I've been reading this on my phone for months. As usual, I love the parts of the book when the characters are children, and lose interest as they grow...moreI've been reading this on my phone for months. As usual, I love the parts of the book when the characters are children, and lose interest as they grow up. Alcott starts to get preachier and preachier as the book progresses, and I either hadn't read through the whole thing before, or had blocked out the boring last chunk. (less)
I think this book annoyed me more on my second read because I've become more familiar with Jodi Picoult's repetitive tendencies. It is an excellent ex...moreI think this book annoyed me more on my second read because I've become more familiar with Jodi Picoult's repetitive tendencies. It is an excellent example of her formulaic style, but doesn't slurp me into an interesting and previously unknown culture. Or maybe it does, but the world of a depressed teenage girl doesn't strike ME as unusual or enlightening.
Actually, the jail scenes were well done. I feel like the author did manage to capture the claustrophobia and fear of prison, and the personality shifts that occur when you place young men in them.
Otherwise it's the standard Picoult story... different points of view, flashbacks, high drama court, oddly contrived secondary character love story, last second reveals, etc.
I think this was one of the first books I read by Jodi Picoult, and I enjoyed it then. Having now read nearly all of her other books, her standard formula seems more glaring. Still generally an easy read - style-wise anyway, it's emotionally taxing. (less)
Although I read about the lives of women several hundred years ago, or in far away countries, I tend to forget about the struggles of American women i...moreAlthough I read about the lives of women several hundred years ago, or in far away countries, I tend to forget about the struggles of American women in this century.
The author's take on her situation and her deep-down patriotism were inspiring. More than that, I enjoyed reading a contemporary account that really shines. There is no contrived love story, no forced tragedy, it's a low-key account of 3 months spent building "big bombers."
The quirky illustrations were fun breaks in the narrative, and the writing style comes across as very true to the author. She writes as she spoke back then, and while some of her observations seem very dated now, they are clearly sincere.
A quick read from a perspective I'd never considered, I gained more respect for the contributions of the country as a whole during WWII.
Worth reading just for the interesting perspective of a woman of the period stepping out of her "respectable" high heels, and into the slacks and boots of a lower-class she'd never considered before.(less)
Having just lambasted a different book full of uncomfortable and unnecessary name dropping sex stories, I'm kind of out of words for this one...
Jenni...moreHaving just lambasted a different book full of uncomfortable and unnecessary name dropping sex stories, I'm kind of out of words for this one...
Jennifer Saginor is the daughter of 'Doctor Feelgood' and spends a goodly chunk of her young life at the Playboy mansion. The first 100ish pages of the book do enjoy the juxtaposition of childish naivete with the debauchery of the Playboy Mansion in the '70s. Naked hijinks ensue! I expected more of the same from the rest of the book and is, I assume, the only reason anyone picks this off a shelf.
Alas, Saginor grows up a bit and becomes a drugged up hussy suffering from a negligent, drugged up, and abusive father. She describes nameless celebs at the Mansion and then drops other names constantly along with the labels they're wearing and the EXACT SONG on the radio in every freaking scene... (I'm willing to grant people some artistic license with memoirs, but I find it unlikely that you remember the precise outfits and music after all the nose candy you've enjoyed, hon...)
Once she makes it to her teens, there's not a moment when I don't want to smack the silly thing, and that includes her annoying self-analysis in the final chapter in her 30s. Even the title of the book is misleading since much of the book isn't even at the Mansion. Most of her time is spent at her father's 'sloppy seconds' version where foreign models prance around naked hoping to "make it" to the Mansion.
The title itself makes it pretty clear the book is going to be trash, but I didn't expect it to be such poorly written self-centered trash. Ick.
Love, love, LOVED this book. The author is funny, self-revealing, and not afraid to laugh at herself.
The writing isn't great, and the story jumps aro...moreLove, love, LOVED this book. The author is funny, self-revealing, and not afraid to laugh at herself.
The writing isn't great, and the story jumps around a little, but it's a fun read. A neat perspective that reveals a side of the sex industry I didn't know existed. Her experiences fulfill some stereotypes and shatter others, and it's fun to be along for the ride.
Or maybe I just wish I had a name as cool as Diablo Cody...(less)
Had I read this 30 years ago, I would have probably considered it trashy tabloid fiction. Reading it with the remove that I have and not being overly...moreHad I read this 30 years ago, I would have probably considered it trashy tabloid fiction. Reading it with the remove that I have and not being overly familiar with showbiz culture of the 40s-60s, it seemed to be a period piece capturing a moment in history that I don't know much about.
The book IS trashy. It's all affairs and crazy starlets and sex and drugs and obvious caricatures of stars I vaguely recognize. And I have to wonder how much of it is based on the tabloids and gossip of the day - these characters are clearly based on Garland, Monroe, Merman, Sinatra, and I'm sure there are others that I'm missing because of my age.
But Susann manages to write a book in which nearly ALL of the characters are unlikeable and yet I wanted to keep reading. She creates three women who are endearing in their youth and idealism and transforms them into monsters by the end. I was torn between wanting a happy ending for each of them and wanting to see them all crash and burn. Even Anne, the most likeable 'girl next door', is so pathetic and helpless that by the end I didn't have much sympathy for her.
I enjoyed the book, and while I might have turned my nose up at it when it was published, I think the book can now stand on its own. (less)
I read this book awhile ago during the downward slope of its book club popularity. I don't think I would normally have picked it up, nor is the subjec...moreI read this book awhile ago during the downward slope of its book club popularity. I don't think I would normally have picked it up, nor is the subject matter particularly interesting to me. But the cover is striking and I had heard people mention it as an enjoyable read.
Chicklit is chicklit, but this does do a reasonably good job of showing a unique situation. I don't know anything about boarding school, but most girls can relate to the coming of age story of a high school girl and all of its painful similarities.
The main character, Lee, is irritating and frustrating, but I think that is done by the author on purpose. You recognize the narrator's flaws, and that adds to the depth of the book, since it is written from the first person as a memoir of sorts. The reader isn't the only one that sees just how irritating Lee is, her older narrating self acknowledges it and often notes how she has grown since.
Lee's obsession with her crush is something that most girls had at one point or another, although hers becomes almost all consuming to the point of diminishing her personality. Unfortunately, that's probably something many women can relate to as well. It is nice to see some suprisingly good things emerge from Lee's four years - her friendship with Martha, eye-opening experiences, and a bit more self-esteem at the end of it.
There were many irritating things about the book - the main character being a big one, her frequent flashforwards being another - but it was an easy book to get through nonetheless. High school melodrama is frequently satisfying when you just want something to keep you occupied, and this book satisfies that craving. Towards the end it edges a bit far into the ridiculous, but I suppose the author felt she needed a climax in there somewhere.
I think I enjoyed the book much more the first time around, though I'm not sure why. For people who enjoy chicklit and high school nostalgia it's probably a worthwhile read and certainly less trashy than many of the other attempts out there.(less)