I won a copy of this book from Goodreads, and I thank you very much! Nothing is better for the average reader than a non-fiction book that reads like...moreI won a copy of this book from Goodreads, and I thank you very much! Nothing is better for the average reader than a non-fiction book that reads like a novel except a collection of poetry that reads like prose, and this is just what that is. Alvarez makes her poems enjoyable for the average reader who may have a hard time appreciating poetry because of the difficulty of reading it. Not only that, but she manages to show us glimpses of her experiences growing up in two different cultures and ending each one with a lesson to think about. This is truly a must read for all. I'll definitely read this again. Alvarez has found herself a new fan!(less)
I have to agree with what the other reviewers said about the "Atonal" chapter. I personally couldn't imagine how a five-year old girl could use such v...moreI have to agree with what the other reviewers said about the "Atonal" chapter. I personally couldn't imagine how a five-year old girl could use such vibrant language nor could I understand how she could feel such burning hatred for the man she and her sister were trying to shoot. I was even more so bewildered when it turned out the sister who was egging the other sister on was the youngest one. In the back of my mind, I could conjure up some crazy scenarios such as the guy (who is twenty-six years old, by the way), could have been their guardian. He is too friendly towards the seven-year old sister which she mistakenly takes them for as feelings (which would not happen to a normal seven-year old because one would not be mature enough for something like that at that age). He turns out to be a creeper. He tries to seduce the five-year old and that pisses her older sister off, so they somehow manage to take him down even though he probably weighs three times their weight combined. I could somehow imagine that happening as repulsive as that scenario would be, but it would be more believable if the girls were older. A lot older.
Still, I have to admit I was intrigued after I read that chapter. I recalled the synopsis I read before, but the first chapter sounded nothing like it. I figured there were going to be two sets of characters the author would focus on, and they would somehow connect in the end. I have to be honest. I will never know how that first chapter will fit because I had to stop at page 62. I couldn't keep reading for two reasons: I had to force myself to read - it felt like a chore and I had other books I had to read for classes anyway. I can't say I've completely given up on this book though. Rarely do I ever leave a book (or at least a novel) incomplete because I feel like I might as well since I've invested time reading it anyway. Hopefully I'll be able to update this review with further thoughts when I manage to complete the book later.
I have won a copy of this book from Goodreads. Thank you for the opportunity.(less)
I won a copy from Goodreads, so thank you for the opportunity. When I received this book, the first thing that struck me was how appealing the cover w...moreI won a copy from Goodreads, so thank you for the opportunity. When I received this book, the first thing that struck me was how appealing the cover was. They say don't judge a book by its cover, but I really felt inclined to read the book after discovering how neat (for lack of a better word) the cover looked. Although the jacket cover was quite flimsy, much like the sort of annoying paper I use to bake cookies, I had to admit it was a nice touch seeing as the book is about the events after an avalanche. In other words, the characters' visions are obscured by the snow and that's the kind of effect the jacket cover creates when you keep it around your book; if you don't hold it down tight enough, it's even hard to read the bold black lettering on your book.
Besides the physical appeal of the book, I would also have to say Joyce does well with establishing a suspenseful atmosphere. Throughout the whole book, from the very first line to the very last line, you feel inclined to read it to find out what the heck is going on. Although I admit the ending is somewhat predictable, as the reader, you are curious to know what is going on. Yes, this book is definitely a page turner.
I started the book an hour before my first class, and I was already about 50 pages into the novel. I have to admit, it was hard to put that book down and concentrate in class. Although I also admit I was relieved when other students finally arrived because I was reading at 7AM, and the classroom was eerily quiet. And let me tell you something, when you're reading a book about a couple wandering around in an area where no other life forms seem to exist, you kind of feel like you're there with them, especially when there is no one around while you're reading. I have never felt so vulnerable reading a book in the comfort of my own home until I read this book.
Anyway, if I had to sum this all up, I felt like I was watching Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds again. Joyce is fantastic at building up that kind of suspense throughout the whole novel to keep you on edge until the final blow hits you.
Moving on to the negative qualities about this book: I felt like too much information was given at times which may have made this book seem somewhat predictable. I felt like Joyce was telling you what was going on rather than showing you, but after having a discussion with my professor about "showing and telling," I realized it is all up to the style of the author. If this was magical realism, I would expect Joyce to show more than tell, but this isn't, so I'll forgive him. The other thing that bothered me is I usually feel connected to at least one character in a book I'm reading, but I feel like both main characters were somewhat distant. I also didn't particularly care for the writing style. When I first started the book, I was ready to stop for a moment because I didn't feel like the sentences flowed like they should. Fortunately, I got used to it. I forgot about how the book read and just kept reading to find out what happened.
To sum it all up, the fact that Joyce can create the perfect atmosphere for a thriller makes up for what I consider his superficial characters. I guess if you're curious enough to want to know what happens to the couple after they get caught up in the avalanche, this will seem like a page-turner to you as well. I think most people are bothered about the fact that the book didn't feel very original, or the ending just didn't meet people's expectations, but if you think about it, nothing is original. It's true that the ending didn't satisfy me as much as I would have liked it to, but this book led me on a fun ride. If nothing else, the handful of thoughtful quotes might get you thinking about the way you live your life, and that's always a good thing.(less)
I would like to humbly thank Goodreads for providing me a copy of this book. With that said, renga is a genre of Japanese collaborative poetry which g...moreI would like to humbly thank Goodreads for providing me a copy of this book. With that said, renga is a genre of Japanese collaborative poetry which gave rise to the modern haiku style of poetry. The writers of this book have decided to use this collaborative form of poetry to compose a single book of 54 poems each written by a separate poet.
Because these poems are meant to make up one single collaborative poem, all 54 poems should be read in one shot. Each poem reads as a response to the preceding poem. The introduction even states that each poet was given about two days at the most to write his or her response (except, of course, the poet who started the conversation) to the previous poem. Although each poet's style differs from the last, the poem as a whole flows well right to the end.
If you are discouraged to read this book because you don't really care for poetry, you should still give it a chance. After all, the poems read like an artistic ongoing discussion causing you to forget the fact that you're reading poetry. I am not a big poetry reader myself, but I applaud the contributors of this book for creating a unique artistic conversation about the ideas and issues of America.(less)