw that there was going to be a memoir from a former member of the Westboro Baptist Church. Unfortunately, I think I put a little too much emphasis on the word “former.” Because, after all, being banished means that Lauren Drain left the church unwillingly. I ended up having so many issues with this book that I’m not sure where to begin…and I’m also pretty sure I won’t be very nice about a lot of it.
(For the record, I’m pretty sure this is the meanest review I’ve ever written – but my censor button doesn’t stand a chance against the crap ton of loathsome behavior.)
Some of the problems I have with the book are my fault, I had pretty specific expectations. I wanted a former member of the church to be like “LOOK AT ALL THIS CRAZY SHIT THEY MADE ME DO!” and get a behind-the-scenes look into the minds of stupid, crazy people. What I got was a completely bizarre account of a girl, surrounded by the certifiably insane, and desperately wanting to be one of them. After reading the book, I got the clear impression that she would have never left the church on her own, and then there was a random epilogue tacked on to the end in which she bemoans the errors of her ways. Sense and sanity have left the building.
First of all – I read Banished by listening to the audiobook. Lauren Drain did the narration and I thought her voice was pleasant and easy to understand. But, HOLY CRAP, was the writing terrible. I’m not kidding. The timeline was all over the place. Things were choppy and extremely hard to follow. It was almost like she was telling someone the story and just said things as they came to mind, regardless of when they occurred. I think a lot more thought should have been put into ordering things more clearly (or hey, how about any thought at all?). I’m not sure if reading the actual book would have been more helpful or not as far as keeping things straight – but I kinda doubt it. (What I do know is that I want that 8 hours back.)
Another issue I had with the writing was the lack of emotion. I mean, Lauren Drain… this poor woman. Not only was she brainwashed by some of the most reprehensible lunatics on the planet, but even her own family pre-Westboro was awful. But, as her story progressed, it all felt like a dry recitation of facts by someone who’d researched the story – not lived it. It was actually a little weird. I was half afraid I’d have nightmares about the scary emotionless cult monsters coming to get me after reading about all the crap they’ve pulled.
Another big problem I had with the mechanics of the story kinda blends together with problems I have with the people themselves…all the contradictions! I was getting so frustrated by the time I was midway through the book that I’m not even sure how I managed to finish (it was a CHORE, believe me). One minute, Lauren Drain would be praising one of the members of the church to the Heavens, then a few paragraphs later she’d be talking about all their faults. An example of this is Shirley, one of the most important church members. One second she’d be a shining example of everything that is right in the world, the next minute she’d be a condescending harpy that refused to acknowledge faults within her own family (mainly her kids).
These ridiculous contradictions (which were often silly and passive aggressive) were only one of the ways Lauren Drain’s entire book felt like it was being written by an immature little kid. I fought between rolling my eyes at some of her moronic behavior and just feeling incredibly sorry for her. I mean, she lived her life for years wanting nothing more than to fit in with the rest of the WBC, but she insulted them in the same sentences as she expressed her fervent desire to be just like them. I know her emotional growth was incredibly stunted because of the people she surrounded herself with, but still. It was all just too much…
…especially once you get to the epilogue. All of a sudden she understands that being raised to hate and condemn was wrong and her views have changed and she is working on getting her life together. It sounded like it was being written by a completely different person. Throughout the entire book, it felt like she was disillusioned with the WBC but not able to give up on wanting to be one of them…and the short epilogue was too little too late.
Ultimately, I couldn’t find much of anything positive about this book. The hateful, ridiculous and ignorant behavior of the WBC is front and center, but I never got the impression that Lauren Drain found it objectionable until the bizarre epilogue at the end written by her well-adjusted clone.
To Sum it Up: -This book was not at all what I expected, and I was incredibly disappointed by the writing style, the attitude of the narrator and the story itself.
-Everything was contradictory and felt extremely bizarre and disjointed. Kinda like a fake WBC expose written by a devotee on a crack pipe.
-(To try and end on a positive note…) An insider’s look is what I was hoping for – and even though I didn’t like the POV of the events – many of the WBC beliefs were interesting to read about.
…okay okay, I’m not done yet.
I mostly tried to avoid talking about the WBC itself, because obviously we all hate them. No need to go there…except that I can’t quite help it. THEY PICKETED THEIR OWN HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION, YOU GUYS. She actually struggled to decide whether to attend the ceremony or just stand with the protesters (don’t worry, I won’t leave you with a cliffhanger. She did both.) If they’re so against the “homosexual-enabling” den of iniquity that was Topeka High School, may I ask why in the holy hell they attended in the first place? I actually laughed during that section, imagining someone yelling in protest of the graduation while walking across the stage to accept their diploma. It was good to find some of their stupidity amusing since mostly it just made me want to throw up…(less)