I bought this book because it had a 4.03 rating on Goodreads and so many people said it was "amazing" and "absolutely breathtakiWhere do I begin...???
I bought this book because it had a 4.03 rating on Goodreads and so many people said it was "amazing" and "absolutely breathtaking" (see other reviews) so I figured, hey, it's gotta be good, right?
It's one of the most boring and pointless books I have ever read. It's over 300 pages and, I swear, the first 100 pages are pointless set up -- countless descriptions of the setting (and island off the northern cost of England) and the drama going on in young Caitlin's life. It's not even good drama -- it's basically descriptions of her brother drinking, her best friend becoming a slut, this creepy older guy hitting on her, and, of course, Lucas. Mysterious Lucas isn't very mysterious or interesting and by page 100 I really had no desire to find out who he is or what he's doing. And I have no clue why Caitlin was so drawn to him.
Sadly, Caitlin isn't remotely interesting either and she's the narrator. She's the one telling the story yet I didn't feel any connection to her as I read the book. Her mom died when she was five so I thought maybe somehow I'd feel empathy towards her character at some point but, no, this is really just a background characteristic and most of the book is spent talking about nothing (pointless drama referenced above) and Lucas. By "nothing" I mean really NOTHING. The book is a fantastic example of why we have/need editors. All that crap about her brother and her dad and whatever else Brooks managed to write about for another 200 pages should have been edited out! The Lucas parts were really boring too, though. So, yeah, I don't know... I really cannot seem to put into words exactly how lame and pointless this book was. Seriously. I have not been this disappointed in a book in a while. ...more
I really enjoyed this book. It caught my eye at Borders (mostly because I thought the cover and title were silly at first) but I became interested wheI really enjoyed this book. It caught my eye at Borders (mostly because I thought the cover and title were silly at first) but I became interested when I realized the author was from Chicago (well, Forest Park). Within the first 30 pages, I became totally engaged in the story and the characters. The plot and conflict are so well developed and the characters are so completely real. No one is too perfect or too evil -- Kuehnert really nailed that aspect of human nature. She did a fantastic job of developing a variety of unique, endearing characters that really make you, the reader, care deeply about what is going on and how the characters are feeling throughout the story.
I love the way Kuehnert told the story -- mostly through the eyes of Emily, an spiring punk rocker in search of her identity, who we get to know over a span of about 10 years, but she also interjected sections that filled us in on what her absentee mother, Louisa, is up to. But the story isn't just about Emily and her mother. We also get to know Emily's dad, her best friend Regan, her love interest Johnny, and many other characters that truly resemble "real" people I have known throughout the years. Yes, some moments seem kind of cliche but overall I found this book to be easy to relate to and that's why I think so many people will like it. ...more
I've read a lot of Cormier and I think this book was the easiest one for me to read. It was still dark and disturbing in that typical Cormier way, butI've read a lot of Cormier and I think this book was the easiest one for me to read. It was still dark and disturbing in that typical Cormier way, but it was somehow "lighter" and it also sucked me in a bit more than some of his better known works.
This is a very suspenseful book that's told from three different perspectives, each of which is interesting and mysterious in its own way. I admire the way that Cormier sort of weaves in and out of these different characters' minds without having to necessarily start a new chapter and/or to label chapters by character. I think the way he does this really helps you to feel like, as a reader, you've been able to get inside the mind of each of the characters. I am also amazed by how well Cormier was able to develop these characters to the point where I felt empathetic towards each of them -- even the 18-year-old serial killer. His ability to portray so many different, often twisted characters, in ways that make those characters seem "human" is, I think, part of Cormier's own charm as a writer.
I think this book is ideal for teens because unlike some of Cormier's more complex novels (i.e. The Chocolate War) this one is simple and straightforward enough for a teen to understand on their own yet it still hits on the same kinds of issues. ...more
All right, so I read this book because it got great reviews and was supposedly chick-lit but not so stereotypically chick-lit... if that makes sense.All right, so I read this book because it got great reviews and was supposedly chick-lit but not so stereotypically chick-lit... if that makes sense. I guess that is sort of a good way to describe it because I do think it transcends the chick-lit genre but it's good, not great writing. The author tells the story of Emily (I'm getting so tired of seeing that name everywhere...), a 29-year-old lawyer who is unhappy with everything in her life -- her job, her relationship with her boyfriend, her relationship with her father, and has not yet come to terms with her mother's death. It's somewhat cliche in that sense because the problems aren't new and the solutions aren't new either. I think there are times when this book has its own voice but overall it does seem to blend with the vast array of chick-lit that's already out there.
I didn't find Emily to be particularly likable. I had a hard time seeing her go from total workaholic attorney (as in works for 20 hours straight and sleeps for 2 before going back to work) to becoming this depressed bum that doesn't get out of bed for a week. That whole storyline seemed borrowed from In Her Shoes, which was a very mediocre chick-lit novel.
I also couldn't quite understand or relate to all of her lying. I can see lying to yourself about the state of a relationship, as she did to Andrew when she broke up with him. That seemed somewhat normal -- you're in a relationship and you're not really sure if you're happy or not so you break up but then afterwards you start to realize you were happy and yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. That made sense. Very typical chick drama. But her whole thing with lying to her dad about everything was just odd. Yes, they don't have a relationship but why couldn't she be honest with him about anything? She lied about quitting her job, breaking up with Andrew, etc. I guess maybe a lot of 20-somethings lie to their parents -- I don't know. This part of her annoyed me, though, because she just seemed to be causing all of her own problems.
I guess this book is all about coping and commitment -- two closely related things. But I don't know that it really illustrates how to do either. I think Buxbaum spent a lot of time writing about details without really getting at anything important. In the end, I have mixed feels. It's a decent fast read so I recommend it if you're traveling or sitting on the beach all day, but I don't really think it's worth going out of your way to get. ...more
I prefered Unaccustomed Earth. I liked this and appreciate it for what it is but I had a more difficult time relating to the characters and the situatI prefered Unaccustomed Earth. I liked this and appreciate it for what it is but I had a more difficult time relating to the characters and the situations than I did when I read her two other books....more
Overall I really enjoyed listening to this book on audio. My favorite story was "Only Goodness" because, as the older sister, I felt that a lot of itOverall I really enjoyed listening to this book on audio. My favorite story was "Only Goodness" because, as the older sister, I felt that a lot of it just sort of resonated. It was sad and stories with alcoholism are usually too much for me but this one felt just right.
I enjoyed the stories about Hema and Kausik. I loved the way those three stories sort of came together. The ending, of course, depressed the hell out of me. (But by then I was used to the depressing endings that are typical for this book.)
I also really enjoyed the story about Sang. I liked her and empathized with her yet, at the same time, wanted to slap her because I thought she was naive and stupid. I liked the way the story made me feel even though it was -- drum roll, please -- also incredibly depressing.
There was only one story that I didn't really care for -- "A Choice of Accommodations," which, I agree with Sonia, had the worst sex scene ever. But mostly I just didn't care for the characters.
In conclusion, I feel like I need to warn people that this is a collection of stories with unhappy endings, for the most part. Even those characters that ended up together didn't really seem "happy." I like Jhumpa Lahiri's writing because I think it is very honest but sometimes I wonder why everyone is so damn unhappy all the time. ...more
After reading 112 pages, I am giving up on this book. The characters are mysterious but I don't care to figure them out. Maybe if I stuck with this foAfter reading 112 pages, I am giving up on this book. The characters are mysterious but I don't care to figure them out. Maybe if I stuck with this for another 50 pages, things would change, but at this point the book is way too boring and a bit off kilter. ...more
I picked this book up at the library simply because the title caught my eye. I didn't really know anything about it or the author and decided to giveI picked this book up at the library simply because the title caught my eye. I didn't really know anything about it or the author and decided to give it a shot.
I read the whole thing in one sitting and it was a surprisingly decent, but somewhat twisted story. It's about a very dysfunctional family in southern California. The narrator is a 14/15 year old female who turns to surfing as a way of coping with her problems. Her twin brother, on the other hand, tries to be the "good guy" and finds that he has a really difficult time dealing and eventually turns to drugs. The story's much more complicated than that but that's kind of the gist of it. I felt like at times it was incredibly realistic. At other times not so much. The mother was very clearly a psycho but the father seemed a bit too clueless also.
I don't know, overall it was a good read and I'd recommend it but it's not necessarily something I'd go out of my way to recommend either. ...more
I really enjoyed this book. I had been meaning to read it for a while but finally decided to give it a shot after my Indian-born professor told me howI really enjoyed this book. I had been meaning to read it for a while but finally decided to give it a shot after my Indian-born professor told me how much she loved it. She said it was beautifully written but admitted that she may be slightly biased because she could relate to so much of the content given her cultural background and dual upbringing in the U.S. and India. I guess it was that statement that made me very curious about this book.
Within the first 30 pages, I was glued. I liked her writing style a lot, even though it was somewhat unusual. Lahiri's paragraphs are longer than what I am used to and she writes in present tense even though the book spans over 30 years. She also focuses on one character, Gogol, but he's not really a main character in the traditional sense. She doesn't write in first person so she's able to go back and forth between telling the perspectives of different characters, including Gogol's father, Gogol's mother, and Moushumi. This, I think, adds a lot of depth to the story and helps to minimize essentialist ideas that all Indian immigrants feel the same way/experience the same things.
The book is essentially about Gogol's quest to find his identity as an Indian-American and that is a conflict that I think so many second generation immigrants in America can relate to. As a second generation Polish-American, I found a lot of the conflicts in this book to be pretty universal. However, I can't say that I could relate to all of it. I think it's partly the time period (I was born 10 years after Gogol), partly the geography (I was raised in a ethnically segregated but culturally tolerant Chicago), and partly the fact that my culture is European and I am technically "white" that I could not understand some levels of his self-consciousness.
There is a lot I could say about this book but it's better suited for dinner conversation than a book review on this website. I think the main two things I'd like to get across are 1) read this if you're any kind of second generation immigrant because the ideas/conflicts span ethnic/racial lines and 2) this is a very accurate portrayal of the immigrant experience and the struggle to find your identity when it's really a mix of several different cultures. ...more
I really liked this book because it's an easy, simple read but the problem facing the main character isn't so black-and-white. Marley, a 14-year-old gI really liked this book because it's an easy, simple read but the problem facing the main character isn't so black-and-white. Marley, a 14-year-old girl living in Heaven, OH, finds out that she isn't who she thought she was when her parents reveal a big secret to her. She spends most of the book trying to figure out her own identity.
Johnson is a fantastic writer and after you read Heaven I strongly recommend reading The First Part Last because that will tell you the story of Bobby, one of the side characters in this book. ...more
I read this book shortly after it first came out and I didn't like the book itself very much but that didn't mean that I couldn't relate to it. So letI read this book shortly after it first came out and I didn't like the book itself very much but that didn't mean that I couldn't relate to it. So let me explain...
Why I didn't like it: -Tracey has really, really low self-confidence and self-esteem! A lot of women can probably relate to this, but I was tired of reading about how unattractive she thought she was. -She was totally dependent on men for happiness which is pretty pathetic. -She doesn't seem to have any personal goals or plans or desire to improve herself. Her entire focus seems to be on being thin and having a hot guy. -I thought this was just a really bad way to portray women overall. We get enough of this in the media -- why is Markham trying to tell us that we should be like this, too? -I didn't really like the ending. It was weak.
What I liked about the book: -I could certainly relate to aspects of it personally because we (women) all doubt ourselves sometimes. I think we all feel "fat" sometimes and most of us do long for love in a way that can be pathetic at times. But I don't think the majority of us are quite as dependent and pathetic as Tracey. -I saw SO much of Tracey's character in my best-friend-at-the-time and reading the book helped her to see how totally needy and pathetic she was being. At the time, she was SO hung up on a guy and had low self-confidence/high levels of doubt about herself as a result of it. I could never quite get through to her in terms of showing her that she was being way too hard on herself and deserved better and it wasn't until I told her to read this book that she started to see herself more clearly. So, in a way I am grateful to Markham for portraying a character like this because it helped my friend become not-like-this after some self-reflection.
For me the negatives outweigh the positives so I wouldn't recommend Slightly Single because it's uninspiring and does show women as the weaker sex. ...more
Such a unique concept!!! I couldn't believe I was so into this book since I don't really care for fantasy too much but this book was honestly so fasciSuch a unique concept!!! I couldn't believe I was so into this book since I don't really care for fantasy too much but this book was honestly so fascinating! It was only towards the end (the last 100 pages or so) that my patience started to wear a little. The characters and the emotions in this book are so powerful. It's the connection that I felt to the characters that kept me going as a reader and made me want to know more. ...more
I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would. It's about a sixteen year old black ballerina named Stephanie. She makes for a pretty interestingI liked this book a lot more than I thought I would. It's about a sixteen year old black ballerina named Stephanie. She makes for a pretty interesting character because she deals with a multitude of issues to which a variety of readers could relate. For one, she loves ballet but isn't sure she's good enough -- this idea of "I'm not good enough" is one that a lot of adolescents could identify with. She's also having a hard time explaining to her parents why she is so passionate about ballet -- they think she should be focusing on getting into good colleges instead. She struggles with being one of the only black kids at a posh all-white private school. (The reason she goes there is because her dad is a janitor -- yet another "problem" she has to come to terms with.) She's also into a guy that she can't quite figure out, which futher compliates her life.
It's not necessarily the best book in the world, but it's pretty good and I think a lot of girls would like it (especially girls with a ballet/dance background). ...more
I really liked this book. It's another dark fiction work, which is totally Cormier's style, but it's a bit more emotion-heavy than The Chocolate War.I really liked this book. It's another dark fiction work, which is totally Cormier's style, but it's a bit more emotion-heavy than The Chocolate War. This book has plenty of violence but I felt like much more time was spent dealing with the characters' mental pain and suffering as a result of what happens at the very beginning of the book. I don't want to give a lot away, but it is a great read and it does, I think, accurately portray the good and bad of human nature. ...more
I enjoyed reading this book even though I have mixed emotions about what happened. I'm pretty sure that was the point, though -- this is one of thoseI enjoyed reading this book even though I have mixed emotions about what happened. I'm pretty sure that was the point, though -- this is one of those stories that is intended to show you that life is not that simple and love and loving someone over time is complicated.
I like that Laura Dave balanced the characters well -- no one was too strong or too weak -- and they were all likable despite their many weaknesses. There were a few plot issues that I wasn't wild about (for example, that Ryan is now a lesbian... that seemed too out of whack and irrelevant) but overall I think this is great book. I like Laura Dave's writing because it's full of realism so you're not guaranteed a Hollywood ending, but she does leave the reader with a sense of hope. ...more
I honestly can't put into words just how much I liked and connected with this novel. It's a very well written, engaging story about identity and whatI honestly can't put into words just how much I liked and connected with this novel. It's a very well written, engaging story about identity and what it means to be "half-something" in America. The main character, Danny, is a 17-year-old half-Mexican, half-white aspiring baseball player who spends the summer with his dad's side of the family, trying to figure out who he is. But the story isn't just about Danny. It's way deeper than just one single storyline. Danny becomes friends with Uno, a half-black, half-Mexican kid with a totally different set of identity issues. Uno has a half-brother who's mentally retarded, a mother who's remarried an abusive drunk, and a born-again-Christian father who offers him hope (well, sort of). The novel is really about a group of characters and it's hard not to feel connected with Danny, Uno, or Dannny's cousin Sofia.
The mood that this writer set throughout the book was unlike anything I have seen a while. At one point I was mentally comparing the mood set in this book to that in Laurie Halse Anderon's Speak. Both novels have characters that are depressed and act almost-mute and the writing clearly communicates how they feel. The imagery created by the author is also amazing because I could not stop visualizing these places (streetscapes, landscapes, even the graffiti) in my head as I read this book. And, of course, the character development is phenomenal.
I don't think my middle school kids could handle this but I strongly recommend this to high school students and beyond. The ethnic identity issues that the book deals with are probably the number one thing that I was able to connect to but I think it's such a fanastic read for just about anyone....more
Despite my mixed feelings towards Twilight, I decided to give New Moon a try. The first 100 pages or so were pretty interesting so I kept reading. TDespite my mixed feelings towards Twilight, I decided to give New Moon a try. The first 100 pages or so were pretty interesting so I kept reading. Then the middle portion of the book where Bella's sort of getting to know Jacob and figuring out how she feels about him was also very enjoyable. I really, really liked Jacob as a character because he actually had character. He wasn't perfect but he was likable and sweet in that very human sort of way. I am annoyed with her descriptions of Edward which all too often include the words "beautiful" and "perfect." I think Jacob is much more real of a character and it made me sad that Bella passed him up for the pretentious Edward. Bella was definitely very selfish in this book and I'm shocked that more readers aren't appalled by the fact that Bella's identity is almost totally shaped by Edward. It's this very dysfunctional, co-dependence that young girls should not be aspiring to, yet it's totally glorified in this series.
Anyway, the last third of the book -- just like in Twilight -- was painful for me to read. The action and conflict seemed really forced and it didn't help that I did not care if Bella got to Edward before he committed suicide. In fact, I was wanting him to commit suicide because I felt like his character was exhausted in these first two books. Sadly, he lives and apparently continues to control Bella's life in Books 3 and 4.
I'm fascinated by this series because even though I see all of these flaws in the writing, I have to give Meyer credit for creating a set of books that is very addicting and has developed somewhat of a cult following. I'm bothered by the male-female relationships in the books and wish Bella had a stronger sense of self, but I can't ignore the fact that readers everywhere are eating this stuff up. It's strange. ...more
This book left such a bad taste in my mouth! Where do I begin...?
First, the language was ridiculous. This is supposed to be a young adult book, yet IThis book left such a bad taste in my mouth! Where do I begin...?
First, the language was ridiculous. This is supposed to be a young adult book, yet I can't tell you how many times the authors [over]used the word "fuck." Why? In most of the situations it was totally unnecessary and sounded like they were trying too hard to impress their young readers. I understand that "fuck" is a word just like anything else, but just like every other word in the English language, it does not need to be the only verb or adjective ever used to describe anything!
Secondly, I was really disappointed by the way these authors portrayed Norah, the female protagonist. She was a really weak female character. Her self-esteem seemed to depend entirely on how the men in her life felt about her. Whether it was ex-bf Tal or Nick or even her dad, Norah cared more about what the males thought of her than how she actually saw herself. A sad fact and a sad message to be sending young girls who read this book.
Also, I did not like the fact that the girls called each other "bitch." Again, this is blatant overuse of a swear word for the purpose of creating shock value. This way of talking, where you use misogynistic terms so easily, is disrespectful and gets at girls' self-esteem, whether or not she realizes it. Civil people don't use the word "bitch" and "fuck" every five minutes. I promise. I am an adult. I use it when I need to but not every other word out of my mouth is "fuck this" and "bitch that." It's not cool and it saddens me that this book is sending the message that it is.
In general, I was pretty disappointed by this book. I think it glorified all the wrong things and sent the message that being "cool" is all about what kind of music you listen to and who you know, not the kind of person you actually are. I was terribly annoyed with the seemingly endless pretentious-sounding references to pop culture, punk rock, and the Manhattan lifestyle. ...more
I should have known this would be a horrible book. There was a shelf full of autographed copies sitting at Borders and they were selling at a discountI should have known this would be a horrible book. There was a shelf full of autographed copies sitting at Borders and they were selling at a discounted price. Gee, I wonder why... Plus, the cover looked looked it was trying way too hard to look cool. But silly me just assumed it was a good deal so I bought it. Silly me. It was not.
This book was tragically bad. The main character was not likable and I didn't care at all about her problems. None of the supporting characters were interesting either. Overall, I had a difficult time paying attention and following the plot because it was so dull and I didn't care what happened to anybody.
This is one of those I wouldn't even recommend to someone I don't like. ...more
Reread this in March 2014. Definitely 5 stars. I get it now.
This is a good story and I think that's whatReread this in March 2014. Definitely 5 stars. I get it now.
This is a good story and I think that's what makes it so universally appealing. The characters are very real, too. I especially loved the dynamic between the three brothers -- Ponyboy, Sodapop, and Darry. I loved watching that relationship change. I loved seeing Ponyboy grow.
I know this book is still a hit with kids today. I don't teach this novel but I'd be interested to sit in on some of the classes where seventh graders discuss it. I'm curious to hear why they like it and what they think of situations. It wasn't as obvious to me as I thought it would be just how kids today relate to this. Clearly the idea of in-group/out-group is still relevant but I thought there would be a more direct link between the story and gangs today and I didn't really see it.
Definitely a worthwhile read, Twisted sucks the reader in right away. The good combination of interesting dialogue, clever inner monologue, and well dDefinitely a worthwhile read, Twisted sucks the reader in right away. The good combination of interesting dialogue, clever inner monologue, and well developed characters makes you feel like you are a part of the action. And I have to give LHA major credit for being able to get inside the mind of an 18-year-old boy as well as she did. The thoughts and feelings she describes all seem very real.
The central theme of this book is identity. Tyler, the narrator, spent his whole life being Nerd Boy but that all changed when he committed a stupd prank that resulted in him doing community service and dealing with a probation officer. All of a sudden, others' perception of Tyler has changed and he finds that his new image causes others to treat him different. This is one twist, I suppose, but the real twist in the story happens about halfway through the book and then all of a sudden Tyler's character changes dramatically. He's not really in control of his life and identity at the beginning of the book but it's the second half of the book where he's really lost and confused. Both parts, but especially the second half, are really interesting -- and at times frustrating -- to read.
I think a lot of younger readers will be able to relate to many aspects of the book, including various characters, the conflicts/issues, and relationships.
My only criticism is that I sort of feel like the whole Milbury family lacked depth. The characters were a bit too one-dimensional for me, especially Chip but also Bethany. ...more
Okay, so my first comment will be positive: I loved the "paper towns" concept that drove much of the book. I didn't realize cartographers actually creOkay, so my first comment will be positive: I loved the "paper towns" concept that drove much of the book. I didn't realize cartographers actually created "fake" towns in order to copyright their maps. That idea coupled with this notion of "paper people" was really pretty damn cool. So, thanks, John Green, for that.
The rest of the book... well, it was... I honestly don't really know what to say. I kept flip-flopping between kind of liking it, sort of thinking the characters were cool, then thinking the characters were really annoying and way too cliche, and sometimes really hating the whole story. It was definitely no Looking for Alaska, but I felt like it kept trying to be. Quentin, the narrator, is somewhat interesting but Margo Roth Spiegelman (the mystery woman) totally lacked charisma for me. In fact, I cared very little about him finding her. I will admit that parts of the book were very well written because I could not seem to put it down when I was in the "Grass" section (the second part of the novel). It read totally like a mystery and I wanted to know how all of these clues were going to fit together. But part three was totally anticlimactic. At the very beginning, too, I had a hard time getting into the novel because I felt like there was a lot of fast-paced dialogue and action but I didn't feel at all connected to the characters.
I'm torn as far as giving this book a rating. I think I had high hopes for John Green and while I do still think he is a great writer, I didn't think this was a great story. I realize that it was really Quentin's story (and not Margo's) so I think what really bothered me about this book is that I didn't really feel like Q underwent much of transformation from the beginning to end of the story. I definitely like the support characters much more than Q and Margo because they actually had some depth and seemed much more multi-dimensional. I especially liked Radar and the only time I actually laughed while reading this was when he talked about being a black man who gets pulled over wearing a confederate flag t-shirt.
Maybe it was humor that was lacking. Maybe it was voice, which I didn't think was all that strong. But something was definitely missing for me......more
I would ideally give this book 2.5 stars since it really does fall somewhere between "it was okay" and "I liked it." This was my least favorite NatashI would ideally give this book 2.5 stars since it really does fall somewhere between "it was okay" and "I liked it." This was my least favorite Natasha Friend book probably because it seemed the least realistic to me. I didn't really think there was a lot of character development so Evyn seemed really flat compared to Friend's previous protagonists. It was hard to see past her anger although I guess in this sense Friend may have actually nailed down the behavior and emotional capacity of a 12-year-old...
I guess I just felt like Friend tried way too hard to make the problem too complex and that dragged down everything. In the story, Evyn 1) finds out that her dad is getting remarried, 2) the family has to move to Boston, where the fiancee and her family live, 3) the fiancee has SIX kids, 4) Evyn's dad and his fiancee announce that they are having another baby, 5) no one at Evyn's new school likes her, 6) she grows apart from her old best friend, etc., etc., etc. It was just too much and it seemed a bit unreal to me just how detached from reality everyone in the book seemed. I would like to think that in reality the stepmother's character would try harder to make Evyn feel comfortable. There was no scene in the book where she specifically tried to reach out and that bothered me. Every attempt was woven into something more "casual" and I hate that because sometimes when things are tough -- like when your widowed father is remarrying someone -- you (the adult) just have to DO or SAY something DIRECTLY instead of always beating around the bush hoping peple know what you are talking about. It killed me that the adults were so... oblivious.
Maybe this is a reflection on how American family members are so emotionally detached from one another. I'm not sure exactly but I can't seem to let go of the fact that no adult in this book ever sat down with Evyn to really talk to her about what was going on. So that's where the 2 rating comes from.
There was one scene that was very powerful. It was towards the end when Evyn and Eleni (the stepmom) finally sort of bond. They both talk about their dead mothers. It was sad but it had much more depth than any other scene in the rest of the book. Overall, though, I recommend reading Friend's Lush instead. ...more
I liked Lush because this is a book that deals with complicated issues that don't even fully get resolved but it leaves you feel hopeful and somewhatI liked Lush because this is a book that deals with complicated issues that don't even fully get resolved but it leaves you feel hopeful and somewhat optimistic. We hear the story through the eyes of Sam, an eighth grader with an alcoholic father. She's trying to deal with and understand her father's issues despite her own anger and on top of that she's also dealing with typical teenage social problems at school. She's angry with her mother because her mom is somewhat in denial about what is going on and she can't confide in her friends because she is embarrassed and also thinks they wouldn't understand. It isn't until her father finally accidentally hurts her younger brother during a drunken outburst that things change and her father is sent to rehab.
In the book, Sam's character is always aware of the fact that her dad has a problem, but she, just like her mother, keeps hoping that something will change and "this time will be different." Her character evolves during the length of the novel because she begins to gain clarity about the situation, even though it's difficult and painful, and she eventually starts to really understand what alcoholism is and what it means. Eventually, she gets to the point where she is still angry with her father but understands that he will need support from the family in order to get better.
As someone who has also struggled with familial alcoholism, I think this book actually accomplishes a lot. I was somewhat torn at first because I felt like the resolution wasn't really a resolution since all that happens is that dad goes to rehab and the book ends with the family picking him up, but at the same time it occurred to me that that is a lot. Most families don't get to this point. In most families, the cycle just continues and no one ever gets better, really. I don't think it's possible for an alcoholic to truly get better on their own and even though I wish Friend would write another book about Sam's dad's post-rehab experiences and how Sam dealt with those, I think she did a nice job of telling this pre-rehab story.
I did like that this book wasn't just about alcoholism. Friend balanced the really difficult issues of alcoholism with typical coming-of-age kinds of problems facing Sam, including her sudden "big boobs" and her relationship with her former ex-best friend, Charlie. At times, it's a funny book and I do think the characters come to life quite a bit. It's also sad, though, and I think it's the sad stuff that readers will have an easier time identifying with.
I honestly recommend this to almost anyone. It's a great book for anyone who's ever personally dealt with alcoholism but I think it does a nice job of introducing and presenting the issues to those who have been lucky enough not to have deal with it. ...more