So I really, really want to write a review of this book to tell you all how good it is and to push you into reading it. But I'm not sure what to say t...moreSo I really, really want to write a review of this book to tell you all how good it is and to push you into reading it. But I'm not sure what to say that would a) in any way match or reflect the book's quality or b) not give anything away. I was drawn in by the combination of the creepy cover and karen's review promising that it was amazing. Neither led me astray. But the book turned out to be more compelling and complex than I'd anticipated and seeing its ideas develop with little foreknowledge of the book's focus or direction was part of the pleasure of reading it. (At the same time, I fully intend to re-read this and expect it to be amazing the second time as well.)
The Uninvited is intriguing and unsettling and thought-provoking. It is beautifully written but not at all overwritten. The narrator - Hesketh, a man with Asperger's and a keen eye for patterns, including social patterns - is keenly felt and thoroughly inhabited. His bafflement by the world in general, much less by the events of the narrative, provides an ideal narrative voice for a story where so many fundamental assumptions and beliefs are challenged.
I was drawn in from the very beginning and found myself completely unable to stop reading until I had finished the book late last night. It's not a pageturner in the traditional sense of being action-packed and the reader needing to know what happens next. It is more deliberate than that. But it is determined. It's such a cliché to say "it grabbed me and wouldn't let go," but it's true here. This is a book that wormed its way into my mind, wiggled around, and appears to have settled in. I woke up this morning thinking about it. (less)
I've seen this described as cheerleader noir and there's certainly an element of that, but more than the darkness of noir this is the darkness of war....moreI've seen this described as cheerleader noir and there's certainly an element of that, but more than the darkness of noir this is the darkness of war. Dare Me is a war novel. It is about entering something chaotic and uncontrollable and bigger than you, fighting it with your comrades (and fighting with your comrades), and the consequences of your actions during that war, both the losses (of friendship, of a sense of self, of control) and the gains (of a sense of a togetherness, of strength).
If you could see me--tall, tight, lightsome, and powerful, flipping my back tucks on the slippery tile, afraid of nothing, no one. Just try to stop me.
That's what people never understand: They see us hard little pretty things, brightly lacquered and sequin-studded, and they laugh, they mock, they arouse themselves. They miss everything.
You see, these glitters and sparkle dusts and magicks? It's war paint, it's feathers and claws, it's blood sacrifice.
Abbott's cheerleaders are strong and terrified and at war--with themselves, with each other, and with the world.
Yes, this is a mystery novel, and the mystery is interesting and well-plotted. But more than that, this is a novel about fighting for survival, an exposé of the high school battlefield. No, it's not identical - these girls aren't putting their lives on the line. They won't be bombed or shot at or die far from home. But they will be hurt. They are at risk, physically and emotionally. Megan Abbott gets that.
You may have the bodies of young girls, . . . but you have the hearts of warriors.
Twitter review: Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl is brilliant & terrifying, constructed of beautiful writing & ugly characters, filled w/ lies but pa...moreTwitter review: Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl is brilliant & terrifying, constructed of beautiful writing & ugly characters, filled w/ lies but painfully true.
This book has passages in it that make me want to read them out loud to someone, to share their brilliance and beauty, but the story and the characters are ugly and fucked-up. This story is a masterful portrait of manipulation and abuse and it thoroughly creeped me out.
Highly recommended, but tread carefully if you have any kind of history with emotional abuse. I expect violence and upsetting material from mysteries, but because this is so well-written, it is able to get to the heart of certain patterns of behavior and may have an even deeper impact than usual. It did for me. (less)
I want to write something brilliant about this book, but for right now I think I prefer to just sit with it, let it sink in. I will say this: it remin...moreI want to write something brilliant about this book, but for right now I think I prefer to just sit with it, let it sink in. I will say this: it reminds me of Joanna Russ and Margaret Atwood and Margo Lanagan and I already want to read it again. (less)
This book is hilarious and smart and says important things. In the middle of reading the book, I actually sat down and started planning a new literatu...moreThis book is hilarious and smart and says important things. In the middle of reading the book, I actually sat down and started planning a new literature course that would give me the chance to include this book and make some young people read it.
I think the best and most accurate thing I can say about this book and my reaction to it is that it reminds of Joanna Russ. Its combination of biting humor and justifiable anger and frustration is like that of The Female Man, but Beauty Queens is updated for the more slick, commodified, and supposedly post-feminist world of the 21st century. It's also (for better or worse) simpler than The Female Man and plays with entirely different genre conventions in making its point. The spirit is there, though, and I love it. (less)
Originally I only gave this book four stars. I think I was disappointed that it wasn't more like Perdido Street Station, which I adored. But I am offi...moreOriginally I only gave this book four stars. I think I was disappointed that it wasn't more like Perdido Street Station, which I adored. But I am officially raising the score to five stars because, months after reading it, it is still with me. It isn't like Perdido Street Station, but it's not meant to be; it is wonderful in an entirely different way.
And that's just how awesome China Miéville is. (less)