Edit: My friend Matt recently wrote a review for this book and it's shorter and much nicer than mine so you should read his instead of mine. Matt's reEdit: My friend Matt recently wrote a review for this book and it's shorter and much nicer than mine so you should read his instead of mine. Matt's review is here.
So my childhood came for a visit last weekend. By that, I mean this book came into my life last weekend. Big fonts and equally majestic illustrations reminded me of being a kid again. Yet, this book goes beyond a children's book. Everyone should read it because it conveys a story many other books lack.
I, of course, expected nothing less from K. A. Applegate. She is the co-author of Animorphs and married to author Michael Grant? I think that is a deadly combination.
The book is written in poetic "chapters" that reminded me of Ellen Hopkin's works. Here is a sample:
"Anger is precious. A silverback uses anger to maintain order and warns his troop of danger. When my father beats his chest, it was to say, Beware, listen, I am in charge. I am angry to protect you, because that is what I was born to do."
Here is my domain, there is no one to protect."
There were many passages like this throughout the book that made me felt an assortment of emotions. I felt Ivan's sadness and loneliness. His isolation from his kind and the naivety his human caretakers his given him.
This book is a MUST READ for the old, young, young-at-heart, happy, sad, emotionless, and everyone in between. I cannot begin to put into words how I feel about this book. The above was an attempt but I think I did a pretty crappy job. Just read it, guys.
P.S.: I love how there was a character named Stella in there. :') Bravo, Ms. Applegate. ...more
So my friend Julia told me that it is not necessary to read EVERY Agatha Christie book in order. Which, when you think about it makes sense. Most mystSo my friend Julia told me that it is not necessary to read EVERY Agatha Christie book in order. Which, when you think about it makes sense. Most mystery books are like that; they move from one case to the next, leaving the thinnest thread to remind loyal readers about what has happened before.
But, I guess I'm OCD like that. Not to start on the first book?! -eye twitch-
So like the obedient little robot, I followed the order the books were published in...Here's what I thought. -gavel sound-
So the story takes place at the Styles Manor with a family of rich people. The heiress is poisoned in her bedroom and a partially destroyed will is discovered. In a small town in the country side, you can imagine how scandalous this murder is, especially since the dead heiress has recently remarried.
Just hearing a synopsis like that brings to mind crazy rich Wall Street people working in the shadows, sweeping secrets underneath rugs. While this story didn't involve hired hit-teams plotting to kill an old lady, it did have elements of back-stabbing, gossiping and framing involved. You can feel how on edge every character is because most of them have secrets of their own. I thoroughly enjoyed the intensity of this novel and it certainly kept me guessing as to who the culprit is.
It's also worth noting how well Agatha Christie kept almost all of the characters relevant. There are a bunch of the maids and gardeners who only had one line to say but most character kept reappearing throughout the story.
But, this constant cast of characters can also bring about some not so positive feelings about this book. It would certainly have helped my reading experience if the book provided a character list. Who are you and how are you related to the other characters. The sons and new husband of the dead heiress were quite easy to remember but after that, who was who's wife and who was who's ward...I didn't know. I remember having to search this book on Wikipedia and read through their character descriptions. This would be the main reason I put this book down for over half a year, by which when I picked it back up again, I had to do another round of character-mapping before I understood the whole picture. A nice relationship charts or family tree would have done the job, just saying.
The last thing to keep in mind is that this book is old. Like, your mom old (just kidding). We no longer describe someone as someone's ward. A pharmacist is called a chemist. Some of these words you can guess but it sure take more effort when it comes to reading it.
So even though I enjoy the thrilling mystery and complex web of clues, the lack of flow (due to diction) and confusing characters within the story left me feeling unsatisfied. But I will continue to read more from Agatha...and yes. Next will be #2, not a random number in the series. ;)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I also wanted to comment on Poirot and Hastings since they are the main and supporting characters to this series. But I find their resemblance to Holmes and Watson takes away from what I have to say about them. And this review is edging on the "UGH-this-review-is-so-long-I-will-just-see-how-many-stars-she-gave" length. So... -gavel sound- ...more
If there was one book I wish I had with me when I was in grade 5, this book would be it. Usually, I am not a big fan of coming-of-age stories. I alwayIf there was one book I wish I had with me when I was in grade 5, this book would be it. Usually, I am not a big fan of coming-of-age stories. I always figured I read a book to get away from real life, why would I read about all of life's ups and downs just to throw me back down to reality? I was forced for read Alice, I Think back in grade 9 and I still get shivers down my spine when I think about it. I could never connect with Alice and that was the book's ultimate downfall.
August Pullman, however, was so relatable. Surely most of us don't have it as bad as August but we've all had our own insecurities. Every glance a person directs your way can seem like an x-ray, seeing deep within to where your insecurities are hiding. We've all had days where we want to stay in bed forever and ever so we never had to face the world ever again. R. J. Palacio was able to put words to emotions we've all felt into words simple enough for middle graders. And it wasn't just August's story that resonated with me. From Via and Miranda's struggles to fit into high school to Jack and Summer's friendship with August, I have all felt those emotions and magically, their stories all built on to August's. And often times, I felt blindsided by some of these kids' stories because rarely do you get to see the perspectives of supporting characters. By only seeing one perspective, you can often jump to conclusion and develop a dislike for a certain character or two Jack and Miranda. But then, hearing from their side changes everything. I love it when multiple perspectives intertwine so well together; it's rare for it to be done so well, let alone in the simplistic, easy-to-read manner of Wonder.
Special shoutouts to Auggie's parents, Isabel and Nate, for being the absolute best parents (other than my own, of course). They are like the parents every child wish they had. Not only were they caring, funny and strong, they knew their kids so well. They knew when to let things go, when to bring things up and when their kids needed love. Although their perspectives were never told, you know there were lots going on in their heads; telling their stories would require an entirely separate book.
And lastly, I want to talk about Auggie. He is brave, smart, funny and definitely a wonder. Out of everyone's coming of age story, I loved his the most. Not only is it because he had to put up with much more, but because him alone was able to change other people for the better. When I look back, I realized everyone who has grown throughout the book came into contact with August in some shape or form. It really brings it home that all you need is to get to know a person, no matter what your initial judgement is. You might be surprised at how much this person changes you.
I absolutely adored this book and I would recommend it to everyone. Yes, I'm pointing at you, Reader, to give this book a chance. You might be surprised at how much this book changes you.
Food for thoughts (and I also loved all of the quotes in between different perspectives):
MR. BROWNE’S PRECEPTS SEPTEMBER When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind. —Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
OCTOBER Your deeds are your monuments. —inscription on an Egyptian tomb
NOVEMBER Have no friends not equal to yourself. —Confucius
DECEMBER Audentes fortuna iuvat. (Fortune favors the bold.) —Virgil
JANUARY No man is an island, entire of itself. —John Donne
FEBRUARY It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers. —James Thurber
MARCH Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much. —Blaise Pascal
APRIL What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon be beautiful. —Sappho
MAY Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as you ever can. —John Wesley’s Rule
JUNE Just follow the day and reach for the sun! —The Polyphonic Spree, “Light and Day”
and most of all: AUGUST PULLMAN’S PRECEPT Everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their life because we all overcometh the world. —Auggie ...more
Edit: Just found out my town has a club named after Zaphod Beeblebrox and it is known as The Nightclub at the Edge of the Universe. And they feature PEdit: Just found out my town has a club named after Zaphod Beeblebrox and it is known as The Nightclub at the Edge of the Universe. And they feature Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters! Ahhhh, I'm laughing so hard right now. Too bad I don't go to clubs.
End of update.
The book was hilarious and Stephen Fry was phenomenal on the audiobook. I can totally see why this is a classic. Too bad the movie came in below par. ...more