Good book. I felt it moved rather slowly for most of the first half, however. If you are not a book-lover or interested in history, you will probablyGood book. I felt it moved rather slowly for most of the first half, however. If you are not a book-lover or interested in history, you will probably not enjoy this story. The novel was told in three different time frames and there were lots of names of people to remember, which sometimes became a bit confusing.
The main character, Peter, became much more likable as the story progressed and the love story between him and his beloved, Amanda, was beautiful.
All in all, I enjoyed the book and if you are a book lover, which I assume you are if you are reading this lol, I would recommend giving it a chance!...more
What a wonderful story! Wonderfully written with a dark, horrifying plot. The descriptions are so vivid and so pr** All my reviews contain spoilers **
What a wonderful story! Wonderfully written with a dark, horrifying plot. The descriptions are so vivid and so precise and it is hard to not feel what it must have been like for him to have a noose around his neck. To be able to bring a reader in to feel fear and anxiousness and hope along with the protagonist is a gift. For the main character to come SO CLOSE to being reunited with his family and his life again, only to have it taken away at the last minute by the monster of reality is shattering.
This is a great short read and I was on the fence between a 2 and 3 star rating. I went with 3-stars because I did**all my reviews contain spoilers**
This is a great short read and I was on the fence between a 2 and 3 star rating. I went with 3-stars because I did enjoy reading it to find out what was going to happen next. Annabel Christopher is a shallow, talentless, actress who has pretty much gotten by in the acting business by taking on roles with little depth or intensity. Her husband, Fredrick, her husband of 12 years despises her superficial persona and has his own career as a sometimes-employed, although talented, screenwriter. They both put up fronts for the public and the media, mostly for her benefit, even to go as far as to have a baby to prove to the world they are a perfect family. All the while, Frederick is having affairs and not particularly caring whether Annabel knows it or not. However, she is not a victim, nor is she without her imperfections as well. THe indifference they feel towards each other turns into sheer hatred, on Frederick's part. The final 'act', so to speak, is unthinkable. Not only does Frederick commit suicide, but he does so in a way to make Annabel seem like the person at fault and even uses this incident to kill her career (so he hopes).
This was a quick read and had an interesting story-line. This is my first Muriel Spark novel, so I don't know what her style is like, but I felt the story was a bit flat at times and really, none of the characters were developed fully or stood out in a special way (other than Billy O'Brien). I would like to read more by this author....more
I had written a review immediately after reading this book, and decided to delete that one and write a new one. Som**all my reviews contain spoilers**
I had written a review immediately after reading this book, and decided to delete that one and write a new one. Sometimes it takes a little while to digest a story and understand the message(s) it was trying to get across; and that is what happened with this book. I originally had written that there were lots of different characters, opposed to one main protagonist and felt that all of them had their own separate trials to go through, although all characters were connected to each other in some way. This is true, although, after thinking on it for a little while, it is very clear: this is a book about loss. All the characters in this novel have lost something: a marriage, a life-long business, property, friendships, integrity, and love...among other things.
Although the novel is very very slow, which is why I think I felt initially annoyed when I first finished it, there are stories there, and quite deep and painful ones, if you try to understand them a little. It's about opportunities missed, and having regrets, and second-guessing decisions, wanting to love but being afraid to ... there is a lot of those things intertwined with the behavior of these characters. I initially gave the book 2-stars for its very slow pace, but I changed it to 3-stars because I believe that sometimes the messages within a story will not immediately slap you in the face right away, but may quietly leave a mark that takes a little more time to understand....more
My first Margaret Atwood novel. This book is not a book that you will finish and say "that was so bad**all my reviews will probably contain spoilers**
My first Margaret Atwood novel. This book is not a book that you will finish and say "that was so bad" or "that was so good!" No. It takes a little bit of time to digest the story, the characters, how you feel about their behaviors, and how everyone connected to Marian - well, I did anyway. I will say that this story (in the 1960's) is well ahead of it's time, so I give it a lot of credit for making Marian (and, at times, Ainsley) a character who wanted more than to just be a wife and mother. She wanted to have aspiriations, she just didn't know what those were yet.
The main theme of the story is that after her boyfriend, Peter, proposes marriage, Marian little by little, becomes entirely disgusted with more and more foods - seeing everything as a sort of human counterpart and just unable to eat anything, even vegetables. Clearly, this is related to her anxiousness and stress of the impending thought of marriage. What I didn't get from the story was that I didn't see Peter as a controlling, co-dependent person who was trying to "destroy and devour" her. He was actually quite patient and understanding with her bizarre and sometimes idiotic and immature behavior.
Then there was Duncan. I didn't like him AT ALL. He was self-centered, mean, and completely absorbed with his own life and his own issues. He showed Marian hardly any kindness and positive attention and most of his comments to her were insults (e.g., making fun of how she looked with her hair and make up done, and insulting their night of sex, etc). If he had any sort of adoration for her, it was completely to fulfill his own need of validation. There was nothing appealing about his character, in my opinion. But, perhaps the reason Atwood made him that was was to make him an exact opposite of Peter.
The other characters added color and diversity to the story: the Landlady, Ainsley, the office "virgins, Len, etc. I felt like this was somewhat of a coming of age story to an extent where Marian realized that not being with anyone is okay and in her own mind feeling that marriage just to marry was not being true to her heart. She DID finally gain control of her self and I really did like that about the book. It's a good read....more
What a great little book. A work of fiction based on real people and real events that happened in and/or around**All my reviews may contain spoilers**
What a great little book. A work of fiction based on real people and real events that happened in and/or around the late 1800's. The three main characters are all siblings: Alice James the sister of William and Henry James; one a writer and the other an artist-turned famed psychologist. They are investigating the violent murders of women in London and trying to find the notorious Jack the Ripper.
Ms. Marantz Cohen intermingles fiction with non-fiction and I really enjoyed the method in which she described various interactions between all the characters involved. Dinner parties with famous poets, writers, and artists discuss the work of that time period was executed nicely and believably. Making a story of fiction from real life people and events is not as easy as one might think, and could make character development very difficult. But I found that the author really did this story justice.
What I thought very interesting was the accurate descriptions and details of the Ripper murders, especially that of Mary Jane Kelly. As in real life, she was supposedly the last of, and most gruesomely mutilated, victims of all. The novel explains in great detail the condition that Ms. Kelly was found and the horror of the people who found her.
I also felt the character descriptions of James and Henry and their sister Alice were pretty accurate as far as what we know of them from history. Although history states that the "real" Alice was actually a bit more mentally ill than that of the one described in the book. The 'book' Alice seemed to have no real reason to be, as what she is referred to often in the book, and "invalid". I found her to be quite intelligent and useful, yet wanted to scream at her for her imaginary weaknesses that kept her bed-ridden.
Although most of the book was concentrated on William and his personal and familial conflicts, I enjoyed all the characters and their interactions with each other. And I was quite sad to find out Alice and William died leaving Henry as the sole sibling.
Very enjoyable book - I'd like to read more by this author :)...more
A semi-autobiographical book by Sylvia Plath (originally written under the pen name Victoria Lucas), is Plath's onl**All my reviews contain spoilers**
A semi-autobiographical book by Sylvia Plath (originally written under the pen name Victoria Lucas), is Plath's only novel. She committed suicide shortly after it's publication and it is said that the story mirrors Plath's own struggles with depression, isolation, and her stints in mental asylums.
This book is intense, and probably not for everyone. The main character, Esther Greenwood, has what seems to be a very bright academic future ahead of her. Like many young women, she becomes unsure of what she wants to do with her life (should she continue on with college, should she write a book, travel, marry, etc). She becomes very disillusioned with her options and little by little, is plagued by horrible insomnia, leading to a deep depression and desire to commit suicide.
Even though this is a very sad story, Ms. Plath managed to make it quite humorous at times and gave the reader the chance to see what progressive depression feels like. The supporting characters were interesting and added a lot to the story; I specifically liked the fact that the doctor who finally gave Esther the help and compassion she needed was a female psychiatrist - I felt this gave Esther a positive view of a strong, smart, independent woman.
I am very interested in reading more about Sylvia Plath, and what a shame that this was her only novel....more
I finished reading this book a few days ago -normally I write a review right away when the book is fresh in my mind a*All my reviews contain spoilers*
I finished reading this book a few days ago -normally I write a review right away when the book is fresh in my mind and my feelings on it are at their most vivid. However, this is probably the first time I read a book and felt so indecisive on my feelings about it, as a whole. I think I am one of the very few reviewers who don't either hate it to all hell or call it the best book ever written.
This book has to be considered in two separate aspects. This story of an apocalyptic world where the human race has managed to fuck itself into a burned, grey, sullen ash that has either killed everyone off or left those alive starving, stealing, wishing they were dead. The two main characters, a father only identified as 'Papa' and his young son, who -you guessed it -is only identified as the 'Boy'. Years and years have gone by since the the cataclysmic destruction, but you aren't really sure exactly HOW long, and it only hints at it in this story.
The story itself is intriguing. I think that is where I found interest: this is something that is not too far off of the radar of reality with the way our environment is progressing. We could very well see ourselves in their predicament. I felt that the writer was so descriptive in his story-telling that I could FEEL the cold, barren wilderness. I could SEE the ash covered ground and grey blanket of nothingness that surrounded this duo. As hopeless as their situation was, there was still hope -for what, I don't know. But the question is provocative.
Now, with all that said, let me bullet point what I felt to be distracting/confusing/irritating (or a combination of all):
- The son, who apparently had been BORN into this life of nothingness, fear, and despair seems to either be 'shivering with fear' all the time, or asking questions that he already knows the answers to. It was as if he had never seen ruin or decay or knew why they had to keep watch of their surroundings.
- I agree with some other reviewers that other than the father wanting to keep them from danger, I really did NOT see a connection between father and son that was remarkable or special in some profound intimate nature. They existed together and watched out for each other, but that was it.
- I know the writer was trying to write in a manner that was descriptive of the story, but the lack of punctuation, quotation marks, chapters, or even paragraphs was confusing, and at times, downright annoying as shit. I kept having to read back and try and figure out who was saying what. I know that writing is an art and when an artist feels the need to change the 'rules', it must be for some reason either only known to him or something that dramatically makes the story. Quotation marks, would have still made this a good story.
This book left me with a lot of questions about their journey: what was the father's insistence to travel towards the coast? What did he think would be waiting their for them? I thought they should have stayed at that underground bunker they found for as long as possible, considering there was food and a decent amount of shelter; why put your son at the risk of continued travel? What really happened to the wife? (the movie goes into a lot more depth about their relationship prior).
All in all, this book kept me interested; I read it in a few days, actually. Yes the writing and composition was questionable, but the story DOES have depth and does make you question your own mortality and asks the 'what would you do if.." question. Would I EVER have thought this was Pulitzer-worthy? Probably not. I didn't hate like and I didn't love it, but any book that has me still thinking about it days after I've finished it speaks volumes in itself.
**my reviews always contain spoilers** Witch Way to Murder, a novel by Shirley Damsgaard is about the lives of Ophelia Jensen and her grandmother, Abbe**my reviews always contain spoilers** Witch Way to Murder, a novel by Shirley Damsgaard is about the lives of Ophelia Jensen and her grandmother, Abbey; both witches in their own right who hail from many generations of women who practiced the craft. This book is categorized in the "Cozy" genre of mystery, which essentially means a murder mystery with no cursing, no sex, little/no violence, etc etc. I don't take issue with any of those factors, as I don't necessarily find them vital to make an exciting story.
There were several things that did not work with this book. I will just name a few:
* From the very beginning of the book and throughout, there is mention of some horrible, traumatic death of Ophelia's best friend Brian, which caused her to isolate herself and fall into what sounds like a deep depression. Only, instead of being depressed, Ophelia is a completely angry, bitter, insensitive woman who treats the people around her (including her own lovely grandmother, Abby at times), like everything they say or do is irritating and a nuisance. I would say the last 20% of the book, she is not so angry, but the reader spends a lot of time with a main character who has very little, if any, redeeming or adorning qualities about her.
* Rick Davis, the new guy in town who claims to be "chemical salesman" is clumsily introduced to the reader. He shows up at Ophelia's library and IMMEDIATELY starts asking strings of (sometimes very personal) questions of her. For a woman who seemed to be irritated by every living person, I found it extremely unbelievable that she would entertain someone like that for any length of time. He starts leaving things for her, showing up at her HOUSE (which I found to be semi-stalkerish), and basically will not leave her alone. I thought his set-up was very very flat and nothing about him was believable - especially what he would see in someone as angry and unapproachable as Ophelia.
* The book finally started to pick up after about page 100, and the ending to the story was just very very silly. Adam Hoffman, the community leader hoping to run for mayor, is found to have been mixed up with stolen supplies used for meth labs to make money for a secret militia that he was hoping would "make the goverment what it should be"?? Really? I was really hoping for some exciting connection with the dead guy, the girl in her dreams, and the meth labs that was a central theme in the story; but there was not.
A lot of the dialogue between Ophelia and Rick seemed forced and downright silly. He seemed to get uncharacteristically mad at her at inappropriate times and for someone who was so strong and didn't take crap from anyone, at times let him boss her around like a child. I DID find her grandmother, Abbey, absolutely lovely and she was a character I liked. I also liked Ophelia's assistant, Darci -- all the other characters: Benny, Jake, Adam, Nina etc, were all very forgettable and brought very little to the story, good or bad. ...more
I cannot say enough wonderful things about this book, I wish I could give it 10 stars! This is actually a non-fiction book written by Stephen King onI cannot say enough wonderful things about this book, I wish I could give it 10 stars! This is actually a non-fiction book written by Stephen King on writing, hence the name. I have been in the process of writing a book and found myself in a slump, doubting my work and content. One of the things I admire about Stephen King is, unlike other writers, he is VERY humble and down-to-earth and the advice and recommendations he offers come from his own experience. When he first started writing short stories as a teenager and sent them in to various magazines, he talks about how he had a nail in his wall to put all the rejection slips, which ended up being a healthy stack full lol! A lot of people dislike his novels because they are not horror fans, however, no one can argue with his brilliant story-telling ability. I have so many story ideas in my head, but have constantly talked myself out of putting them on paper, always thinking I don't have the talent or people wouldn't find them interesting. SK says just WRITE, get it all down on paper "with the door shut" and then decide on a second draft or what you want to do next.
He expresses his uncomfortable-ness with writing non-fiction and says he went back and forth on whether to finish this book, and I'm so glad he did. His tips and advice are so valuable. Although it was written in 1999 so the only thing is it is a tad outdated as far as the way writing is published now (i.e. blogs, online magazines, etc), but that's okay because the main ideas are still the same. If you are an aspiring writer or avid reader even, this book will sing to you in many ways. I hi-lighted and marked the hell out of it and will ALWAYS keep it on my shelf to refer to.
Here are some of my favorite tips and tid bits from the book:
"I believe large numbers of people have at least some talent as writers and storytellers, and that those talents can be strenthened and sharpened. If I didn't believe that, writing this book would be a waste of time." pg. 18
"Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don't have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough." pg. 74
"One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you're maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones." pg. 117
"When you write, you want to get rid of the world, do you not? Of course you do. When you're writing, your're creating your own worlds." pg. 156
"If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. Reading is the creative center of a writer's life." pg. 147...more
*my reviews always contain spoilers* I saw the Netflix series before reading the book; actually I didn't even know the series was based on a book. I do*my reviews always contain spoilers* I saw the Netflix series before reading the book; actually I didn't even know the series was based on a book. I don't like watching movies based on books, before I have read the book, but I have to say that the series was pretty right on as far as the events that occurred. The story is essentially about a well-off, mid-thirties, white, female (Piper Kerman) who gets busted for some drug smuggling she did ten years prior. She humorously writes about her year in a female women's prison.
What makes this story intriguing is the notion that we, as a society, are not used to seeing the upper-class, white female locked up in prison. Had this book been written by a black or latino woman, it would have gotten a lot less attention. Which, when you think about it sucks out loud that minorities in prison is common, therefor uninteresting. But, I digress. I really liked this book. No, it was not beautifully or poetically written. The writing was more journal-esque than anything, but there was an honesty and humility there that was heart felt. As I was reading, there were times when Kerman would make statements about how awful the food was or complain about the the lack of nail polish colors in the commissary and I would immediately think "where does she think she is, she's in PRISON, what does she expect??" Then, sure enough, Kerman would follow up with how she was there because of her own mistakes and had no one else to blame but herself. At no time did I feel that she blamed anyone else for her ending up there and she was constantly humbled by the women she encountered.
I would recommend this book, it's a pretty quick read and not too heavy on the brain. As a woman, I felt a special connection to it. I guess it reminded me that even at our worst, there is still a bond between women that makes us want to help and protect each other. Definitely a good read....more