This middle-grade novel was great. My Mom always pulls through with her book suggestions, and her forcing this one home with me was a good thing. It'sThis middle-grade novel was great. My Mom always pulls through with her book suggestions, and her forcing this one home with me was a good thing. It's definitely one of the more depressing 6th grade reads since it set in England- WWII era, but I loved it. The 'war' in the title not only represents the second world war, but also the battles, and ultimate war our heroine goes through to become a confident, mature, lady. Part historical fiction, part coming-of-age, part kid-centric makes a great balance. It's not the most original storyline but it's executed very well.
This follows Ada Smith- born with a club foot, who grows up in an abusive household with her horrible mom and her brother. Her mom coops her up in one room because she is a 'cripple' and is verbally and physically abusive. When WWII comes, her mom sends them as 'evacuees' to the English countryside. This is Ada's chance to escape the horrors of home. There they are taken up by a "mean lady" named Susan who is the one who helps Ada find herself, discover who she can be, and what she can become.
The only qualms I had with the novel, were things that any middle-grade novel will find. The Mom is extremely one-dimensional, some of the characters pretty cookie-cutter. But when a 6th grader is supposed to be reading this- I understand why. ...more
I always preface my reviews of memoirs, saying my star-rating in NO WAY reflects the horrors that Elizabeth Smart had to go through, and should no wayI always preface my reviews of memoirs, saying my star-rating in NO WAY reflects the horrors that Elizabeth Smart had to go through, and should no way detract from my respect for her and her recovery process. However, with that said I was pretty disappointing in this. I appreciated learning about her story, she describes vague settings well, gives a good time frame for reference, and pulls in not only her story- but ties in her parent's activity, the press and media circus that came with her case, and even the kidnappers history. But the writing was weak, and she doesn't ever really explain HOW she recovered, and her healing process.
Elizabeth Smart was taken from her bedroom when she was 14. She tells us how young and child-like she was multiple times throughout the book. I'm not sure if she meant to convey the child-like tone in the writing of her story- but it seemed like it. It had a calm, young, nieve voice to it. Almost too calm. She explains why she didn't escape when she might have been able to-which I assume she has been criticized for by the media, because it almost seemed defensive how she described her fear.
I also understand why she chose to be vague with describing her abuse- you're not getting any gritty rape details here. But when you choose this path of describing things- you take the risk of sounding repetitive. Which definitely happened. Without details to explain where and what things are happening it just sounds repetitive to say "he is an evil man". Her calm tone almost seemed practiced or without emotion- which made parts of her story seem impersonal. Which is a huge downer considering this is called 'My Story'.
I didn't mind the religious aspect. I'm glad that Elizabeth had her faith to draw upon to help her through. Although I do question how she healed after she came back home. It's obvious she has huge familial support system, but she seems to have no signs of trauma, PTSD, or explain her road to recovery. It's got to be hard to remember all these events, recall the abuse, think about a man raping her. Yet she is healed by having faith, riding horses, and is even able to sleep in the same bed she was taken from her first night home? If it works for her great, but it seems there might be something missing behind all the calm. ...more
I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. I'm not sure if it was the short-story-ness of it (not my preferred style of writing), or the dysfI wanted to like this book so much more than I did. I'm not sure if it was the short-story-ness of it (not my preferred style of writing), or the dysfunctional family drawing away from the themes I thought I was going to see. The book is written in 12 short stories of Hattie's children, with the underlying themes of motherhood and family bringing it back to one overarching story. Some of the stories were great! It started out as a maybe 5-star read for me. I loved Floyd, Ruthie, and Ella's stories. But perhaps I loved these stories because they had the most parallels and relations to Hattie's original life. I kept wanting the characters to relate back to each other, or for the ending to have some sort of well..ending. I was left unfinished and that frustrated me.
This was touted as Oprah's Book Club 2.0 pick- following themes of African-American migration, from leaving the south to find 'better' lives. Perhaps I'd find a study on family dynamics and survival throughout an era. Unfortunately, I felt like it had 12 disjointed stories of suffering. I understand that this entire era was generally depressing, so it's already a topic that many people won't 'like'. But I understand why the author portrayed this image, and didn't stray away from it.
The writing itself was great. I think it was also enhanced by a great audio- although I don't know why there were 3 narrators on the audio. Her flow of consciousness and descriptions are fabulous, and she does a great job setting and painting the scene. Ican definitely see why some people love this. Unfortunately all of this can't bring my star rating higher than a 3. There's too much going on, not enough detail on each character, and the unsettling finish of a book with no ending was just too much for me to handle. ...more
What a great 'get myself ready for football season' book! I surprisingly haven't seen the movie, and had only heard about Michael Oher briefly. LewisWhat a great 'get myself ready for football season' book! I surprisingly haven't seen the movie, and had only heard about Michael Oher briefly. Lewis does a great job of intertwining a few decades worth of football history and one man's journey into football.
There is a lot of history- which I think non-football fans could find boring. I however, thoroughly enjoyed it. Learning how the recruiting of high school football players to college has changed and progressed. Learning how the entire game changed, with the importance of the offensive line, and the value of these players increasing not only to protect the quarterback, but to get paid! The left tackle used to be just another o-line position, and now is one of the highest paid players.
The history comes concurrently whit Michael Oher's story. A poor, uneducated black teenager ends up in a rich Memphis Christian school, and assimilates himself into the Tuohy family. It's great to hear an underdog story, and shows how remarkable Michael Oher's journey was. From a silent, awkward kid no one would talk to- to a confident high school player who is being pulled in every which way because he's wanted by every college to play for them. Fun fact, Oher is now 30, still playing for the NFL- currently with the Panthers, still playing offensive tackle.
The story itself is enough to want to read this one. I found this to be part biography, and part history. Worth a read for anyone who enjoys football. One of the most interesting parts I thought was getting to see inside the SEC's tactics of how to recruit players. The schmoozing, the 'almost' bribing. Didn't Ole Miss just get into trouble for paying a coach to convince their high school player to attend Ole Miss? Haha. ...more