I do tend to admire authors who have great self-awareness!
"Finally, it would be disingenuous of me to suggest that this book isn’t rather ridiculous
I do tend to admire authors who have great self-awareness!
"Finally, it would be disingenuous of me to suggest that this book isn’t rather ridiculous, and be it known that its ridiculousness is based in both truth and in fiction."
Jane Steele is 'rather ridiculous', and I loved that Lyndsay Faye included this statement in her acknowledgments. But this ridiculousness was of the utterly fun and engaging variety. Unlike many other readers - from perusing GR reviews this morning - I found the latter part of the story reading at a quicker pace, and far more interesting. It took me quite a good bit of the story to really feel invested (100-ish+ pages), but once Steele (view spoiler)[arrives at her new school and meets Clarke (hide spoiler)], things went along really well for me.
I seem to be eyeballs-deep in retellings these past few months - The Gap of Time: The Winter's Tale Retold, Shylock Is My Name, Eligible, and now 'accidental avenger', Jane Steele - which the author describes as a 'satirical riff'. It is part retelling, part tribute, and Faye's love for Jane Eyre is wonderfully evident . (Also, Vinegar Girl is coming from Anne Tyler super-soon, and I am so stoked for that one.) I often think I am not a fan of retellings, but I have had great success with the books I just mentioned (save for Jacobson's, which... ugh!). And Eligible and Jane Steele both serve as excellent escapist options, for times you night want a bit more fun in your reading, though still smartly, sharply written.
It's ben eons since I last read Jane Eyre, and I wasn't sure if my lack of a detailed recollection would impact my experience with Jane Steele -- it didn't. I think Faye structured this book in such a way that it stands alone very well. As with my recommendation the other day re: Sittenfeld and Austen (Eligible): if you are far too serious about your Jane Eyre and Charlotte Brontë, probably don't bother with Faye's book. If, however, you can appreciate fun and have an open mind, I hope this book works really well for you!! It would be a great summer or vacation read, since we are moving into that time of year in the Northern Hemisphere. :) ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
when you read the description for this book, almost immediately the word 'messy' appears. yup. this is a messy book - these character2 ½-stars, really.
when you read the description for this book, almost immediately the word 'messy' appears. yup. this is a messy book - these characters are so broken and their lives so chaotic. and while i was reading, i truly felt the mess spilling over into my reading experience. (if that makes sense?) the book is also described as being 'darkly funny'. humour is such a subjective thing, and i find it particularly so in reading. sometimes humour doesn't translate so well on the written page. though my own sense of humour is odd and ridiculous at times, i didn't find much funny in this story. i appreciated mcinerney's writing very much - she's a visceral storyteller and well captured this slice of cork, ireland. it was all just so fraught, though, and i found the ending fairly weak. the cast of characters was good, but some of them could have used a bit more development or depth.
i am reading through the 2016 baileys women's prize for fiction longlist, and the glorious heresies is an interesting choice. i'm not sure if my anticipation, my mood, or the book being included on the women's prize shortlist affected my experience, but i've been left feeling a bit disappointed. i can see this book working well as a film adaptation - it actually might work as a better medium for this story since it felt so visual and active to me as i was reading.
So funny that I just turned on the TV to see 'You've Got Mail' playing. Meg Ryan's character has a touching moment about Noel Streatfeild and 'The ShoSo funny that I just turned on the TV to see 'You've Got Mail' playing. Meg Ryan's character has a touching moment about Noel Streatfeild and 'The Shoe Books' in the film -- and I get her in that moment. :)
'The Shoe Books' were huge favourites of mine as a child (and, yes - I took ballet, so Ballet Shoes was my favourite). I haven't read this book in years and years (and years). At the moment, I am in a bit of a... I don't even know what - reading slump, I guess. So I thought I would revisit this novel. While me memory isn't terrific, I think I can see why the novel charmed me so much and captured my fascination. The 3 adopted girls are parent-less, there's a struggle for money, they're being raised and educated by a lovely team of women, in a bit of a patchwork of a home. As well, the girls were able to earn money through dancing and acting when they turned 12 and could be issued licenses by the city. Petrova was my favourite sister when I was a kid, and she still is today -- while technically capable with her dance and acting classes, her interests were really in cars and planes. She had a terrific mentor, could work in his garage, and she enjoyed encouragement and support from her 'family'. Definitely a little gender role busting for 1936!
While I don't know that this book holds up particularly well for me as an adult reader... I think fondly of how often I read these books, and how happy I am they existed for me to escape into as a child. So my rating is very much swayed by sentimentality. Sometimes, there's nothing wrong with that. :) ...more
When I read, I like to go beyond my own geographical borders when choosing books. Though it's not actual travel, armchair transport can be rea2 ½-stars
When I read, I like to go beyond my own geographical borders when choosing books. Though it's not actual travel, armchair transport can be really enjoyable. I was drawn to Lawrenson's novel because I have not read very many books set in Portugal. I was also quite drawn to the cover - it was an enticing design for a summer read. So, yes! I did judge this book by its cover.
Lawrenson's book is totally meta as she has written a novel within a novel. The NWaN begins with the German occupation of France in WWII, and ties into the contemporary story being told. Mostly this worked quite well and it was an interesting historical jaunt - though Portugal was neutral during WWII, dubious German and Allied operations were going on, and the country had many people take up residence as they fled the fighting going on in other parts of Europe. Some of these people were working as spies for both sides of the war efforts, or working to undermine their country's efforts.
Though I enjoyed the historical aspects, the book faltered for me on the contemporary branch of the story. I found Jo, the narrator, very thinly developed, though convenient to the plot. Nathan felt a bit like a caricature at times. I also found the dialogue weak. The mystery at the heart of this piece of the book was engaging enough, though was predictable. The ending was pretty weak.
But, overall, this was a quick read, and one that worked well as a 'vacation' read. It was meatier than I had anticipated, which was great. I just wish I had liked it more. ...more