I'm giving this book 4 stars because there isn't an option to give it 3 1/2, and I more than just liked this book.
I'm an avid reader of American lit a...moreI'm giving this book 4 stars because there isn't an option to give it 3 1/2, and I more than just liked this book.
I'm an avid reader of American lit and Brit lit, with some Japanese and a bit of Russian lit thrown in the mix. I'm fascinated by culture on the whole, so I wanted to broaden my horizons and I stumbled upon this book. This book came highly recommended and rightfully so.
The book is long, but it is lush and engaging. The characters feel REAL, which is a big thing for me, and I even enjoyed the seemingly unrelated insets (which usually annoy me if left unincorporated). Though the book is set in India, a culture which is quite different than my own, the book did a really good job of illustrating once again, how much as people we are truly the same.
My only real complaint, though I think this is more my problem than the book's, was the prevalent use of non-English terms. (Okay duh, in India they speak a multitude of languages there that are not English--no shit.)
Now that I've finished the book, I appreciate their usage as it really added a cultural texture that would have been lacking had they been omitted. However, I am not a native speaker of the languages of India, so every few sentences I had to go in the back and look up whatever necessary Hindi/Punjabi/Marathi/etc. term in the glossary (which isn't all encompassing so I had to track down an online glossary for the book). Thusly, the first 200 odd pages of reading were very jerky and interrupted, and it was hard to establish a flow. However, once I did become familiar with the more common terms used, the occasional need to look up a word wasn't a bother.
(Okay, so my negativity is longer than my positivity. But I wanted to mention this as I think my initiation into its reading would have been easier had I prior understanding of how often I'd be checking the glossary.) (less)
One of the most heart-breakingly honest accounts of learning how to live after loss, with none of that overbearing melodrama crap. Some parts ring so...moreOne of the most heart-breakingly honest accounts of learning how to live after loss, with none of that overbearing melodrama crap. Some parts ring so true it hurts. Fantastic book. (less)
This book is a fascinating read for anyone who has an interest in understanding the world perspective on the U.S. and it's history. There are so many...moreThis book is a fascinating read for anyone who has an interest in understanding the world perspective on the U.S. and it's history. There are so many events in our history that are omitted from our textbooks for whatever the reason, and yet they remain significantly relevant to understanding how opinion of us has shaped abroad.
And it's also great in providing bits of trivia U.S. textbooks forget to mention, such as:
1) Those menacing Hessians always mentioned in middle-school Revolutionary War fiction? Yeah, they were just poor farmers who got shipped out since they couldn't pay their bills. Hardly ruthless soldiers.
2) Canada actually fought in wars. No, really, they did. And not with Mounties.
3) All Americans are illegitimate. Every one of us is a bastard. Ask any North Korean junior high school student.
4) We liked to dick around in other countries. A lot. A lot a lot. Holy shit a lot. And we were assholes even when we barged in to "help". Like when a Filipino-American alliance captured Manila from the Spanish in 1898, American troops entered the city and had a celebration. Except, the Filipinos who fought alongside weren't invited. They sat locked outside the gates. Lovely. (less)