I was wary of the hype around The Goldfinch, but I truly enjoyed this book despite its flaws. Donna Tartt is prolific and profound in many ways, but II was wary of the hype around The Goldfinch, but I truly enjoyed this book despite its flaws. Donna Tartt is prolific and profound in many ways, but I was struck most deeply by her varied and detailed ruminations on death and time. Her protagonist, Theo, experiences the loss of four close people during the course of the book, and each loss is experienced very differently and authentically in a way I don't think many other authors could have captured. Donna Tartt also is to be commended by how perfectly she transitions her characters from teens into adults. Her depiction of Boris is brilliant, and one of the great pleasures of the book is too see him grow and change, but at base stay the same.
My main problems with the book stem from the fact that I never really felt like I got to know Theo, despite the 773 pages that he narrates in first person. He is an incredible observer of the world around him, but at intervals I found myself thinking, "I don't think this character would do that." For example, when he is forced to move to Las Vegas with his father, despite knowing it's not at all what he wants, he never utters a word of protest, which didn't ring true to me. He also doesn't seem quite worried enough during the museum blast that ultimately takes his mother--for as accurately Donna Tartt writes a young boy, I just didn't think that is how he would have handled that situation. I was also a bit startled by how abruptly he started down the path of addiction.
Those issues aside, this is still the kind of book that I took pleasure in having the words wash over me. It's a rare story where you can totally succumb to the world the author has created for you, and I felt very much a part of the tale of The Goldfinch. Highly enjoyable. ...more
Super Sad True Love Story definitely lived up to the hype for me. This is surprising given the fact that neither Lenny nor Eunice were characters thatSuper Sad True Love Story definitely lived up to the hype for me. This is surprising given the fact that neither Lenny nor Eunice were characters that I really connected with in any way, but what Gary Shteyngart has produced is a truly meaningful American novel that, like a good wine, will only grow more interesting and complex with age.
Where to begin when there is so much to say about this book? Let's start with the downside, which I find to be a lot shorter than the upside. Try as he might, I just don't think that Shteyngart understands the female brain particularly well. Even after devouring this entire book I still felt like Eunice was an unfinished person for me in the sense that he had not rounded her out. What's odd about this is that I think that the dialogue she carries on with her sister, mother, and friend Jenny in California is very strong, but for whatever reason I still found her to be very flat much of the time.
On the upside, I wish I had read this with a book club because I could talk about it for days. I feel like it's so infrequent that I read contemporary fiction that has an enduring, ripe-for-analysis quality the way that books I would have read in literature classes in high school and college do. While there is of course a lot to be discussed in the future-casting that Shteyngart does about the status of our country in the not-so-distant future, what I enjoyed most was the more thought-provoking and classic theme of a protagonist wrestling with his own mortality in an age where conquering death is perhaps the final frontier. The dovetailing of Lenny's job at Post-Human Services and being surrounded by a relentless pursuit of health and financial success in order to prolong life, against his gnawing feelings of never being able to escape the immigrant struggles of his family is truly brilliant.
Like I said, I could go on about this book for days, but I will resist and simply implore you to read it. I am confident that it will remain culturally significant for years and years to come. ...more
I read this book about 6 months after losing my grandfather after having spent his final days and hours with him. I am very close with my grandmotherI read this book about 6 months after losing my grandfather after having spent his final days and hours with him. I am very close with my grandmother and have watched and felt her suffer in many of the same ways that are poignantly articulated in this book through Joan's simple actions. It left me with an ache in my chest throughout the entire book--the deep sense of loss you can imagine after losing someone who was by your side both in good and in bad for more than 40 years. I immediately sent it to my grandma in hopes that she will find some of the similarities in character to be consoling. A great read....more
While I am not a parent, nor do I work with children, I found We've Got Issues to be a fascinating analysis of how our society views children with menWhile I am not a parent, nor do I work with children, I found We've Got Issues to be a fascinating analysis of how our society views children with mental health issues, the decisions their parents make, and how this stigma is driving a lot of bad choices that don't allow suffering kids to receive the help they need.
Warner believed, at the start of her writing process, the conventional wisdom that "most kids" these days seem to be medicated for something--whether it be ADHD, autism, or bipolar disorder--and that this was more a product of competitive parenting and anxiety rather than an indication of real troubles. What she found, when she delved deep into research and interviews, was quite the contrary--that in fact children often do not receive the medication or therapy that is recommended for them because parents are terrified of the stigma and of starting their kids on a regimen of pills. And rather than finding kids whose parents were simply trying to get them better grades, she found legions of parents whose worlds had been turned upside down by kids who couldn't function day to day without some type of psychotropic medication to keep them "normal".
Warner has bravely stepped away from her original hypothesis in order to challenge the misinformation that has been created by generations of suspicion of psychiatry and a storyline that has played well in the media in our anxious times. It's a book that should be discussed because it challenges us to think more critically and be more compassionate when it comes to the issue of mental health--both for kids and adults. ...more
Despite my initial trepidation at investing time and energy into the Hunger Games hype, I am completely hooked. I enjoyed the second book more than thDespite my initial trepidation at investing time and energy into the Hunger Games hype, I am completely hooked. I enjoyed the second book more than the first because they story became much more layered and interesting with the introduction of new characters, a variety of new settings for the action, and greater emphasis on the larger purpose of inciting rebellion against the Capitol.
I will not say anymore except that Suzanne Collins is brilliant for crafting a series that has men and women, young and old, salivating over the next detail. She has managed to do what JK Rowling did--to create a story that people do not see as gendered, even in a society that relentlessly seeks to categorize everything we read and watch in this way. I think that the publishers at Scholastic really have a great eye for good content that keeps readers engaged without always trying to adhere to a rigid formula. I am so glad that I started reading this series! ...more