Oh, this book. Yet again, I was prepared to be unimpressed. I am so judgmental when it comes to books. I really hope I am not that way with people. I...moreOh, this book. Yet again, I was prepared to be unimpressed. I am so judgmental when it comes to books. I really hope I am not that way with people. I honestly picked this book up because of the art. I thought it was a cool idea to have pictures in a book whose target audience is Young Adults. As far as written content goes, I expected the story to be simple and unimpressive, same ole, same ole. It was simple, but in a good way. It's simplicity made it easy to relate to; that is what this book has going for it. (I am about to divulge a lot here, for the sake of making a point).
When I started reading I was sort of annoyed. There was a lot of "whatnot" going on. My ex-husband used to say that, and I thought it was the most ridiculous thing, just bloody tell me what the "whatnot" is! Fortunately, there was not a whole lot more of that. The story ended up being exactly what it was advertised as, a break-up story, the beginning and end of a romance. It was the typical (if typical can be applied here) teenage romance. We all have a love story or a teenage heartbreak story to tell, don't we? Well, I should hope so anyway.
Probably the only reason I really liked this book was because it reminded me of the first time I was in love. I was seventeen and completely and utterly stupid with love. My intense affections were aimed at an older man (his exact age is irrelevant, in my state it was legal), the assistant chief of my towns fire department. I thought the whole fire fighter thing was sexy. It was a fast romance. He insists that I seduced him. I hardly see how that is possible. The point is, we had those long nights on the phone. We had the memories that only really seemed significant to us (or probably only me) at the time. In those moments we had magic. I gave him more of myself than I ever gave anyone else (possibly even more than the man who later become my husband and then ex-husband :/). I will probably always remember that love with vivid clarity. And, I will also remember that break up. It felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest. He was an ass, just the way Ed was in the story. No, he didn't cheat. That actually would have been preferable. What he did was much worse, by my standards anyway. I won't bore you with all of the details, but I will say that what he did was so bad it seemed to make all of those wonderful times disappear. I obviously don't mean that literally, I still have those memories, but they don't matter. They are just memories. I gave them back, not in a box or in a 300 and something page later. He didn't deserve that sort of effort.
This book captures all of that first love drama perfectly. The emotions of love and loss. How we sometimes neglect reality, because our fantasy becomes so tempting. Min's family and friends were tuned into reality, warned her, but she didn't listen. (Oh, how well I can relate to that). The love that she created, that she imagined, was simply too beautiful. Until one day it wasn't so beautiful anymore. Reality has a way of slapping us in the face when we ignore it for too long. This book definitely reminds a person of that. It was a simple story. There was nothing new, no interesting plot twist, no breathtaking writing. It was just the story of a girl who once loved a boy, and it was perfectly good at being just that.(less)
This one gets five stars just for the kick ass characters. It kept me engaged. I can't see any reason not to give it an awesome rating, except to be a...moreThis one gets five stars just for the kick ass characters. It kept me engaged. I can't see any reason not to give it an awesome rating, except to be a five-star hoarder, which I am not. I will leave it at that, since I don't know what else to say. And anyway, I would rather people be reading the book and not my lame review of it. So go read!(less)
I think I would really give this 3.5 stars. The language is magnificent. I love the way Lessing writes. I was sort of, "eh" about the story. It is sor...moreI think I would really give this 3.5 stars. The language is magnificent. I love the way Lessing writes. I was sort of, "eh" about the story. It is sort of a domestic dystopia, which I actually thought was a really cool idea, but it did not pull me in. There were some really beautiful and creative elements though. I want to say this all probably had more to do with my mood than the actual book. I wanted to really like it, which is why I rounded the 3.5 up and not down.(less)
(Before I start, in case you don't want to read everything below (the lessons I took from the book) I will say this book was definitely worth the time...more(Before I start, in case you don't want to read everything below (the lessons I took from the book) I will say this book was definitely worth the time it took to get through all 600 pages. It was better than the first two. So, read it!)
Power. Peace. Grief. Nothingness. Everything.
Surrender or Succumb.
I am slightly embarrassed to say (and I don't know why), I surrendered to the emotion of this story, felt it as strongly as if I were standing in the midst of the Clearing or the Land. I absorbed the words, but I wasn't reading. I was experiencing and feeling the book. It could have been my own surrender that let me see so many lessons, so many beautiful messages in the book, or it could have been something else.
The book shows a potential connectedness between all living things, a mutual respect and love that does not really exist outside the pages of the book. It could, I guess, in a small amount...but not really, not that I can see. The book proves that hope is not a pointless emotion, there are so many pure and innocent characters, the kind that are kicked and beaten down by experience, but always get back up and remain unscathed; their hope and kindness remains intact. These are the people I seek out in real life. They are the messages of hope, a conduit, a projection of what the world could be.
There is a mixed message about holding on to yourself, never losing your individuality, but still embracing the connectedness of the world (of humanity). It is so easy to lose the essence of the self to the will of others, to just surrender to the "roar" or "buzz" of society. It is too easy to lose sight of what is really important, to lose sight of love and peace. It is easy to question our humanity. Todd says in a moment of profound realization, "What a sad thing men are. Can't do nothing good without being so weak we have to mess it up. Can't build something up without tearing it down," and it is bloody well true. That is a part of our humanity, sometimes we fear what we don't know and what we don't understand, so we attack. In the case of the Mayor he tried to conquer everything and everyone, so that his fear was no longer a factor. He came to know everything within the world. He heard everything.
I thought for the longest time that this character, Mayor Prentiss, really was a monster. He had fought so hard to have complete control that he lost all humanity, but in this book I was shown otherwise. I think some people may disagree, because he is pretty terrible, but aren't there some really terrible parts of humanity? The things within ourselves that we just keep struggling to accept? The things we fight day in and day out. The mayor is human. He fought so hard for nothingness, it seems perhaps that he longed for emptiness...to just not have to hear the roar of the world. I realized, probably after too long, that if Todd gains power through Viola and that is the word he throws as a weapon, then it must mean something that the message Mayor Prentiss throws out is "Yer Nothing." That was his struggle. A human struggle.
The whole book seems to revolve around the power of choice. A person may not have as much power as Todd and Viola have in this book, but people genuinely have an impact on the people and things around them. There is a connectedness between us all, a network, that gives our choices power. The butterfly effect, per se. We have the power to tear things down, or we have the power to build things up. We don't have to do both. I think, in embracing life we can save each other. Everyone is redeemable...even the Mayor's character was not a completely lost cause.
This book was beautiful, as many people on here said it would be. I usually fall in love with the language of a book, the lyrical way that words are p...moreThis book was beautiful, as many people on here said it would be. I usually fall in love with the language of a book, the lyrical way that words are put together. That has nothing to do with why I enjoyed this book. The story was innocent and honest. It reached me on a level different than most books.
I am no stranger to the void that death can leave inside a person, but the emotions that Marchetta writes about are foreign to me. The characters are pretty complex, the emotions are intense and gripping. I actually felt for the characters, but they aren't characters who would need people to feel sympathy for them. It is kind of wild and disorienting.
My favorite part though, and hopefully you won't think this is stupid, the fact that Marchetta does not make having sex for the first time this glamorous and amazing act. I am sure for some people it is, but reality is not often what books and movies make it out to be. I was pleased to read something believable.(less)
At first it bothered me that the narration was not constant, but eventually I started to appreciate the different perspectives. I did not find the cha...moreAt first it bothered me that the narration was not constant, but eventually I started to appreciate the different perspectives. I did not find the characters as endearing in this one. It was still a good book though. Predictable, but sometimes that is nice.(less)
Have you ever been in a relationship so fierce, so intense, so wild it felt both dangerous and exciting?
As I read Beloved, I felt like I was battling...moreHave you ever been in a relationship so fierce, so intense, so wild it felt both dangerous and exciting?
As I read Beloved, I felt like I was battling the text and some unexplainable yearning within myself. I found an unmanageable lover in the words that fill these pages. If words were limbs, I would have found myself captivated, my limbs so perfectly fitting between the spaces of my literary lover. Yet, in the moments I was not completely captivated by the beauty of the words on the page, I found myself abused by the content. Sethe's story is deep, meaningful, poignant, but it hurts. It is a story that cuts deep. At times, I felt betrayed by what Morrison laid out before me. How could something so beautiful be so dark?
What else is there really to say? I feel that emptiness and longing I always feel when I have reached the cessation of a particularly moving book/novel. I am changed and as with relationships of the aforementioned nature I want what I felt, what consumed me back. I may not fully understand the power of the words in Beloved, or how they managed to take hold of me, refusing to let go, but I do know I would love to feel the power, and experience all of the abuse again. If only so I could dwell a little longer on it's beauty.(less)
I really like the concept, using Star Wars to teach Buddhism, but I think the book oversimplifies. It got to the point where I was just skimming throu...moreI really like the concept, using Star Wars to teach Buddhism, but I think the book oversimplifies. It got to the point where I was just skimming through whole paragraphs, because I was just being told what I already knew.(less)
I don't really know what to say about this book, except that it was one of those books that I just had to sit with for a while once I finished. I wasn...moreI don't really know what to say about this book, except that it was one of those books that I just had to sit with for a while once I finished. I wasn't thinking about the book exactly, just soaking it up and letting the feelings of its presence linger. It was an enjoyable read, at times a little painful. It wasn't painful in a bad way, just painful in a much too familiar kind of way. The characters resonated a little bit too much. There was Rose, the woman born to leave. There was Angie, the young girl seduced by an older man. There was Cecilia, a girl whose mother walks out on her. Etc. blah blah. They seem like simple characters, but they were really well written. The story, in retrospect feels simple; it really has a lot of depth, though.
Anyway, the book was good. It is definitely worth reading.(less)