u wouldn't realize that she's totally insane until about 2/3 of the way into her tale -- clarity is overrated! She pulls you in w/o even trying.
I for...moreu wouldn't realize that she's totally insane until about 2/3 of the way into her tale -- clarity is overrated! She pulls you in w/o even trying.
I for one, would like to hear what her travel companion has to say about all this. I wouldn't mind, for example, to share a strong cup of tea to get the dirt!
--- On an unrelated note (2012 mar):
A movie "My Tehran for Sale (2009)" presented the modern cityscape of Tehran, visually and acoustically. It's a story loosely based on real events & i think I heard characters saying "merci" in their everyday conversation. There was good local music in the last 1/2 hr, incl the "Iranian Bob Dylan"? At least some of that good music was "underground", they say.
i tried to find out about poss French influence in Tehran but yielded nothin' except for its hand in Tehran Metro in the 70's - 80's.
There were 2 scenes that impressed me in the movie: women's gossip in the waiting rm of a clinic reflecting their views on abortion, premarital pregnancies, may-september marriages and child brides .. (~0:56); and the scene of a six (?) year old neighbour girl comforting our protagonist after a boyfriend struck her just once. It stuck me that the young girl has seen this sort of domestic scenes before. I'm sure it's just me -- but the girl covered the woman with her tiny body, holding the older woman to provide comfort in a nurturing role. It begs the question: what happened? What has she seen before this?
There were a part that hint to a professor's (presumably monetary) offer in exchange for (presumably) sex, and then there was the storyline when our protagonist smuggled herself out of Iran across the border so that she could seek political asylum from Australia. The film didn't say which country she fled to.
Overall, the struggles & endurance of our protagonist was lyrically laid out rather than documented. It was an ode to her friendship with her lady friend, and an ode to the struggles of a woman bravely living true to her heart in this city that mesmerizes foreigners. I did not find the movie very satisfying b/c it asked more questions than answered them. But I'm glad it gave me something to think about.(less)
In the beginning I was drawn by the historical background of the story. Sadly, like the majority of ficti...moreThere is a reason that I stick w non-fiction.
In the beginning I was drawn by the historical background of the story. Sadly, like the majority of fiction that I came across, Sarah's Key struggles w a thin plot & lack of supporting details. Most importantly, the supposed train of thoughts of ten year old Sarah struck me as unrealistic. This is just from someone who's been a kid once.
Probably read up to p.222, a real drag by that pt.(less)
I agreed with some of the opinions on "A Dissenting view of THE HELP" -- a thread on Amazon. I learned m...moreThere is a reason that I stick w non-fiction.
I agreed with some of the opinions on "A Dissenting view of THE HELP" -- a thread on Amazon. I learned more in reading that discussion than from other sources.
=== The movie was more enjoyable than the book, they cut out a lot of fluff and made it a light piece. It is interesting to contrast life in this Jackson, Mississippi setting against that of Madison Ave, NY city in "Mad Men" (TV series) of the same period.
“Time’s winged chariot is coming near followed closely by the Hounds of Heaven. You’re getting older … … little old Mr. Chips, toiling the stairs of h...more“Time’s winged chariot is coming near followed closely by the Hounds of Heaven. You’re getting older … … little old Mr. Chips, toiling the stairs of his tenement, a crust in the cupboard, a jorum of water in the ice box, a bulb of modest wattage dangling over the celibate cot.”
Snappy! I like it.
And so it is, a fine read. I gave it to my Irish teacher as a gift.(less)
Probably a 2-star. This is squarely in the commercial books category.
Following the thoughts of a teenager can be exasperating and especially mind-numb...moreProbably a 2-star. This is squarely in the commercial books category.
Following the thoughts of a teenager can be exasperating and especially mind-numbing. There's a lot of fluff before you get to Ch.19, when she thought she might be pregnant by Prince Jefri. Before then the flow was quite formulaic: my sob story justifies my actions, you just might have done the same in my situation, blah blah blah... To me her voice felt too coy & too full of self-serving pity. Ms. Lauren and her ghost writers had trudged out every infliction of early womanhood, in hopes that you would finally identify with her at some point ... you name it: low self-esteem, insecurity, weight issues, date rape, mean girls, depression, and clueless parents (& who didn't have those?) ..., on and on. I wouldn't consider this book a 100% memoir, some stuff was probably made up to sell books.
It is after Ch.19 that things moved at a faster pace. Just when I started to like her post-Brunei story (there were actually some substance in her decision-making), she WENT BACK!?? What-the-?? I threw up my hands! I give up!! She's either not remotely as sensitive as she claimed to be (w.r.t. the depression that made her leave Brunei the first time), or she's a much tougher cookie than she let on. You know, the kind with a mental toughness that rarely gets herself the short end of a bargain -- wherever she ends up. I suspect BOTH. She's not you, or I, she's a different breed altogether.
I didn't have any expectations when I first started reading this book. Ms. Lauren, on the other hand, aimed it to be more than a fun tale of her youthful indiscretions. Sadly, this book failed to achieve anything of note IMHO. She said that some sex workers do have hearts of gold, but she did not give one convincing example. She said that as a rule they do not kiss clients on the mouth, but she did not resist it with the Sultan. She played up her fragility & sensitivities before the end of her first Brunei experience, yet she had no qualms to return for more. She defined herself as a sex worker and an activist, yet she did not name the cause she supports. Perhaps most perplexing of all, speaking in the present-day, she forgives herself for what she did -- years ago. I don't get it: if she felt that what she did was unbecoming, then why write a book chronicling every detail? And what did she do to warrant her redemption? On the other hand, if she's a proud sex worker and an activist, then is really nothing to forgive, is there?
Which is it, Ms. Lauren?
ps. There's something to be said about the power of expectations. I noticed a number of reviewers here calling "Some Girls" a tale of "good girl gone bad" (as if she would otherwise turn into another hard working young woman tied to a desk churning out hourly wages); whereas on "Breaking Trail", numerous reviewers said they were miffed by Arlene Blum's promiscuity. I didn't think Ms. Blum was promiscuous -- not on the scale of Ms. Lauren, anyway.
======================================================= Added Mar 22, 2011 12:35am
More on Ms. Lauren's post-Brunei life, helpfully quoted by a fellow reader:
by happenstance i started this book just b4 i heard about "the diligent". Pirates, kidnappings, a boatload of slaves bound for Morocco on a month-long...moreby happenstance i started this book just b4 i heard about "the diligent". Pirates, kidnappings, a boatload of slaves bound for Morocco on a month-long voyage ... i hope the rest is as good as they've led me to believe ...
Heaving bosoms? Obviously i haven't recovered from that last gangster memoir.
========================================================== Comment added Dec 08, 2010 06:16pm
Intro: In 14th century Barcelona, a cathedral for the ppl by the ppl was built. The Santa Maria del la Mar was funded by donations & the donated la...moreIntro: In 14th century Barcelona, a cathedral for the ppl by the ppl was built. The Santa Maria del la Mar was funded by donations & the donated labor of the bastaix. It took fifty some years to finish the cathedral, and this event, as well as other historical happenings in & around Barcelona, became the backdrop for the life of Arnau, our protagonist.
Cathedral of the Sea is a story that spans more than 60 years, starting from the countryside of Navarcles from which Arnau's father fled. Feudal laws of the day would shape the fate of our protagonist. He would struggle thru poverty, then as a free man, got swept up by the "via fora" in Barcelona, survived the plague, found himself entangled in the uprising against the Jewish ppl, suffered the many wars waged by the Monarch Pedro the 3rd, & finally, the infamous inquisition.
Con: He'e not a saint, but compared to other characters in the plot, he might as well be. The 1 complaint i can think of for this book would be, that, as a novel, the author chose not to delve too deeply in human nature. This is a story not lacking in drama, richly & meticulously researched for historical authenticity. All the laws in the storyline were accurate for the time & place. It's just that the author tells the "what happened?" of the story, w/o going into "why does this person do that?" I feel that I didn't really know the protagonist after following his life for more than six decades. He is one with purity in his heart, even well into his forties. I'm not saying that such a char is not believable, i just don't know what makes him tick (-or- he just didn't get under my skin). There are other novels where, nothing much really happened on the outside, but the author spends 100 pages into the mindscape of his/her character and we get to know this person.
Pro: But all this is a minor flaw in my mind. I love history. This book made me learn. Where he is reluctant to delve into the mids of adults, he wrote about children w/ talent. I was smitten by how a 7 yr-old & a 9 yr-old interacted when they came up against the adults. This is not a tacky effort that made you think, "Oh that was cute." Rather, it brought you back to how you used to feel, and the world loomed large when you were 7. I also want to commend him for not delving into the mind of an inquisitor, another central char in the plot. Out of the whole cast of characters, the inquisitor should draw the most curiosity. But the author chose not to overextend himself there. ...
Conclusion: For a bedtime novel, this is a 5-star read. The story takes one to a different place without being emotionally laden, and one gets a history lesson as a bonus. I enjoyed it thoroughly.(less)