This is the second time I’ve read this book, the first being in high school. As it turns out, I remembered hardly anything about the story save for so...moreThis is the second time I’ve read this book, the first being in high school. As it turns out, I remembered hardly anything about the story save for some burning bed curtains and an attic bound lunatic. What I enjoyed most, though, was Brontë’s exceptional skill at communicating human feeling by way of metaphor. Taking an example, Jane explains her tormented feelings of leaving Mr. Rochester as being struck with a barbed arrow:
Oh, that fear of his self-abandonment—far worse than my abandonment—how it goaded me! It was a barbed arrow-head in my breast; it tore me when I tried to extract it; it sickened me when remembrance thrust it farther in.
The entire novel is filled with this brilliant imagery. Brontë is a master of language and it is amazing how one can relate to these described emotions nearly two hundred years later. Although I do find it mildly ridiculous that Jane just happens to chance upon her long lost relatives in the woods, overall I really really enjoyed this book. Again.(less)
A disturbingly comedic (or comically disturbing?) satire of the inevitability of war, the age old fate vs. free will argument, and the gross desensiti...moreA disturbingly comedic (or comically disturbing?) satire of the inevitability of war, the age old fate vs. free will argument, and the gross desensitization of death, Slaughterhouse-Five analyzes the effects of the Bombing of Dresden on World War II veteran Billy Pilgrim. Told in a nonlinear narrative that is common for Vonnegut, this novel employs the rare literary device I like to call “Twilight Zone–ish extraterrestrialism,” which serves to highlight both the absurdity of free will as well as Pilgrim’s sense of temporal confusion resulting from his experiences with war. So it goes.(less)
A few months ago a stylish looking British adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was released in theaters and I was intrigued. But I knew better....moreA few months ago a stylish looking British adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was released in theaters and I was intrigued. But I knew better. Movies are for smart people. If I had to constantly nudge my wife during Superbad to ask questions like, “so who is that guy again?” and “wait, is she the same one from before?” then I had to admit that seeing this movie would only serve to make me feel very confused and intellectually inadequate. I do better with books. Books explain things. Books are for people who need a little, uh, help in the hand-holding department. So like any other self-respecting moron, I decided to read the book instead (or at least, before seeing the movie)—that way I could have everything explained to me nice, nice.
But I was duped.
When my friend asked me to go with him to see Tinker Tailor, I told him it was not possible. I explained my reasoning while he nodded agreeably, accepting my oddities without judgment. But then he said, “I think you’ll find this to be an exception to your rule. In this particular case, you’re going to want to have seen this movie before reading the book. Trust me.” What. A Freaking. Liar.
As soon as those last two words were uttered, warning bells should have gone off in my head. But I took him at his word and went to see a movie with the most convoluted plot I’d ever tried to absorb. 120 minutes later I had a raging migraine.
I now understood the lengths to which someone would go in order to have a companion at the movies. I suppose I can’t begrudge a man that small favor, and I was not entirely the worse for wear—800 mg of ibuprofen and a good night’s sleep restored my faculties wonderfully. And that’s when I decided to read the book.
John le Carré’s novel retains all the plot complexity of the movie and then some, but it is delivered in such a way that is digestible. Even though I knew the fate of Colin Firth’s character, my pulse still raced at the novel’s climax. The author opens up a world of secrets, lies, espionage, and scandal that are somewhat missing from my everyday life, but seem to be more or less commonplace in a Europe engulfed in the Cold War. Mistrust and paranoia run as naturally as snowfall in New England. I am generally very glad to have read this book despite having done so after seeing the movie.(less)
Aww, I wish my kids liked this more than they did. I mean they did like it, definitely, but they didn’t like like it, you know? And this review is goi...moreAww, I wish my kids liked this more than they did. I mean they did like it, definitely, but they didn’t like like it, you know? And this review is going to have to reflect their reaction to it, not mine, because personally I think this book is cute. But evidently they have different tastes than I do, and who am I to judge? (Just for the record, though, those little jerks wouldn’t know a good book if it bit ’em in the ass.)
The Doll People is the story of a bunch of anthropomorphic dolls who’ve lived with the same real-people family for several generations. The premise of this is adorable—for freaking real, if it were my house those dolls would have been put to curbside the minute my kids had outgrown them. Who the hell keeps dolls around that long?? So the dolls have taken a sort of oath to keep secret the fact that they are alive, and if they fail in that endeavor then they enter a frozen state of lifelessness called, appropriately, Doll State. The main doll character Annabelle has to solve the mystery of her aunt’s disappearance without getting caught in Doll State, or without being discovered and carried off by the household cat.
I think what ruined it for my kids, though, was my boring monotonous voice. If I could have put a little life into the reading it might have been improved for them, but I don’t enjoy reading aloud and I couldn’t always muster the vocal enthusiasm. I’m sorry kids but it’s all about me. This has been a miserably hot summer and Daddy is a little bitch when he overheats. Anyway, they can read it again when they get older if they want to. They are 5 and 7 now, and this book is probably targeted at a 7 to 9 year-old reading level. It is 250 pages intermittently dispersed with small black-and-white sketches, so most of the page is text, but it is of a large enough font that it should not be too intimidating for this age group. Personally, I wouldn’t take the advice of my kids. See what yours think.(less)