Jesse Aarons is the class misfit. Something of a dreamer, and a talented artist, he just doesn't fit in with his practical, competitive classmates. BuJesse Aarons is the class misfit. Something of a dreamer, and a talented artist, he just doesn't fit in with his practical, competitive classmates. But Leslie Burke moves next door at the beginning of their fifth-grade year, and the two eventually become best friends. Leslie shows him that a different life is possible.
I'll just say it--this book irritated me to no end. It was crawling with Southern stereotypes. For a book that's trying to show that there's a place for everyone in the world, I just really found that unacceptable. It seemed like most of the characters went by two names: May Belle, Joyce Ann, Wanda Kay. I'm sure there were more. And then there was the fact that everyone, except for Jesse, Leslie, and her family, couldn't speak without throwing a double negative in there. It happens. It's not as bad as this book makes it sound. And then there was the way that all the poor kids were stupid, narrow-minded, and ignorant, and their parents beat them when they weren't in jail. Give me a break.
Had I read this when I was younger, I would probably have overlooked all of that and just focused on the story of the beautiful friendship between Jesse and Leslie and how she showed him that there is a bigger world out there and how we should always show each other kindness. That's a great message. But I didn't read it when I was younger and right now I just don't care....more
Philip Ashley was raised by his cousin Ambrose. He is the center of Ambrose's world--a man's world, where all the servants on the estate are men, thePhilip Ashley was raised by his cousin Ambrose. He is the center of Ambrose's world--a man's world, where all the servants on the estate are men, the dogs live as much in the house as in the kennel, and days are spent in gardening, farming, and overseeing the tenants. When Ambrose goes abroad for the winter, leaving Philip in charge of the estate, Philip is disturbed when he receives a letter saying that Ambrose has married a long-lost relative, his cousin Rachel. Philip knows that his world will never be the same.
This was a little too slow for what it was. Maybe the basic premise was still new and shocking at the time it was written, but now it just felt stale. That's probably not fair to du Maurier, but sometimes it happens.
I often read in other people's reviews (not necessarily of this book, just in general) "Show me, don't tell me!" I can honestly say that I've always kind of wondered what they really meant. Well, I do know what they mean, but I've never noticed it in a book I was reading before. I noticed it here. We're told how much Philip loves his home and his way of life, but we don't ever see it. He's actually pretty neglectful and irresponsible throughout most of the book.
I didn't like anyone. Philip was irritating to me and Rachel was inscrutable. I could have liked Louise, but she had a very minor role.
I did like the ambiguous ending. If I had enjoyed the book more, I would be chewing it over for a while. As it is, I probably won't think about it again.
This might have just been a bad time for me to read this. I've just finished a month of mostly quick Halloween-related reads and this was a huge shift in style and pacing. But I really don't think that it was as good as Rebecca....more
I don't think this was written all that well, but it really creeped me out. Of course, I'd also just had all my wisdom teeth pulled and I was loopy onI don't think this was written all that well, but it really creeped me out. Of course, I'd also just had all my wisdom teeth pulled and I was loopy on pain meds when I read it, so that might have something to do with it....more