Content rating: 4/5 Editing rating: 2/5 due to excessive use of exclamation points! I think there were at least three per page!
In all seriousness, thisContent rating: 4/5 Editing rating: 2/5 due to excessive use of exclamation points! I think there were at least three per page!
In all seriousness, this book was enjoyable, even though I didn't watch Candace's season of "Dancing With the Stars" because we had cancelled our cable TV. Biblically sound, conversational in tone, an easy read overall....more
Note to fans of "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" - this is not the same kind of book. It had potential to be, but fell far short. INote to fans of "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" - this is not the same kind of book. It had potential to be, but fell far short. I stuck it out till the end, even though in places the reading was tedious. I will say that even though I found the end to be a bit predictable, I think that the characters redeemed this book from one to three stars. I just can't give it four or even five, though. It wasn't as enjoyable to me as other historical fiction books I have read. (Thanks to NetGalley for a proof copy of this novel.) ...more
When it was first announced that Harper Lee had a second book, a predecessor of sorts to her beloved and wonderful To Kill a Mockingbird, I think manyWhen it was first announced that Harper Lee had a second book, a predecessor of sorts to her beloved and wonderful To Kill a Mockingbird, I think many of us who are readers and writers and teachers were first shocked, then delighted. Another novel by Lee! How wonderful! Of course it should be published with pomp and ceremony and fanfare!
I know that there is much debate in the press about this novel, not only about the odd timing (after Alice Lee’s death, it was suddenly found underneath a Mockingbird manuscript), but also that it was the rough first novel that led to the editor suggesting the change in point of view and age of the heroine. I read a couple of articles on the eve of its publication with attention-grabbing headlines about Atticus Finch being a racist, and I decided then and there to avoid reading anything else (including my friends’ reviews and comments on social media sites) and, to borrow a line from The Great Gatsby’s narrator Nick, “to reserve all judgments” until I had finished the book myself.
Let me state at the outset I don’t think there will be much debate about authorship. In anticipating this novel’s arrival on my doorstep, I reread To Kill a Mockingbird, and it is evident from the very first page that the author of Go Set a Watchman is the same. In fact, there are a few passages that are nearly identical in both books (one about the Cunningham family, another about Aunt Alexandra, among others). This book was not edited in the same way, which is consistent with the story of its origin.
Here is a comparison that came to mind last night that may help make sense for other readers: If you have read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, then you likely remember finishing These Happy Golden Years and rushing to read The First Four Years—and perhaps feeling disappointed that the book was not the same, somehow. It was about the same people, and it follows in time and story, but the prose was sparser, stark in places, with a darker tone and a very different feel. We never doubted the author was the same, and the editorial note added confidence. What we know now is that The First Four Years was not edited by Wilder’s editor, her own daughter Rose, and that is precisely why its prose is darker and sparser.
I get the same impression from Watchman. The prose is darker, the subject matter heavier, and the point of view of a young adult woman dealing with the changes she sees in her father—and by extension her hometown—is also heavier and harder than what we find in Mockingbird.
If the legend of this book’s history is to be believed, then the editor who first suggested that Lee change Scout’s age and rewrite the story about Maycomb, setting it in the middle of the Great Depression and focusing on Boo Radley and the Tom Robinson trial from her younger self’s point of view, was a genius. Mockingbird is a better book by far. However, I think that if we take away the media hype surrounding its predecessor, Go Set a Watchman has much to offer.
I found Jean Louise to be a believable heroine, a reliable narrator with flaws of her own, who goes through one of the most difficult transitions of adulthood throughout the course of this novel: She realizes her father, whom she idolizes, is not the man she thought he was. Indeed, the passage detailing Atticus and racism is a difficult one, and I had to set the novel aside for a time after reading it. I can see why the media has grabbed onto that one scene and splashed it across the headlines. It is difficult to read, yet powerful. But whether or not Atticus Finch was racist isn’t the point of the novel at all. Jean Louise’s journey is the point. It is her story, and it is her struggle, and who among us who has realized the faults of their admired parents hasn’t faced the same crisis of belief and identity? I can recall three separate incidents in my own adulthood where I had to come face-to-face with some major issues involving my parents and decide within myself that those things did not have to change my love for them. The pedestals broke and I found myself on the same ground as my parents, a human being with flaws and sins, who made mistakes and was not perfect. Parents should not be idols, and the process by which adults come to terms with this fact is probably as different as each individual and family.
Jean Louise has to come to terms with her father’s flaws, and it is a difficult thing indeed. How many of us after reading To Kill a Mockingbird felt like Atticus Finch was the ultimate hero? How many of us who also watched the famous film of the novel still hear Gregory Peck’s voice pleading “In the name of God, do your duty” at the end of his defense of Tom Robinson in the summer-hot Maycomb courtroom? I wonder if the criticisms we will read in upcoming weeks will have something to do with the smashing of the pedestal of a literary hero and the personal stories of each of us and how we view Atticus Finch and his daughter Jean Louise, their relationship, and whether there is any truth to the old saying, “You can’t go home again.”
So the question becomes, should you read this novel? I will say yes and no. I still think To Kill a Mockingbird should be required reading, and I strongly encourage you to read it if you haven’t already. Go Set a Watchman is a powerful story in its own right, and while I don’t think it approaches the genius of Mockingbird, I think it has much to offer as its predecessor. Novelists should read it as Lee’s first novel and marvel at how much more wonderful her prose and story become in her masterpiece. Literary scholars and English teachers will find much to pick apart and analyze in its symbols, sometimes disjointed plot, and overall themes. Historians will glory in its historical context and sociologists will enjoy placing it in the turbulent times leading up to the Civil Rights movement. But if you are a person who wants Scout and Atticus Finch and Maycomb to stay the same as they are in the final pages of To Kill a Mockingbird and you don’t want your views of them tainted in any way, by all means do not read Watchman.
To say that I was excited about reading Emily Freeman's new book Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World is truly an understatementTo say that I was excited about reading Emily Freeman's new book Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World is truly an understatement. I've been in a season of great change for quite some time now, so the idea of a book that focuses on small-moment living truly appealed to me.
"Tuesday holds the ordinary, the everyday, and the small," Freeman writes. But did she decide to dismiss Tuesday? Ignore Tuesday? On the contrary, "I decided to mark them, to celebrate on purpose the messy, the lovely, and the unexpected moments of life."
In essence, celebrating "Simply Tuesday" has become so much more. On Instagram there is the fun hashtag #itssimplytuesday wherein the community of Tuesday dwellers celebrates the ordinary, small things in our lives that are worth noting. For me, it has become a way to look at the small, to take moments to sit and breathe, and to celebrate the ever-constant, often-quiet presence of Emmanuel, "God With Us" in this very human and often unsacred life.
The best chapters, for me, were "Success and Envy" and "Stairwells and Stages." I think the important wisdom offered there was perfect for me as I read this book in the midst of living as simply as I ever have--in our new house with air mattresses and suitcases until our belongings and furniture arrived.
If you're looking for a quiet moment to breathe in the midst of turmoil or busyness or even just LIFE, please order this book. You'll be glad you did.
Disclaimer: I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review....more
I was torn on how to review this book. The premise is good, but I feel like I've read it before. The constant references to how great teen sex is wasI was torn on how to review this book. The premise is good, but I feel like I've read it before. The constant references to how great teen sex is was not easy to read (as I'm the mom of two teen girls and I'm teaching them to save themselves for marriage). I just didn't enjoy it. I only stuck with the whole thing because I knew I needed to write a review.
I received a NetGalley review copy in exchange for a review....more
I got this book as I was preparing to move across North America. For the Love gave me laughter, it gave me teary-eyed mHealing, humorous, and helpful.
I got this book as I was preparing to move across North America. For the Love gave me laughter, it gave me teary-eyed moments, and it gave me new phrases, like "off the beam" and "leggings as pants" (just say no, friends...) and the best of all: "Be Kind. Be You. Love Jesus."
If there is a book you want to give to all your friends, this would be the one. Jen Hatmaker has a smart and sassy sense of humor, and this book makes all of us feel that she's our very own bestie. She speaks truth in love and humor.
Here is my endorsement of the book. It wasn't chosen to be printed in the book itself, but it's on the website. =======
Biblical, humorous, poignant, and sometimes just a little bit irreverent, every chapter in Jen Hatmaker’s latest book For the Love is focused on what the title says: Everything we do, we do for the Love: love for God, love for His Son Jesus, love for His people. All His people: the people in our homes, in our churches, in our communities, in the world. I laughed and cried in turn, and my heart was moved to love God and His people in real and tangible ways. What more could one ask for in one book?...more