Wow! This one will take a while to sink in. Very unusual and I was captivated from the beginning.
Full review: What a weird little book! This one is haWow! This one will take a while to sink in. Very unusual and I was captivated from the beginning.
Full review: What a weird little book! This one is hard to describe beyond the paragraph up above. Don't get me wrong, I liked the book. This one just may be a little hard to market. The cover and short chapters make it appear to be a middle grade book, but the eff words and a gruesome murder scene pulls away from that audience. I almost put it in the same category as Wonder by Palacio. Both wonderful books, but to me adults will like the heart-felt stories better than kids. Regardless, this book deserves to be heard.
The storytelling is fantastic. I was mesmerized during the first opening chapters. I'm a sucker for a British accent (thanks to Robert Madge), but the words themselves were captivating. I was immediately sympathetic to Standish. He is more than just different, he is one of a kind and I don't mean that in a good way. His home life if bleak and his school life is downright frightening. I kept asking myself if any of this was really possible. Oy, sucked right in... The big secret and ending might just leave you a little teary. Highly recommend, 14+....more
Here I am again...a year late. Wait, two years this time! This audio is so good that it deserves a review ten years later. I was completely mesmerizedHere I am again...a year late. Wait, two years this time! This audio is so good that it deserves a review ten years later. I was completely mesmerized by the narrators voice. She had a giant range and played every character amazingly. This book has such an old feel - it took me forever to figure out what time period it was in. The language is so poetic and beautiful you just feel like you are in the Victorian Era (which you aren't). The story is original and there is so much mystery centered around everyone that you find yourself sitting in the garage listening to the end of the chapter then running in the house to read the next. Do yourself a favor and read again or for the first time on audio....more
Have you read The Wednesday Wars by Schmidt? If so, you will recognize Mr. Doug Swieteck. He is a sweet kid with a pretty crap home life. In this noveHave you read The Wednesday Wars by Schmidt? If so, you will recognize Mr. Doug Swieteck. He is a sweet kid with a pretty crap home life. In this novel, Doug moves to a new town and he immediately realizes he doesn't have a whole lot to be cheery about in this crap town either. Doug can't escape his bullying brother who falls in love with the wrong crowd. He also can't escape his dad, abusive in every sense of the word. Listening to Doug put up with his brothers tactics and his fathers downright cruel remarks and despicable behavior was really uncomfortable. I was angry at everyone for a long time for not rescuing Doug from his family. Yes, Doug has a loving mother but she is caught up in the abusive cycle as well. Plus, this was the 1960s and people put up with a lot of crap they shouldn't have back then. Just when things go a little bit right for Doug something goes wrong. Over and over again. It was painful to think that there are real kids just like Doug. They are emotionally beaten down by the ones that should lift them up the most. Do kids come in my library who live like this? Would I recognize any of the signs of an abused kid? I sure hope I do.
Doug's two little saving graces are Lil Spicer and the library. Lil is a spitfire girl and possibly the first real friend Doug has ever known. Their friendship starts out a little rough, but it was endearing to hear. Gosh, I loved hearing that the library was the one place where nothing bad happens to Doug. There is an entire side story of a special book in the library that transforms Doug's life. He is beyond mesmerized with John James Audubon’s Birds of America and the illustrations turn Doug's life around - literally.
There really isn't much I didn't love about this book. I was drawn into the story via the characters from the first few minutes. I had to listen to the whole thing just to see what happened to Doug. I know there was a lot of buzz for this book and the Newbery and now I know why. Whew, amazing! 5 giant stars!...more
There is a reason this book has earned six starred reviews. Or is it seven? You get my point - everyone loves this book, and you can count me in thatThere is a reason this book has earned six starred reviews. Or is it seven? You get my point - everyone loves this book, and you can count me in that crowd. Lucky is stuck in this crap rotation of getting picked on and then sucking it up, turning a blind eye to cruelty like his father has taught him. Over the years the bullying has gotten worse and this crap kid named Nader has been relentless in his teasing and 'boys will be boys' behavior. After a bad situation goes predictably worse, Lucky and his mom visit his uncle in Arizona and wait for things to cool down back home and for the wounds to heal. Lucky spends his days trying to blend into the wallpaper and his dream filled nights are spent with his presumed dead, POW grandfather. Lucky is determined to rescue his grandfather and be the hero he isn't in real life. When Lucky meets a seemingly perfect girl who has it all (she totally doesn't), he starts to gain confidence and find his way out of the bleak.
What I love most about ANTS are the flaws of the characters. Each character in this book is literally running and/or hiding from something. They are real people with real problems and are totally relatable. Lucky's mom swims in order to escape from her not so perfect marriage, Lucky's uncle hides behinds his bench press while his wife hides behind her gravy covered food, and Lucky runs to his dreams to be the man he wants to be. Even with the flaws, everyone has redeeming qualities. They are all just trying the best they can with the hand they've been dealt. I especially love Lucky's Aunt Jodi. She was the sometimes needed comedic break. She is pushy, preachy, and a total basket case at times, and I loved it! I honestly wondered many times if King knew someone like that in real life. Her one liners and insensitivity had to be based on someone. I also loved the late (to me), placement of neighbor Ginny. I think if she came along earlier when Lucky first arrived in Arizona things would have gone differently. Very quickly we learn of her not so peachy home life and her brave streak. I think if the two were introduced earlier in the story, Lucky would not have been ready to be brave as well.
The first time Lucky met his grandfather in his dreams I wasn't really sure what to think. I certainly felt for him as he tries to rescue him night after night. After a few dreams, we get to know who is grandfather was alive and I found myself wanting Lucky to slip out of reality to hear their conversations in the jungle. Yes, we meet some crazy war characters along the way, but their nightly storytelling was special to hear. The last conversation....tears, smiles, and more tears.
There is so much going on in this book and props to King for keeping everything sorted and beautifully balanced. A stand out audio, and I highly recommend!...more