If your family has been affected by autism this is practically a must read. I loved reading about Joey and Sam and seeing my brother and myself in theIf your family has been affected by autism this is practically a must read. I loved reading about Joey and Sam and seeing my brother and myself in them. ...more
So, first things first; my brother has autism. Catherine is such a real and true character it was like reading my life. That's only a very small hyperSo, first things first; my brother has autism. Catherine is such a real and true character it was like reading my life. That's only a very small hyperbole.
Rules is the story of Catherine's journey to accepting her brother for who he is. Jason, a boy in a wheelchair who has to be given words, helps her along the way. I really loved the importance of words between Jason and David, Catherine's autistic brother. Jason has to have his words written down for him since he can't speak. Catherine is a twelve-year-old full of the eye-rolling and sarcastic "whatever"s. David speaks in echolalia, although that word is never used in the book, mostly through the words of Arnold Lobel, the guy who wrote Frog and Toad. I loved the ending resolution of the book, Catherine realizing that the connection she and her brother have and her brother's need to communicate more effectively being of equal importance and two things that should both be achieved.
Catherine's interactions were so true to life, it was lovely to see. The image of Catherine tugging on her brother’s sleeve but afraid she is going to rip it is so clear in my head because I’ve done that so many times. I thought I was crazy when my brother Spencer was throwing a fit in the store and I made a plan to tackle him, but finally someone else (fictional or not) got it.
By page eight, I was crying. “Someone I could yell at and he’d yell back, and we’d keep going and going until we’d both yelled ourselves out.” I do my best to think of my brother as a regular brother (albeit, one I have to do laundry for, make dinner for, watch out for, etc.) because my brother and I argue. All siblings do that; my littlest brother and I fight all the time. When I was fourteen I went away for a week, as a form of revenge (or boredom, I don’t know) he went in my room and ripped up all the posters on my walls. For a fourteen-year-old that’s a very traumatic and violating thing to happen. When I yelled at him his only response was “What’s for dinner?”. I’ve never been able to put in to words what makes Spencer different but Catherine did it so well. Sometimes, “autistic” just doesn’t cut it. He might not have a lot of words, but I don’t have them all either.
What I loved most about Rules was that the parents were real. As a sibling of an autistic person you have this huge amount of responsibility put on you. Responsibility that your parents aren't really aware of all the time. Catherine says something along the lines of knowing she can better take care of her brother than her parents, I definitely agreed with this. My parents are more likely to lose their patience with my brother or forget to keep an eye on him.
Rules is a great book, especially for siblings of autistic children. It's important to be able to see yourself in someone in literature and Catherine is definitely that person for me. If you're curious about autism Rules is also a great book for that, it gives you a very in depth look at what family life is life. ...more
Although this is definitely a children's book I found that Reichs had a little difficulty adapting to the typical format. The shifts to different poinAlthough this is definitely a children's book I found that Reichs had a little difficulty adapting to the typical format. The shifts to different points of view were more geared towards that of an adult genre and while it's not like it didn't work for the book it was just weird to see. I also found that the language made the book just a little too mature for it to be for children, and with the main character being only fourteen it really could have been tamed down to be better geared towards them.
Even still, I really liked this book. I like the tie in with the Bones series and I'm hoping that we get to see Tempe in the future books.
I enjoyed the incorporation of the supernatural aspects of the book, but I liked that it didn't overshadow the mystery and events. It would have been interesting to see the book without the super powers, but the mystical aspect makes the book more approachable for more readers so-- eh.
Overall, I can't wait for the next book but I will be getting it from the library again. ...more
At the second paragraph of this book I declared it amazing, but the half way point I begrudgingly trudged through to the end. I can't exactly put my fAt the second paragraph of this book I declared it amazing, but the half way point I begrudgingly trudged through to the end. I can't exactly put my finger on it, but I just didn't care anymore. It gets three stars though because I did finish it; I cared some amount I suppose.
What stood out to me in this book was how well fleshed out everything was. The gladiator world is colorfully and completely drawn out and inserted in to our world. On the one, I liked that, but on the other hand I (for some reason or another) don't really like my books meshing with the real world. Mentions of Jon Stewart and Second Life threw me out of the reading zone. I liked the idea that this book took place in our world with the one change of the gladiator coming back, but I guess I just didn't like how it was executed. I suppose it seemed a bit inconsistent. Parts of the world seemed very on track with today, others not so much.
Another thing that stood out to me was Thad's unnamed autism. I really liked that it was just part of the book but didn't change the book (at least not too much). Thad's behavior was just normal life. My brother has autism and, to me, it's normal. I felt like this was portrayed very well in the book.
Those two things aside the book just didn't wow me. I felt like it took forever to get to the point of the book, and while I get the "arena" doesn't have to mean the literal arena I expected a little more fighting and bad-assery going on. Not so much though.
I'm also curious about the choice of dashes for dialogue. I'm wondering if it's just the ebook edition that does this of if it was the author's creative choice. Mostly it just irritated me, especially when the dashes were then used in the dialogue and you couldn't tell if it was dialogue or narrative. There are quotation marks for a reason.
Overall, Girl in the Arena was a disappointment for me. I felt like it could have been an amazing book with a great female character like in Graceling. Mostly, I just didn't care....more