I am very, very disappointed with this book. Eugene Allen's life was very interesting. He had served as a butler under eight presidents (eight I tellI am very, very disappointed with this book. Eugene Allen's life was very interesting. He had served as a butler under eight presidents (eight I tell you!) and a thousand pages book will not do justice to it. But what do we have here?
I expected to read about how it was to work as a butler, first and foremost. And then Allen's personal opinion about the political ongoing he saw (he had seen a lot and a 'behind-the-scene' view is always much appreciated) and the fact that he was a black working at the White House. But there is more stress on the race issue and about politics, everything is told in random bits and pieces like an incomplete and very ugly patchwork. I never got to see any of Allen's view on anything. What is wrong with telling a more complete story? Not enough resources, couldn't be bothered to do enough researches? The man was actually there, the writer met him often enough! And now he is gone.
The idea to tell the story of a butler working at the White House is brilliant. Sadly Wil Haygood wasted the chance in the most heartrendingly disappointing way possible....more
It is a good read. Some short stories get on my nerve because of their overabundance of prose made beautiful, but this manages to be beautiful and to-It is a good read. Some short stories get on my nerve because of their overabundance of prose made beautiful, but this manages to be beautiful and to-the-point at the same time.
I wonder when this was written. It plays on the vampire-craze started by Meyer and Twilight but I thought we are past that? Or at least very, very near past it. In five years time maybe people will not get the cryptic meaning and inside jokes of all those Rosamunde and the hot vampire boys references anymore.
But people will remain able to relate with the feeling of growing up, leaving home, and seeing your dreams broken by reality. This is a rather sad story. Lonely. And maybe even a tad depressing in that loneliness and how close it feels to our real lives....more
The writing style does not work for me but I do think the mystery is rather good, albeit having some cumbersome explanation in the middle. As a wholeThe writing style does not work for me but I do think the mystery is rather good, albeit having some cumbersome explanation in the middle. As a whole it will probably captivate a younger reader so for once even though I usually think adults should be able to enjoy a good middle grade book, I think young audience will appreciate this book more than I do....more
Everyone deserves a second chance, including authors whose first book you do not enjoy. I did not remember which of my GR friend was so thrilled withEveryone deserves a second chance, including authors whose first book you do not enjoy. I did not remember which of my GR friend was so thrilled with Koontz and so I picked up Velocity but aside from a part about stapling someone's hand, I could not remember what that book was about. But I know I did not enjoy it, only I thought it must be me and not Koontz because other people enjoyed Koontz except me. So four years later I finally gave Koontz another chance. But God, Odd Thomas is boring, pure and simple.
The story is slow. You just need to glance at someone's review to know it is about this boy named Odd Thomas who can see the dead. But it takes a sluggish narration of 20+ pages for Koontz to reveal that the very 3D-looking and behaving girl Odd meets cannot be seen by anybody else. And that sluggish narration continues for the rest of the story, informing you about everything and everyone you have little or no interest in and describing the town Pico Mundo in the flattest, grayest way imaginable. The story also keeps trying to warn you that something bad is going to happen, bad and major, but after so many unrelated intermissions about wolves and Elvis and bowling, your sense of dread for the impending doom will get numbed and you will wish for everything to be over and done with asap. But spoiler alert, you will have to wait until around the last 50 pages or so for that thing to happen. So good luck suffering.
It has its little surprises I suppose, that from time to time I did find myself being dragged back into the story. But each time it lasted for at most ten seconds. And the jokes, oh my God, they are so lame I cannot imagine any young person spewing them out and think of them as witty. They are the kind of jokes your dad or any mature people exceeding the age of 50 will make in an attempt to relate to the younger generation, and if you are a kindhearted enough young person you will force out a polite chuckle or two. I probably would have given this book one fewer star but I am a sucker for that kind of sad ending, which is why The Fault in Our Stars got four stars from yours truly even though I purely hate that book.
But as whole I managed to finish this book in a day and the suffering is not so long. I will never pick another book by Koontz again, however....more
I thought I would love this book. A hundred-year-old protagonist is extraordinary and besides I love history. You don't see old people being heroes evI thought I would love this book. A hundred-year-old protagonist is extraordinary and besides I love history. You don't see old people being heroes everyday (I only know of UP) and so I thought this story would be extraordinary too. It probably is but I guess not all extraordinaries work. This one certainly does not, for me.
I tried, you see. Really tried to finish if not enjoyed it. Ask my Kindle and it will tell you I reached 70% and still persisted before finally giving it up as a lost cause at around 85-ish%. I do not mind the play on history, I have no trouble whatsoever about how over the top and preposterous the events in this book are. It has more coincidences than Dickens could have managed in his whole lifetime but that is just the point, it does it intentionally and shamelessly. Unfortunately the humour does not work for me and the whole book is humour and therefore the whole book does not work for me. It has many funny sentences but putting funny sentences together does not necessarily create a funny story.
The Germans have a word to describe my feeling about this book: Fremdscham. The closest translation into English is cringe-worthy....more
Here are three random points about this book. 1. The synopsis. I do not mean the one at the back of the book which thank God is just fine, but I actuallHere are three random points about this book. 1. The synopsis. I do not mean the one at the back of the book which thank God is just fine, but I actually scanned the publisher and copyright information and the summary recorded by the Library of Congress has an elephant-size spoiler in it! What the fish. I am glad people do not make it their habit to read small fonts.
2. An anthropologist can write a paper about "The role of family dinner and relationship in Erin McCahan's Love and Other Foreign Words". A large portion of the story actually takes place around the dinner table, either with just Josie and her parents and often her sister Kate, or with some other family members for bigger dinners. This is a very closely-knitted family but seriously, there is just too much bonding around the table instead of other family-oriented activities like I don't know, movie night or gardening. That is the one thing I do not quite like about this novel.
3. The cover. It disturbs me. I think there is something wrong with the girl's anatomy. Sometimes her arms look too short in proportion of her body, sometimes they look fine. I cannot decide. Is this an optical illusion?!
But! As a whole I love it. I am really picky about YA novels but this one passes with flying colours. It has a witty and quirky main character and narrator, Josie who is a gifted teenager more comfortable with being and acting adult but needs to navigate around people around her age too. It also has great supporting characters who not only have unique personalities but contribute very well to the story development. And my favourite is how Erin McCahan managed to weave the narration that convincingly showed Josie as a flawed character but despite her biased opinions on many things, I always sided with her and totally could understand her feelings.
A biased but convincing narrator is very different from an unreliable narrator. The latter always aims to manipulate the readers and try to hide evidences that incriminate him/her, it is the kind of narrator you see in thriller and mystery (refer to: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Gone Girl for examples). But Josie simply stated that no, she did not think that Geoff was right for Kate, and no matter what others said she was not going to change her opinion. Half of the time she might be wrong and I knew that, but she was just such a lovable character that no matter how wrong the decision she made I could not help but to stick with her. So convincing was the narration that once I felt like abandoning the book because Kate's Bridezilla-ness was beyond bearable and I thought everything she did to Josie was mean (she made Josie wear contact lenses and padded bra and wanted her to pierce her ears, which Josie took as a criticism of her appearance, all for the sake of a perfect wedding). And so convincing was the narration that when Josie learned to forgive and accept, I agreed and rejoiced with her. I changed with Josie throughout the book and I loved it.
In summary this is the story of how Josie thinks Kate has made a wrong decision in planning to marry her boyfriend Geoff. She wants to do everything she can to make sure the wedding does not take place, but a question her sister imposes on her disturbs her - how can she know Kate does not love Geoff if she has never been in love and therefore does not know the meaning of love? So Josie has to embark on a journey to find out what love is and maybe tries to fall in love with someone while she is at it.
This is a story about love, sisterhood, family, and friendship. And I am strongly suggesting it to someone I know who is getting married in a few months time *winks winks* May you not be a Bridzella....more
But what is this script? I demand a full-length novel! *bangs hands*
One of the things that I lovThis is a balm for the wound left by The Cursed Child.
But what is this script? I demand a full-length novel! *bangs hands*
One of the things that I love so much about Harry Potter universe is the tinge of mystery in it. Not a full-blown mystery with murders and detectives, but J. K. Rowling left puzzles with surreptitiously-placed clues, like how Harry cannot remember where he has heard the name Nicolas Flamel so the trio has to rummage through the library until he eats the chocolate frog and reads Albus's character card again. Things like that, because when I read Harry Potter I too could not remember where Fenrir Greyback was first mentioned but I knew he had been mentioned. Then all the pieces were in hand and then things clicked, perfectly. That does not exist in the screenplay.
It is too short. There is not enough build-up for mystery or clues to be left behind. Instead readers are presented with one thing after another new thing in the magical world, not much thinking on the part of the readers. Not to say there is no mystery. There is. But it so disappointingly planned and carried out, so... lame. Readers will know very early whom the rat among MACUSA is. The curious thing is when and how Newt, Tina and everyone else first realised it because it seems like they have the same knowledge as the readers and therefore what we come to know, they know too. No revelation on our part and therefore no revelation on theirs too. It makes one wonder if Robert Galbraith causes Rowling to lose her touch to weave mystery.
She does not lose her magical touch however, and any fan will be glad to be back to her fantastically-created world of witches and wizards and magical beasts. But again, too short. I miss Rowling's long and detailed description of people and places and basically all things magic. And because this is a movie, it follows the formula of one. It must have romance, for example and maybe that is why the red herring is so lame. I do not know, I think the restraint of having to write a screenplay with limited length and all the cliche that sells a movie takes away much of Rowling's creativity and imagination. That hurts, actually....more