read this book in one day, so I guess I'd call it faced-paced. I was very drawn into the tale, and kept reading in order to try to find out more aboutread this book in one day, so I guess I'd call it faced-paced. I was very drawn into the tale, and kept reading in order to try to find out more about Harley and what really happened in his family. The book is at times funny, but more often it is...a stark portrayal of a severely dysfunctional family, who became that way as a result of one young child.
The characters drive this story more than the plot. Harley is part man, part boy, and sympathetic. Amber is...tragic...a clear product of her circumstances heading down a road to nowhere good. Jody is innocent...you want to save her from her fate--even when you don't know what it might be. The ending leaves us all mixed up--sympathetic towards these characters, angry at them, angry at characters who don't even exist in the novel, somewhat relieved...but also very frightened. Complex characters make this a complex novel...but a good one. Reading this book feels like you're caught in a twister--Harley's life spins out of control, and we spin with him.
I know everyone is all in love with Jodi Picoult, but I think she's a one-hit wonder, publishing the same book over and over again with different titlI know everyone is all in love with Jodi Picoult, but I think she's a one-hit wonder, publishing the same book over and over again with different titles. If you've read one, you've read them all. Sure, the characters change, the plot changes, but the basic premise of each novel is the same...as is the structure and style. In one word, Picoult is "tired." I think she's a sell-out, and I'm over her....more
This was hysterical. Chelsea Handler just kills me--and boy, has she had some kind of life. I thought I would have a heart attack reading about her trThis was hysterical. Chelsea Handler just kills me--and boy, has she had some kind of life. I thought I would have a heart attack reading about her trip to prison. Really. This was fabulous. Like me, she is super dry, super sarcastic, and super wonderful. We could be best friends--except for her dislike of dogs and her weird obsession with midgets...
Heather passed me Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer through our book chain. And this was a fabulous book to get! Although she noted that she hadn't yet goHeather passed me Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer through our book chain. And this was a fabulous book to get! Although she noted that she hadn't yet gotten around to reading it, it turned out to be one of those pearls I'd never heard of but wished I had. In any case, I'm glad she picked it up somewhere because this is a fantastic book. I mean just fantastic. Moehringer has a true gift for writing. And this is probably one of the best memoirs I've read--right up there with Angela's Ashes and Tis. It is honest and poignant but without getting sappy. It's funny. You come to know and love the boy JR, who is just trying his best to grow into the kind of man he wants to be--with no traditional male role model. He, however, finds role models in the corner bar, and the characters he introduces to us are both familiar and unique at once. They are the characters of great novel and the characters of our own neighborhoods, and that is part of what makes this book so special. So...non-book-chainers: if you get the opportunity, pick up this gem @ the library or the bookstore. It will be worth it. ...more
I have never read a graphic novel before, and I will admit to being skeptical. I was pleasantly surprised by this reading experience, though. I didn'tI have never read a graphic novel before, and I will admit to being skeptical. I was pleasantly surprised by this reading experience, though. I didn't expect that a graphic novel would be able to so accurately and eloquently (yes, eloquently) capture and express the feelings associated with "coming of age." Both the words and the artwork were poetic and moving. At times, I felt compelled to turn back the pages and re-read and re-view what I'd already read/viewed just to have the experience again: it was, in a word, beautiful (and yet that word doesn't fully explain the depths of this story). I think I may even read it once more before it's due back--because I kind of didn't want it to be over......more
I know him, and he's done me a solid or two, so since he gave me signed copies of his books, I read them. They are OK. They fit easily into the categoI know him, and he's done me a solid or two, so since he gave me signed copies of his books, I read them. They are OK. They fit easily into the category of Southern Literature, including themes about the significance of family,the importance of a sense of community, the signifiicance of Christianity, and the importance of land. However, this and his others plae in comparison to the great literature of the American South, seen in writers like Flannery O'Connor. It's good, but not great....more
This book is a gift in more ways than one. From a historical perspective, it gives us insight into life in Nazi labor camps. We know the sad stories oThis book is a gift in more ways than one. From a historical perspective, it gives us insight into life in Nazi labor camps. We know the sad stories of Auschwitz and Dachau, but there were other camps whose stories are less often told and remain unknown. Sala was in those camps, and she kept (with great difficulty and in much danger) what amounts to a written historical record of her time in those camps. This book is based on a cache of letters, photos, postcards, birthday cards, etc. that young Sala was able to hold onto as she was transferred through various Nazi work camps--through multiple inspections--even though their discovery could have meant not only that the letters would be destroyed but also that she may be.
Not only does the book provide us with the written record, but it also provides us with an oral history--recorded by the author, Ann Kirschner. She intertwines this oral history, which she has constructed from conversations with her mother and interviews with relatives and friends who survived the Holocaust, with the letters and with historical research to provide a comprehensive yet personal and emotionally-charged look at life for Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland's Organization Schmelt.
Never is history more interesting or more honest than when it is told by the people who lived it. And this book gives us faces, lives, to pair with the stories of the Holocaust--in a way that is vastly different (and dare I say somehow more real) from the Holcaust canon works with which we've all become familiar, like The Diary of Ann Frank. Sala is perhas more real in that through much of what is going on she, her sisters, her friends seem not to fully comprehend what's happening to them. They seem at times oblivious to the War going on outside the world of the camps...and yet they suffer no less as they rely on family, friends, and faith to survive in a world that is trying to strip them of all three.
This is definitely a story that needed to be told. It was informative and interesting, and it definitely gives you insight into the experience of younThis is definitely a story that needed to be told. It was informative and interesting, and it definitely gives you insight into the experience of young women who had to give their children up in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. It is a very important part of the history of women in America. ...more
This psychological thriller was a good read--sucked me in pretty good and pretty quick. I enjoyed it--and the end left me with questions, rather thanThis psychological thriller was a good read--sucked me in pretty good and pretty quick. I enjoyed it--and the end left me with questions, rather than answers, which (although it was somewhat abrupt) I think is usually a mark of the true psychological thriller....more
Talk about bad writing! But I was interested in the story, so... It's weird how something like this happened in such a seemingly normal place--and it'sTalk about bad writing! But I was interested in the story, so... It's weird how something like this happened in such a seemingly normal place--and it's even weirder how no adults seemed to take notce of what was going on right under their noses....more
The other reviews I read of this book were right on the money--the author spends too much time detailing every movie in Crawford's career--and not enoThe other reviews I read of this book were right on the money--the author spends too much time detailing every movie in Crawford's career--and not enough time on her personal life. He also draws a lot on previous work on the actress rather than offering original and new information. I did learn some interesting and fun facts and tidbits, though, and I liked that--I basically did a lot of skimming to get to the good stuff....more
Very interesting--and Gosh knows I can see the negative impact of artificial happiness all around me. Children are growing up believing pills are theVery interesting--and Gosh knows I can see the negative impact of artificial happiness all around me. Children are growing up believing pills are the answer in many cases wheree they aren't. It really can't be good for their social development, can it? I really like the case studies and the explanations....more
Before I started reading this book, I read several reviews of it. They varied--either people really like it or they didn't. I really liked it.
Of thoseBefore I started reading this book, I read several reviews of it. They varied--either people really like it or they didn't. I really liked it.
Of those who didn't they complained generally about one of two (or both) things: 1) The story was too unbelievable; therefore, it must be exaggerated or falsified in some way; and 2) The book is poorly written--has bad grammar and obvious transitions, for example--and probably should have been written by a ghost-writer.
I disagree with both of these points. Anyone who thinks the story is "too unbelievable" is clearly too sheltered and needs to take a few moments to come out of the safety of suburbia to see what the rest of the world is like. If someone thinks for one moment that these kind of things do not happen to children across our country and that the results are not those shared by Cupcake Brown, I've got a bridge I can sell him/her. Those of us who have experienced abuse know what it can do to a kid and how it can effect him/her. And those people will relate to and understand Cupcake Brown and her memoir--even if her experiences are different and perhaps more extreme. One thing this memoir does well is show you how and why a fractured and abusive childhood can lead to a life of crime and substance abuse. It makes it make sense. If there's one thing this memoir is, it is real, in every sense of the word...
...which brings me to point 2: the writing. The writing makes this book a quick read, and it also makes it real. It would be harder to believe or understand the story Brown has to tell if it were written without the slang, the cheesy metaphors, and the obvious transitions. This is a woman who dropped out of high school. Then, she studied criminal justice at a community college. Chances are, she never took an elective creative writing course, so what do you expect? She went to law school. She writes in the to-the-point way of lawyers. If you want long, obtrusive, flowery metaphors, then this book is not for you--because that's not what this book's about. Furthermore, except for when she does so purposely in dialogue or when transcribing her thoughts, Brown does not write grammatically incorrect sentence. She may write simple sentences, but she does write them correctly. It irks me when people who do not even know grammar themselves review work like this and claim the grammar throws them off. I studied grammar for 6 years. Between her and her editor, Brown wrote a book that is pretty much grammatically correct.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was quick and the story was good. It is real (and because it is, if you can't handle bad language, you shouldn't bother). A part I really related to was the "Marcia Brady" past. I, too, created a Marcia Brady past for myself, and I, too, was afraid of what revealing the truth of my past would bring, of what people would think...particularly after I worked so hard to break free of it. This book, I am, sure will give courage to others who also need to let go of their Marcia Brady pasts and allow them to see that accepting your past is accepting who you are, and only through so doing can you ever truly make something of yourself in life or be happy.
Part of what this book does is expose the failures of the child welfare system in this country and the ignorance of our society, so in a way, this book was written for those people who claim this story can't be true. Yes, it's sad; yes it's shocking; but yes, it's true and it can happen. Perhaps most importantly, though, the book gives hope to us all--hope that those who the system has forgotten or failed that they are worthy and can do and be something better; hope to those feeling defeated that things can get better; hope to those who feel alone that they aren't; hope to us all that with a strong support network and our inner fighter, we can conquer our biggest obstacles and achieve our biggest dreams. ...more