Wow. I found this book... original, disturbing, horrific and completely nothing like I expected it to be.
Firstly, I didn't realise it was in verse forWow. I found this book... original, disturbing, horrific and completely nothing like I expected it to be.
Firstly, I didn't realise it was in verse form and when it arrived I was a bit reluctant to begin seeing as my past experiences with novels in verse are Dante's Inferno and Paradise Lost. Must I say anymore? But... I went against my initial instinct and found that I loved the way the style just flowed, I read page after page and suddenly realised I'd devoured half the book in less than an hour (this is a book with nearly 600 pages). The story wasn't lost in the poetry and, if anything, it only served to make the story more effective.
The basic plot is that of a strictly religious mormon family, the father is a violent drunk and the mother takes the beatings and verbal abuse simply because she is a woman and her husband is in charge of her. Yeah, seriously. My feminist stomach clenched with anger at that one. Especially when Brother Crandell (I think - I don't have the book to hand) told Pattyn that the only way she could be redeemed for being born female is to fulfill God's wishes and have lots of babies (because that's a woman's role). This is the kind of book that makes you want to tear your hair out with frustration and violently maim several of the characters. As a woman, I felt the indignity and anger with her. And yes, I'm sure you could argue that not all mormons believe that women are essentially useless without men (but Stephenie Meyer helped to spread the rumour) and this may not be the typical situation, but this does happen. Not in some other time, a couple of centuries ago, but right now. Even in the supposedly civilised West.
The plot takes a rebellious Pattyn, fuelled by teenage hormones, out of this strict, religious world. She is sent to live with her Aunt and finds how different life can be when a relationship is based on love, not fear. But good things can't last forever and eventually her past starts calling her back. I won't spoil the ending, but know this: Burned made me cry, made me angry, made me curious... it is a book I know I'll never forget....more
I'm not sure what it is about these books in verse that really does it for me but I'm yet to be disappointed by one. I've read some of those by Ellen I'm not sure what it is about these books in verse that really does it for me but I'm yet to be disappointed by one. I've read some of those by Ellen Hopkins and Lisa Schroeder and I found that writing in verse only added to the emotions I felt as a reader. Maybe it's because it hones in on the point and it's all laid out within a few stanzas instead of meandering about.
Whatever the reason, The Realm of Possibility was no exception and I was constantly pulled through a rollercoaster of emotions - even though I admittedly didn't always get what was going on :)
This is definitely the kind of book that you either love or hate, both for the fact that it's in verse and because David Levithan has a very unique writing style (that I happen to love the more I encounter it). ...more
3.5 stars. The fact is, this is my third read by Ellen Hopkins and all of the books I've read so far have affected me quite deeply. I've discovered i
3.5 stars. The fact is, this is my third read by Ellen Hopkins and all of the books I've read so far have affected me quite deeply. I've discovered in this past year that I really like novels in verse, I couldn't imagine it being my thing before I first picked up Burned but all the ones I've read have been all the more emotional, moving and effective because of it. Before I start on about what I don't like, I'll just say now: this book is worth your time if you are okay with the depressing, disturbing and occasionally gross.
But, there's this one thing that is the same in all of Ellen Hopkins' books, and to understand it best try and imagine the novel is two halves. Not a first half and a second half but various different parts of the novel that either fall into half one or half two. Okay, now half one is like the very first Saw film: original, shocking, disturbing, horrifying but good as well because it's so different. Half two is like the rest of the Saw films put together.
Ellen Hopkins is Jigsaw and she wants to play a game...
Half two is made up of the parts that made me think "surely Ms Hopkins is going to give these poor little buggers a break now?" I mean, honestly, how many ways can you find to torture a person? In the same way that I quickly became tired of the Saw series and it's tendency to just keep inventing new and exciting ways to horrendously kill people, there were parts where I thought Ellen Hopkins went too far. This book was 666 pages long (ominous) but really didn't need to be, the story was good, the characters were interesting... everything else that happened was like seeing how bad their lives could possibly get.
In the words of Bruce Nolan: "Ellen Hopkins is a mean kid sitting on an ant hill with a magnifying glass..."
Let's take Tony. Tony was repeatedly raped by his mother's boyfriend, he runs away and ends up popping pills and trying his hand at prostitution in order to get by, he then attempts suicide and gets carted off to Aspen Springs Psychiatric Hospital. There the doctors try and re-connect him with his long-lost father but Tony's unsure of his sexuality and his dad's some uber-religious and homophobic nutter. What next for this poor kid? Like I wouldn't have felt sorry for him had he just been raped! Ellen Hopkins doesn't know when to stop, it's like "right, he's been abused, drugged up, prostituted, discriminated against... I know, give him diarrhea as well!"
This book would be great to read if you think your life's shit. No matter how bad it gets for you, these kiddies have it so much worse. And if you think your life's worse than this, I recommend writing to Hopkins as you'll probably feature in her next book.
It's not like it isn't good. Half number one is fantastic: well-written, interesting, moving, gritty. And I can handle disturbing, it can usually get me hooked. I just feel that Hopkins uses the shock factor too much and it becomes less believable because of it.
I have been a fan of Carol Lynch Williams' books for a while now but, though I think Glimpse is a decent story, I still believe it to be the weakest
I have been a fan of Carol Lynch Williams' books for a while now but, though I think Glimpse is a decent story, I still believe it to be the weakest I've read so far.
I would be the first to say that the author has a fantastic talent for getting inside the mind of her protagonist and dragging the reader with her along a tumultuous and usually painful journey. Williams' books are all about the characters, the relationships, the emotions and the darkest depths of the human mind. They are not propelled along by plots zooming at the speed of light, nor are they about the world or place in which the novel is set. Some people will most definitely see this as a fault, but I am not one of them.
Where this book, I felt, didn't achieve it's full potential was in the fact that the author chose to write it in verse. Why?? To be edgy?? Because, frankly, I love novels in verse when they add something to the story, make it more beautiful, more meaningful, just give it that something extra that will justify the decision to write it in this way... but I cannot understand why Glimpse was written in verse at all. I actually thought it took something away from the story, a certain depth of understanding that Williams achieves in all her other novels.
Also, the ending was moving, but not quite as much as was intended because I thought it entirely obvious what was going on about 25% into the book. Sure, it was still horrifying, but the "big reveal" near the end didn't shock me one bit.
This is worth a read for fans of novels in verse, for fans of Williams' other novels, and for fans of nasty realistic fiction. But, especially if you are an astute reader and possibly if you are not (like me), just be ready to be a little underwhelmed by the "shocking" ending. ...more
“I will not play at tug o' war. I'd rather play at hug o' war, Where everyone hugs Instead of tugs, Where everyone giggles And rolls on the rug, Where every“I will not play at tug o' war. I'd rather play at hug o' war, Where everyone hugs Instead of tugs, Where everyone giggles And rolls on the rug, Where everyone kisses, And everyone grins, And everyone cuddles, And everyone wins.”...more