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)
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)
The book was better written than I expected, and suprisingly less trashy than I would have thought as well. It was more about a woman growing up and e...moreThe book was better written than I expected, and suprisingly less trashy than I would have thought as well. It was more about a woman growing up and exploring her sexuality in a crazy time than a tell-all memoir.
Des Barres and her friends are wacky, a lot of them are certifiable, and some of them are downright criminal. But she's led an interesting life and this book only details the first 25 years or so!
I wouldn't suggest that anyone go right out and buy this book, but if you have it lying around and are into the music of the 60s and 70s, it's a good quick read.(less)
The idea of literary mysteries sounds very appealing, and I was surprised that this book didn't grab me as quickly as I expected. I think maybe the fi...moreThe idea of literary mysteries sounds very appealing, and I was surprised that this book didn't grab me as quickly as I expected. I think maybe the first chapter or two and its convoluted explanation of the law enforcement structure lost me and I had to read it through again before I could keep going.
Once the story got moving beyond Thursday Next bewailing her family life and past, I enjoyed the read. But while the universe was interesting, Thursday really wasn't, and I'm not sure I could continue reading a series with such a "blah" lead.
This is also certainly a book that would either suffer from a reader who hadn't read the books referenced OR encourage a reader to go out and read Jane Eyre immediately. Although, I guess the ending would be rather spoiled for that classic after reading this one.(less)
Probably my favorite movie of the bunch, and my favorite of the first chunk of the series that I read. (I think only the first four had come out befor...moreProbably my favorite movie of the bunch, and my favorite of the first chunk of the series that I read. (I think only the first four had come out before I started reading.) This installment of the series is the last to be what I consider 'young reader appropriate' in theme and length. A little scary, but a reasonably happy ending, a manageable page count and size.
Some of my favorite characters start appearing here as the twins start getting more personality, Sirius Black shows up, and Professor Lupin comes and goes. The Voldemort conspiracy really starts rolling and you start seeing the cracks in the Wizarding/Ministry of Magic infrastructure.
Other books in the series get more complex and are better novels, but this is still a favorite.(less)
Still my least favorite of the series. Josh described this one as very 'monster of the week' that doesn't seem to advance the plot or character develo...moreStill my least favorite of the series. Josh described this one as very 'monster of the week' that doesn't seem to advance the plot or character development much. Some important backstory is provided for later books, but there's no indication of that yet.(less)
This is one of the rare occasions I think I prefer the movie to the book, though that isn't to say that I didn't like the book. I usually read the boo...moreThis is one of the rare occasions I think I prefer the movie to the book, though that isn't to say that I didn't like the book. I usually read the book before I see the movie, so it's possible that I just always prefer the one that I experience first.
In general the book has much of the same humor that the movie does, though it takes the satire a little further and I thought the conspiracy aspect of the ending was a little over-wrought. But the characterizations are rich, and the points made are funny.
I did miss the family aspect that the movie ties in. I found it a little harder to have any sympathy for Nick with his fairly casual dismissal of his obligations as a father. The book also seemed a little more dated in its name-checking and political issues.
Still, a great book and a quick read. If you're a fan of the movie, worth reading the original. If you like the book you have GOT to see the movie.(less)
I must have grown a bit in my feminist thinking because on a 2nd read (5 years later) I definitely gave the book another star. Some of the pieces held...moreI must have grown a bit in my feminist thinking because on a 2nd read (5 years later) I definitely gave the book another star. Some of the pieces held my interest better than others, but I can still appreciate the history that Steinem provides. (less)
I often feel guilty for not reading more classics, but they're always such long slogs through archaic language. I usually end up finishing the book wi...moreI often feel guilty for not reading more classics, but they're always such long slogs through archaic language. I usually end up finishing the book with a feeling of pride that I've read this 'Great Book', but no understanding of what is so Great about it.
Jane Eyre is an exception. I assumed it would be very predictable with waifish whiny Gothic characters - like in the other Bronte classic, Wuthering Heights. Instead I fell in love with Jane's independence and out-spoken determination. She actually felt like a heroine, not just a love interest.
The book was rather long, but I ripped through it even with its frequent descriptive pantheons to the moors. I wanted to know what happened! And things DID happen! There was drama, but little real tragedy, a bit of horror, and some loves lost and gained.
I'm sure plenty of people would find it boring, and maybe my lowered expectations just left me loving it more than I would have thought. At any rate, I'm so glad I picked it up as a free Kindle book. (less)
I slogged through the first half of this book with little interest. There was so much exposition with so little action, and characters were piled on....moreI slogged through the first half of this book with little interest. There was so much exposition with so little action, and characters were piled on. An interesting setting - within the walls of the palace - was introduced, but it didn't really go anywhere.
Finally, almost two-thirds of the way through, plots started to thicken, irrelevant characters started to show up, THINGS HAPPENED.
So the book went from a total loss to a 'meh'. Looking back on the book, I'm mostly disappointed by what could have been. The idea of a subterranean between the walls second city is awesome, but is merely used as a plot device, barely explored. A cave of a seraglio, treated the same. A mad woman with ties to the story that come up in the last 20 pages? Wasted. A denizen of the hidden city who observes everything and has a cute cat for a sidekick? I want a whole book about him! Two minor chracters betrayed, corrupted, and then some betrayal of their own. But again, mere plot devices that enter and exit as needed with little exposition.
Ultimately I found myself interested in the world that wasn't addressed by this book. The court intrigue and the queen were boring. The climax (haha) of the book that tied everything together was practically independent of the rest of the story. It felt tacked on and rushed.
My edition (the Kindle) had an afterword by Moorcock describing his influences and nods to classic literature. Maybe if I had read those books I would've seen the subtle satire he is apparently working with. His afterword also addresses the last chapter and its rape scene that was later rewritten. I found it interesting that this edition included both endings but kept the original (offensive) while adding the rewrite as an appendix. Odd. I did find the original rather obnoxious, but found the rewrite just as condescending in its own way.
I know this is something of a modern classic, but the descriptions of it set the stage for a much more exciting book than it really is. It's a clever idea with potential for sexy, opulent writing about grimy underworld characters mixing with the strait-laced and proper court with a dark streak. But it falls pathetically flat with long-winded writing and little action for 200 pages.(less)