I loved this collection so much that I read the whole thing in a couple of hours. Holly Golightly is one of the most interesting characters I've ever...moreI loved this collection so much that I read the whole thing in a couple of hours. Holly Golightly is one of the most interesting characters I've ever read about. The whole collection of stories was just great :)(less)
I first read Marina's story when I was in year 7 and it has never left me. I have never forgotten her, as promised on the blurb. My second read, years...moreI first read Marina's story when I was in year 7 and it has never left me. I have never forgotten her, as promised on the blurb. My second read, years later, was just as moving as the first.
Due to a horrific accident that changed her life, Marina does not speak. Exasperated, her mother ships her between therapists and hospitals and finally to boarding school, where Marina shares a dorm with eight other girls. She is deeply guarded and self conscious and spends her days cowering and scurrying around the school, trying not to be noticed by others.
If this book had been written from another point of view, my feelings about Marina may have been completely different. But written as it was, in her journal, put me inside her head. I felt what she felt. I was scared for her when she was, even if to someone else it may not make sense. I wept for her and felt those small buds of hope and happiness when she did. I wanted her to get well, but I also wanted her to do it in her own time. I felt time was important. And it was. When she finally spoke again, I cried and cried. It was beautifully executed. So simple but so necessary. The courage she showed was enormous.
A beautiful book. A forever favourite by one of Australia's most loved authors.(less)
Thank you to the University of Queensland Press for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way...moreThank you to the University of Queensland Press for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.
Hannah’s family is broken. Her mum is depressed, her dad injured and her sister? Her sister Katie was killed in the same accident that split the family in little broken parts. Since the accident, once the well-wishers were gone, Hannah has been ignored by everyone, even those who tormented her for years before Katie’s death. The relief at finally being left alone is eating at Hannah as she struggles to remember what happened during the accident. She is struggling by herself, until Josh comes along. Josh sees her as more than just the dead girl’s sister that everyone else tiptoes around. For the first time in years, Hannah may actually have a friend, if only she is willing to open herself up.
After I finished reading this, I took the afternoon to think it over before I even attempted to write this review. It was a fairly quick read for me, taking not even a day, but it filled me with emotion. When I connect with characters, I feel what they feel. So I felt hurt when Hannah was being bullied, I felt her relief at being left alone, her budding happiness at her friendship with Josh. I felt sad, I felt the guilt, and at the end of the book I felt hopeful. I wanted Hannah to in some way be able to deal with this horrible tragedy that happened to her family, and to remember what it felt like to be happy.
The writing itself was beautiful and the story was well paced and well constructed. Zorn creates memorable scenes of the Blue Mountains where Hannah and her family live, of the high school experience that can be both awful and amazing, of a family dealing with grief. It all feels very real, like they could be the family living down the street. Or maybe even your own. Hannah and Katie don’t get on well, and this lurks on Hannah’s memory because she will never have a chance to have a meaningful relationship with her sister. This book conveys to the reader Hannah’s fears and doubts without so many words. As the book progresses we understand more of their relationship through a then and now perspective, discovering the causes of Hannah’s guilt, relief and why she didn’t always like her sister. You can’t choose your family.
But you can choose your friends. Sometimes they choose you. Josh is not so important as a romantic interest, although it felt like a natural progression, but he is so important as a friend. He gives Hannah the confidence to restart her life, as opposed to just going through the motions. He shows her how important a good friend is, in a situation like Hannah’s. He doesn’t let her shake him off, but just gently encourages the friendship and doesn’t let her shy away from him. He makes her confront the things that scare her and their progressing friendship is uplifting and it just made me smile. I could feel that something was changing in Hannah and I was glad she finally had someone who was there for her. Not because they were paid, or because they had to look after her, but because they cared about her. It was important to Hannah’s development past the accident and so wonderful to read.
Such a beautifully written story will find its way into reader’s hearts. There is no reason it should get any less than five stars.
Well that may just have been the best of Agatha Christie that I have read in my short life! I stayed up to finish it and write this review even though...moreWell that may just have been the best of Agatha Christie that I have read in my short life! I stayed up to finish it and write this review even though I'm dead tired and my eyes are falling out of my head.
I am yet to meet an Agatha Christie book I didn't like (I hope the day never comes) but this collection of short stories starring the charming, lovable Mr. Satterthwaite and the strange relationship he holds with the elusive Mr. Quin has really stood out for me above most of the others that I've read. It may be because it was a book of short stories rather than a novel and so presented a different way of exploring the ever-changing cast of characters. Or maybe it simply is just the best of her writing.
Mr. Quin was fascinating. At one point I almost convinced myself he was nothing but a figment of Mr. Satterthwaite's imagination until I remembered that he had spoken to and interacted with other characters. It was interesting that just the mere association of something with Mr. Quin brought out all of Mr. Satterthwaite's deducing abilities, that he really had just amassed from being an observer of the people he knew - and sometimes didn't know. But I guess that was the point. Just from 'knowing' Mr. Quin - that's implying that Mr. Quin really did exist, because I'm still doubtful - Mr. Satterthwaite found a way to participate in all the drama of life, to solve mysteries that had mystified others, right past wrongs and save the innocent accused from being condemned. However, I still feel like, particularly once I'd reached the end of 'Harlequin's Lane', that there was more to it and Dame Christie's genius has just gone straight over my head. I am not afraid to admit I'm wrestling with that last story.
I was glad to read somewhere the both Mr. Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite make appearances in other Christie short stories/novels. I won't be forgetting them in a hurry!(less)
**spoiler alert** I never expected to be as drawn to this book as I was - once I started it I had a lot of trouble putting it down again, despite its...more**spoiler alert** I never expected to be as drawn to this book as I was - once I started it I had a lot of trouble putting it down again, despite its size! This story of life, loss and love during the American Civil War was absolutely compelling reading, and I guess you could say I become a little obsessed with it! The heroine, Scarlett O'Hara, was flawed and far from perfect, but I think that is one of the reasons why I liked her. Her character development from spoilt rich girl to hardworking self made woman is almost inspiring; she refused to be defeated. Although her personality because hardened and cold, she did what she had to do so that she and her family would survive. I understand that. However, it is a shame that she did not realise the love that surrounded her and only coveted what she could not have: Ashley Wilkes, another woman's husband. Her epiphany that she never really loved him and how incompatible they were came far too late, and only came about with Melanie's death. I wish she could have seen it before she had made such a mess of her life with Rhett!
Rhett was such a fascinating character - also flawed, also stubborn and headstrong like Scarlett. He was exactly what she needed, not just his money, but HIM. However, if he had stopped being so damn foolish he would have shown Scarlett that he loved her, rather than acting the way that he did! I was so disappointed with both of their choices and decisions that led to their parting, but at the same time it made sense for it to end that way. I only wish I knew what happened next...(less)
I absolutely loved this book :) The story was amazing, and the ending damn near made me cry with happiness. I hope they don't ruin the movie, because...moreI absolutely loved this book :) The story was amazing, and the ending damn near made me cry with happiness. I hope they don't ruin the movie, because this was just an incredible story. Recommended to anyone over the age of 16.(less)
A collection of short stories and poems that every girl should read and will be able to relate to. Borrowed from a friend, now I want my own copy. Rec...moreA collection of short stories and poems that every girl should read and will be able to relate to. Borrowed from a friend, now I want my own copy. Recommended to every young girl.(less)
I do not follow a faith. Like many, I find I have too many questions I feel cannot be answered by religion. I simply do not see the point. But this be...moreI do not follow a faith. Like many, I find I have too many questions I feel cannot be answered by religion. I simply do not see the point. But this beautifully written 'story of a last request' has certainly made them sit down and think. Not many authors have the ability to do so like Mitch Albom can. I always find myself going back to his books - their themes constantly sit in mind and are referred to. A great book, recommended for anyone - religious or not.(less)
Christopher Hitchens pissed off a lot of people in his time. In my opinion - totally worth it.
Hitchens is a full force of no apologies against religio...moreChristopher Hitchens pissed off a lot of people in his time. In my opinion - totally worth it.
Hitchens is a full force of no apologies against religious tyranny. He brings forth all its shames, its misdemeanors and the misconceptions surrounding religion in all forms - no religion escapes his critical eye and words. He knows what he's talking about, he has done his research and he's experienced it first hand. This is what makes him an authority on the subject as opposed to a blabbering troublemaker who doesn't know what they're talking about. He is witty and insightful and shamelessly pulls apart religion, piece by piece, to show how humanity is better off without the illusion of god in any of his names or forms.
Being an atheist myself, God Is Not Great did not surprise or shock me, only re-affirmed my own thoughts and ideas and gave them support. I applaud Hitchens for his effort as it cannot have been easy to write something like this, but I'm glad he did.(less)