The Fault in our Stars - has left me wanting to hear Hazel Grace's voice again.
Jodi Piccoult nails it with "Electric...filled with staccato bursts of...moreThe Fault in our Stars - has left me wanting to hear Hazel Grace's voice again.
Jodi Piccoult nails it with "Electric...filled with staccato bursts of humor and tragedy."
I'd add brutal, honest, gentle, sharp. In my opinion, this is John Green's best novel. And, I loved his others. It's not to say they weren't good. They were. TFIOS takes it to another level.
I don't know how he writes from the heart of a teen girl - but he does. He paints an emotional picture of Augustus and Isaac as well. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down. Easily and swiftly flowing......
i don't want to give anything away.
bring your tissues....and your laughter.
I was worried the book wouldn't live up to the hype on social media ..... it didn't....it exceeded the hype and then some. (less)
***THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. REAL SPOILERS. REALLY. I'M NOT KIDDING. FOR REAL. SERIOUSLY.***
5 days after finishing this book, it sits like mashed...more***THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. REAL SPOILERS. REALLY. I'M NOT KIDDING. FOR REAL. SERIOUSLY.***
5 days after finishing this book, it sits like mashed potatoes. Without butter, cheese or chives. Good, sustainable in its own right, but still mashed potatoes. It kept me reading, the storyline hooked me, the character grabbed me....in the beginning. I kept reading, thinking it would take off. Instead, it continued like a plane taxi-ing on a very long runway. Until it hit the brick wall at the end of the runway - you know, the one no one really mentioned, well, not really? The one where you never find out what happens to the plane after it hits? The one you find out the pilot had been thinking about the whole way down the runway? Enough metaphors, or are they similies? Whatever, enough.
Some of the best writing is on the first page. It's nearly beautiful. "I know of a secret murder, and I've loved a speechless man, and sometimes I'd like to tell someone about how death and love have changed my life, but any of three thoughts give me pause." I suppose, I continued reading after this page, because I kept thinking I'd learn how death and love changed her life. I thought I'd learn more.
The main character, M., was a likable character. I wanted to give her umph, dimensions. Maybe there was no more. Or maybe all she had to do was "Show up, look good." As M. relocates to NYC, from the midwest - my home state of Illinois - we see her chase the city dream. But, chase it half-assedly. Really, when she arrived in NYC, all she did was "show up, look good" (hmmmm, maybe there's a theme here?)
We see her settle for a strange "job" in exchange for a room...until that apartment burns down and she is forced to look for another. In between arriving and the fire, we see her get up, move her car from spot to spot avoiding tickets and towing. A realistic NYC experience. Then, we watch her meek out rent money through scalping Letterman tickets until she is caught and forced to look up "scalping" in the dictionary. Before being caught, she was successful with her scalping business, it was easy. Really, all she did was (ready for it?) "Show up, look good." (definitely a pattern here). Just before the fire, we meet E. and J. E. - the speechless man - is the soon-to-burn building's super. J. - his girlfriend - maybe? We're not so sure, until towards the end. It initially appears all J. does is - get this - "Show up, look good," next to E. as he fixes things in M.'s shared apartment.
We are led to believe M. is a VERY naive midwesterner who has to look up the meaning of "scalping". This begins to make her character unbelievable for me. C'mon, she's making it in NYC, (albeit in strange ways) and she doesn't know what "scalping" means? I grew up in Illinois, in a town of 500 and lived in NYC. I knew what scalping was (and nothing to do Native Americans and Custer).
Fast forward through another roommate and a misplaced kiss on said roommate's boyfriend to Frank and Francine's apartment in Astoria, Queens. Here, the displaced midwesterner quickly catches on that F.& F. may be interested in a little three-some. She caught on to that, but didn't know what scalping means? It's incongruent. Incongruencies keep me up at night. M. left F. & F.'s leaving all her earthly belongings behind - taking only the money she has. Getting an apartment, she pursues her dream of becoming an artist (approximately 1/2 thru the novel now, and it's the first we've heard of artistic aspirations, but hey, it's not my novel). She easily obtains the apartment, buys art supplies but I never learn where she sleeps, (a bed?) etc. But, hey, maybe such details are unnecessary if all you have to do is "Show up, look good".
Finally, M. gets a grocery store job - with it's quirks and strangeness. Mercury dimes at the register - remind her of her mother. Her dead mother. Her dead mother she never knew and the father who said he loved her but acted differently. She "mysteriously" bumps into E. who gives her a mercury dime he pulled from his loafer. Taking it as a sign from her mom, she accepts his offer to live rent-free in his apartment, while he moves in with his supposed "wife" J. We learn E. sees M. as a "daughter". There's a catch, (nothing is ever free) her apartment is used for mysterious liasons at designated hours a few days a week. She has to leave during those times. Sounds simple enough. An easy way to have an apartment in NYC. Seems like all she had to do in the right place was "Show up, look good." This section left me wondering how unrelated the appearances of the mercury dimes really were?
Living rent free is easy - she goes, they come. Until, (you knew there'd be an until, didn't you?) until someone stays past the designated time. Leaves her on the fire escape waiting for them to leave and allowing her to return to her apartment. They eventually leave - but, with the body of a woman wrapped in a comforter and dragged out the door. She witnessed E. doing the dragging. She knew the body was J. All this and more began on page 187. The book ended on page 213. I am given a sketch when I really wanted a detailed painting of vivid colors. The plane hit the brick wall and I didn't even get to see the flames.
That's the skimmed top of the book. Of course, there's more. Read it and see. Having written this attempt at a review, I see the theme of M.'s life a little clearer. Most of her life was - showing up and looking good.
As one reader said, the overall feeling after reading was "meh". I'd have to agree - mashed potatoes. There were some beautiful lines interspersed throughout. "....either she listened to me or I listened to her, as if we were merely emptying the attics of our minds..." - I love this visual. M. provided beautiful insight when philosophically discussing moving, "...moves mark the passage of time in your life more deeply still than birthdays, since moves mean another large portion of your life has ended, which brings into question how many portions of any size you have left." Speaking of anger, she says there are things far worse, "hatred and how you get stuck when you feel nothing at all." Perhaps this line describes M. like no other. I found myself wanting her to feel - to be passionate about something, anything instead of being stuck, feeling nothing at all. Stuck she was - stuck "Showing up and looking good."
As some of the more poignant lines indicate a solitary life. After saying good-bye, she thought, "...it killed me how many times in my thirty-four years I'd gotten along with people but kept cruising toward being alone." The grief and guilt of her mother's death leads her again and again to a private existence. The one place I see her trying to live with passion, was her art - "...what a woman like me could do with a cheap paintbrush, four signature colors, and a decision to live with nerve." I'd like to think that beyond the brick wall was another land - a place where she became famous for her staircase art and traveled on occasion to gallery openings in NYC.
Great insight depicted in one little line "People like me leave one tyrant only to seek out another." Insight or pop psychology? This line sounded vaguely masculine when compared to the following, "...I found myself in one of those situations where you want to stop someone from leaving but know that if you'd try, your connection with that person might stop feeling as close to perfect as it does." The latter, sounds feminine - specifically feminine from a woman who may eloquently think too much.
is it a coming of age novel? Maybe. Does it bother me the protagonist is in her thirties and coming of age? No, and I'm not sure she successfully achieves it anyway. I'm not sure I've achieved it. Are all the characters real? I have no idea.
Parts read poetic. My lack of astuteness and literary criticism academia handicaps me. I can only view through my current lenses. It was beautiful, bumpy, sketchy, well-described, disappointing, and questioning. I kept reading. I didn't think about it, about M. or E. or J., when the book wasn't in my hands. That says something for me.
The writing also stood out with descriptions of men - E. and G. (worked in the store with M.). I could feel the breaths of E. and G. I could see their chest, their face. Inhales, exhales.
Oh, and by the way, M. could've maybe prevented J.'s murder because they were dancers and escorts together at an upscale club. M. declined to accept any liasons outside the club. She wanted to tell J. to turn them down, but she didn't. Another death M. feels responsible for. When all she really did at the club was "Show up look good".
How did the author do writing in a feminine voice? Sometimes good, sometimes, notsogood. Wally Lamb did it better. Maybe M. is a masculine woman and I just missed the boat.
This review feel a little jumpy? a little scattered? all over the place and back again? That's kinda how "Show Up, Look Good" made me feel, too. The difference? M. Wisniewski was probably intentional in his writing. I'm just not that good. I can only "show up".(less)
A somewhat strange novel following a family of hillbillies (using the term semi-endearing) as their lives tumble forward and intermesh with each other...moreA somewhat strange novel following a family of hillbillies (using the term semi-endearing) as their lives tumble forward and intermesh with each other. A colorful cast of characters facing some universal life challenges in their own way.
A story of interwoven relationships with the age old lesson of "what goes around comes around". A bit graphic in some places - descriptions pull the reader in.
a coming of age serial killer book with slight undertones of Dexterish narration. This, however, is more honest and younger. John Cleaver is a young m...morea coming of age serial killer book with slight undertones of Dexterish narration. This, however, is more honest and younger. John Cleaver is a young man (about 15) who believes he is a sociopath with the inability to empathize. However, his overwhelmingly accurate sense of what is right and wrong dictate his ability to take action when others do not. good read, fast paced, needs to be a series!(less)