It isn't often that I begin writing a review with trepidation and insecurities, thinking that my thoughts and feelings can't possibly do the book justIt isn't often that I begin writing a review with trepidation and insecurities, thinking that my thoughts and feelings can't possibly do the book justice. This isn't because I have a great esteem for myself; no, it is because, while a lot of what I read I enjoy, I'm not fooling myself into thinking that the majority of it is what most would consider quality literature. It is with those kinds of books that I figure that whatever I type should suffice. But there are those times, like when I reviewed Emma and Jellicoe Road not so long ago, that I get nervous. This is another of those times.
I've always had a fascination with books and things set in this era. And I won't lie — that had a large influence in me loving this book. This is the kind of book that I can slip into like a warm fleece on a cold winter's night and feel cozy and comforted in. But I think most would agree that there is something special about this diamond in the rough.
The Raging Quiet is a true hidden gem. It snared my attention from the first chapter and surpassed any level of expectations I could've had going in. The characters are so rich and real and believable in their pain and love and loss and joy that I know I shall never forget them. I wept for Marnie, I was grateful for the priest's charity and kindness to two lost souls, and the boy without the blessing of sound stole my heart.
The subject of religion is handled perfectly IMO; it doesn't preach to non-believers, nor does it offend believers. Marnie is religious, but she has her struggles with God because of the terrible things she goes through in such a short time. The priest that helps Marnie and Raven isn't portrayed as a saint, but merely a spiritually faithful man with faults. And there isn't any explicit content, but the author doesn't refrain from dealing with tough subjects, either.
Sadly, this book doesn't seem to be receiving much recognition around these parts. But it is twelve years old and, although to me it is simple yet beautiful and fits the story perfectly, the cover is no longer in vogue; it is not flashy and bedazzled enough to catch the eye of most readers in today's market. It is my hope that I can bring this book at least a small portion of the attention it deserves....more
Although using this trite doesn't mean that the fact is any less true, it is still at the risk of sounding cliché when I say that Jane Austen's classiAlthough using this trite doesn't mean that the fact is any less true, it is still at the risk of sounding cliché when I say that Jane Austen's classic, Emma, is like a breath of fresh air when juxtaposed to the miasmal novels in the publishing market today; especially for someone who has been on a YA binge of late. You see, the reason why I went for Emma as my first Austen read is because my mother has seen the latest movie adaptation, and she claims it to be her very favorite. Mind you, she hasn't read any thing of Austen's—but she loves the movie so very much that she kept pestering me to watch it (I suppose I'll have to pester her to read the book now, won't I?). To which I continually said that, no, no, I will not watch the movie until I've read the book; I positively hate to watch the movie adaptation before reading the book; it virtually cancels out any chance of me ever finding enough interest in reading the actual book to its completion. So, after picking up Emma at least ten times in the past year, reading the first few chapters, only to sit it back down again, I finally—the other day—decided I wanted to read something of quality and something that is truly written well. Well, that is definitely Emma.
Emma, herself, is, for me, just as stunning as she is flawed; I started out thinking her a walking vexation, but somewhere in the 400+ pages I began to warm to her like you would with any inevitably lovable—albeit, at times, antagonising—character. Emma's devotion to her father is also very admirable. And by the end, Emma seemed so much more humble and less meddling that I couldn't help but be very pleased with her character. My thoughts on Mr. Knightley are not as easily expressed; in the beginning I found him merely interesting, but somewhere in the middle he began to hold my interest as much as a mother would hold her infant (if that isn't too much of an odd metaphor); by the end he managed to surpass virtually all of the other male characters of which I've been exposed to. Granted, Mr. Knightley isn't in Emma nearly enough for my satisfaction—but when he is, the aforesaid is all too true. I can't quite place my finger on what it is, exactly, about him that made such an impression on me—other than that I've always had a strong fascination with a true gentleman, being as that sort of thing is practically extinct in this day and age; also, I've grown very jaded with the often monotonous male characters of today. And I do believe that my reaction to Mr. Knightley has left me at a wonder as to just want my reaction will be upon meeting the famous Mr. Darcy. I'll doubtlessly swoon just as countless other lasses have since P&P debuted in 1813.
I really think that my hesitation in reading this—as well as Austen's other works—has nothing to do with the writing, or the story, or the pacing; because, and I know this will sound strange, but, I've always loved a book that is just about people going about their daily lives and doing things—little trivial things, even—and simply living; people say that Emma doesn't have much story and is really just people planning balls and Emma interfering in peoples' lives—but I loved all of that! I'll take everyday living over complex plots any day. No, I think the reason for my waiting so long is that I psyched myself out of reading something like this; I kept thinking that it would be too long or too boring or too archaic or too something or another, but in reality this is the very type of thing that I love to read about. Regency, Victorian, etc. . . . I love to read about all of the historical periods, and I'm so very glad that I stopped procrastinating.
So, I enjoyed this a great deal and I've set a goal for myself to read all of Austen's works by this time next year (although I kindly ask you not you hold me to it ;)). I plan to continue with her other slightly lesser known titles, and finish with what appears to me to be the most well known and highly esteemed, Pride and Prejudice. In a summary, I plan to save the best—or what is often said to be the best—for last.
FAVORITE QUOTE: "One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other."
Although I have many favorite quotes from this (the rest can be read below), that particular quote stood out the most because it is so very true. Expect to see it in my future reviews.
I highly recommend Emma to everyone; both lovers and reluctant readers of classics....more
There's a reason why books like Twilight don't receive those. They don't give those to just any book, and when you factor in excellence . . . well, a
There's a reason why books like Twilight don't receive those. They don't give those to just any book, and when you factor in excellence . . . well, a lot of titles just don't make the cut. But it is clear to me why Melina Marchetta's third tribute to YA literature received a Printz award back in 2009. It is because it is excellent, to the very meaning of the word.
If all YA contemporary writers wrote like Marchetta, I doubt I'd play in any other genre playground very often. She writes these beautifully inspirational, relatable, and emotionally-charged novels that seem to affect me in an undescribable way.
Some of the passages in Jellicoe Road seem to beat with their own heart:
"These people have history and I crave history. I crave someone knowing me so well that they can tell what I'm thinking."
"'What do you want from me?' he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More."
I've always believed that an exceptionally good writer can take you places emotionally that others can't, and, for me, Melina Marchetta is one of those writers.
I'm going to end this review here for two reasons: 1) I believe this is the type of book that should be experienced first hand, without much knowledge of the story going in. So, go read it and remember, the beginning is confusing, but plow through it and I promise you won't regret it; 2) I'm tearing up thinking about this story and its characters, so all you'll be getting from me is the aforesaid and this: I love this book and I'm anticipating the day when I can read it again. I highly recommend Jellicoe Road to everyone.