I love Colbert. LOVE him. So I was under the impression that three hours of Colbert would = awesome. Sadly, the writing in th...moreEhh, more like 2.5-2.75.
I love Colbert. LOVE him. So I was under the impression that three hours of Colbert would = awesome. Sadly, the writing in this just does not live up to the writing on the show. I think it also partly has to do with the lack of visual cues that the show has (Colbert's body language/facial expressions, as well as the images that often accompany his dialogue), and maybe even the lack of studio audience laughing along. Overall, I was mostly disappointed, but I didn't *hate* it. (less)
Why I Read It: I thought Feeling Sorry For Celia was hilarious and endeavoured to read the rest of Moriarty's books sent...more Review originally posted here.
Why I Read It: I thought Feeling Sorry For Celia was hilarious and endeavoured to read the rest of Moriarty's books sent in Ashbury and Brookfield. I'll try to remain spoiler-free in this review, but there are some things that toe the line, so if you're paranoid, just skip to Final Verdict:.
I'll start off by saying this: I didn't think this book was quite as funny as Feeling Sorry For Celia; FSFC had me laughing out loud... loudly. And when I wasn't LOLing, I was giggling a lot. This book WAS funny and did make me laugh out loud at times, but never as frequently and never as loudly as FSFC. I also found the humour in this book to just be STRANGE sometimes. Is it some kind of Aussie humour I'm not picking up on? Who knows. With that said, however, I still enjoyed the hell out of this book.
Despite this book being considered the second in a series, it can definitely be read on its own. There are some cameo appearances of our beloved Elizabeth Clarry and her pen pal Christina, and the little that we glean of them in this novel will make you think "OH YEAH, I remember reading all about that!!", but other than that? You're not missing anything.
It's all written in the same style as FSFC; it's epistolary format, so it's mostly compromised of the letters that the three girls and their male pen pals write to each other, as well as diary entries, school announcement, e-mails, and subpoenas that Emily's father writes to her (for little things like summoning her to dinner, for example). What I love about Moriarty's style is that I find epistolary novels require a suspension of disbelief; no one writes letters like they're writing a novel (all the detail; dialogue; etc.) and try as I might, that always bothers me (even when I'm enjoying the story proper.) Moriarty always makes me forget about all that though.. I feel like I'm reading honest to goodness LETTERS! Yes, there is sometimes quite a lot of detail put into the letters, and there is quite a bit of dialogue at others, but not so much that I'm ever thinking "Do people ever write letters like that? I don't think I would."
Moriarty also balances the light-hearted humorous stuff with the more serious subjects with a deft hand. There's obviously lots of humour and flirtation going on between Emily and Charlie as well as Lydia and Sebastian, but then there's a THING that happens to Cassie about halfway through the novel and it makes everything SUPER SAD!! Well, not everything because there is still some humour sprinkled throughout, but there is definitely a mist of sadness permeating everything. But it worked, because really, that's life! Life isn't always happy good times, nor is it always a bummer and an After-School Special. The issues that Cassie must deal with -- her father's death that she's still reeling from a year after the fact; the bullying she faces at the hands of her pen-pal (not much of a pal, but you know); dealing with her depression and learning to cope with all of these things -- are all handled with respect, even when there are funny shenanigans going on elsewhere.
The characters themselves, best friends Lydia, Cassie and Emily, are AWESOME and I'd love to be friends with them in real life. I would love to have friends as tight-knit as them and it makes me miss the strong bonds of friendship I had in high school who I've since drifted from sadly. And I loved how their friendship jumped off the page. You rarely ever see the girls actually talk to each other -- you only ever see it second-hand in their accounts to their pen-pals -- but it was such a sincere and TRUE friendship. So even though there are many boys and much flirtation and kissing in this book, it still passes the Bechdel test (the girls do talk about much more than boys too thankfully.)
I did have issue with the ending of the book though. There was such HYPOCRISY. I understood the girls wanting to keep their letters and diaries private and making such a fuss over it, because privacy is kind of sort of important and being charged on hearsay is BS, but then to go and break into someone's room so that you can incriminate him..? Isn't that kind of EXACTLY what the school wanted to do? But it's okay for THEM obviously because the person they were condemning deserved it (and he did... he did A LOT) but just UUGHH!! And it's even admitted that the evidence was found in the guy's bedroom and no one says anything? I don't know.. it just bugged the hell out of me.
And I was kind of annoyed with the tiffs that Emily and Lydia had with their pen-pals. It's not long-lived thankfully, and I had to remind myself that I've gotten into stupider arguments with my friends when I was their age, but it reminded me why reading about teenagers can be annoying sometimes.
But other than that? LOVED THIS!! I've already read the third book in the series and plan on reading the fourth in the very near future.
Final Verdict: Moriarty has once again written an amazing epistolary novel (that makes me forget my hang-ups with epistolary novels) that balances humour and serious issues perfectly. The main characters were quirky, ridiculous, but completely lovable and I wanted to be a part of their wonderful little clique because their friendship was so enviable. This wasn't quite as funny as Feeling Sorry For Celia, but that book set the bar quite high, to be honest. Even if you haven't read Feeling Sorry For Celia, don't hesitate picking this up -- the book stands perfectly find on its own. (less)
Why I Read It: I became a fan of Louise Rennison about three summers ago when I devoured her Georgia Nicholson series. I was...more Originally reviewed here.
Why I Read It: I became a fan of Louise Rennison about three summers ago when I devoured her Georgia Nicholson series. I was very happy and excited when she released the first book of her Tallulah Casey series, Withering Tights. While I didn't love the first installment in this new series quite as much as Georgia, it was enough to make me want to come back for more. So shortly after this second book was released, it was brought into my public library and I promptly signed it out. Spoiler-free review ahead.
Before starting out to write this review, I checked out my review of Withering Tights, just to refresh my memory on some thoughts I had on it and to see how they compared to what I thought of this installment in the series. And what I found is that they were mostly the same: this is a fun, light-hearted series, but it lacks characterization and isn't quite as funny as Rennison's Georgia Nicholson series.
I mentioned in my first review that Tallulah isn't quite as funny as her cousin Georgia, but definitely more likable and relatable. That remains true in this story as well, as well as the fact that while Lullah is certainly curious about boys and would like to find a boyfriend, she isn't boy-obsessed. Actually, I was really happy with the way that Rennison dealt with some of the situations Lullah found herself in with some boys, case in point, the kiss Lullah and guy-friend Charlie shared at the end of the first novel, only to be told that he already has a girlfriend. I'm not going to go into any further detail, but I applauded the way Tallulah handled the situation; she's obviously awkward and doesn't know QUITE what to do, but she also holds her head high. And when the time comes to really talk about with Charlie, the two learn to become friends and she doesn't hold a grudge (though I think the relationship between the two of them will further explored in future books.)
However, while Tallulah is an enjoyable character to read about, her friends at the academy lack depth and characterization. One of my complaints about Withering Tights was that I couldn't differentiate all her friends from one another and it holds true in this book as well. The only thing that helped me keep some of them straight was one defining trait (ie. Honey having a lisp; Jo being very short; other than that, I couldn't tell you who was who) and nothing else. Where this affects the story is that when things happened to the girls as a group, such as Honey being scouted and moving to Hollywood, it was hard to bring myself to care because I still don't know these girls. BUT, it is nice to read some YA (even if it's the younger spectrum of YA) where female friendship is featured so prominently.
The plot this time had a tighter focus, and was a little more than Tallulah going to school and kissing boys. This time, the fate of Dother Hall is at stake, and the novel takes place over a much shorter period of time, which made for a tighter and more focused plot. It's still fluffy and fun and ridiculous, but it still felt more fine-tuned than Withering Tights. Some of the developments in this book, mostly regarding asshole bad-boy Cain, were predictable, but still entertaining and leading to some funny moments. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the next book, because while I do have my reservations, I'm definitely coming back for more.
Final Verdict: Most of my complaints/reservations that I had for the first book in this series still stand in this second volume: while I really like Tallulah as a main character, her friends at Dother Hall lack characterization to the point where I can't even tell them apart unless they have one glaring trait that's impossible to ignore. The plot was much tighter and focused, which was nice, and there were some interesting albeit predictable developments that I found quite amusing. I plan on continuing the series, and I'm excited to see where Tallulah ends up next -- I just hope I get to know some of the secondary characters a bit better in future volumes.(less)
Why I Read It: I love reading Lawson's blog The Bloggess. This woman is hilarious. When I found out she...moreReview originally published on my Livejournal.
Why I Read It: I love reading Lawson's blog The Bloggess. This woman is hilarious. When I found out she was publishing a memoir, I knew I had to get my hands on it.
So let's get one thing out the way first: Jenny Lawson is a little out there. Her humour is crass and mostly offensive, so if that kind of thing bothers you, you may not enjoy this book. There's a lot more to this then JUST crass humour -- there are also some sad and touching parts -- so I do still urge you to give this a shot despite the outlandish sense of humour this book strives for.
But seriously guys, this book is FUNNY. The novel is structured as a series of anecdotes chronicling Lawson's life, starting as a small child growing in an impoverished rural area of Texas, to her adolescence and awkward high school years, to adulthood, where she chronicles meeting her husband Victor, her struggles with infertility, and her rise in internet fame (though she doesn't focus on being internet-famous really.. but she does talk about her blogging.) Actually, when I say it all like that I am not doing the book justice because that makes it sound BORING and it's NOT. At all. Lawson's life was zany and crazy and while I don't think I would have wanted to live through it, I enjoyed the hell out of reading about it. Some of my favourite anecdotes were: when her father buys some crazy turkeys and they follow Lawson to school; when Lawson had to inseminate a cow with a turkey baster; Lawson's acquisition of a giant metal turkey whom she dubbed "Beyonce" (which you can read about here. Do it, it's worth it.) This is all just skimming the Funny though. There is so much funny to be had!!
As much as this book is funny though, there are bits here and there that are sound and/or touching. There's one chapter that deals with Lawson's struggles with infertility and I've never tried to get pregnant, nor have I ever miscarried or anything like that, but I still found myself choking up. Lawson also deals with crippling social anxiety and depression, and this had me nodding my head and thinking: "GOD YES, SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS ME." When I was 17 I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and while it isn't anywhere NEAR as bad as Lawson, it still sucks. And I still get people all the time who tell me: "Oh, you have depression? You don't LOOK depressed! Do you have anything to be depressed about?" Me: "No, not really. But the chemicals in my brain are all messed up and I can't really help it." And then people look at me like I'm weird/nuts/etc. This book made me feel like "Whoa, someone totally gets it." And Lawson talks about it on her blog a lot as well and does all kinds of things to raise awareness.
Getting used to Lawson's writing style may jar some people. She's renowned for going off on crazy long tangents, but they are almost always hilarious tangents, so I'm not complaining. Just hop on over to her blog and follow it for a week or so, or check out some entries to get a feel for how she writes (she started the blog initially to find her "writing voice", so the style of her blog is very, very similar to the book.) Her train of thoughts are also kind of weird, but again re: hilarious. So.
Final Verdict: This book has cemented my love for Jenny Lawson. When I first read this book, it was a borrowed copy (from work) but I have since bought my own pretty hardcover to sit on my shelf. Let's Pretend This Never Happened is everything I love about The Blogess and more: it's equal parts hilarious, sad, heartfelt, and touching. Except it's actually mostly hilarious. Her sense of humour isn't for everyone, but just visit her blog and see if you jive with her writing. I definitely did. I hope to God she writes another book.(less)