I will start by saying I am generally not a fan of poetry. Very little I have read has connected with me. My taste in poetry generally trends towardsI will start by saying I am generally not a fan of poetry. Very little I have read has connected with me. My taste in poetry generally trends towards something rhyming and witty or dark and narrative-driven.
That being said, I reacted about how I expected to this collection. For the most part I was fairly unaffected. There were a few that I appreciated, either for the full concept or particular phrases. I found most of them to be fairly generic, and none of them really struck a chord with me.
I spent some time wondering how I would recommend this to teens. I probably wouldn't, to be frank, simply because I'm not sure I could be enthusiastic about it. Reviews seem largely positive, praising the book's ability to reach out to anyone, because loss is such a universal topic.
A big problem I had with the collection is that, while the poems were written about losses experienced all through life, including during the teenage years, they were written by adults looking back in reflection or nostalgia. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, and it's easy to see as loss through the filter of time as bittersweet or formative, whereas when you are experiencing it as a mood-riddled bundle of teenage hormones, things are less clear or easy to compartmentalize into something as succinct as a poem. Perhaps the intention was a collection in the "it gets better" vein, but to me (or at least the teenage me I remember) this might seem more like a somewhat patronizing pat on the head, a "you'll understand when you're older" spiel from an adult who maybe has forgotten what it's like to be younger.
If I were to introduce this to teens I would definitely select the poems that seem most likely to hit home to a younger audience. Any of the poems that show the healing power of time directly....more
I had mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand I thought it was very scary and suspenseful, almost above the reading level. It had the atmospheI had mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand I thought it was very scary and suspenseful, almost above the reading level. It had the atmosphere and feeling of an adult horror novel for a lot of it (I kept thinking back to the way I felt when I read Clive Barker's The Hellbound Heart - this feeling of oppression, like there was something lurking rightthere). On the other hand, the plot (or lack thereof) was overly simplistic and had very little movement. The conflict was there in that Michael's baby sister was sick, but it never felt like a problem that Michael needed to be doing anything about, until suddenly it was, and suddenly this random magical creature had the ability to do something about it. For as short of a book as it was, it started very slowly and then rushed towards the end. I think I would like to reread this though, given how much critical acclaim it has received. I read it very quickly in one sitting, and maybe it deserves a better chance to get to me....more
Feed was definitely an uncomfortable read. This book hits too close to home today, even though it was written ten years ago. You can't see a group ofFeed was definitely an uncomfortable read. This book hits too close to home today, even though it was written ten years ago. You can't see a group of people out together without seeing at least a couple of them simultaneously looking at something on their phones as well.
I thought Titus was a fairly realistic if unlikeable character. Well, I didn't dislike him. I pitied him. He is a complete product of his environment. This was most especially reflected in the ending of the book. What I liked about the ending was that it seemed realistic, that Titus didn't suddenly pull his head out of his ass and drop everything to be with Violet in her last days. It was sad and she definitely deserved better, but it was a sign of how engrained the feed was into his life that he wouldn't know how to or realize he should do something until it was too late....more
I saw this movie a few months ago, and while I enjoyed it when I watched it, when I picked up this book last week for class, I realized I had forgotteI saw this movie a few months ago, and while I enjoyed it when I watched it, when I picked up this book last week for class, I realized I had forgotten almost everything about it. That's how I feel now, having read the book a few days ago. I'm honestly having trouble remembering much of what happened in it.
Obviously it's not a plot heavy story - it's a coming-of-age story, about a teenage boy trying to figure out who he is, what makes him tick, and how he fits into the grand scheme of things. The events are minor.
What bothered me right after I'd finished it was that I didn't really feel like we'd really grown to understand Charlie much better. But that's kind of the point, isn't it? He's a wallflower. We watch everyone else change and grow through him, and Charlie himself, well he's just starting his journey. That's why he had only just started high school when everyone else was finishing, and why his chief revelations only happen at the end of the book. He's got a long road ahead of him.
I was put off a bit by Charlie's constant crying. I understand that he was going through the emotional wringer but it began to feel like Chbosky was using that as a device when he wanted Charlie to react to anything, since he wasn't really good about actually talking about anything....more
Boy, I didn't like this book. I wonder if I would have if I hadn't loved Jane Eyre so much, but then again, why would I read this if I didn't love JanBoy, I didn't like this book. I wonder if I would have if I hadn't loved Jane Eyre so much, but then again, why would I read this if I didn't love Jane Eyre? In this story, Jane is the nanny for the daughter of a famous rock star. Lindner cuts out pretty much all of Jane's early development. We learn that she comes from a fairly cold family and her parents died when she was in college, forcing her to drop out of school and take the nannying position. We see how she was emotionally abused but we see nothing about her rising above it and learning to love, as she does when she makes her first friend in Jane Eyre. This Jane has very little personality, and we don't really know a lot about what makes her tick as a human being.
Nico Rathburn is a version of Mr. Rochester with all the creep and none of the charm. Not that I'm saying that his emotional manipulation in Jane Eyre is acceptable, but it was a different time. Now he just seems like a middle-aged celebrity taking advantage of the young and impressionable nanny. Plus the mechanics of the plot of his wife are just ridiculous when put into modern times. We're supposed to expect that he's okay with keeping this violent and schizophrenic woman in the same house as his young daughter, under the supervision of a woman who tends to drink herself into a stupor and leave out sharp things for her charge to play with? In what universe is this plausible? Answer: none.
My roommate actually told me about this book awhile ago and I was looking for a reason to read it. I will say that while I disliked it immensely, it was ridiculously compelling in the way that Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey were. I couldn't put it down. I stayed up until 4am reading it one night, even though I knew what was going to happen. I kept turning the pages, saying "This is terrible, this is terrible!!"
I would hesitate to recommend this during a booktalk alongside Jane Eyre, mainly because I would be afraid that someone might read this instead of the classic. But I suppose it appeals in the same way fanfiction appeals, so fans of the original might be interested in giving this a look. I will say that it hasn't diminished my love for the original at all, so that's something.
Most reviews I read were from people who have read Jane Eyre, and a good chunk of them felt the same way I felt. But there were some people who read it as a stand-alone without knowing the original story and loved it. I would have found the mechanics of fitting the antiquated plotline into modern times and filling the holes to be a dealbreaker, I think. ...more
I think this was a great book for the age range it was intended for - ten and up. Inhabiting the mind of Auggie would probably really change the way sI think this was a great book for the age range it was intended for - ten and up. Inhabiting the mind of Auggie would probably really change the way some kids look at differently-abled people. It's a good illustration of how bullying can be a passive behavior as much as an active behavior, and the things you don't do can hurt as much as the things you do.
I was not a huge fan of the shifting narrations of this story. I didn't find any of the other points of view interesting or particularly relevant. Because there was such an imbalance between the amount of time spent on them and the amount of time spent on Auggie, it felt really jarring whenever we shifted to someone else. I feel that Palacio did a fine enough job illustrating how the other characters felt through Auggie's eyes, and those chapters probably could have been cut, and the book could have been shorter. It felt a little long and rambling.
That being said, my favorite section definitely came from Justin, Auggie's sister Via's boyfriend. I would have easily read a book about him. He parallels Auggie so well, a teenage version of him....more
This book was pretty lovely, which is the word I used to describe his other book Boy Meets Boy when I read that last summer. The teenage world both thThis book was pretty lovely, which is the word I used to describe his other book Boy Meets Boy when I read that last summer. The teenage world both these stories inhabit are filled with acceptance and love. There's also pain and angst (moreso in this collection than in BMB), but it's almost always internally originated - there is little bullying to be found, despite the fact that he writes about a lot of LGBTQ characters. It's lovely.
This book was basically made up of 20 different stories from 20 different characters. Each character only has one section to tell his or her story, but their names and situations intertwine throughout the others. Some seem like letters, some seem like journal entries, but all are poetry. Each voice is distinct. The characters are about as fleshed out as you could hope for only really being around for maybe ten pages each.
The format, however, was a bit clunky. There are five sections, each with four characters. The characters are listed at the very beginning of the section, but not on the character stories themselves. I was constantly flipping back and forth from the title page to the chapter, trying to figure out who was speaking. Usually it took me a page or two to get acquainted or reacquainted to the character, if he or she had been introduced before. If I were recommending this to anyone, I would suggest he or she take brief notes at the end of each chapter, with the character name and his or her basic plot-line. That would have helped a lot.
Reviews for this book seem mostly positive. All the reviews I have seen of Levithan's work praise his ability to describe a world full of tolerance and love without making it seem unrealistic or saccharine. This book would definitely help bring to light the differences that may be present between us, but don't have to divide us. Because of the intertwining story lines, it definitely feels like a book about community....more
I really don't think this story would have been successful as anything other than a graphic novel. The artwork (particularly all the flowers) paired wI really don't think this story would have been successful as anything other than a graphic novel. The artwork (particularly all the flowers) paired with all the metaphors about growing and blossoming into a young women are wonderful, and without the illustrations some of the text could seem trite or overworked. I don't see this as a book that many teens - male or female - would immediately jump to reading (and I didn't either), but once started I think that the universal appeal of this coming-of-age story would be enough to compel most to continue reading.
I loved everything about the relationship between Ehwa and her mother, from their communication to the way Ehwa sought to understand the world and womanhood better through watching her mother's interactions with men. I wish the book had stayed more focused on this relationship rather than Ehwa's search for a man, but I think that is a statement of the time period. I have the other two books in the trilogy ready for my summer vacation!...more
This book was a good combination of key facts and figures about prohibition - statistics, dates, important names and laws - and anecdotes about key peThis book was a good combination of key facts and figures about prohibition - statistics, dates, important names and laws - and anecdotes about key people on both side of the wet and dry debate. There were certainly some larger-than-life characters, which appealed to me and I thought would appeal to teens too.
What I liked most about the book was it was just a really good starting point to any event in American history around the turn of the century. So many events and people were introduced, and just enough information was provided to pique the interest of the reader. There were a lot of historical figures referenced that I would now love to find a biography about, and there was much talk about WWI, women's lib, and the depression, so anyone who read this book might be interested in any of the surrounding events. It reads like it's just one of many pieces to the puzzle of early 20th century America....more
Reading Weetzie Bat was so bittersweet to me. I loved every minute of it, but at the same time I was so sad that this couldn't be my life, that everytReading Weetzie Bat was so bittersweet to me. I loved every minute of it, but at the same time I was so sad that this couldn't be my life, that everything couldn't be so bright and colorful and full of hope. Because of this, I am pretty glad I didn't read it as a teenager, because in my naivete I am sure I would have thought that my life could be like that (well, without the genie, of course).
The story works best as a parable about love and tolerance. It is not heavy on plot or language, but that serves to make it feel more universal in a way. It lacks a concrete feeling of time, which makes it appropriate for young adults during any time period (I got a 60's or 70's vibe from it personally, but that has to do with the free-love feeling). I think young adults of today might particularly connect with Duck's crisis of faith towards the end of the book, as current times are troubling and sometimes it can be hard to see the silver lining. Weetzie's family is obviously the silver lining, and this book could help its readers connect that feeling of love and acceptance back to their own lives....more