A great sophomore work (though I suppose it is actually her eighth published novel). As impossible as it is to separate her from the series that made...moreA great sophomore work (though I suppose it is actually her eighth published novel). As impossible as it is to separate her from the series that made her famous, I think she makes a great attempt here to try something new. It is definitely an adult novel, beautifully illustrating the complexities of human relationships. At first confusing, as there is simply a mass of charachters, I feel that that was actually quite intentional; it is unclear at first who is "good" and "bad" and through the book the readers allegiences with various characters are called into question until we realize that these people are inherently complicated and that right and wrong are entirely subjective. Complex characters and a well written structure that unfolds beautifully, JK Rowling manages to convey both the ridiculousness of small town Pagford drama, and suggest something grander with this minute town gossip.(less)
This book wasn't what I wanted it to be, but it was still decent. Like all books of this nature, it was hit or miss, some of the essays were immensely...moreThis book wasn't what I wanted it to be, but it was still decent. Like all books of this nature, it was hit or miss, some of the essays were immensely beautiful and moving, others left me thinking that the author was probably a better photographer than writer. David Maisel's and Laurel Nakadate's were the stand outs for me, portraying more everyday moments, rather than some of the other photographers, who tried to write about these moments of great tragedy or drama and were unable to conjure the intensity of the moment with their words.(less)
This book really thoroughly addressed the issue of how the "naturalistic" (emphasis on breastfeeding etc) form of parenting inspires guilt within youn...moreThis book really thoroughly addressed the issue of how the "naturalistic" (emphasis on breastfeeding etc) form of parenting inspires guilt within young mothers, and in their efforts to live up to these pressures, are further tied to the home, which was a perspective I had not really considered before. It has a lot of relevant stats, and while Badinter is obviously attempting to paint a certain picture here, she does a good job of not being preach-y. She had a lot of interesting ties to history and how this new wave of ultra involved mothers was actually a form of rebellion against their own 1970s feminism era moms. Most of her statistics and points were about America and Europe, I would have appreciated to get a bit more of a global perspective to see how far these trends stretched. The book was very statistic and graph heavy, and while, as a stat major, I felt like the numbers told a compelling story on their own, I would have appreciated some more real-life anecdotes, I can understand how some people would find the book dry. It also seemed a little repetitive at points, but the book was short enough that that didn't really bother me.(less)
This book was sweet, and entertaining enough, but wasn't up to the standards set by the original Mysterious Benedict Society (though perhaps I'm just...moreThis book was sweet, and entertaining enough, but wasn't up to the standards set by the original Mysterious Benedict Society (though perhaps I'm just still in mourning that CARSON ELLIS DIDN'T ILLUSTRATE anything past the first one.) I'm not quite sure why, but this book felt a little too simplistic. Perhaps its because while MBS has four main characters, each with their own strengths, who work together to achieve things, this book only had Nicholas, who comes across as so smart and so capable that you never really doubt that everything will work out for him. Also I feel like the premise for this book (orphaned boy goes to new orphanage, gets bullied, outsmarts bullies, looks for treasure, makes friends) was more predictable than MBS, which was also a bit more adventurous. I still liked it, I just didn't love it.(less)
**spoiler alert** I read this series as a 13 or 14 year old girl (which, lets be honest, is the perfect time to read those books) and when I discovere...more**spoiler alert** I read this series as a 13 or 14 year old girl (which, lets be honest, is the perfect time to read those books) and when I discovered that there was a fifth one, I had to read it. The same characters are in the book, but are now thirty, yet seem to have developed very little from their high school selves. The majority of them are still with their summer flings from book one or two, and none of them have improved any of their character flaws. Lena is just as mopey and indecisive as ever, pathetically still hung up on Kostas, who she had only really dated for a couple months about 10 years previously. Like seriously, MOVE ON. Lena has all of the personality of a wet rag. She is frustratingly paralyzed as a character, unable to do anything except be pretty and be sad that she isn't doing anything with her life. Carmen was always a brat in the earlier books and she had not gained any more redeeming qualities in this one. Bridget was always my second favorite character, but she, while a better character than Carmen and Lena, was still plagued by immaturity.
SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
AND THEN THEY KILLED OFF TIBBY. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? She was by far the best character of the series and Ann Brashares KILLED her, leaving us with three, already fairly unlikeable, and now, entirely depressed leads.
Not only were the characters weak and the premise depressing as hell, but the plot made very little sense. NO one thought to contact Brian after Tibby's death? He's not invited to the funeral? When they do meet him and discover that OH WAIT TIBBY HAD A KID (a both ridiculous, and predictable plot device) NOBODY thinks to ask him why he thought she killed herself, and he never thought to mention the fact that she didn't kill herself, she was terminally ill. EVERYONE IN THIS BOOK IS DUMB.
And the ending was soooooo cheesy. It also made me uncomfortable that almost all of them ended up with their high school sweethearts.
I mean the book wasn't awful, and it was a fast read. But. Bleg.(less)
As with all collections of short stories, some stories will stick with you more than others. Orozco's writing is sharp and on point, with just the rig...moreAs with all collections of short stories, some stories will stick with you more than others. Orozco's writing is sharp and on point, with just the right amount of dark humor and poignancy. This collection seems to examine small disruptions in daily tedium, disruptions that are either tragically taken into stride, swept out of mind in favor of routine, or simply makes the routine look even sadder in comparison. I feel like Orozco is more successful when he deals with more minute interactions, as in "Temporary Stories" and "Officers Weep." He tends to overstretch himself when attempting to address more dramatic, heavy handedly "dark" themes, such as "The Bridge," and "I Run Every Day." I found "Somoza's Dream" sort of derailing in terms of flow of the collection, but that the book really hit it's groove in the second half.(less)
This book was beautifully written but entirely unshaped. At the end, though you've read many poignant passages, you are forced to come to terms with t...moreThis book was beautifully written but entirely unshaped. At the end, though you've read many poignant passages, you are forced to come to terms with the fact that this book had little to no plot. Long, winding, and needed to be edited down. A lot. It was a book that I had to encourage myself to read, not one that wrapped me up and drew me in. Was it worth it? I'm not sure. (less)
The writing style of this book is incredibly bizarre, and you FEEL LIKE she is YELLING at you a lot, but somehow you get used to it and it actually he...moreThe writing style of this book is incredibly bizarre, and you FEEL LIKE she is YELLING at you a lot, but somehow you get used to it and it actually helps build Daisy's character. Similarly, while it is really really weird that Daisy hooks up with her cousin, the reader somehow gets over and moves on from that fact really quickly, and the ease with which I accepted it kind of freaks me out. Its a book made up of a lot of things that you don't expect to like in theory, but adds together to create a incredibly compelling narrative.(less)