I'll be honest, I'm highly critical of contemporary fiction and strongly prefer the classics. The Help, however, more than exceededI loved this book!
I'll be honest, I'm highly critical of contemporary fiction and strongly prefer the classics. The Help, however, more than exceeded my expectations!
How quickly I read this is an indication of its power to keep me entranced (over 300-paged books usually take me a week.) Furthermore, I couldn't guess the ending! Usually I can and it hinders my enjoyment of the plot progression. It was packed with all the right elements: believable characters with substance, descriptions that took me right to Mississippi, and humorous turns in the plot.
I could read this again! I rarely read anything twice!...more
The 1982 movie version of The Scarlet Pimpernel has been my favorite movie since I first saw it in 1993. Amazingly, no other movie had rivaled it untiThe 1982 movie version of The Scarlet Pimpernel has been my favorite movie since I first saw it in 1993. Amazingly, no other movie had rivaled it until The Phantom of the Opera came out. (Now they tie for first place as my favorite movie.) With that as precedence, it shouldn't surprise anyone that I had high expectations for the book. I was bitterly disappointed.
Perhaps if I hadn't seen the movie first, I could have enjoyed the book. As is was, I waited for the storyline to follow that of the movie and was frustrated when the plot deviated, which was often.
Most of the book is dedicated to Lady Blakeney's thoughts! What asinine thoughts they are! She wonders and wonders how to get out of the predicament she is in. "Come on, Baroness!" I kept thinking, "you've declared that she is the most brilliant female mind in Europe, have your dang character do something brilliant!"
Fine! I understand that this takes places in the 18th century, she's a demure woman, she doesn't know what to do; I could accept that, but then stop praising her intelligence!!! Here again, it might not have been the bane of the book if I hadn't already seen a version of a clever Marguerite in the movie. Even if I hadn't seen the movie, the contradiction between Baroness Orczy's description of Marguerite's sharp mind and of her inept behavior would STILL have driven me crazy!!!
Also ruining the book was the lack of gallantry from Sir Percy. The book version of Percy was aloof and hardly spoke to his wife. In the movie, despite his heartache, he acts chivalrously and secretly adores her. I also missed the romance. In the book, both Percy and Marguerite are too prideful to show affection until the very, very end.
I found the movie subplot of Paul Chauvelin being Marguerite's former love interest more pertinent to his blackmail of her in discovering the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel. In the book, he chooses her merely because she is a French woman living in England.
In the book, the Scarlet Pimpernel helps a handful of French Aristos sneak out of the country. In contrast, the movie portrays him assisting many escape, principle among them is the Dauphin. This enriched the story significantly! The monumental impact of saving the Dauphin would have far-reaching historical implications!
The library scene, the crown jewel of the movie, doesn't even happen in the book! For me, that's practically sacrilege!
This is one case in which the movie far and away out-shines the book!
I gave this book two stars instead of one because I recognize that in judging it I was heavily influenced by a source outside the book itself. ...more
I was surprised. I thought I would really like this book. A friend of mine told me the basic ideas were to be impeccable with your word, don't take thI was surprised. I thought I would really like this book. A friend of mine told me the basic ideas were to be impeccable with your word, don't take things personally, don't make assumptions,and always do your best. To me, these sounded great: be honest, be forgiving, give others a chance to say what they think and try your best...or so I thought!
The ideas were actually more along the lines of: don't send out poisonous words that put spells on people, don't let others poison you with their spells (pretty strange, right?), don't have expectations of others, and yes, try your best.
My husband and I were going to read this together, but by page 16 he couldn't take it anymore! I needed to read it for our book group so I continued on solo.
I found the explanations for these ideas unnecessarily described as being from black or white magic, unnecessarily loaded with examples and I felt the author was talking down to me.
Also, by far the book's biggest flaw, the information, if it hadn't been so swollen by overexplaining EVERY single concept, could have been presented in half OR LESS of the length!!!! Really, an elementary student might need all the over-simplified explanations supported by numerous examples, but even a teenager would have felt that Ruiz is beating a dead horse! (As my husband and I did by page 16!)
Another friend told me that the ideas in this book reminded her of things she's heard before and gave as an example You Are Special, a great children's book by Max Lucado. I suggest reading that instead of this book.
The book's ideas felt religious and might be okay for someone who is without religion and looking for some principles to govern their life. But, for me, as a Christian, I felt that these concepts were not only familiar but succinctly summed up in "love one another" and "try to be like Jesus."
I really didn't like the book, but I suppose that I don't have to worry about the author taking it personally! :) ...more
I have a child with a disability and there was a long time (it felt like forever when I was clawing my way throughThis book made me very, very angry.
I have a child with a disability and there was a long time (it felt like forever when I was clawing my way through it) when his problems consumed our entire family, permeating my life especially, right down to my unconscious sleep. I felt overwhelmed and weak AND YET (and this is my point) I did not forget that I had two other children who had needs and lives and in no way could be expected to be mature about the fact that their sibling unfairly took my energy away from them. Furthermore, I did everything in my power to compensate for the imbalance and tried to keep them from having to change their lives for the sake of their brother....unlike the selfish mother in this book.
I might have been able to overlook the mother's actions and give her the benefit of the doubt as to WHY she appeared so heartless if the author hadn't provided a look into her mind by consistently having every third chapter or so protrayed from her point of view. We know what the mother was thinking and feeling. I easily condemned her.
While reading this, there were times I cried in anger, times I couldn't keep reading I was so enraged, and times I became apoplectic. I don't think it was at all good for me.
I've heard that Jodi Picoult is a great author; I will never know. Her canon is poisoned for me....more
This book had amusing little antedotes, but I couldn't stomach it a second time when our book group wanted to read it again for all the new ladies inThis book had amusing little antedotes, but I couldn't stomach it a second time when our book group wanted to read it again for all the new ladies in our group. ...more
This is, hands down, the most depressing thing I've ever read.
When I heard that they had made a movie, I said to my husband, "It would have been so muThis is, hands down, the most depressing thing I've ever read.
When I heard that they had made a movie, I said to my husband, "It would have been so much easier for the director to, instead of spending millions to bring this to the screen, mail razor blades to every household in America."...more