I would really like to see the revision on this book, because I have a kinda on-the-fence feeling about it. My cousin Wyatt is ten years old and autis...moreI would really like to see the revision on this book, because I have a kinda on-the-fence feeling about it. My cousin Wyatt is ten years old and autistic, so although I can relate to some of Daryll's actions and some of the descriptions of his world, I am not quite sure if this depiction is a fair way to go or not. It is good that the author comments that not all people experience it the same, I feel that she came at the subject with good intentions but left it with somewhat misleading ideas for her readers. As far as the rest of the story goes, the depictions of depression, in my experience, are spot-on. I know what it is like to have to worry for members of your family, and I really felt for Nita in this book. I adore the passages with Kit and his family, so it is great to finally see that dynamic a bit more for his character. Oh, and that happy little spin at the end? Cutest thing ever. Squealed in my car in the library parking lot. (less)
**spoiler alert** Honestly, this one is going to end up a very long review in time, so please feel free to grab some snacks, pull up a chair, brew som...more**spoiler alert** Honestly, this one is going to end up a very long review in time, so please feel free to grab some snacks, pull up a chair, brew some tea, get a blankie, call your family and tell them that you love them... that last part actually not being said in jest. Well. Anyway... So here we have The Wizard's Dilemma, easily one of my favorite books in the YW series. I absolutely could not stop thinking about it, to the exclusion of most topics of conversation for the unfortunate few who were forced to be anywhere near me at the time. I hope then that you fully understand what all of that means when I tell you that I had a lot of anxiety and trepidation about how this book would turn out and how I would feel about the subject matter. I really feel that DD hit it out of the park on both fronts, but I would be incomplete in my feelings about it without saying that it has a very personal place with me. Enter my interest in this book series, and, of course, my eventual discovery of an installment that directly deals with cancer in plot. By this point, I have become deeply emotionally invested in Kit and Nita and, like precious few characters that have come before them in my reading history, they have become real to me. Nita's battle with the Lone Power is more than just a grand adventure in all of her stories, to be true, but instead a literal battle between life itself and destruction, but never more so than now. With Nita's mother's sudden collapse in her father's flower shop, the Callahan family are suddenly faced with the far more personal horror of terminal illness. A tumor is found in Mrs Callahan's brain, and it is spreading fast, causing her severe seizures and flashes of memory as she is hospitalized. For all of Nita's bravery as a young wizard, she's still a young woman and she still faces the pain and fear of the very real possibility of losing her mother forever. DD's choice of dividing chapters into the day-by-day experience of Nita's struggle is very appropriate in that it not only marks time as something more vast, fluctuating, and transcendent than a mere number or name can convey, but also does the opposite in reminding you of the approaching threat and limitations of fighting a disease like cancer. Every day that you are left worrying about your sick loved one feels unending, and yet every day you get to see them and be with them still seems in danger of disappearing at any time. It is important to remember that although the kids are fighting against universal decay, they are in no way ignoring or being unrealistic about the inevitability of death. Nita's own plan to take on her mother's cancer directly with her wizardry is one founded on her emotional needs and desires, but also much more dangerous because of it. Kit has been alienated by Nita, at first purposefully due to an argument over perspective (which is beautifully brought full-circle in the conclusion of the book and, charmingly, one of their first real arguments that allows us to see how disharmony between them gets under their skins) and then through the simple fact that the discovery of cancer and family pain like that is engrossing and has a tendency to make other parts of your reality have to take a back seat. Nita herself bemoans upon hearing him arrive at her house to see her that even seeing him, something that made her happy before, has been tainted by the pain of dealing with the cancer in her family as well, as she then will have to discuss what is happening with him and run over all of the complex emotions she is having aloud all over again, and I am deeply grateful to DD for her comments on that aspect of being part of a family touched by terminal illness. I am even more grateful that Kit and Nita are given the kind of relationship that allows her her own needs in grief through their shared talents; Kit knows better than to needle her for all of the painful details for his benefit, and instead allows her to just send the information mind-to-mind so she doesn't have to struggle to speak or suffer the perceived indignities of crying in front of someone who would be hurt to see it happen. Kit plays an often-unexplored/frequently under-addressed role of the friend in support. Most stories regarding this subject lean toward a saga of pain that seems almost perversely indulgent (and, some family survivors feel to be ultimately quite disrespectful) that focuses on the relationship of a person with their mortality, something not unreasonable to pursue, but that often paints cancer like a story that begins and ends with the patient or their family, but often doesn't take much time to discuss the ripples felt by the support network of that family and the conflicting feelings they may have in their attempts to support. I think it is important to comment on these things because it helps those in that position to understand, relate to, and work with the complex feelings they have in that position, and to better understand how to be supportive to their suffering friends as well as addressing their own emotional needs. I absolutely love that Kit goes through so many emotions in the situation, all of which are treated with respect as perfectly normal, though he may berate himself for his perceived failings in having them at all. His desire to support Nita and her family, but feeling inadequate in it comes as a welcome reminder to supporters that there are times when your feelings about what is happening to the people you love are a lot more immense and unforgiving of your inability to change things than is fair. Kit does his best to reach out to Nita and help her, but knows that even in his thoughts about it happening to his own mother, he can never imagine the feelings she is having and understands that although he needs to be respectful of her needs, it is perfectly okay to feel anger or frustration over her and the situation itself and still be helpful.
Many works of fiction for young people that feature the death of a family member from terminal illnesses focus so much on the pain of the young person in plot that they often don't give the actual patient any chance to speak on their own behalf or, what is often worse, make them speak in Ghandi-like cliches about life and loss that ultimately rob them of their individuality and humanity for the sake of an after-school special, feel-good, "live like you were dying" message that is as condescending as it is reductive. This doesn't happen here.
Betty Callahan is a real human being with a family, sense of humor, individual tastes, interests, will, desires, memories...she isn't mannequin for suffering or a life-lesson in a human shape. She's a person who wants what she wants for herself for her own reasons and, blessedly, gets the opportunity to not only speak her mind, but assert her desires and own her own battle, of which she fares remarkably and with great courage and humanity. I am not ashamed of my need to pull over my car for a good cry, both from relief and the situation they were facing. Betty also speaks to women's power and rights over their own bodies, a lesson she passes to her daughter with lightning flash and "goddess-like" fury, telling her to remember that she as a woman has the right to choose who enters her body and who resides in it, from her children to her doctors to her husband in a speech that I feel finally gives both women and cancer patients the respect they deserve for their strength and courage, and I am deeply grateful.
DD is quickly sprinting up the ranks of favorite authors, in my book.
Okay. Where's 10? So basically this author is a huge jerk who is awesome at making things progressively more and more horrible. I am impressed with his...moreOkay. Where's 10? So basically this author is a huge jerk who is awesome at making things progressively more and more horrible. I am impressed with his ability to top himself and hold tension with such derpy looking monsters. (less)
I have to be honest; although I liked the setting, mythology, and characters, this one didn't do as much for me. I think it is because I saw a lot les...moreI have to be honest; although I liked the setting, mythology, and characters, this one didn't do as much for me. I think it is because I saw a lot less of both Dair and Kit, both characters I really enjoy seeing interacting with Nita. I feel like on her own (sort of), Nita's adventure this time around got a bit...stale this time around. Her aunt is absolutely lovely in this book, but it is Tualha who completely did it for me. As for the concern about the violence.../what?/ I can understand concern over the conflict it has with the Oath, (which makes complete sense to me, as I was baffled as to why this suddenly was ok myself), but the mythology they are exploring is far from just unicorns and rainbows and gold-hiding little dudes. Ronan was a bit dull for my taste (Ladies, why is the "sullen bad boy" a thing? Honestly, I have been wondering this for years...) and seemed to have little flavor, which was kind of a shame, as I really wanted to like him. He sort of left that Angel from Buffy taste in my mouth, which really wasn't what I was looking for in this otherwise very entertaining series.
Still a good book, but hardly my favorite installment thus far. So far, Deep Wizardry and The Wizard's Dilemma hold that title. (less)
Oh crud. I think I might not be reading anything else for a little while. I have a Leetle Wixxard addiction, and I am not sure if I need to get a life...moreOh crud. I think I might not be reading anything else for a little while. I have a Leetle Wixxard addiction, and I am not sure if I need to get a life or not, or even if I want one. Oh my god, Dairine and the turtlethings, though. Oh man. I was absolutely delighted by this book, and by finding out that it is possible to have a younger sister character who, if powerful (a fair enough reason is provided), doesn't turn into another insufferable Dawn Summers character. Good for you, Dairi! I would have liked a bit more with Nita and Kit, but what I did get was charming, as usual. I really enjoy their dynamic and there are some hints in this book that suggest some changes in their partnership may be coming about. Hmmmm... Already about 50 pages into the next book. Guess I won't be working on my others for awhile. :)(less)
Stephen King returns to the Torrance family with Doctor Sleep, which follows Danny Torrance as an adult alcoholic, drinking to dull the complications...moreStephen King returns to the Torrance family with Doctor Sleep, which follows Danny Torrance as an adult alcoholic, drinking to dull the complications that come with his "shine." King's evolution as a writer between installments is clear, although many of the persistent problems (endings, one-liners) have sort of stuck around. I enjoyed his writing for Abra, as he is one of the few authors I can seem to find who writes children in such a way that it doesn't seem he's forgotten how they feel, and that is very refreshing. I enjoyed his AA themes within the book, and seeing the growth and progress of adult Danny after his "rock-bottom" stage in his alcoholism. (It is much appreciated to find authors who are willing to both criticize and support AA practices even-handedly as King does here, being someone who has struggled with substance abuse himself.) Although I found the climax to be a bit flat, I deeply enjoyed the journey to get there, passing through believable and engaging characterization to do so. And, of course, as a fan of the Tower, I enjoyed references to the wheel, "other worlds than these," and what bears a striking resemblance to the Dogan. Bravo, Stephen. What are we going to do without you?(less)
That cover drew me in immediately. So lively and fun! A great kid's book to teach children about competitiveness and being a good sport leading to fun...moreThat cover drew me in immediately. So lively and fun! A great kid's book to teach children about competitiveness and being a good sport leading to fun without being preachy. So charming!(less)