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)
Can't remember what it was that got me thinking of this book again, but I think I picked it up when trying to avoid one of my more boring non-fiction...moreCan't remember what it was that got me thinking of this book again, but I think I picked it up when trying to avoid one of my more boring non-fiction reads recently. It really is one of my more recent favorites that I've continued to read.
Allende always creates such an enveloping atmosphere with her stories, and the characters are always so vibrant. Zorro is such a fun concept to begin with, and blending the Spanish, Gypsy, and Indian cultures all make perfect sense. And the girl power aspect of this particular retelling is pretty fun as well (not to give too much away).
HIGHLY recommended as a light read with some action to it.(less)
This was a re-read since I recently FINALLY saw the movie...
I was less horrified by Wurtzel's narcissism this time, either because I was expecting it...moreThis was a re-read since I recently FINALLY saw the movie...
I was less horrified by Wurtzel's narcissism this time, either because I was expecting it or because the movie's was worse. I do feel that it is a brutally honest memoir of middle-upper-class depression which is an illness all its own. I have seen friends suffer from it and feel guilty about it, and have felt many of the same things myself.
It's also interesting how many of these thoughts seem like perfectly normal adolescent responses to the constraints of parental expectations and teen rebellion. There seems to be such a fine line between thinking these thoughts and being driven crazy by them.
The last chapter is particularly interesting as Wurtzel discusses the creation of the "Prozac Nation" in recent years. She is partly bragging of her own depression and her lack of effective treatment, but also chastising the medical community for its over-prescription of drugs like Prozac and Ritalin. To a certain extent I DO think depression has been trivialized, but I think it has also been accepted as mainstream, allowing some people to get treated sooner. Wurtzel makes a good point however when she says that some of these issues could be worked out more effectively through therapy and other treatments before swallowing pills.
An interesting book for a certain generation, I think, and certainly if you are someone struggling with depression - either personally, or with a loved one. Wurtzel isn't the most uplifting of authors, but she is straightforward and honest about even her craziest and most melodramatic feelings. It is nice to read an unapologetic account of this woman's life and struggles, without much embarrassment or awareness of just how lucky she was.(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)
While slogging through The Beauty Myth this weekend, I totally just lost interest and had to start something else.
I picked this book up in my recent...moreWhile slogging through The Beauty Myth this weekend, I totally just lost interest and had to start something else.
I picked this book up in my recent retail therapy session after missing my train. Damn Union Station and its book store with prominently displayed bargain books!
The description of this book sounds really interesting - a girl and her mother run a B&B that frequently hosts famous literary heroines! That concept just sounds fun and light and book-nerdy, exactly what I needed!
Unfortunately the description really is not very accurate. Yes, that is the premise of the book, but hardly the plot. The book instead revolves around the daughter's commitment to a mental hospital with some flashbacks to explain her illegitimate birth. Such drama!
I really wanted to play with the idea of these visiting Heroines, but they are not what the book is about at all. There is an interesting visit from Hester and Pearl Pryne, and another one from Franny (of Franny and Zooey), but for the most part the Heroines are just name-dropped without much depth.
The "climax" occurs in the past, and the big "reveal" is entirely predictable and already fairly obvious.
I guess I went into this with higher expectations than were probably warranted, but I can't help but be disappointed by the waste of such an exciting idea!
I don't usually delve much into the chick-lit realm, but I wanted to support the author - an internet acquaintance - and hoped I'd catch her on a book...moreI don't usually delve much into the chick-lit realm, but I wanted to support the author - an internet acquaintance - and hoped I'd catch her on a book tour. (WHEN ARE YOU COMING TO DC PAMIE??!!) So I pre-ordered.
I loved the distinct character voices that came through in the book, Smidge is priceless. The book sheds light on a somewhat abusive friendship that is also worth every bit of the pain. Ribon keeps it interesting by framing the book as a letter, trying to explain the past to an estranged daughter. For a book with an ending revealed in the first 30 pages, the letter allows for some surprises along the way and a final reveal with more longterm resolution.
It's a good beach read if you want to cry on the beach. Don't find yourself finishing it up on public transit on the way to work unless you want to get all snot-nosed in public. (True Story.) The book amounts to a series of love stories - between friends, lovers, and mothers and daughters - and they aren't all very happy endings. Ribon does a great job of twisting a unique situation into something we can relate to even when it hurts to see it unfold.(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)