Unsure what to think of this. At its most basic level, it's a fairly interesting and charming story of a man going on a journey. On another level, it'Unsure what to think of this. At its most basic level, it's a fairly interesting and charming story of a man going on a journey. On another level, it's about quite a few topics, many of which you wouldn't expect. On a final level, it's a bit iffy.
See, Joyce talks about the inner goodness of people in it, but she fails to really do anything about it. Some characters are flawed and left unredeemed. They're selfish or they're violent or they're self-destructive, and at times it feels like the book is praising some people and going "eww look at these other people" at others. I was particularly uncomfortable with the two instances of LGBT inclusion, one of which was a lazy reference to the 'transwoman trap' situation, and the other had a closeted gay man who talked about some fairly fetishistic sex he engages in. I felt like the book was portaying these people in a negative light.
I liked it on the whole, but I wouldn't re-read it and I'd struggle to recommend it as it does make me a little uncomfortable at times....more
The Art of Being Normal is a good and frequently emotional read, with some great twists (albeit obvious in retrospect) and a lack of fear about beingThe Art of Being Normal is a good and frequently emotional read, with some great twists (albeit obvious in retrospect) and a lack of fear about being realistic when it needs to be. I disagree with the idea that it's not about 'being transgender' - I think that aspect is too important to the story - but I don't think it's necessarily the sole focus Williamson was going for. It is about teenagers, about contrasting backgrounds, about the frictions between friends and enemies alike - but from the perspective of a transperson.
I really enjoyed the majority of this book, but I found a couple of things to not sit too well with me. The main set of issues I had comes in about 2/3rds into the book, where David is presenting as female whilst out with Leo (the other viewpoint character - at this point David's chosen name has not been revealed), and she is shown to be essentially invisible despite the fact this is her first outing in public (presenting as female), the fact she's 14 and not being ID'd for alcohol, etc., and so on. She's able to function fairly well, albeit in those scenes, without a hint of trouble. I found this rather unbelievable and idealised, and considering Williamson's background in working with transgender people, it's a little strange. Of course I'm not suggesting it couldn't happen, merely that it seems very unlikely considering the circumstances.
But once those scenes are over, the book gets back to being an interesting and emotional read.
I don't know if I would say this is a book for trans kids. I think it's a bit too idealised, a bit too narrow in its representations of transpeople. It may give rise to false expectations or an overly-optimistic view of what the (near-)future could be like. It needs a heavier dose of reality, and more introspection on some events later in the story. However, I think this book still has its uses, and to see it doing so well considering its subject matter? That's a great thing to see, and I hope it encourages publishers to publish more books like this....more
Good, but not the best. I felt like Turnabout From Heaven lasted a bit too long and was a little too "out there" for a Wright story (though, of courseGood, but not the best. I felt like Turnabout From Heaven lasted a bit too long and was a little too "out there" for a Wright story (though, of course, they can be odd too). Turnabout Gurgitation Pt. 1 was fairly interesting, but it remains to be seen how good it will be (it's concluded in Vol.5). The art is fairly good, a strange cross between improvements on the original art and some questionable additions (Mia in one of the bonus comics manages to be even 'boobier' than she was before), but on the whole it works very well.
Like another reviewer, I did notice something quite weird - At the back there's two pages on Japanese honorifics and how they're used. Generally this would be quite useful, as the better translations of manga keep them... but for some reason, the duo that translated the Phoenix Wright manga didn't keep them. I don't know if this inclusion wass standard policy for Kodansha - it's certainly not included in the back of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon vol 3 that's sat on my desk - but it seems like an odd inclusion when the translation doesn't keep the honorifics....more
Oh. Finally. I think it took me about three weeks, for a variety of reasons.
So, basically, I think The Blind Assassin made me realise what Atwood is.Oh. Finally. I think it took me about three weeks, for a variety of reasons.
So, basically, I think The Blind Assassin made me realise what Atwood is. She's an excellent writer, but she's a middling-at-best storyteller. Her attempts at twists and turns feel bizarre and almost laughable, whilst her prose is fluid, beautiful and amazingly descriptive. She has these amazing phrases and quips (largely through Iris, the narrator for many segments of the book), yet the story is initially confusing and for a long time not a lot of it makes that much sense.
My favourite segments were the ones in which Iris narrated her life as an older woman - they were the strongest, I felt. Her retelling of her earlier days (with a focus on her sister Laura's life) were next in line, but the newspaper article segments originally felt confusing and out of place, and The Blind Assassin itself (at one point giving a story in a story in a story, or something like that) was okay, but barely more interesting than the newspaper/magazine articles.
I won't be rushing back to read more Atwood, but if I do, I know at least there'll be some amazing prose to look forward to....more
The Wreck of the Titan is a bit of an odd one. I only found out about it through the visual novel/puzzle game 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors (as I'm sure iThe Wreck of the Titan is a bit of an odd one. I only found out about it through the visual novel/puzzle game 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors (as I'm sure is true for some of its most recent readers), and I have to say upon finishing the story I feel like actually, The Wreck of the Titan is more interesting in terms of what it may have meant and its subsequent appeal rather than what is actually on the pages.
It's a short and fairly quick read, and the protagonist is a relatively tragic yet sympathy-inducing figure - a victim of pleasures as well as circumstance - but the ship itself seems to only be present for a brief period and instead is more of a spectre for most of the story. It goes a touch silly in the middle portions - we have Lovecraftian hallucinations and a quite literal man-vs-bear fight - then ends on a somewhat underwhelming note, but I think that fits in with the tone of the story. There's a fair bit of philosophy and social criticism in this, most of it perhaps applicable over a century later, but it severely undermines itself by including a rather vile charicature of a stereotypical Jewish moneylender, with his presence making the later chapters a touch uncomfortable to read....more
A somewhat interesting diversion from the fast-paced and multi-layered main series. Focusing entirely on Amber, we get to learn about her history andA somewhat interesting diversion from the fast-paced and multi-layered main series. Focusing entirely on Amber, we get to learn about her history and how she discovered herself, but also the conflicts she experiences between Earth and the world of her people. Lo adds some fairly reasonable criticisms of human culture via some conversations, and it works well....more
Not really worth picking up. Aside from a couple of essays, it reads like a bunch of blog posts (with the amount of research done that you'd expect...Not really worth picking up. Aside from a couple of essays, it reads like a bunch of blog posts (with the amount of research done that you'd expect...) revolving around the movie much more than they do the book (whereas the title implies the book is the focus).
My 'favourite' moments included the lighthouse scene involving spaghetti (surely it'd be noodles? Not to mention in the novel and Angels' Border), and the suggestion that Battle Royale II was less popular because it was based on Takami's second novel that hadn't been released - which, to me, is an absolutely bizarre statement.
Whilst some of these essays may change how you think about certain aspects of Battle Royale, it feels like it's mostly group of people preaching to the crowd about how good the Battle Royale franchise is, and I gotta ask - why tell us what we already know? We wouldn't be buying this if we didn't know how good it was....more