To say that this is a book about integration would be an under-sell: “Betsey Brown” presents a personal look at the life of a young Black girl in St LTo say that this is a book about integration would be an under-sell: “Betsey Brown” presents a personal look at the life of a young Black girl in St Louis, covering everything from her loves and friendships to her isolation and anxieties.
I’ve always loved Ntozake Shange’s voice. Her prose borders on poetry. To fully appreciate this book, it needs to be read aloud. Every word is chosen in such a way that, not only does the meaning convey exactly what Shange aims for, but its sounds and rhythm contribute to a sense of music that fits the story’s tone.
There’s a playfulness and innocence here that complements the protagonist so well, even when Betsey herself isn’t being discussed. The world is obviously coming into existence from her viewpoint and her’s alone - As Betsey explores St Louis and grows into a woman, the reader gets to enjoy a more nuanced narrative that matures and expands along with her....more
The premise of this research is incredibly interesting - Due to the perishable nature of most textiles and clothing, archaeological studies have typicThe premise of this research is incredibly interesting - Due to the perishable nature of most textiles and clothing, archaeological studies have typically refrained from spending any significant time investigating the nature of preserved garments. So much cloth that was originally found in archaeological digs used to be discarded! It wasn't until fairly recent years that historians have taken the time to deconstruct the small remaining samples and experiment in the textile arts as a way of understanding the significance that cloth held.
Barber has a wide scope and attempts to cover lots of interlacing material, but this works to her advantage - This is an introductory text, not an academic work. By shifting her audience to the general public instead of historians, she is really able to impress us with the breadth of information that textile research influences. From technological innovations over time to the social impact of specific clothing styles to the practical reasoning behind gendered labor division, we get a short look at the many functions and values of clothing.
My main complaint about this book is its organization. Barber jumped back and forth between different trains of thought without any regard for grouping related information together or engaging in a progressive narrative for her audience. If I had edited this book, I would have made the format much more clear: The text should begin with an explanation of the spinning and weaving process along with details about the equipment and technology, then move on to individually discuss the separate cultures that were to be examined, then link common mythology and storytelling patterns to each of these cultures, and finally look at the sociological and historical significance of all this information.
Barber comes across as disorganized, moving into tangents that are often far, far away from the main point of each chapter. Even the chapters themselves seem to be shuffled and mixed up. I often had trouble figuring out exactly why she was presenting certain information at a specific time, rather than linking it up with the related discussions that she engaged in another section.
But even still, this work is filled with lots of small insights into women's work throughout the ages. This is a genre of history that very rarely gets even a brief mention in schools. Just knowing that it exists is enough to pique my interests and make me want to explore more of Barber's research. ...more
Jeff Lindsay needs a lesson in “Show, don’t tell.”
This novel is the perfect example of a stellar idea in the hands of a mediocre writer. Dexter flouriJeff Lindsay needs a lesson in “Show, don’t tell.”
This novel is the perfect example of a stellar idea in the hands of a mediocre writer. Dexter flourished as a television show - It remains one of the few dramas that I’ve ever genuinely looked forward to watching each week. From the character development to the pacing to the constant build-up of suspense, the show is wonderful. Yet this novel lacks all of that.
The characters that we’re shown are simply two-dimensional placeholders. Dexter seems to be the only one with a working brain. Everyone around him is wholly incapable of piecing an intelligent thought together and keeping up with his genius. This gets very tiring after only a few chapters. In the entire police force within a city as large as Miami, it’s completely illogical that only one man would be capable of tracking and IDing a criminal. Moreover, when that one man is a blood splatter analyst, it makes no sense for him to be afforded any time within this investigation, at all. Dexter is constantly allowed privileges that are both unrealistic and inconsistent with the way that all other personnel is treated. He’s quite the special snowflake.
Dexter’s golden boy treatment extends into the way that he actually solves this mystery, as well. He does little to no true detective work. All of his insights come from dreams and psychic visions - It isn’t a matter of him understanding the killer’s personality and motivations, but instead it’s a matter of Dexter getting ~feelings~ and very vivid dreams that turn out to be real. From a crime novel, I was incredibly frustrated with the lack of crime solving. At few points in time does Dexter base his conclusions on logical thinking, crime scene clues or deduction. To have all of the answers given to him mystically? It’s unsatisfying and none of it lines up with the narrative that Lindsay gives us. For a protagonist who is supposedly a genius of MENSA-like proportions, he sure doesn't exhibit half the intelligent characteristics that we're told he has.
In the end, I expected much more from this novel. It really wasn’t worth my time. ...more
Rabelais, Bret Easton Ellis, Anthony Burgess and Charles Bukowski all did it better.
This novel is a fairly mediocre work of transgressive fiction. AlRabelais, Bret Easton Ellis, Anthony Burgess and Charles Bukowski all did it better.
This novel is a fairly mediocre work of transgressive fiction. Although Amis may have written this before such stories as “American Psycho" were published, “Money" really doesn’t hold a candle to the best transgressive writings today. It’s an ill attempt at shocking the audience with depravity that is quite common and well known to most of us.
I’m really supposed to be shocked that a man would rape? Would visit prostitutes? Would drunk drive? We all know, often too well, that these acts are committed every day. Reading about them through the eyes of a white middle-aged middle-class man does not present the sort of jarring horror that Amis seems to seek.
By presenting these forms of violence in his main character, Amis flaunts John Self and yet still expects us to sympathize with his many downfalls. I never felt as though I’d be able to related to him or understand him. If anything, his moments of self-pity and self-loathing simply made him more disgusting.
I did find it interesting how John Self was played against the many actors that he worked with while planning his new film. Lorne Guyland, Caduta Massi, Spunk Davis - These characters are downright ludicrous. They each have intense foibles and flaws, but their actions border on the ridiculous instead of the disgusting. Each of the actors are obvious caricatures that are based on the many “types" of Hollywood stars. They create the opportunity for some interesting encounters and jokes. Just don’t mistake their scenes for actual humor: I was laughing at them, not with them.
But truly, the only thing that kept me reading throughout the story was the expectation of a suicide ending. To know that John Self would take his own life was reassuring, in a way. His death, and therefore his transition into nothingness, was the only thing that could have redeemed him as a character. It wasn’t the desire for vengeance or karma that made me look forward to seeing such a horrible person die, but rather the thought that Self simply shouldn’t exist as a person. He is inhumane and downright offensive right from the start. But Amis takes away even this small comfort, leaving John alive at the end. Was I intended to be happy about this supposed redemption? Is the reader meant to finally see that all of John’s problems were caused by money? That without money, he is finally a worthwhile man? Forget that - The ending is wholly ineffective and leaves too many loose ends. John’s forced change of attitude is not enough.
To the many reviews that called this book “funny" and “humorous," I can’t help but wonder if we read the same thing....more