A very interesting text, but in a curious way one that is just about an historical artifact in 2013. And doubtless as time passes a book that will onl...moreA very interesting text, but in a curious way one that is just about an historical artifact in 2013. And doubtless as time passes a book that will only confuse future readers. This text was written using the diagnostic guidelines under DSM-IV-TR for determining Autism, and we now all live in the wonderful world of DSM-5. As in, Shreibman makes a strong distinction between a diagnosis of Autism and Asperger's Syndrome, but the latter has now been fully collapsed into the former, and both repackaged as Autism Spectrum Disorders. Moreover, Shreibman spends most of the text discussing the severely disabled and those under the age of ten or thereabouts.
Having said all of that, the book is excellent in several respects, only one of which I'll mention here. Schreibman is scrupulously honest and fair in evaluating the various therapeutic regimes children and their parents have been subjected to. And if she is a bit biased in favor of behavorial theory, well, she quite correctly notes that that's what has produced the best results.
Recommended, if you can view it in the lens of current diagnostic theory. Othewise it will be a bit confusing.(less)
Quite interesting, if also more than a bit frustrating. To truly do justice to this book I should be citing the passages that intrigued me, as well as...moreQuite interesting, if also more than a bit frustrating. To truly do justice to this book I should be citing the passages that intrigued me, as well as the parts I found more than a tad irritating. Which would mean taking the notes that I never did. So please take the thoughts pounded out here with a grain of salt, or perhaps even a peck.
Biggest irritant? Foreman seemed unacquainted with some very basic elements of 19th century naval and mercantile reality. As in, at several points she discussed the "Anaconda Strategy" as though it meant blockading 3,000 miles of coastline. Nope. All the Union Navy actually had to do was plug up the six or seven or eight ports (I've seen various numbers) where large merchant ships could actually dock without running aground, given their rather deep draft. Yes, "blockade runners" could still sneak into Wilmington, NC with their doubtless vital cargoes of ladies undies and the latest Dickens until very late in the War, but the shallow drafts of said runners and correspondingly small cargo holds made importation of things like saltpeter, gunpowder, even muskets impractical. Never mind something bulky but truly vital like, oh, I dunno, rail ties.
To her credit -- sort of -- most of this occurred early on in the text. To her discredit, the naval elements in a history like this should have been a central part of the narrative. But they were absent. See Why the North Won the Civil War for the discussion that sadly did not occur here.
There were also some minor irritants. As in at some points it seemed difficult to suss out a wider historical context, probably due to the reliance on so many first person narratives. And why were some battles detailed in an almost blow-by-blow manner (First Bull Run, in particular) while others were barely mentioned (Nashville, even Atlanta to an extent)?
But, enough with that. On to the stuff that shined. Where Foreman truly knocked it out of the park.
The biggest surprise for this amateur was actually not related to Britain, but to Canada. I guess I'd always assumed that since the final destination of the "Underground Railroad" was often Canada, that Canadians in general were pro-Union. Nope. Far from it. Her discussion in this area is superb, and worth the price of admission for this alone. Complete and total gobsmack on my part.
Second, I'd never had a clear sense at how much Seward was loathed by pretty much one and all, and how his erratic behavior was a trial to Lincoln, Charles Francis Adams, Union supporters in Parliament, and well, just about everyone with an even mild interest in supporting the Union cause.
Third, I'd never had any idea at exactly how much hardship the US cotton embargo caused in certain parts of Britain.
Finally, I was surprised at how unprofessional Northern diplomacy was conducted, and how sympathetic to the South large numbers of Britons were.(less)
A better than average entertainment, if you're willing to put aside a few wince worthy problems with the characters and the plot. As in, these kids ai...moreA better than average entertainment, if you're willing to put aside a few wince worthy problems with the characters and the plot. As in, these kids ain't acting like high school kiddies. As in, the whodunit was about as transparent as mountain air.
Granted and granted. But for better or worse neither of these issues struck me as insuperable problems. I suppose it is simply that what I want from a book, first and foremost, is to be entertained. Do that, and I'll suspend my disbelief, and do it gladly. And I was, so I did.
Can't say this book rocked my world, but I do think if you read the blurb and think it will appeal to you, I can't really think why it shouldn't.(less)
Cute. Which means I was entertained (good), but also found this one impossible to take seriously (Eh, not sure.) Also some of the purplest purple pros...moreCute. Which means I was entertained (good), but also found this one impossible to take seriously (Eh, not sure.) Also some of the purplest purple prose I think I've ever stumbled across. Viz:
Even if Tessa had not seen her before, she would have known who she was instantly – known her by her black hair, by the violet blue of her eyes, by the graceful curve of her white throat, the delicate angles of her features, the full swoop of her mouth.
Sounds like Ms. Clare is wheeling out the dessert cart, doesn't it?
Beyond that: Does the plot make sense? Or, to rephrase, does anybody care? Well, I guess I do care, and, sadly, the answer is...sort of. Implausibilities abound, but if you've got a nifty cover, lots of descriptives of Victorian era dresses, suits, coaches, the "curve of her white throat," etc., eh, the time passes and it is on to the next book.
Predictable, but not too tediously so. A decent way to pass the time, but also one to be put in the rear view mirror with no regrets.
Alas, the movie v...morePredictable, but not too tediously so. A decent way to pass the time, but also one to be put in the rear view mirror with no regrets.
Alas, the movie version...now that one works, but as an emetic. I could not even make it ten minutes into yet another set-in-high-school, acted-by-twentysomethings train wreck. I'd consider it an after school special, if doing so would count as an insult to after-school specials. (As this would.)(less)
Note: I received a reviewer copy of this work in EPub format, at my request and for no cost, on the condition that I prepare an honest review.
I'm sorr...moreNote: I received a reviewer copy of this work in EPub format, at my request and for no cost, on the condition that I prepare an honest review.
I'm sorry to say that if I had not received this as a review copy, I probably would not have finished it. Why? The first third of the work is a confused muddle. I simply had no idea what was going on, had no sense that I was going to find out what was going on, and wasn't "hooked" to any great degree by any of the characters, the setting or the action.
And yet, I'm also glad to have persevered. All became clear, or at any rate clearer, as the book progressed. In fact, I'd have to say that this novel has one of the more intriguing settings of any novel I've read in recent memory. The concept of the "Existence" contra the "LV," the virtual worlds inhabitants of the Existence could create were all quite well done. And, yes, the pace also picked up, and did so tremendously.
Thus, I'd say two stars for the first third, four stars for the last two-thirds. Which I admit does not equal three stars on average, but, eh, I guess I was also a bit underwhelmed by the romantic aspects, so I'm rounding down rather than up.