I really wanted to like this book. I think my low opinion is partially my fault, because I drove into the story...more* * REVIEW CONTAINS SLIGHT SPOILERS * *
I really wanted to like this book. I think my low opinion is partially my fault, because I drove into the story with high expectations due to rave reviews. I need to learn not to do that.
The beginning of this novel was excellent. A Ivy League dropout, who formerly studied to be a vet, runs away and joins the circus. The time period? The Depression and Prohibition America - a historical era of uncertainty and chaos. I was looking for an intriguing tale of a college youth thrust into an unfamiliar world, along with a dose of touching animal stories. What I got was a romance. Pure and simple.
A major issue in this novel is the characterization. The characters, with the exception of Walter (aka Kinko) and his dear Queenie, were flat and predictable. Marlena and August bothered me the most - Marlena being beautiful and kind and boring, and August being a cruel husband due to his mental illness. Besides the hackneyed stereotype of the mentally ill being violent, August's schizophrenia appeared to be a plot device to bring Jacob and Marlena together without making them look like bad people for cheating. I didn't buy it for half a second. I think the affair would've been much more interesting if August was...well, basically a normal husband who was maybe a little too obsessed with his own accomplishments.
The romance between Jacob and Marlena made me yawn. While Jacob was a fairly developed character, Marlena was the epitome of a side-female love interest: gorgeous with little beneath the surface. Barbara, the "cooch girl", had more depth than her. If Marlena were developed further (and if she had a flaw or two), I could buy their love story. And hey, maybe one day I'll appreciate where the characters ended up. Today is not that day. On a similar note, I've heard some people complain about the sex scenes, and while the descriptions are a bit odd, I had no problem with there being sex in the book. The setting is a circus, there is booze everywhere, and sex is gonna happen.
Again - I think I went into this novel with high expectations and if I'm getting the wrong idea or whatever, that's my own doing. I'll probably pick it up again in the future to see if I think differently then.(less)
Oh god. You know? I honestly wish I could remember cool things from high school English, but whenever my roommate and I embark down memory lane, all I...moreOh god. You know? I honestly wish I could remember cool things from high school English, but whenever my roommate and I embark down memory lane, all I whine about is this book. What can I say about "The Chocolate War?" (Spoilers ahead, folks!)
It stinks. No seriously. Jerry's musings about "disturbing the universe" (poor T.S. Eliot) put me to sleep and I honestly couldn't wait for the school's secret society to knock the ever lovin' crap out of him. I may also be missing some grand message, but I honestly don't get why this book was published... I mean, there's this secret society that RULES the school and what does Jerry do? Refuses to sell their damn chocolate and gets into a boxing match as a result, where he's pulverized. I'm all for people standing up for their beliefs and everything, but it's not as if the Vigils wanted Jerry to go on a crusade to murder kitties and puppies. Whatever. Maybe I'm getting something wrong here, because I tried to block out as much as I could about "The Chocolate War."
I'm not a prude (have you SEEN some of the books I've read) but the sexual frustration present in this novel did nothing for me. I'll go with the shallow reason and say it was because I did not want to think about Jerry's or Archie's or this random boy's desire to bone someone into the next world. *shudders*
Also I think part of my seething hatred stems from the fact that I attended a private Catholic prep school much like the one in "The Chocolate War." Imagine that!(less)
I cannot believe I wasted three days reading this book. I knew about the Twilight's plot before I started reading and wasn't impressed, but a lot of m...moreI cannot believe I wasted three days reading this book. I knew about the Twilight's plot before I started reading and wasn't impressed, but a lot of my friends liked the book and I figured I'd give it a shot. I mean, why say you hate something if you haven't read it?
Well. I've read it and I'm still not impressed. It's basically 498 pages that describe Bella's clumsiness and dependency and Edward's beautiful eyes. Also? You'd think that after 498 pages I could believe their love, but I didn't. It was so forced and the dialogue was cheesy ('Do I dazzle you?' Come on. Really? Dear Lord...). I could rant forever about how the author treated vampires and romance, but it's all been said already and a lot of the other one-star reviews can phrase the displeasure better than I can.
The sad thing is? SMeyer CAN tell a story. I would've loved to hear more about the Cullens themselves, especially Carlisle and Alice, but the bad overshadowed the good.
Man, reading this book for 18th century literature was like a bad hangover except with no booze involved - just a headache. It was so very very long a...moreMan, reading this book for 18th century literature was like a bad hangover except with no booze involved - just a headache. It was so very very long and so very very bad. I had to skim through the last half of the book, because I couldn't be bothered to give a damn.
The main character Pamela irritated me to death. Her virtue is her defining point and while I understand that morals and sexuality were VERY different in the 1700s, I didn't want to sit there and read page after page about a servant girl protecting her virtue from her CREEPY employer. The parody take on her (Shamela) was much more entertaining.
And don't even get me started on Mr. B. I wanted to throttle him and thrust a chastity belt in his face. This isn't to say I don't enjoy morally ambiguous characters ("A Clockwork Orange" is one of my favorite novels ever and we all know how sweet Alex is), but Mr. B and Pamela felt so flat to me. A cardboard box has more personality.
Of course, being forced to read this book for class and then being told repeatedly that it was the Greatest Thing Ever probably had a negative impact on my overall opinion. *sigh* Thank you, dear professor!(less)
This book took me a week to read. I'm not even kidding - I couldn't put the bloody thing down, which really didn't help me much on My Quest To Ace A F...moreThis book took me a week to read. I'm not even kidding - I couldn't put the bloody thing down, which really didn't help me much on My Quest To Ace A Final Exam, but no matter!
This book was suspenseful, filled to the brim with character development, and sprinkled with such a feeling of dread that the reader just knew that life in the New England town wasn't going to end well. The pacing was perfect. Although it took awhile to get into the gruesome stuff, I wasn't bored for even a second.
King's novel was also a pleasant surprise, because, you see, I avoid vampire novels like a plague. Bram Stoker's Dracula is one of my favorite books and to see vampires (evil, bloodthirsty, and ruthless creatures of the night) portrayed as "emo" sex symbols makes me wanna gouge my eyes out. King remained true to Stoker's portrayal and honestly, there was NOTHING redeeming about the vampires in this book. Nothing. To put it nicely, they were nasty customers to deal with and I loved 'em that way.
My only complaint was Salem's Lot had a ton of characters. Seriously, there was a ton and while some of them, uh, didn't last very long, it was still a pain in the neck to remember all their names and their traits and their jobs.(less)
If you like this drivel, we are DONE professionally. If you want to read it for laughs, do yourself a tremendous favor and download "Master of the Uni...moreIf you like this drivel, we are DONE professionally. If you want to read it for laughs, do yourself a tremendous favor and download "Master of the Universe" for free. Do not give E.L. James so much as a shiny red penny.(less)
Oh Perfume, Perfume, Perfume. This book would've gotten three stars if it weren't for the middle section. Seriously, when I initially read the back co...moreOh Perfume, Perfume, Perfume. This book would've gotten three stars if it weren't for the middle section. Seriously, when I initially read the back cover, I half-expected people to drop dead left and right while the batshit insane Jean-Baptiste Grenouille created his "ultimate scent" - which he does but it takes a long time to get there, folks! I should REALLY learn that the teaser summary isn't the entire book. For shame, Rachel, for shame.
Anyway the middle section (where Jean-Baptiste indulges in his misanthropic ways and spends a little too much time away from humanity) seemed to drag on and on and *on*. Seriously, dude, we get it: you have issues. get on with the mayhem please? I'm all for character reflection, but less than 50 pages would be nice.
As for the actual WRITING, it's quite beautiful and original and was the saving grace of this book. Süskind describes scents very well and his use of adjectives is phenomenal. Scent is often snubbed by writers for "sight" and "touch," and it's such a shame because smell surrounds people and olfactory descriptions makes story-telling richer.
I only wish this story had better pacing. Ah well. I'm still going to give the movie a go at some point.(less)
Like many other readers here, I saw the movie-version first and enjoyed it better. Kitty and Walter were far more sympathetic and developed than their...moreLike many other readers here, I saw the movie-version first and enjoyed it better. Kitty and Walter were far more sympathetic and developed than their book counterparts. In the book's opening, I felt nothing except loathing for the central character (Kitty) and then only a small dose of empathy toward her at the book's conclusion, mostly due to her failings in Hong Kong with Townscend which made her "transformation" seem temporary. I know many of my fellow readers are quite romantic (at least that's the vibe I get :)), and enjoyed the movie better because the love between Walter and Kitty was mutual. Although I DEFINITELY preferred the relationship in the movie, I could've respected the unrequited love within the novel if it were presented more clearly (re: with more interaction between Kitty and Walter after they depart from Hong Kong along with Walter's character being more developed).
That all being said, I do not regret reading this novel. The setting (1920s China) was EXTREMELY interesting, and I particularly enjoyed the bits about the nuns' convent. The Mother Superior was certainly a compelling character, and I loved learning about her privileged life in France before she went to China. The book is also an easy read - not too difficult to follow but not completely bland either. The author's ability to move between time-frames was very skillful too.(less)
* * REVIEW CONTAINS SLIGHT SPOILERS * * I'm not sure if it's better to read the book or watch the show first. However they are different mediums, and I...more* * REVIEW CONTAINS SLIGHT SPOILERS * * I'm not sure if it's better to read the book or watch the show first. However they are different mediums, and I will treat them as such - so expect no references to the television series.
I enjoyed Jeff Lindsay's dark comedy. His Dexter is devoid of a conscience, but he's charming and funny. Lindsay has a strong voice and tone throughout the novel, and one is able to relate to Dexter very easily. Lindsay made a wise choice in selecting a first-person POV. I have to admit, Dexter's definitely one of my favorite anti-heroes. He claims to be subhuman, and yet there are moments which contradict his claim, making him a very complex person. Lindsay does an equally good job developing the secondary characters, especially Deb and the vicious LaGuerta.
I loved a great portion of the novel, though I was a little disappointed by the ending. Brian as Dexter's brother always rang as a bit cliche to me. I did love the epilogue and the last few lines, however. I enjoy ending with a laugh.(less)
I adore Dracula. The main villain isn't a suave, romantic, and tragic hero. Oh no, no, no. Dracula is ruthless - a monster in every sense of the word,...moreI adore Dracula. The main villain isn't a suave, romantic, and tragic hero. Oh no, no, no. Dracula is ruthless - a monster in every sense of the word, who kills without the slightest bit of remorse. Believe me, he is far from a sparkly sex-on-legs sort of character.
The novel's format is also wonderful, written through a series of letters and diary entries by the protagonists, and the pacing makes the book feel a lot shorter than it actually is. It's also such fun to see into everyone's minds as the supernatural events unfold. Sure, some of the "good guys" are a little too naive and goodhearted to be believable at times, you've an evil vampire to balance things out. ;)
Sadly, it's been ages since I've read the book, and writing a more involved review wouldn't be feasible. I think it's time for a reread in the near future.(less)
I MIGHT give this one another shot. I had to read it as a summer assignment, which I had to do for entering high school, and I was only 14. Along with...moreI MIGHT give this one another shot. I had to read it as a summer assignment, which I had to do for entering high school, and I was only 14. Along with my age, I had the attention-span of a gnat. As I read along, I half-expected the main characters to either kill each other or embark on a steamy homosexual affair. Maybe if one of those two things happened within the first 20 pages, I would've finished it. But alas, I was not so lucky, haha.
Anyway this is a bogus review because I don't remember enough of it to give my concrete opinion. I only remember my 14 year-old self being bored.
Sooo in all fairness, I'll probably give it another chance. If anyone wants to tell me why "A Separate Peace" is in-fact a good book, you're free to leave a comment and tell me why. :)(less)
Although Pride & Prejudice has a few flaws and isn't the most intellectual novel of all time, it's an enjoyable and witty read that reveals many c...moreAlthough Pride & Prejudice has a few flaws and isn't the most intellectual novel of all time, it's an enjoyable and witty read that reveals many customs of the time period. The book is occasionally shallow, true, but the characters are entertaining and the plot memorable - which is all that really matters, right? Jane Austen is a master of sarcasm, and each character has at least one humorous moment. This book made me laugh aloud. The two central characters, Lizzy Bennet and Mister Darcy, create the epitome of a love/hate relationship, and it's hilarious watching the pair interact. I'm not a fan of romances, but Pride & Prejudice did a fine job of warming my heart and the novel has a special place on my shelf.(less)
**spoiler alert** I gave this novel 3 stars with respect to Robert Louis Stevenson's memory - not because I adored the book. If anything, I was disapp...more**spoiler alert** I gave this novel 3 stars with respect to Robert Louis Stevenson's memory - not because I adored the book. If anything, I was disappointed by it. But Kidnapped does have it's interesting moments. For instance, I squeaked aloud when David almost fell in the creepy tower and I became quite pissed off when poor ickle Ransome died. However after David's escape from the tide island, I began to lose interest and almost fell asleep as Alan and David were scampering around the Highlands. This is partly my fault because I couldn't keep track of the Scottish slang (see! I can admit when I'm lazy!).
I'd recommend this classic novel to people who enjoy adventures but are ready for a slightly challenging read too.(less)
Night Shift is a collection of short stories written by the famous novelist Stephen King. These stories vary in their characters, plots, and settings...moreNight Shift is a collection of short stories written by the famous novelist Stephen King. These stories vary in their characters, plots, and settings but each of them contain a taste of the macabre. While I wasn't a fan of some of the stories, this book was still worth reading. I adore the supernatural, and King's collection really appeased my imagination. My favorite story of the bunch was Jerusalem's Lot. A Dracula fan, I adored the historical style and tone along with the letter-format. Not to mention, the story scared me half to death! I'd recommend this collection to King fans and to readers who enjoy horror. As for the faint of heart? They're better off steering clear!(less)
My hatred of this book stems from a class that I took in college. I expected crazy libertine writings and pornography (for instance: the Earl of Roche...moreMy hatred of this book stems from a class that I took in college. I expected crazy libertine writings and pornography (for instance: the Earl of Rochester's poems), because that was how the professor advertised it, but alas! The course I got stuck with was clogged with sentimental writings and other works that I had no interest in.
I'll be blunt: I only read about 1/3 of the way through because I couldn't be bothered. While it's obvious that Yorick isn't meant to be a three-dimensional and flawed character, he bored me so so so much that I just couldn't read further.
My professor declaring that she had a crush on Sterne didn't help much either.(less)
This book was excellent, beautifully written, and didn't fall into the "cliches" that plague most coming-of-age stories. One of the main reasons I gav...moreThis book was excellent, beautifully written, and didn't fall into the "cliches" that plague most coming-of-age stories. One of the main reasons I gave it five stars was because it made me laugh and cry several times. If McCammon can touch my black heart and evoke an emotional reaction, then he must have done something right. Well played. ;)(less)
This book was very dark and depressing, and provided sharp insight into the human mind. Lehane's a wonderful writer and his character development was...moreThis book was very dark and depressing, and provided sharp insight into the human mind. Lehane's a wonderful writer and his character development was amazing but, in the end, I couldn't handle this book. Child molestation of any kind makes me seriously sick, which was one of the reasons I couldn't get through it. (less)