This is one of those books that I felt unprepared for. There is so much here. I became overwhelmed witI liked Cat's Eye, but it made me feel terrible.
This is one of those books that I felt unprepared for. There is so much here. I became overwhelmed with the themes and commentaries and issues. So I focused on the story.
I loved reading about Elaine's childhood. I loved the description of the time, the scene, the day to day life of another generation. The children were fascinating in their meanness, a meanness I remember. Was I that mean? The idea that I may have been is heartbreaking. Once the main character reached college I lost a lot of my interest in the story and started thinking more about the social commentary. The character's motivations were less understandable and in one of the last few chapters I lost respect for her entirely.
Like The Handmaid's Tale, I was impressed by the timelessness of this novel. I've been reading a lot of feminist blogs lately and I have been amazed at that parallels between this book written in 1988 and the issues women are discussing today. In the book the main character attends of feminist group meetings in the 1960. She says that she feels like she doesn't fit in because she hasn't suffered enough. She's never been beaten, raped or abused (of course she was abused in the story, although not in stereotypical way and mostly by girls) and so she feels like her contribution to the women's discussion is not valid or important. Honestly that is exactly the way I feel sometimes reading feminist blogs....more
Lady Oracle was Atwood's third book and its clear how much of it turned out to be practice at things she'd do better in other novels.
Non-linear time lLady Oracle was Atwood's third book and its clear how much of it turned out to be practice at things she'd do better in other novels.
Non-linear time lines. Check. Multiple identities. Check. Novels within the novel. Check. Childhood bullies. Check. Spiritualism. Check. Impending sense of doom. Check.
Between Cat's Eye, Alias Grace and Blind Assassin, 1/2 of this book is covered. And that list only includes things from the other Atwood books I've read! There are so many more I haven't read. Parts of chapter 6 could have fit directly into Cat's Eye with only name changes!
In all my rating is a solid ★★★ Entertaining and engaging, but not the spectacular that I keep hoping for based on my love of A Handmaid's Tale and Alias Grace. Like Cat's Eye, I'm left feeling pretty ambivalent. I think I'll take an Atwood break for a while, but I will of course come back to her....more
Its awkward to read a memoir when you don't like the subject. It's awkward to read religious propaganda from a religion you don't subscribe to or everIts awkward to read a memoir when you don't like the subject. It's awkward to read religious propaganda from a religion you don't subscribe to or ever intend to subscribe to. And it's really awkward to feel the terrible sadness of a real person's death while gawking at the absurdity of her family and friends' visions of angels and spirits.
I have to admit I started off with the idea that I wasn't going to like Same Kind of Different As Me. I'd read some reviews and they were largely polarized, with religious folks loving it and everyone else complaining about the preachiness. I fully expected to be in the second camp and got to my nit-picking right away.
One of my pet peeves is book (and movie) descriptions that are not accurate. The subtitle is: A Modern-Day Slave, and International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together. No no no. Yes in his early years, Denver was a "modern-day slave" and lived through shit that most of us cannot imagine. However, he left that life 40+ years ago, and I'd not call the 1960s "modern day". While we're on the topic of slavery, isn't the word "bound" kind of in poor taste? And if anyone is going to bring together a wealthy snob and a jaded homeless man, a wealthy person with a passion for serving the homeless seems to be the most likely person to make the introduction (or is it unlikely for any wealthy person to be genuinely philanthropic?).
Once I got beyond the book jacket things didn't get a whole lot better. While, Denver's story was fascinating, Ron came across like a egomaniac, a woman-hating rich guy pushing his religion. Eventually the cancer story kicked into one heart breaking scene after another and I finally started to become involved with the story and my opinion of Ron slowly climbed. In the end, I did find the book to be inspirational from a civic-works kind of context and I was able to dig out a few pearls of wisdom from Denver's messages.
Once I realized I was reading evangelical propaganda, it all made a little more sense. (Make no mistake this isn't a memoir that happens to be religious, it's published by a publisher who deals exclusively in Christian books.) In a way, I read it as kind of a social-studies text-a view into a world I don't normally see. There are people who believe this stuff and talk like this and attempt to disguise their proselytizing as humanitarian work. Ron and Deborah are probably supposed to be roll models. I could see that the things I disliked about Ron are part of that whole culture. In all, Same Kind of Different As Me reinforced some of the negative stereotypes I already had about evangelicals. I wish that wasn't the case as I'd like to be less judgmental.
Denver's fascinating early life, Deborah's good works, her good intentions and her emotional story all lead me to like this book more than I'd expected to. But the self congratulations, religiousness and propaganda subtracted largely from my ability to like this book....more
I think I did myself a disservice by watching the movie first. I bet I would have loved Persepolis had I not always known exactly what was about to haI think I did myself a disservice by watching the movie first. I bet I would have loved Persepolis had I not always known exactly what was about to happen....more
As much as I loved this book, I was pretty disappointed in the last half. I felt like the concept and the characters and the novel itself had so muchAs much as I loved this book, I was pretty disappointed in the last half. I felt like the concept and the characters and the novel itself had so much potential to be huge and fascinating and explore all kinds of interesting things. But then it became about the brother and just blah. I want a sequel. ...more
**spoiler alert** Using old keys to hunt for secrets from your past is an interesting notion for a mystery. Unfortunately it didn't really fit with th**spoiler alert** Using old keys to hunt for secrets from your past is an interesting notion for a mystery. Unfortunately it didn't really fit with the rest of this story.
Also, what about the ghost?!?! That went nowhere fast just when I was getting interested....more
Things this story could have used: * Discussion of aphasia besides basic psych 101 definitions * Discussion of bilingual aphasia beside basic psych 101Things this story could have used: * Discussion of aphasia besides basic psych 101 definitions * Discussion of bilingual aphasia beside basic psych 101 definitions * Discussion of treatment for bilingual aphasia * Descriptive incites into differences between Chinese and English and how language shapes perceptions, attitudes and reality besides basic statements that such differences exist * More quick wit and barbs from Meiling, especially toward the Americans * Americans who aren't contemptible boors.
Things this story could have done without: * Attempts to be sympathetic to incompetent and obnoxious characters * Promises of interesting story featuring fascinating neurology as a cover for a story about a marriage. * The notion that there are approximately 7 people in all of Shanghai who speak English, and only 2 that speak both English and Chinese * The misguided idea that when a powerful and talented person must leave their career the most appropriate person to take over is their spouse despite having no relevant skill or training, rather than their presumably highly trained and qualified coworkers. * Using mental illness and disability as an excuse for infidelity.