Riding Freedom starts a bit slow, but by the end, I wished there was more. Maybe the author kept it short for a young audience, or maybe there's just...moreRiding Freedom starts a bit slow, but by the end, I wished there was more. Maybe the author kept it short for a young audience, or maybe there's just not a lot known about our subject, Charlotte/Charlie, the heroine of this historical fiction/biographical novel. Whatever the case, I was left with questions about her life. We know she lived as a man until she died and never married or revealed her secret. But I wondered if her childhood friend ever returned to help her run the ranch that was their dream together, and if so, how he would have dealt with the knowledge of her secret. How would he have treated her--as a man, or a woman? Was she transgendered? We will probably never know that, as I don't think that was recognized at the time. It's impossible to know if Charlotte became a man because she always identified as one, or simply to gain some measure of freedom in a time when women were little more than house slaves. Though this book is short and simple, it left me with some disturbing reminders of how oppressed women were, as little as a hundred years ago or so. To have even a bit of freedom, just do do what one loved, Charlotte had to become a different person. Not just a different person, but a different sex. Just to be allowed to ride a horse, do a job that she was seemingly gifted at, she had to give up who she was and a large part of what she was. It's a sobering comment on a woman's life then, that Charlotte's only choice was to give up all that she loved and wanted and dreamed of, or to become a MAN. That's a pretty drastic choice. There was no way for a woman to do what she loved with her life, unless what she loved was to stand around a hot kitchen baking for the men folk all day. What kind of life is that? It's no wonder men didn't want that job...and didn't want women voting their way out of it!(less)
This book was like 12 minutes of awkward sex. It seems like a good idea beforehand, maybe you're even looking forward to it (why else would you go sta...moreThis book was like 12 minutes of awkward sex. It seems like a good idea beforehand, maybe you're even looking forward to it (why else would you go start it?), but in reality, it's just all around unsatisfying. I'll give one minute to each section of the book. Here goes.
Minute 1: Despite the promising chemistry, it starts out dry and somewhat dull. But you think, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it will get better. Sometimes things take a while to get going." (The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing)
Minute 2: At least you're mildly amused, if also kind of grossed out... Was that comment meant the way you heard it, because if so, this guy is kinda creepy and maybe a bit of a pedophile. Not enjoying this at all, and hoping it will be over soon. (Letters from Zedelghem)
Minute 3: Now it's become so predictable and generic that you find your mind wandering. Don't you have some laundry you could be doing right now, and did you remember to turn off all the lights in the kitchen? You should buy a lottery ticket this week...how much is in the Powerball now? You wish this was over so you could call your sister and speculate on what will happen on next week's "Downton Abbey." (Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery)
Minute 4: Things have finally gotten a bit stimulating, and you decide not to take a quick cat-nap while he's not paying attention. At least he's a bit amusing, if shallow, and a little humor can go a long way. (The Ghastly Ordeal)
Minute 5: Whoa! Where did this come from? Suddenly this is like the most amazing thing ever, everything all the chemistry beforehand promised and more. Maybe this could turn into something, something mind-blowing. (The Orison of Sonmi)
Minute 6-7: A little disappointed that your mind did not get blown and he's changed things up. But it's still pretty great, and maybe it will still turn out as unforgettable as it seemed for a minute there. At least you're enjoying yourself. (Sloosha's Crossin')
Minute 8: Back to the best moves you've seen in ages. Were you really thinking about TV a minute ago? You can't even remember the name of the damn show anymore. Forget a lottery ticket, you've already won. You might actually be in love. You will keep him forever...OMG, YOU DID ***NOT*** JUST DO THAT!!! DID you? Did you really just try that? And if you did, did you really think you could get away with it? Do you actually think no one has tried that lame trick before? And do you think anyone, ever, has let them get away with it? (Sonmi again: This is when we find out the whole thing was a movie...the cheapest, most cliche thing an author can do, right alongside "Haha, just kidding, that was a dream." Have not been this disappointed since the fight scene in Breaking Dawn II." Did I just compare this book to a Twilight movie? Why yes, I did. Bring out the pitchforks, but I stand by my review...). (Sidenote: Pretty sure I gave Twilight 2 stars as well).
Minute 9: With a bit of humor, he's able to patch things up enough for you to grudgingly allow it to continue, but now things are awkward, and you'll never be able to get back in the groove. (Ghastly Ordeal)
Minute 11: Please let this be over soon...please let this be over soon...the awkwardness has grown physically painful. (Letters from Zedelghem)
Minute 12: Barely paying attention, but so grateful that it's over that you actually have a moment or two where things are a bit pleasant...But mostly all you feel is profound relief that he's done and you will never have to endure that again, and a bit proud, actually, that you persevered through the whole ghastly ordeal (which is a great description of the experience as a whole). (Adam Ewing)
Sorry guys. Despite the hype, I could not get into this one. The Sonmi chapters were absolutely brilliant until the fake-out. Still, even if her adventures were all fake, the world Mitchell created around her was flawless. Otherwise, ultimately disappointing. (less)
I've been hearing good things about this book since it came out, and having read the synopsis a few times, I knew I would enjoy it. So it came as a su...moreI've been hearing good things about this book since it came out, and having read the synopsis a few times, I knew I would enjoy it. So it came as a surprise when I didn't. I don't know exactly why it never caught my fancy. It started out good, and I did enjoy almost every section from Sarah's point of view. I also liked learning about France's involvement in the holocaust. I've been on a kick lately reading WWII books that focus on countries other than Germany. To its credit, this one gave a lot of information regarding the involvement and cooperation of the French police in Paris.
Although I enjoyed Sarah's sections, the majority of the book was from the American's point of view. I never felt any engagement with her character, so it was difficult to muster sympathy when she struggled. I found myself growing impatient, hoping Sarah would pop into the story again. I zoned out on a few parts and didn't care enough to reread what I missed. I wanted to know about France and the little girl, not a modern woman going through a divorce. If the book had continued with Sarah's life, I would have continued to read with rapt attention. The only objection I had with Sarah was that she was supposed to be 11 but she sounded about 5, while the modern girl Zoey, also 11, sounded nearer 25. I have a pet peeve with authors writing children who don't sound realistic.
So while this book was informative and included a few interesting chapters about a girl during the war, it is actually chick-lit disguised as historical fiction. If you are looking for a good book about WWII, I can offer a dozen suggestions that make this one forgettable in comparison.(less)