I love McCarthy; I think his use of the English language is pretty much some of the best in the world. But if you really don't care about horses (like...moreI love McCarthy; I think his use of the English language is pretty much some of the best in the world. But if you really don't care about horses (like me), I can't imagine you will have an easy time reading this. That being said, it has a lot of interesting stuff to say about power/control, reflections/doubles, and the importance of names.
The first in a series of murder mysteries my 7th grade English teacher wrote. I didn't think I'd read this one yet but apparently I had, probably when...moreThe first in a series of murder mysteries my 7th grade English teacher wrote. I didn't think I'd read this one yet but apparently I had, probably when I was in his class.
"I got the hell away from Susan" is essentially the first line of this book. Thankfully that was written before I met him or I might take that personally.
Considering this is genre fiction, it is actually quite good, but I feel that if your main character is going to be a poet and grad student at one of the most prestigious creative writing programs in the country, your book should have a little more literary merit. There are some nice lines but there are also some bad ones. There is WAY too much name-dropping of freeways, cities, restaurants, etc. Maybe this is more noticeable because I'm familiar with the area, but it was a little ridiculous.
This was quite good in a short, simple kind of way. I'm not sure I would've liked it as much were I not from Texas, but in general it was a solid and...moreThis was quite good in a short, simple kind of way. I'm not sure I would've liked it as much were I not from Texas, but in general it was a solid and touching memoir. Although the main focus of the book was on Oakwood, this was the first time I've read anything partially set in Lake Jackson, where I lived briefly, and that was nice to see. I liked Rozelle's depiction of small Texas towns without going too much into detail and letting the ambiance speak for itself. I like how he went back and forth between the past and the "present" and for a memoir about Alzheimer's, it was really quite heartbreaking at times. It made me think about what I would do and how I would feel if my parents were to fall victim in the next couple decades. There was also a lot of socio-policital background conveyed without Rozelle giving his own commentary, because that wasn't what the book was about.
Initially, I didn't like this at all, but somewhere in the middle I changed my mind. I think the collection is structured strangely, and two of the we...moreInitially, I didn't like this at all, but somewhere in the middle I changed my mind. I think the collection is structured strangely, and two of the weakest stories are at the beginning. Of course, this seems to be a common complaint of mine. Maybe it takes me a while to get used to the writers' styles. Overall, I felt this book featured some of the most uneven writing I've ever seen though. There would be these beautiful lines and these honest, perfect moments, and then there would be endings that didn't seem real to me, and lines like this: "Carla lifted tweezed, blond eyebrows into small parentheses of dismay." One of my favorite stories, "Remission," was almost ruined for me by the overzealous use of hyphenated adjectives throughout. But perhaps I'm the only one who thinks they are the devil. I also really liked "Leave" although it seemed a bit out of place to me. That said, I really appreciate the attempt to link everything together through familiar characters weaving in and out of all the stories. I almost wanted more of that. One of my favorite story collections is Oscar Cesares' Brownsville (incidentally, also centered around a Texas town) and instead of the characters, what I really got a sense of was the city of Brownsville and the landmarks and places that showed up in the stories. I think I wanted to get a clearer picture of Fort Hood than what was given, although it wasn't bad at all. I definitely think the comparisons to O'Brien and Carver are a bit premature.
P.S. Am I the only one who initially thought this had been written by Siobhan Fallon, the actress?
**spoiler alert** I first discovered Gail Giles when I was in high school and read her YA novel Shattering Glass. I tend to enjoy the subject matter o...more**spoiler alert** I first discovered Gail Giles when I was in high school and read her YA novel Shattering Glass. I tend to enjoy the subject matter of her novels; they are a bit darker than the fluffy teen novels that overflow the shelves these days. In addition, she writes suspense that is both plot-driven and character-driven. of course, I also love that she is from The Woodlands and often writes about areas that are familiar to me.
I enjoyed her portrayal of Kip/Wade in this particular novel; I thought he was very well developed. What I didn't like was Sam. I thought she came across as somewhat one-dimensional and I didn't like how the parts were bookended with her first person POV when I didn't feel like I knew or understood her at all. On one hand, it did serve as an intriguing tease until her character finally shows up in Kip's world in the main narrative because as a reader you are just waiting for it. On the other hand, I think it could've been handled better. In terms of underlying themes, the novel really reminded me of Nancy Werlin's novel The Killer's Cousin, although that was more of a mystery. However, in comparison I felt that Werlin's was more tightly executed and plotted. Giles still writes great dialogue and characters, however. The fact that Wade ended up in Lake Jackson/Freeport was great because I used to live there. My favorite part was the very end, the words Sam says to him when she calls him on the beach, because that's when the significance of the title finally becomes clear.