I don't know why I never read "To Kill a Mockingbird" before now; it was just one of those books that everyone else has read that I never really got aI don't know why I never read "To Kill a Mockingbird" before now; it was just one of those books that everyone else has read that I never really got around to reading. Now that I have, my main impressions are: Atticus Finch is a badass, and what took me so long?
Harper Lee is a very sensory writer, and paints an incredibly vivid picture of life in Depression-era Alabama. In choosing to narrate the story from the point of view of Jean Louise "Scout" Finch, Lee manages to marry a myriad of different themes in an organic way that never feels particularly preachy or forced. On top of addressing the issues of segregation and racism in the South, Lee also deftly tells the story of a child losing his innocence as he eventually leaves his childhood behind. Lee also manages to sneak in a subplot about feminism in the South, though it generally takes a back-seat to everything else that's going on.
That being said, I hesitate to give it five stars simply because it didn't leave me feeling much other than, "That was a good book." I think that's in part, because I felt like the Boo Radley storyline at times felt somewhat jammed in. The book opens with lazy summer days where the children invent ways to meet their recluse neighbor, promptly forgets him, and then brings him back at the end to illustrate the "mockingbird" symbolism.
All in all, "To Kill A Mockingbird" is a book everybody should read, if not for the story than at least for Atticus Finch (seriously, he's a badass). It's not the most mind-blowing piece of literature, but it is a solid piece of substantive fiction. ...more
I'd heard mixed reviews about this book before reading it; some of my friends raved about it, others said it was overrated, and more still said it wasI'd heard mixed reviews about this book before reading it; some of my friends raved about it, others said it was overrated, and more still said it was a thinly disguised self-help book that didn't belong in fiction.
After reading it, I would have to say I understand and agree with all three sentiments. The overall message that Coelho is trying to convey is a nice one, but the structure of the book is certainly preachy. To be honest, I found the Prologue to be the best written part of the book as a whole which doesn't say much. Furthermore, if you get the version with the introduction written by Coelho himself, it pretty much summarizes the entirety of the book in four concise pages.
My problems were that it read somewhat like a fortune cookie; however, within that there were some really great parts (mostly toward the end for me). The overall message itself is a nice one, and there are some lines that beautifully written. Overall, however, as a work of fiction it somehow reads to me as someone condescendingly imparting what he thinks to be nuggets of wisdom. A bit like a modern-day fable perhaps?
In the end I wish goodreads let you give half-star ratings, because while I liked certain parts of the book, I was left feeling a bit underwhelmed considering the amount of praise it's been given. ...more
Initially I wasn't impressed by the premise of this book at all, and I was pretty sure it was going to be hard to get through. However, I was pleasantInitially I wasn't impressed by the premise of this book at all, and I was pretty sure it was going to be hard to get through. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this book and while I didn't absolutely love it--I did enjoy reading it.
Edwards has a really fluid writing style, and while its not the most lyrical in any sense, she's got some really beautiful passages describing the inner workings of the characters' minds. One of the things I was most impressed with was how human all of her characters were: they were all fundamentally flawed but you could still understand where they were coming from.
The theme of secrets and decisions and how they affect your life, as well as the lives of people around you was really well done. In Norah, David's and Paul's sections of the book you really got a sense of how Phoebe's absence drastically changed their lives. Additionally, Edwards did a great job of showing the same event from multiple perspectives and how easy it is for miscommunication to destroy relationships.
This book is ultimately a really great character-driven novel. People looking for a good plot may not find it a particularly interesting read. Also, upon reading other reviews, it would seem that not many people found the characters entirely likeable. I would agree that it may be hard to sympathize with some of the characters' choices, but I would say that's what makes them interesting. By the end of the book, you feel as if you've traveled 20 years with the characters--so when they reminisce to the beginning of the story you can really clearly see how much they've grown and changed.
The book does suffer from a bit of pacing issues though, and sometimes it was a bit slow. I feel like some parts could have been cut out and the book would've been better off for it. Overall, it was an enjoyable read--not particularly mind blowing, but not boring either. ...more
When I first read "Jane Eyre" in the sixth grade, I found it unbearably boring. The good bits with Mr. Rochester were frustrating (just run off with hWhen I first read "Jane Eyre" in the sixth grade, I found it unbearably boring. The good bits with Mr. Rochester were frustrating (just run off with him to France!), the secret of Thornfield incredibly cliche and its feminist undertones completely went over my head.
I usually bristle when I hear people say a person is "too young" to fully understand a classic work. But in this case, I now realize I was too young to understand many of the finer points in "Jane Eyre."
Hailed as one of the first feminist books, "Jane Eyre" addressed female independence at a time when women were inherently subservient to their male relatives and husbands. Written in the first person, the book chronicles three stages of Jane's life, her struggle to be master of her own destiny, and her personal battle to find a balance between passion and sense.
Bronte is also unafraid to add a dash of the supernatural, making "Jane Eyre" a true gothic romance. Also, as Jane is described as "plain, poor and obscure" and Mr. Rochester is a child-hating, surly, ugly (though the casting of Michael Fassbender in the recent movie might say otherwise) grouch, their relationship has a real sense of underlying grit that makes it more compelling than many other couples in the same genre. The ending is a bit...convenient...but is altogether wholly satisfying (see "The Eyre Affair").
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this novel on a re-read. There's a lot of subtext that I'm sure I missed, and I look forward to reading this again sometime in the future. ...more