Read over the course of two days while I was holed up at a writer's residency in rural East Iceland, and therefore about a million miles—mentally andRead over the course of two days while I was holed up at a writer's residency in rural East Iceland, and therefore about a million miles—mentally and spatially—away from the Bronx, Miami, Portland and discussions of powerful pussies, intersectionality, radical queer theory, POC-only spaces, and the questionable idea that (white) feminism can be universal, Juliet Takes a Breath took me on a journey, allowed me the privilege of partaking in the sometimes joyful and exuberant, sometimes confusing and hurtful summer of discovery that this funny and open and smart Puerto Rican "baby-dyke" takes the summer after her sophomore year of college, a year or so after 9/11. A wonderful book, narrated by a character whose voice is vital and fresh, whose perspective is honest and searching, and whose effort to carve out a place for herself in her various communities and hold not only herself, but also her role models, to account is truly heartfelt and uplifting and funny and inspiring. ...more
I loved Into the Woods, not least for French's fabulous writing, and I found Cassie to be a really compelling character. Nevertheless, I had trouble gI loved Into the Woods, not least for French's fabulous writing, and I found Cassie to be a really compelling character. Nevertheless, I had trouble getting into this book and basically just skimmed the last half rather than read it properly. What with the convoluted set-up that demands more than a little suspension of disbelief, the over-long buildup to the conclusion, and the fact that structurally, The Likeness is very similar to its predecessor, I just didn't feel all that engaged in this story. It's not unlikely that if I'd read this book before Into the Woods, or even just waited longer between the two, that I'd have been more excited by this story. The characters are interesting, even when they behave in ways that feel unlikely. But as it stands, I think I need to dip into the series fresh, at a later point—perhaps next I'll try The Tresspasser, which sounds really intriguing. ...more
I've been working on a lot of translation projects lately, which means I haven't been doing hardly any reading-just-for-reading's-sake. But then, whenI've been working on a lot of translation projects lately, which means I haven't been doing hardly any reading-just-for-reading's-sake. But then, when after months of being on the library's e-waiting list for this my turn unexpectedly came around, it seemed like a good time to reinsert a little pleasure reading in my schedule.
I wasn't sure that I'd be able to fall back into these character's lives as middle-aged adults, but in the end, I didn't have a problem with that at all. And, I will hand it to Tiffany and Thorne, they were able to capture much of Rowling's writing and plotting style in his text. While this was a quick read for me, and even a fun one, however, there's a lot about it that seems a little forced. Namely, people—and teenage boys, at that—spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the value of friendship and the challenges of becoming your most authentic self and being true to your values. I realize that these are predominant themes, not only here, but in the rest of the series, but it frequently felt a bit after-school special. (The part where Harry, Ginny, Hermione, Ron, and Draco all stand in solidarity with one another goes well over the top, for instance, and characters are 'moved' and 'desperately moved' rather too often throughout.) Additionally, there are certain aspects (some of the 'cameos,' for instance, wherein beloved characters like Hagrid show up for just a moment or so) that seem a bit fan-fic-y, rather than organic parts of an ongoing story.
That being said, I did enjoy the 'butterfly-effect' plot line, the alternate realities (badass 'Granger' and her bosom buddy Snape was awesome), the rise of the spike-handed Trolley Witch, the Potter-in-Slytherin twist, and Scorpius—a sort of Neville-meets-Ron-meets-Hermione—was a joy. I liked that the play reflected on the flaws of the series' heroes even as, in Harry's case, at least, it delves more deeply into the real trauma that created those flaws. I liked that it humanized Draco and I hope that if we're going to continue to get Potterverse spin-offs, we get a McGonagall backstory next. And, although ultimately, I think this story has some flaws as a text that you read to yourself, I'm betting that it would still be great fun to see staged. I can't imagine how some of the stage directions (a weaponized bookshelf! a maze that tries to eat people! time 'thinking for a bit'!) have been made reality, but I'll bet it's pretty cool....more