Reading it for the first time in my Gothic Lit class in college, I fell in love with Jane Eyre. My old college copy is worn now, though I've managed tReading it for the first time in my Gothic Lit class in college, I fell in love with Jane Eyre. My old college copy is worn now, though I've managed to keep it in decent condition.
The story of Jane and Mr. Rochester is timeless. Each time you read the novel your interpretation and perspective will change slightly. The last time I read Jane Eyre, I was disgusted with Mr. Rochester's behavior. I couldn't even finish it. I think around the same time I read a lot of YA romances where the lead male treated the heroine miserably, but the protagonist still loved and excused his behavior.
While some might argue that Jane Eyre has plenty in common with Young Adult novels today, the difference between the dominating and controlling figure of Mr. Rochester, compared to your current male heroes rests entirely on the sphere and station of women during Charlotte Bronte's lifetime.
Jane lived in a society where men were preferred over women and thought to be the more sensible of the two sexes. Women in that society were thought to be more helpless and lack reasoning skills.
From the very beginning you learn Jane is orphaned and living with her Aunt Reed and while her aunt may be rich, Jane is treated poorly and constantly reminded of her second class status in the household. The hateful Aunt Reed eventually sends her away to Lowood School, an orphanage for young girls. The interesting thing is that you learn why Jane is so logical and educated. She grew up in a house without experiencing any true affection, which caused her to develop a keen sense of observation and a biting wit.
Her time at Lowood School is strict though her experience there further shapes her character. Once the opportunity arises she accepts a job as governess in Thornfield Hall. (Though it should be noted she applied to the job, because she was becoming restless and needed new mental stimulation.)
Here the greatest romance begins and the Gothic elements are solidified with its descriptions of Thornfield manor and various creepy elements and mysteries within the house-especially the mystery behind Grace Poole.
Now Mr. Rochester is ugly and rude. He thinks himself to be highly intelligent. He has no problems doing sketchy things to get the information he craves. One notable scene is the one involving the gypsy. However, Jane, unlike other pathetic heroines fights back. She stands her ground against Rochester. She loves not a glamorized version of him but the true man that he is flaws and all. Even when she forgives some of his minor flaws, when Rochester's deep dark secret comes roaring out Jane, though in love, decides its best to have her self respect than to stand by his side.
A quick adventure follows with plenty of fortune and misfortune for several of the main characters that played a major role in Jane's life.
Their love story doesn't come to its conclusion until Jane encounters a paranormal event, so common to Gothic fiction. There the fate of all the remaining characters are revealed once Jane decides to heed her instincts. Many characters suffer and though Bronte could have simply made everyone have a happy ending she stayed true to her realistic style making sure that the characters reached a resolution that fit their personality and the circumstances of that day and age.
Jane is smart. Jane is brave. Jane is a hard worker and wonderful friend, but what Bronte never does is tell you that her positive assets come from her beauty. In fact, Jane is told several times over the course of her life that she's quite plain and even ugly by others.
She loves with a passion and she becomes emboldened by her strong moral compass that is neither rooted in religion or the customs of the day. She does what she believes to be right and that helps her become the best Jane she can be.
If only more heroines were like Jane.
This is probably one of my all time favorite books.
Jane gives hope to the "poor, obscure, plain, and little" that happy endings can be had by all if you accept yourself for who you are and not what you wish you could have been. ...more
The introduction written by Emma McEvoy observes with a clinical eye the failures and triumphs of The Monk within the Gothic genre. Many spoilers areThe introduction written by Emma McEvoy observes with a clinical eye the failures and triumphs of The Monk within the Gothic genre. Many spoilers are revealed, but her analysis is so concrete that it lacks the shock usually accompanied by most spoilers. Instead you are told about the strengths of the author, the genre, and the reception of this book during the life of the author.
It is interesting to note that many of the same critics today that find certain books to be ungodly such as the critics of Harry Potter and The Golden Compass were just as rampant during Matthew Lewis' life. The reception of the book was well received though overtime people feigned interest in the novel. A censored version was published and having read the original I can say that the censored version would lack the horror produced by the original.
Ambrosio, his accomplice Rosario, and the Prioress nun exemplify the worst in Catholicism. The Prioress commits crimes all in the name of saving the reputation of her convent and entering the good graces of Ambrosio as he is well respected in Madrid. Once Rosario's secret is revealed we learn the depths of Rosario's dissent from God. Rosario does not simply bend rules, there is a marked effort to break them with glee and ease. Each one of these characters care little for their victims.
The victims of these players have misfortune, naivete, and timing stacked against them. One of the central character's Antonia is placed as the tragic damsel in distress. Her victimization appears to be more of a story arc ploy, then serving the character any true growth. Her purpose is simply to be the young virginal victim.
The novel also suffers greatly for its ill pacing. Their are segments of the novel where it seems to drag on possibly causing readers to want to set the book aside. Once the reader passes the stagnant prose, the story picks up and becomes interesting once again.
Speaking of the pacing the ending was also a bit awkward. The conclusion itself is satisfactory and a bit shocking, but the way Lewis placed the two alternate endings seemed a bit odd. One would get the sense that the story could have ended with either ending and this was the product of bad editing.
There are strengths about this book that I do enjoy. I do think that within the Gothic tradition the novel exemplifies the best and worst of Gothicism. I especially enjoyed this novel when reading it for a Gothic literature class. The book parodies the genre at times and at other instances falls prey to the very same criticism it parodies. However, when reading it a second time, without an academic eye the book lacked its original luster.
The story is haunting and riveting, but it's downfall is the pacing. I think this is a wonderful book for anyone interested in Gothic literature. A lot of the imagery of the villains' fall into dissension is overly dramatic, but it can be forgiven on the basis that this is one of the earlier Gothic novels published and Lewis' theme, that true good is not simply ascribed to people of faith. True goodness is based upon one's daily actions and inner intentions.
I don't recommend this as a casual read, because without an interest in Gothicism the novel can be seen as an utter failure. Not knowing its background the reader will lose interest. The concept behind the book though unique, is not sustained and thus the novel fails in that respect. ...more
The most important thing to note is that this isn't meant to be a novel with a story line. This is a journal, an experience really, of a man encounterThe most important thing to note is that this isn't meant to be a novel with a story line. This is a journal, an experience really, of a man encountering nature and becoming amazed with it on a spiritual level. Muir's beautiful description of the landscape and his detail to specific tree types and animals were enchanting at first. He's fixated by the wild and believes in some ways humans are at odds with nature. Being it was written around 1869, I found his views on Native Americans a bit distasteful, but placed within its historical context, it made sense. Also, as beautiful as the writing was at times I would become bored reading another sentence about a beautiful tree, squirrel, or bird.
This is not a book for everyone. I appreciate the book for what it did in terms of the Naturalism genre, but it's not a particularly riveting read.
If you've ever wanted to read a book labeled "naturalist" or "naturalism" this would be the best place to start.
Life from a Lefty Moment: Reading this book reminded me of a vacation I took about two summers ago to San Francisco. Every time I read a passage I was constantly reminded of the San Francisco Botanical Garden. If you do end up getting your hands on this book, try reading it at a local park or a botanical garden. The sensory experience Muir gives you is much more difficult to comprehend if it's been a while since you've appreciated nature yourself....more
Dakota Cassidy's Accidentally Dead is my first legitimate attempt at reading romance novels, so I decided it was best to judge this on literary merit,Dakota Cassidy's Accidentally Dead is my first legitimate attempt at reading romance novels, so I decided it was best to judge this on literary merit, personal enjoyment, and publishing standards for romantic novels.
To those who care, the cover is appealing and as someone who shies away from covers with Fabio-look alikes and half nude women, this was completely nonthreatening. I realize the author has no control over her book cover design, but I do give it an A+.
The story follows Nina, a dental assistant who is accidentally bitten by a patient on her first day at the job and subsequently transforms into a vampire the following evening. Nina's main conflict is the pursuit of some type of reversal as she refuses to accept the fate that has been bestowed upon her.
With the support of friends, she learns the ins and outs of being a vampire and of course, the vampire who bit her is handsome. However, he (Greg) is put off by Nina's aggressive behavior, which is another subplot.
The negative aspects about this novel include Nina's friends Marty and Wanda. They are at times too cutesy and it seems forced at times. Towards the end of the novel the two women seem to fall into their own, but they have aggravating unrealistic personality traits, that could almost make the reader sympathize with Nina.
Nina's aggressive behavior is appropriate considering her life was taken away and she was converted into a supernatural being, but Cassidy's focus tends to stray from the hardship and true losses that Nina's conversion has cost her. They are briefly touched upon, but I think so much more could have been done with that storyline. However, because Cassidy has Nina focus on stupider agendas, Nina's anger is trivialized.
Considering this is written in a modern setting and Marty herself is a werewolf, these women having no clue about vampire mythology is absurd. (Dracula and Underworld, anyone?) I find that hard to believe. One of Wanda's main methods for gaining vampiric information dumbs down the character, which is sad. You get the impression that Wanda is suppose to be the reasonable, intelligent friend in the group. On the other hand, I acknowledge that references to romantic novels are actually a very witty subtle statement from the author, Cassidy. I do get the impression that she was attempting to address the slights that many people have towards romance readers and writers in general.
My last grievance is that when Cassidy wrote from Greg's point of view it didn't seem like him at times. I could hear Nina's voice overpowering what I believe Greg would have said or done.
Now the positive things about this book include Cassidy's ability to construct a well thought out plot. She is able to insert some twists and though we all know the story has to end happily, Cassidy's approach to the ending was not entirely predictable. Not a lot of people can write a story with a good plot line, so I do have to give her due credit.
This book is wonderful if you are in need of escapist fiction. I actually read this in Houston, when we had no power last week and it did take my mind off of the Hurricane Ike situation. That in itself, tells you that this book is not meant to be read as a literary masterpiece. It's a fun book with sex scenes, three in all actually, which I thought was fine since we got to focus more on the story then the sex. If I wanted to read 200 pages of sex, I would read certain fanfiction.
The best thing about this novel, however is Cassidy's accessibility to her fans. Considering how certain authors make it difficult to even contact them, Cassidy enjoys direct contact with her readers. I find that to be pretty decent of her, because an author who is crude to her fans doesn't have many of them in the end. She knows this and treats her fans well.
There's a third sequel in the works, with Marty's story being the first one, this novel being the sequel, and one would assume that Wanda would be the focus of the third novel.
Again, this isn't Shakespeare, but if you want a fun light read this should do the trick. Just try to ignore the cute crap from Marty and Wanda. It does get better.
I give this a 3.5 out of 5. It's a really fun book, but the cute color wheel crap became too much at times....more
I haven't read this novel in years and all I remembered about it was there was a Dracula, Mina Murray, Jonathan Harker, Lucy, and random characters whI haven't read this novel in years and all I remembered about it was there was a Dracula, Mina Murray, Jonathan Harker, Lucy, and random characters who I don't recall until I watch Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula. I was quite surprised to see a sort of mystery playing out where each journal, letter, memorandum, helped piece together the wickedness of Dracula and the lengths the men went through to abolish this evil.
Normally, I would rail against the portrayal of women, by the symbolism of a good women being equated with virginal attributes and a bad women being one who is sexually liberated. However, when taken within its historical context this novel is a perfect picture of what life was like for women during the 1890s, how they were viewed, and their roles and stations in society.
I loved being able to see how women were treated and seeing how much we have grown and changed as a gender. There are so many freedoms and liberties we have today, so when you read Mina's take on what it is to be virtuous, I really appreciated how easier my life is as a woman today, compared to Mina.
Before I go on any further, I have to mention the negatives, because otherwise I'll just swoon over the novel.
There were three main deterrents that got to me, well four, but one was of my own creation.
1) This is my fault, but I forgot midway Arthur and Lord Godalming were one in the same person. That's a huge misread on my part, because I was so use to his name being Arthur Holmwood. When he takes the title from his father I realize why it happens at first, but something happened later on, where I just simply forgot the reason and wondered, "Who's this Lord Gaudy person?" Imagine when I go back a few pages and realize it was Arthur all along! I felt pretty silly. However, I'm noting this here in case my reader misstep was caused by the novel not being clear about the title transfer to Arhur Holmwood.
2) Early when Mina describes the arrival of the ship Dracula is on, I'm pretty bored by this part and wish it was edited out, though it was integral to the part because:
3) I'm not a fan of long written accents, specifically ones that include large portions of dialogue. It might have been a Cockney accent or whatever, but anytime a shipmate, or in this instance an elderly man spoke to Mina with an accent I cringed. I pictured a bad Australian/Wuthering Heights characters kinda accent and the image in my head was not pleasant as that hybrid isn't a good combination at all.
4) Why the hell didn't people listen to Van Helsing in the beginning?!?! He tells you not to open the window when there is a huge bat flying around and what do people do? Open the dang window. He tells them not to get rid of the garlic to help Lucy. What does the mother do? Get rid of the garlic. He says, "Don't leave Lucy alone," and the first thing people do is leave her alone at night! No wonder certain people die! It takes the crew a while, but eventually everyone realizes that Van Helsing is the man and they really ought to listen to him. It took them long enough though. Even his former student was dense about what was going on. If Van Helsing wasn't involved the world would have been overtaken by vampires at the end of the novel.
Now the great thing about Dracula is you see how everyone comes together to defeat this monster. Van Helsing especially becomes a favorite character of mine with phrases such as "child brain" and "man brain." The way he speaks to Mina was endearing, "Oh madam Mina, sweet Madam Mina." You're led through this hunt as they realize that they have to rid the world of this vampire otherwise many peoples lives would be at stake.
Once Mina becomes a victim and potential vampire in transition, the stakes are higher as now they are fighting to save her eternal soul.
I admit it, I loved how this historical novel showed the relationship between men and women, which was another factor that grabbed my attention. Van Helsing kept saying Mina had a "man's brain," as a compliment and rather than be insulted, because by today's standards it is, it was fascinating to see how Mina reacted in this male dominated world. She felt as a woman she shouldn't cry and worry her husband. She had a lot of those infuriating Victorian-esque ideas about women and how they should behave around men, but despite that in many ways Mina is still a strong female character. She wants to help in the mission to destroy Dracula and she is daring in her own way. Perhaps she's not the ideal feminist character, but I admire that she was able to work within her confines to prove her worth as a person-even if the character keep praising her accomplishments as being feminine or wonderful for "God has blessed her with that man brain."
(Small question, but at the end of the first 2-3 journal entries by Jonathan Harker, wouldn't you have left the castle? I would have.)
The mystery behind Dracula, discovering those old vampire cliches for the first time, and their end battle is what makes this such a great read.
On a side note, this is probably why Bram Stoker's Dracula, though in many ways 100% different from the novel, was actually a perfect rendering. I remembered in college trying to explain to my professor why I thought the movie was perfect and was never quite able to explain myself with finesse. Now after having read the novel several years later and thinking back to the movie, the movie perfectly complements the novel as a complete opposite. Whereas Dracula is about the purity of women and their virginal qualities, the movies focuses on the symbolism of women and sex and it being equated as being negative. Sure, Hollywood knows how to play up the sexual parts and reinventing of Dracula looking for his long lost lover, with dramatic effect, but when you see how Mina's role is changed in the movie it makes absolute sense.
The book is about purity. The movie is about hedonism. They both focus on women and their sexuality. It's ying and yang.
It really is neat once you think about it.
Dracula is really one of those classics I just need to reread more often. In some ways I'm happy it had been a while, because I think time and experience made me enjoy this book in a way I couldn't have when I first read it in high school.
Now if only all vampires were as cool and sinister as the one in this book. ...more
So after I sort of metaphorically kicked Stiefvater's butt again with a negative review, I have to share another negative review with you. I've read sSo after I sort of metaphorically kicked Stiefvater's butt again with a negative review, I have to share another negative review with you. I've read some reviews where the question is asked, "Why did this stupid book get the National Book Award?" and to me the answer was easy.
If you look at the year it was published, the fact the setting is in California, and you take into account the racial tensions that occurred at many high schools there during that time period, the love people felt for this book makes absolute sense. What this book did at that time was unveil the mystery behind the contemporary impoverished Mexican family, and unlike that idiotic book House on Mango Street, Martinez does not mind showing you the ugly side of things at all.
Sandra Cisneros (who will never be praised for her amazing book Caramelo and only remembered for that terrible book House on Mango Street) liked to dress up the ugly side of being impoverished by using pretty sentences and never really being direct. It's all seen through a kid's eyes so Esperanza's perception of life can be questioned.
It's pretty hard questioning Manny's view on things. He's an older teen boy in high school. Manny may be very ignorant about some things, but for the most part he is an honest narrator. We as a country are more aware of the injustices that certain minority groups had to endure, then we were back in 1998. We didn't really talk about how dysfunctional families were, the resentment that impoverished Latinos had towards the white community, the discrimination Latinos experienced in all areas of their lives, the intolerance between the black and brown community, health care, educational inequality, joblessness, and the cycle of poverty.
Martinez was basically saying, "Oh, I'm gonna tell it like it is," and to those unaware of the world around them this book had to have been powerful back in 1998. He dared to touch on all those issues without necessarily preaching, but spotlighting on what a certain segment of society went through.
Each chapter is a vignette, much like Cisneros, hence the comparisons, but that's where it ends. Where the House on Mango Street is this 8 year old kids acid trip, Parrot in the Oven is about a boy trying to make sense of his life. Or so I thought until I reached the very end and was quite disappointed by the choices that Manny made. I blame Victor Martinez for Manny's stupid choice. When you find out why he gets clicked in to a gang, you're just disappointed in the entire story and what could have been a good story or even a good story to reference the cultural temperature back in the mid to late 90s becomes a weak story with a silly plot and it's a shame.
I'm positive those who read this for the first time between 1998-2001 got more out of the novel then someone today could. Some of the issues are still present today within the Latino community, but the difference now is that I think America is more aware of what is happening to his or her neighbor today than they were 20+ years ago. Which is why I think people praised this book so much. It was an eye opening experience. (Not to mention a Latino writer receiving such a huge award for a book is a big deal, especially considering the racial tension back then. Hello, L.A. riots.)
I have my qualms about this book, especially the ending, which I just inherently disliked, but as a book framing a certain segment of history it did well. It's not necessarily a fictional book I'd recommend, but one I'd want people to read if they're only experience with Latino Fiction is House on Mango Street....more
Literary critics will point out that Gregory's style is not based upon her literary prowess and descriptions. Gregory is able to engage the reader witLiterary critics will point out that Gregory's style is not based upon her literary prowess and descriptions. Gregory is able to engage the reader with a solid voice with the main character Mary Boleyn to the infamous Anne Boleyn. The heroine, Mary has her faults and her positive traits that allows her to be a well rounded character.
She is thrust into the bed of King Henry the VIII after it is learned that the Queen and him fear they will never bear a male heir. You will notice that Gregory excels at displaying the status of women as pawns during this time period through Mary's explanation of events. She was recently married to a courtier, but it hardly mattered as the Boleyn and Howard family (Mary's mother belonged to the powerful Howard family) cared first and foremost about their advancement in the court and their female daughters were merely pawns in this game.
Mary falls in love with the King, but everything goes awry. She gives him two children, but King Henry is fickle and starts to lose interest when the family throws Anne into the mix ensuring that he keeps himself interested in a Boleyn girl, any Boleyn really.
What happens after the failed extra marital affair is where the story truly begins. Mary at one point attempts to rekindle her relationship with her husband, but the fates have other plans in store for her. When she finally finds love, it becomes one of the best moments in the novel. He is simple, stoic, neither flashy nor grand and offers Mary the one thing she desires most and that is independence and an identity, which she wasn't afforded being a Boleyn sister.
It's difficult to see how Mary wants to be loyal to the Queen, but is forced to betray her due to the hold that her family has on her. Even her depiction of Anne's ascension to the throne is enough to make one shudder. The historical theories that are inserted are believable and the historical setting is seen as a backdrop, a detail, not something to become fixated and lecture the reader on. Any event of significance or social custom is slyly introduced so that the flow of the story is not broken.
This book is a must read for historical readers, readers who seek a strong female voice (with flaws mind you), and those who mistakenly saw the movie, before reading the book. You will not be disappointed....more
Vicki Myron's memoir of her life with Dewey is a nice blend of sentiment, honesty, and belief in how the littlest of things can have a major impact upVicki Myron's memoir of her life with Dewey is a nice blend of sentiment, honesty, and belief in how the littlest of things can have a major impact upon the lives of people. At first I thought I was simply going to read a book about a cat, after seeing a CBS Sunday News Morning special. It seemed like the type of fluffy read that I would be interested in, especially since I was able to acquire it that day.
However, Myron was able to mingle in her personal familial tragedies, the history of Spencer, along with Dewey's significance to her and the rest of Spencer. The beginning is a bit shaky and the shifts from Dewey anecdotes to the specific historical landmarks in Spencer is a bit jarring. It felt as if there was a struggle for Myron to find her own voice with the help of Bret Witter, who co-authored the book.
Eventually, Myron's voice is discovered and what a reader most appreciates about Myron is her candor about Dewey. Though it is obvious that she is infatuated with Dewey, she did present a balanced portrayal of Dewey, acknowledging that not everyone was taken over by this library cat.
It's that type of refreshing honesty that allows the reader to take the claims of Dewey's impact more seriously. Had she just written a book praising Dewey swearing that everyone wanted him from beginning to end, the book would have rung as false.
More telling is the personal information she reveals and how she shares it with the reader. She's guarded about one topic in particular, but you get the sense that had it not been for Dewey's companionship, she would have not survived her personal ordeals.
This book, though an easy read, is perfect for the person who wants to read a poignant and sweet tale about the bond between human and animal. Though the transitions between Dewey and other information is not as smooth as I would have preferred, the overall theme and message made up for the lack of finesse.
However, the cat lover in me gives this a 4.5. (Blame the 4.5 on Oreo. I don't think my cat would appreciate me loving another cat more than him.)...more
I'm all about falling action and endings. Endings matter so much to me that they tend to be what sticks with me long after I read a novel. The FallingI'm all about falling action and endings. Endings matter so much to me that they tend to be what sticks with me long after I read a novel. The Falling Action also tends to be memorized, because to me it's the best part of the story! I love beginnings too, but endings can make or break a novel. I love my happy endings too, but I have to feel it. I want to be moved.
Which is probably why I'm so picky.
Originally, I had planned to give this book a four star rating despite some technical flaws that would have given another book a three star rating. Then I read the ending and knocked off another star.
For a while, this book had it all. It was entertaining to me and the best type of science fiction book ever-it was pure fluff. OK, so no real credible science fiction reader would enjoy this and I wouldn't dare compare this novel to Sci Fi classics, but as a Fluff Science Fiction novel it sure had its moments. If there are no Fluff Science Fiction novels, then there should be. They can be fun, if not a bit insulting to the reader and the human race.
The flaws, oh the flaws.
This was what originally the Fluff protected:
The pacing to the novel was a bit off. I didn't know the book was so long! I bought the kindle version and at times wished the novel would end when the pacing faltered. When I saw I had 600+ pages to read I thought maybe I'd still be reading this book come December, but thankfully I finished it in about a month, if not less.
Wanda, who has taken over Melanie's body and is fighting Melanie over control of the body so to speak, doesn't really explain things correctly. (Or maybe Stephenie Meyer doesn't know how to describe certain facts within the novel.) Every time she described the various other planets and the different types of lives that existed on those planets I found the descriptions too difficult to fully envision without questioning something that was said, something was lacking. Maybe the science was a bit sketchy, or just the aliens seemed silly with descriptions such as the Flower or Dolphin planets.
Even the high tech and allegedly advanced medicine the aliens had were a bit silly, with names like "Heal," "Smooth," and "Clean."
Then there was the alien logic. These aliens are suppose to be kind loving sentient beings, but they don't see anything wrong with taking over the minds of sentient beings against their will?
I wasn't even sure if I bought the fact that Wanda could have also fallen in love with the same man Melanie loved, but I let it go. Jared wasn't exactly inspiring in terms of personality. The way he abused Wanda was a bit hard to swallow.
More important, I know some readers hate mundane moments for characters, such as sleeping arrangements, bathroom rituals, those usually boring little things, but to me it was a bit interesting, being I'm a novice sci-fi reader. With limited exposure to sci-fi I wondered if I could move to the "hard core" sci fi and still have it hold my interest. Some of the info was fairly plain and straightforward. I can't imagine a hard core sci-fi novel to describe its world building activities quite the same way that Stephenie Meyer did.
So, why did I like this so much?
Because there was Ian and fluff. Lots and lots of FLUFF. You don't even need to know who Ian is or what he does. Just enjoy the show. I liked reading about the silly overprotective men and the silly humans who did silly things all to get Wanda's attention. Melanie also becomes a more interesting characters, because you know instinctively one of them has to go by the end of the novel, but you feel guilty wishing a permanent end to either character.
So then, what went wrong? I could have almost forgiven the book for any of the prior transgressions I listed. I had so much fun reading it, when I wasn't screaming at the length of the book during a bad pacing moment. It was silly, fun, and just a bit of a break from my daily stress. I mean come on, "Clean," and "Heal." Dolphin and Flower planets? This is silly fun Fluff. I don't mean to knock Fluff, but hey it serves a purpose- to entertain with pure joy and silliness. I'm very PRO FLUFF, by the way.
But then the ending happened. Then the epilogue happened and it was all ruined. When you see how the issue was resolved and you know it was going to be resolved, because in Fluff novels situations are always resolved, I was sort of taken aback by the solution. The solution and how it was chosen was a bit creepy to me, especially when the solution to the problem was presented in stark terms. It unfortunately made some of the fun FLUFF aspects creepy, because the author hampered on the weird creepy parts. Once the ending happens and you find out the "shocking information" it's so silly and weird and plain. I wasn't moved. I wasn't wowed. I should have been. Plus the last line was sort of awkward to read.
To be honest, I'm still going to see the movie. I'll still squeal internally at Ian and all the FLUFF, but there's a part of me that will always be sad by how disturbing the ending is, if you read too much into it like I did. If you're looking for FLUFF, this is your novel. If you are craving a sci-fi read and this were a science fair project, my hypothesis would be that you'd hate this novel....more
What I enjoyed most about this nonfiction read was Larson's ability to have you believe you were reading a mystery thriller as opposed to reading a doWhat I enjoyed most about this nonfiction read was Larson's ability to have you believe you were reading a mystery thriller as opposed to reading a documented historical account. His writing style lends towards a narrative voice, which makes this book that much more powerful. There may be historian purists and academics who disagree with Larson's choice of explaining the motives and thoughts of Holmes, but it all fit perfectly within the context of the information presented.
The victim's motivations, Holmes, and Burnham are all fleshed out with page after page of research. Larson also has a genuine talent for timing and pacing as he adds in direct quotes and excerpts from documents to continue with the story that is being told.
Without Burnham's World Fair, the setting and circumstances would not have made it possible for Holmes to commit the crimes that he did. Although the two men never met their actions affected one another. It's hard not to be struck by the coincidences that are presented in this book. Now whether, that was Larson's intention, I am not certain, but it does add to the book's charm.
Larson is adept at balancing fact with riveting story telling. You are made privy to several characters and each person that is brought into this book has a part to play. There are no loose ends and if there is ever any discrepancy with the historical fact, it is noted along with the various other possibilities that some historians love to conjecture about during their free time.
This is such an amazing account, that I found myself several times having to edit out "novel" and "fiction" from the review. What Larson does best is defy that notion that historical nonfiction must be dry and unappealing. If there was anyone who hates nonfiction because of the density and bland language involved, I'd recommend this book to them in a heartbeat. This is the book for the historical buff and the reader who stays away from the nonfiction aisle.
It's compelling, fascinating, and most important of all it has the ability to appeal to a wide range of readers. ...more
I think it's fair to say that my preferences ultimately determined the rating of the book. This is the story about Green. She doesn't take the spotligI think it's fair to say that my preferences ultimately determined the rating of the book. This is the story about Green. She doesn't take the spotlight, she has a normal happy family, and her sister tends to be the light in her life. A terrible fire occurs in the city and that's when everything changes.
Slowly Green loses herself and as she attempts to survive in this new world post fire world. She does things she wouldn't have done otherwise. She never does anything evil, but you know she is hurting herself, because she feels guilty about not having died with her family. Unlike other young adult stories where the heroine constantly reminds you how much she feels like an outsider or how sad or lonely she is, Green doesn't fall to those stereotypes. Hoffman is much too clever for that.
If you read the reviews from the tiny paperback everyone gushes about her writing. I think what makes it so special is that she knows exactly how to pick the right words for every scene to convey this spectacular running reel that you can picture perfectly. She doesn't overdo it and she seems to have a good sense as to when to deploy her maddening imagery and descriptive skills.
Yet, there was a problem for me. I had trouble connecting with its dystopian/post apocalyptic/ fantasy elements. The fire affected one city and the whole world went mad. I was just much too logical for this story. I kept wondering why FEMA or some other government agency hasn't come in? Why are children allowed to suffer to that degree? It's only one city that burned down. It wasn't even Washington D.C. so my logical mind had a hard time accepting some of the book's elements. I know a bit of suspension of belief is required. The fantasy elements rang true to me when talking about the visitors she had and the changes occurring to her, but the aftermath of the fire never worked for me. I kept waiting for a governor to call a state of emergency or something.
Despite that issue I had, I enjoyed the story. I just felt like Hoffman had trouble deciding whether this was a fantasy based world or a dystopian world, which is probably what lessened my enjoyment of the novella.
If you're a more forgiving reader, you'll enjoy the book. I'd be interested to read future books from her, but I'll probably stay away from her fantasy/dystopian books for now on....more
I'm not sure if this is a favorite, but it feels like it should be.
What I like about this is that McVoy is very subtle with serious issues of religioI'm not sure if this is a favorite, but it feels like it should be.
What I like about this is that McVoy is very subtle with serious issues of religion and how it plays into a secular society. What I love about this book is that there's just the right amount of tension and never once do I get the feeling that Tabitha or any of the others, except for Morgan who is a Drama Queen, need to use melodrama to capture the reader's attention.
McVoy is a story teller. You'll either like the story or you won't.
No dramatic endings, no dramatic fights, no highly questionable partisan politics, just a simple story about a girl, a friendship falling apart, and where God fits into the big equation.
On second thought...maybe this is a favorite....more