**spoiler alert** I read this book all in one night. It was written about two friends being "re-educated" in communist China in the early 1970's. (Int...more**spoiler alert** I read this book all in one night. It was written about two friends being "re-educated" in communist China in the early 1970's. (Interestingly, the author himself had been through re-education).
While the two city boys are working in a remote mountain village, they get acquainted with the Little Seamstress, a beautiful girl who the one boy, Luo, falls in love with, and who both boys are captivated by. Being educated boys, able to read and write, they feel a duty to help broaden the Little Seamstresses horizons by reading to her from a stash of forbidden Western novels they find.
After tales from Balzac and the Count of Monte Cristo, the Little Seamstress slowly, and inevitably, begins to change, cuts her hair, changes her style, and decides she wishes to be a city girl. And she leaves her love and her friend to take her beauty and her new-found knowledge and intelligence with her.
To me it read as a parable, a cautionary tale, and I was so sad at the end. I actually thought that one sad outcome was going to happen, but was rapidly introduced to the new one. Neither would have been a happy ending.
The book, although sad, was a terrific read, and it often had some rather funny moments. This is for anyone who has ever lost themselves to the world of books.
I was deeply, deeply affected by this book. I've read and loved everything Augusten Burroughs has ever written, and have enjoyed his writing style -- the laugh-til-you-cry type of writing that keeps me reading all night long and into the early hours of the morning. Yes, it covers some deeply human subjects, but his humor was, to me, wonderful.
This book was a departure from the norm. I won't go into the plot. What I'll say is that it took great courage to write this book, greater courage to survive his life intact in order TO write it.
I can't write much more about it. Like I said, it affected me deeply, and to write at length about it tends to make my hands shake.
I don't know how I missed this on my book shelf, but if you SAW my book shelves, floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall beauties, you'd understand.
This book i...moreI don't know how I missed this on my book shelf, but if you SAW my book shelves, floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall beauties, you'd understand.
This book is the offering of a young author (very young -- he started this book when he was seventeen)and it's written about love found and lost, betrayal, murder, intrigue, secrets, and obsession.
The very first page of the book opens with an elderly man saying that he has just killed his wife, and that she deserved it, and then he goes on to tell his story to explain why. The story is filled with a feeling of dread and despair and foreboding, and although I knew how it would end, it was still rather well done -- especially considering how young the author was.
It's not a book for everyone -- but if you liked "Atonement", you should give this one a try.
I'm not sure I'm grooving on this series yet. I kept feeling like I hadn't read something and flipped back and forth a lot to see if I could figure ou...moreI'm not sure I'm grooving on this series yet. I kept feeling like I hadn't read something and flipped back and forth a lot to see if I could figure out what they were talking about. I have a hard time seeing this as juvenile fiction -- it seems way more philisophical than that.
I'll keep with the series, but not at ALL what I expected.
I really enjoyed this book, although at many times, it was dark and disturbing and I wanted to reach through the book and yank some sense into the mai...moreI really enjoyed this book, although at many times, it was dark and disturbing and I wanted to reach through the book and yank some sense into the main character, Rebecca/Hazel. "What are you DOING???" I wanted to shout more than once. I was struck with how much utter crap Rebecca/Hazel could take, and just when I'd about given up on her, she would pull out a backbone.
Overall, though, I really got into the story, always wondering what was going to happen next, and I did get invested in the characters. My one complaint -- the ending. It was way too abrupt, the subject matter out of the blue, and it felt tacked on. In fact, I checked to make sure that the last pages hadn't gotten stuck together and there really wasn't more to read. I'm sure this was Oates' desired effect, but I hate that.
Immediately before I read "1984", I read "Fahrenheit 451". I do recommend reading these books ba...more**spoiler alert** *** Caution -- contains spoilers.***
Immediately before I read "1984", I read "Fahrenheit 451". I do recommend reading these books back-to-back, and if I hadn't already read "Brave New World", that would be next on my list.
"1984" chilled me. I've grown up hearing the quote "Big Brother is watching you" but never fully comprehended the depth and breadth of what that actually meant.
Portions of the book ran dry for me, and a tad long on the philosophy. However, just as I thought I'd start skimming, things would pick back up and I'd get involved again with Winston's life and his burgeoning relationship with Julia. I found myself rooting for them to get out, to perhaps join the "proles", to start and uprising. Keep in mind, I had absolutely NO idea how this story was supposed to end.
I had a physical shock when Julia and Winston were discovered. That voice coming out of the wall as I was reading about their quiet interlude literally shocked me to the core. Perhaps deep inside I knew they were destined to be caught, but not in so abrupt a manner! And that, actually, is what's terrifying about the book -- how Winston had been watched for years and years, how he was so easily duped, and how quickly life as he knew it came crashing down around him.
Reading about his torture and brain-washing was nauseating, because I can so easily see how that happens even now in prison camps. Seeing how people can break another person, reading about how hopeless a situation can be, how thoughts and memories can so easily be changed -- scary stuff. Some may scoff at that ever happening. But a slippery slope isn't called slippery for nothing.
This wasn't necessarily an enjoyable read, but it was a necessary read. Recommended.