Note to O'Reilly and Dugard: Fire your editor! Or better yet, kill him. This is one of the most poorly written novels I have ever tried to read. Why Note to O'Reilly and Dugard: Fire your editor! Or better yet, kill him. This is one of the most poorly written novels I have ever tried to read. Why do I call it a novel when it's actually historical fiction? The very fact that I can say that should give you a clue. Why do I say "tried to read?" That's because after only 75 pages I don't think I can finish it.
To be fair I don't think this book is a complete waste. It would sit quite nicely in the "Humor" section of any library. But I do think about all the trees who sacrificed their lives for these pages. Any author who can tell you what a person is thinking and then analyze his thoughts should have his artistic license revoked. Even O'Reilly says he likes to take "a novel approach to history." Now that's a fact.
You would be better off going to Wikipedia. The authors can't even decide if these events took place over 70 years ago or are happening today. The mixing of past and present tense is both awkward and annoying; ie, "August 3,1943, more than a month prior. Patton is visiting the Fifteenth Division Hospital..." Did you catch that? That is, or should I say "was", also a sentence fragment.
I hate reading books that make me feel like I should be a high school English teacher, worrying that my red pen is about to run out of ink. Too many cliches; "Rain drizzles down." Gee, thanks for the weather update. I always I thought it went up. "Bullets whiz past." Whiz? Really? I thought that only happens when I take a leak. Some of the colorful, dramatic embellishments and attention to unknowable details are pretty weird. Obviously, this is a self-serving ploy on the part of the authors, designed to create a sense of thorough investigation.
Note to fans of these authors: Be sure to preorder the next book in their "Killing History" series. (victim yet to be determined) O'Reilly claims to have his sights set on several "persons of interest." He is awaiting confirmation of foul play and always tries to notify the next of kin prior to publication. Warning to Cleopatra and Jim Morrison: You may be next on O'Reilly's hit list.
I realize some readers of this review might argue that such a colorful character should be forgiven any lapse in judgement and allowed free rein to charge off into the hinterland unencumbered by the constraints of conventional wisdom. I mean O'Reilly, not Patton.
Now allow me to make a toast to the subject of this roast, Bill O'Reilly, the "King of Conjecture and Controversy."
Did I forget to mention that I didn't like this book? However, I must admit I enjoyed writing this review. ...more
I actually finished this, whereas with "Killing Kennedy" I couldn't get passed the first few pages. It seemed to be written for a middle school audienI actually finished this, whereas with "Killing Kennedy" I couldn't get passed the first few pages. It seemed to be written for a middle school audience. "Killing Lincoln" is better. Why are O'Reilly and Dugard obsessed with death other than it obviously sells books? Most everything checks out when I cross referenced it with Wikipedia. (Does this make me a heretic?) It's when they go into too much detail or make completely unverifiable observations where they get into trouble ie; "...Herod gazes out a palace window toward Bethlehem anxiously awaiting..." They make up Jesus's thoughts and conversations which have no written record at all. I love this line on page four: "By the way, both Lincoln and Kennedy believed Jesus was God". How do O'Reilly and Dugard know this? I guess this is their way of saying they received the presidential seal of approval to write this book.
Yes, the authors use the present tense, which took some getting used to, and they also have to remind us of future events such as how long Jesus has to live ie; three years, or seven days, etc. Sure it builds tension, but should have no place in a history book. And they do occasionally stray and use the past tense....more
Lost in translation? Me or this novel? A third of the way through this got so twisted I couldn't figure out if this was supposed to be humorous or serLost in translation? Me or this novel? A third of the way through this got so twisted I couldn't figure out if this was supposed to be humorous or serious. If this is supposed to be serious where is the suspense? For this reason this novel skirts along a knife's edge, falls off and gets all cut to pieces. There was too much explaining the action rather than the real thing. Too much of this takes place in his head as he thinks so much and lets the reader know every thought. The main reason for this is that it is written as a look back at the main characters's life. The latter third I skipped through because it was going over the same old ground traveled earlier as if the reader needed to have it explained again... Or maybe it was the author having to explain it again to himself thinking that would make it more believable. It might make a better movie, skipping the comical bits. That is something I don't think I've ever said. I'll still try one of the Harry Hole novels just to give the author a second chance....more
I'm always glad when I find a book to add to my "5 Star" list. Sometimes I've been extremely disappointed with my reading choices. You know those tim I'm always glad when I find a book to add to my "5 Star" list. Sometimes I've been extremely disappointed with my reading choices. You know those times when one star isn't low enough. Luckily, this novel is just the opposite. What really keeps a family together. Isn't it love? But, what kind of love is it? Passive or passionate, with a will to overcome every obstacle? How far would you go for your family? All the way to China? Let's say in 1957? Fortunately, you don't have to. Lisa See has done it for you and you can go there with her. Through See's rich narrative the reader is taken on an emotional journey to China and into the lives of the Chin family in the years of Mao Zedong's "Great Leap Forward". For the Chins, individually and collectively, there is always one life altering decision after another they have to make. Certainly, if they do not, it will be made for them. Unfortunately, for tens of millions of The Great Leader's loyal followers, his Great Leap Forward was a colossal stumble backward. They did not survive, though Mao did. Would the Chins? This entire saga is infused with the most vivid descriptions of sights, sounds and smells that, which transport the reader to a time and place where no one would want to go. Could this story really have taken place? I certainly believe so. As with every book I read I have Wikipedia and a dictionary close at hand. I can tell See spent a great deal of time researching this sequel to her 2009 best seller, "Shanghai Girls". Even though at some points "Dreams of Joy" is very sad, I can still say it is one of the best books I have ever read....more
This is where I write that I'm glad I didn't read more than the first two chapters. This is where I tell you this is so ho-hum, not to mention dull anThis is where I write that I'm glad I didn't read more than the first two chapters. This is where I tell you this is so ho-hum, not to mention dull and boring. And this is when I thank you for reading this review....more
This novel is at times incisive, captivating, and confusing. At times the author packs too much of the mundane, frightening, and barbaric with the poiThis novel is at times incisive, captivating, and confusing. At times the author packs too much of the mundane, frightening, and barbaric with the poignant and heart-wrenching. Sometimes the mixing together of the macro-life (the totalitarian, leader as giver of all things) with the micro (the individual people and their interactions) works well and at other times is disjointed. I have a deep interest in all things North Korean, but only know it in bits and pieces. It is Socialism-Communism-Totalitarianism at its most extreme. Every person in the country is only there to support the country and its Great Leader. Self expression is not tolerated. There is no freedom of speech, press, or religion. There is only one radio station, one TV station. Internet or cell phone service are only available to the elite. All art must be government approved. Individual ownership of anything is very limited. There is only one political party. Inserting Kim Jung Il into this work of fiction as a central character some three-quarters of the way through is problematic at best. It just doesn't work for me. ...more
I found this inventive, but depressing. Maybe that was the point. If your are prone to depression or nightmares do not read this book and especially dI found this inventive, but depressing. Maybe that was the point. If your are prone to depression or nightmares do not read this book and especially don't see the movie....more
Forgot I read this book back in 1982. I can't remember how I came across it or why I read it. It did really fascinate me. I even wrote a college paperForgot I read this book back in 1982. I can't remember how I came across it or why I read it. It did really fascinate me. I even wrote a college paper on the subject much later in 1993. Thank God I read it before I had my own NDE in 1995 after I had reaction to a drug before a test in a Florida hospital and my heart stopped for a couple of minutes. During my recovery I remembered having the NDE and knew what it was. If I had to describe heaven from personal experience this would be it. Coming back to life was Hell. ...more
I actually read this in about 1991. It just now appeared in the fog of my memory. At the time it was the funniest book I'd read since "The Hitchiker'sI actually read this in about 1991. It just now appeared in the fog of my memory. At the time it was the funniest book I'd read since "The Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy"....more
I just remember this being a lot of fun to read. I found this on a list of the top 100 non-fiction books to read under "journalism". When I read thisI just remember this being a lot of fun to read. I found this on a list of the top 100 non-fiction books to read under "journalism". When I read this bac in 1969 I thought it was fiction, but living in the SF bay area at the time everything seemed like fiction....more