After two attempts to read this borrowed from the library book, I'm stopping for good at page 124. The prose is so well done and the plot summary so fAfter two attempts to read this borrowed from the library book, I'm stopping for good at page 124. The prose is so well done and the plot summary so fascinating and kind of creepy (since it's probably happening right now in the US—low cal sweetener that's actually bad for you!) that I hoped I'd be able to finish it. But I can't help it—I'm bored. I'm tired of all the odd, lengthy footnotes, I'm tired of the plot itself and the characters, especially the narrator, David. I honestly can't see where the plot is going—is David finally going to confess to his family (and to the world) that Sweetness #9 is bad for them? (Or is this story his only confession?) And what happens after that? I guess I don't much care.
Damn. I really wanted to like this. Disappointed. ...more
Fascinating, well-written, sort of terrifying look at an extremist religion which seems to view female oppression as more a top priority than enlighteFascinating, well-written, sort of terrifying look at an extremist religion which seems to view female oppression as more a top priority than enlightenment or pursuit of service for God. I'm glad that the author managed to make her escape from a world she obviously did not belong in, and that she has a chance to raise her son outside of the one she was raised in.
Hoping the author keeps writing and publishing. ...more
**spoiler alert** I read about 181 pages of this book and decided I couldn't stand another word of it. The writing is pretty awful, and I lost track o**spoiler alert** I read about 181 pages of this book and decided I couldn't stand another word of it. The writing is pretty awful, and I lost track of how many sentences end with "to", which irked me to no end. (Where was this author's editor??) One could make the argument that, because the story was told in June's voice, a fourteen-year-old, that maybe it made sense to end so many sentences that way, except for the fact that the entire family has the worst grammar as well.
Anyway, at first, I thought I was getting into the plot, but then in the middle of the book I couldn't see where any of it was going. I was also getting sick of all the characters. June, the narrator, is an odd duck. She would rather pretend she lives in the middle ages than in 1987, and had an apparently too close relationship with her now deceased Uncle Finn. (Her was her only friend and later she admits she was in love with him.) When June confesses how weird she is, first to Ben (a kid about her age who is really into Dungeons and Dragons), and then to Toby, Finn's boyfriend, both let it slide and don't confront her on her weirdness, apparently because both of these guys are equally weird.
Then there's Greta, June's bitchy, mean-girl, self-absorbed older sister. She seems to go out of her way to be mean to June and to distance herself from her dying uncle. Later, the reader finds out that she's "that way" because she was so jealous that June and Finn had such a special relationship—and she hates Finn because she blames him for stealing all of June's attention, in spite of the fact that it was mainly Greta who distanced herself from June. (There was even a point during an April's Fool Day that Greta meanly tells June that Finn has died. What a nasty little bitch! I was totally disgusted by all of Greta's behavior. Every time she smiled her smug smile, I wanted to slap it right off her face.)
I also pretty much decided to stop reading after the section when June's mother, Danni, nastily tells June that June should stop moping around since it's been a whole month (!) since Finn died, and that since she, Danni, was Finn's sister, she, not June, should be a total mess over his death. What, why does she get to have a monopoly on grief? It had to be pretty obvious to the entire family that June had a super close relationship with her uncle, and obviously spent so much time with him because she liked to do so. Yet she's not allowed to grieve past a month?? Come on, that's bullshit!
Toby. I don't even know what to say about him. Like June, he is a pretty odd duck. (I also have to say that Finn's strange note in the Book of Days pleading June, a fourteen-year-old high school student, to take care of Toby, a thirty-year-old grown man, because he doesn't have anyone, was a low blow. Manipulative and sneaky.)
I stopped also because I was so bored, and I was getting angry with everyone. I also have to wonder: wasn't 1982 the year that people were finding out about AIDS? So wouldn't they have known a bit more by 1987? (Maybe not accepted or properly acknowledged, but perhaps not presented in this shoddy, secretive way?) The timeline felt off.
One of the other things that I didn't like, though I suspect was a "theme" of the topic, was this notion that no one could just say exactly what was one his or her mind. Instead, everything was one stupid secret after the next, and one changing of the topic after the next. June does this constantly with Toby, never wanting him to see her real feelings about Finn, and the whole family does it with each other, and even Toby does it, ignoring June's question of how he and Finn met. (The answers are pretty boring, so it seems like the author wanted to hold on that mystery element as long as possible, knowing how anti-climatic everything would turn out to be.) ...more
I flew through this book in less the a week, practically unheard of for me, the slow reader that I am (with the exception of the Twilight and Hunger GI flew through this book in less the a week, practically unheard of for me, the slow reader that I am (with the exception of the Twilight and Hunger Games series). I loved it, the intelligent, beautifully written prose, the voices of the women and all of their accomplishments and friendships. (I did not like Hilly or Stuaret or Leroy one bit though.) More reviewing when I have more time. For now I will just say this is a new favorite book and I'm highly anticipating (if and when) Kathryn Strockett's next book. ...more
Well-written, good read about the history of "the murderesses of Cook County" during the 1920s and how the play/movie/stage production/musical of "ChiWell-written, good read about the history of "the murderesses of Cook County" during the 1920s and how the play/movie/stage production/musical of "Chicago" came to be. I especially liked reading this after reading "The Poisoner's Handbook" by Deborah Blum, which was about murder, jazz and the "birth of forensic medicine" during Prohibition in New York City, because this book referenced several of the events mentioned in that book.
**spoiler alert** I think I'm teetering between 3 and 1/2 and four stars for this. It was a pretty good mystery, compelling and a page turner, but so**spoiler alert** I think I'm teetering between 3 and 1/2 and four stars for this. It was a pretty good mystery, compelling and a page turner, but so little was known of the story progression for so long, and left mostly everything to the final exposition between two characters. I liked the main character pretty well, Nergui, and Drew, the English policeman who ended up being used a bargining chip for a desperate... killer? ... or something else? It was a little unclear what "professional" actually meant.
It was different and interesting, set in pre-winter Mongolia post Soviet/ Russian control/ influence, with what seemed to be a serial killer who mutilates corpses on the loose. Maybe the story was just so subtle that I missed something along the way. The book was a good read, well written but kind of simple— so the pages turn relatively fast, even for a slow reader like me. ...more
**spoiler alert** I read this back in high school, after I had heard it was on the "banned book" list. I could see why . . . it's about a young mother**spoiler alert** I read this back in high school, after I had heard it was on the "banned book" list. I could see why . . . it's about a young mother who slowly uncovers/ discovers the truth about her heritage and that her young daughter, Rhoda, is more than just an innocent child— she's a sociopath and killer. The writing is so well done and taut— beautiful and chilling. I want read it again. ...more
**spoiler alert** I read this for Romanticism class in grad school. It's not too bad (though since it's a "classic" book, the writing sometimes trips**spoiler alert** I read this for Romanticism class in grad school. It's not too bad (though since it's a "classic" book, the writing sometimes trips you up). It's about a young guy, Werther (pronounced "Verh-tah") who's so lovesick over a girl who won't return any of his affections that he eventually decides he must commit suicide (he fails and ends up shooting himself in the head, and then after suffering for days, dies of the wound). This is one of those books where life actually started to imitate art, because many young teens during the time period when this became popular attempted and/ or actually committed suicide because that's what the book "advocates". (Not really; that's like saying that "A Modest Proposal" "advocates" the eating of babies or orphans). It has a sardonic tone and is kind of funny in its irony. ...more