I'm going to keep this short: I've missed these characters and I was thrilled to spend time with young versions of them. Even though I absolutely hate...moreI'm going to keep this short: I've missed these characters and I was thrilled to spend time with young versions of them. Even though I absolutely hated middle school, and wish to never repeat those shitty years again, I enjoyed this book. My seventh grade year was pure hell in which my "best friend" turned everyone against me because I was friends with the boy she liked. Reputation ruined, friends lost, emotional damage done. I'm glad Jessica's experience, thus far, has not been the same. (less)
I enjoyed a lot of the book, but then there were times when I asked myself why some things were included. Some moments felt off, and then I started wo...moreI enjoyed a lot of the book, but then there were times when I asked myself why some things were included. Some moments felt off, and then I started wondering if I was picking up on the fictional aspects. The book is semi-autobiographical to the author's life, and there were moments that felt raw, real, and were wonderful. Sometimes the moments were funny, sometimes they were sad or eye opening. Then there were moments that felt very forced and unrealistic.
I can't say I know Alexie's work well, having only read an essay he wrote and the short story "This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona". However, all of the things I've read by him had very similar themes.
The one thing that I loved about my copy, which is a collector's edition, is the full color graphics. I loved looking at the pictures, which added a deeper element to the story most of the time.(less)
I have been avoiding this book like the plague. The story was sure to bring up a lot of emotions I wasn't prepared to deal with yet. So, since the boo...moreI have been avoiding this book like the plague. The story was sure to bring up a lot of emotions I wasn't prepared to deal with yet. So, since the book was first released, it has been sitting on my shelf. Untouched. Cancer has been a huge part of my life, a running theme of sorts. Thankfully, I have not been diagnosed myself. My grandfather, whose namesake I am, died from lung cancer. My grandmother lost both of her breasts to cancer. Cancer ate away at my aunt’s body, until she finally passed. I watched my uncle wither away as esophageal cancer took away his ability to swallow food and then it spread through him. I didn’t know Esther Earl personally, but I had watched her videos and was very upset by the news of her passing. This year, I rang in the New Year with a text message telling me that a friend of mine had lost his battle with testicular cancer. He was the ripe old age of 27.
It never felt like it would be the right time to read this book. Yet, yesterday morning I walked past my bookshelf and picked it up. I read the first two chapters, and then went to bed because it was already 4 a.m. and I hadn’t slept yet. When I woke up this morning I picked up the book and continued reading it, only pausing when someone called, or I got hungry or thirsty. Reading it hurt. God, did it hurt. Still, I am happy that I read it. There were moments that rang true. John Green didn’t make cancer pretty. He showed the horrible side of it, and the person’s loss of control over the body. He talked about our penchant for glorifying the sick, dying, and dead. These are all things I could relate to, and things I understood because I had witnessed them far too often. (less)
Let's talk about what I didn't like first, and get that out of the way. There were several times in the book where the author does some telling, where...moreLet's talk about what I didn't like first, and get that out of the way. There were several times in the book where the author does some telling, where she could have easily shown us with some quick dialogue. It always seems like a bit of a cheat to say "This is what so-and-so talked about during his speech," instead of writing out the speech. Perhaps she wrote the speech and her editors told her to change it? I'm not entirely sure. However, that really took me out of the moment each time it happened. It doesn't bother me when an author tells rather than shows something, but it doesn't work for me when it comes to conversation. Example: They talked about their interests, getting to know one another on a deeper level. Ok, but you could have showed me this through their conversation. That is not a direct example from the book by the way, it is just something I made up.
The other thing that got a little tiring was the constant jumping in time, back and forward, forward and back, 1895, 1901, 1899, 1896. Goodness. Sometimes I had to double check the year to figure out how old certain characters were and what had previously happened during that time period. Did it ruin the book? Not at all. It just made it more of a chore to get through. This also made things feel a bit slow at times, but fast paced at others.
What I loved: There are passages that put the reader directly into the setting, which was a really wonderful touch. Some people might not like this, but I thought it was wonderful. The references to scent were also very captivating. I wanted apple cider and caramel popcorn the entire time I was reading, even had to take a trip to Starbucks to get a Caramel Apple Spice at one point. Also, the writing is just beautiful as is the setting. It creates a very clear image when reading. You can see it, you can feel it, you can smell it, taste it, hear it. It is a full sensory experience, which is how a book should be. I also really liked Celia and Marco as characters. Bailey, Poppet, and Widget are also wonderful. My favorite character though, as often happens with books, is a minor character named Friedrick Thiessen. I loved him very much. Check it out, if you are in the mood to invest the time into this book.(less)
I was hesitant to read this book, because I am not a huge fan of memoir or biography. In other words, non-fiction in not my thing. Alas, it was requir...moreI was hesitant to read this book, because I am not a huge fan of memoir or biography. In other words, non-fiction in not my thing. Alas, it was required reading for my Multi Cultural Literature class, so I didn't have much choice.
This book was highly enjoyable though. The stories were funny and endearing, her voice fresh. It ended quite abruptly. The final story didn't feel like it wrapped anything up. I'm aware she has another book, but am unsure whether it continues with the stories. At times, I would get confused with the fractured time line. It jumped back and forth in time, which had me re-reading to keep track of where I was in her narration. All in all, despite those minor complaints, Funny in Farsi is worth reading. It is a quick and easy read, which is enjoyable and enlightening. I will admit, I know very little about Iranian culture or Iran itself. (less)
It took me a long time to finish this book. In fact, it has been nearly a year since I started it. Part of it had to do with finishing up school, comb...moreIt took me a long time to finish this book. In fact, it has been nearly a year since I started it. Part of it had to do with finishing up school, combined with teaching, and the stack of grading I was always trying to keep up with. The book is slow, it really is, but there are so many little jems in this book. There are beautiful moments, heartbreaking moments, uncomfortable moments, and very real moments.
I read a lot of reviews of this, mostly the negative ones. I understand why people do not like this book, but as a former English major (now English teacher) I have to argue that catharsis and happiness are not always necessary in evaluating the worth of a book. Too often I hear people complaining about a books focus on negative things. Well, I understand that fiction is meant as an escape, but fiction has always been a platform for an author's thoughts. This book is uncomfortable because the characters are people we know. They are the self-centered suburbanites, the broken families on government assistance, and the people who struggle with various problems that they try to hide from a judgemental and harsh world.
One thing I have to say about JK Rowling is that she knows how to write teenagers. She captures the difficulty of being a teen, the stupid choices many teens make, and that arrogance that comes with youth. There is entitlement, apathy, and a need for "authenticity" that exists in many teens. I work in a public high school, so I see all of those things on a regular basis. Good lord is there apathy and entitlement running rampant. However, all of the teens in this book were just kids trying to find their way. Despite the horrible choices they make, there is still vulnerability there. It is my hope that JK Rowling will write more books that focus on teens because she has a gift for creating teens in her stories, loveable or not. And despite their rough edges, and my desire to shake some sense into them, I really loved Andrew, Gaia, Sukhvinder, Stuart, and Krystal. Though, I sort of loved Andrew the most. I was rooting for him.(less)
I have read this book twice, once over the summer and then again recently. Both times were for classes with different themes. The beauty of this book...moreI have read this book twice, once over the summer and then again recently. Both times were for classes with different themes. The beauty of this book is its different themes, which lend themselves to close readings and multiple interpretations. It is by far one of my favorite books to dicuss.
On the surface level there is the issues of race and the influence of the Harlem Renaissance. As you dig deeper there are implied homosexual themes. It broaches the issues of marriage, motherhood, and friendship. So much is wrapped up in this tiny book. Perhaps it is the ambiguity within the text which lends itself to the multiple readings. Either way, it is a book that is fun to discuss. It is sad that Nella Larsen did not publish more than she did, because she was a very talented writer. Her other book, Quicksand, is also an interesting book to close read and discuss. (less)
Well then, that took ages. I just finished my English degree and didn't get to read any of the classics in my entire college experience. This has been...moreWell then, that took ages. I just finished my English degree and didn't get to read any of the classics in my entire college experience. This has been slightly frustrating and problematic for me, so I decided to embark on the journey of reading them on my own. Because this book is so short, I decided I would start here and work my way toward the larger pieces. My mistake was in thinking that I could read this in one afternoon. It has taken me weeks to finish it.
The back cover of my book said that the story was "full of suspense". I found no suspense within the text until the very end. Even then it wasn't so much suspenseful, but rather heartbreaking. The story is interesting enough, but it takes way too much time to build to the climax. When it finally ends, it just ends. We have an idea of what will happen past the end of the story, but the lead up was painful for me. Steinbeck in an interesting writer, but sometimes I feel like he dawdles too much. I can't decide if I will ever teach this one, because I honestly don't think my students will enjoy it. The three stars is for 1) the beauty of the prose, 2) the interaction between Lennie and Curley's wife, and 3) George and Lennie's final interaction in the book. (less)
After listening to my classmates talk about Katharina deserving her treatment, I began hating this play more than before. I enjoy Shakespeare's lighte...moreAfter listening to my classmates talk about Katharina deserving her treatment, I began hating this play more than before. I enjoy Shakespeare's lighter romps, such as Much Ado About Nothing or Twelfth Night. It is rare that I find myself so angry after reading one of his plays, but this one rubbed me the wrong way.
Petruchio is the biggest asshole on the planet and I pity any woman married to someone like him. More specifically, I pity the woman in my class who told us that Petruchio and Kate's marriage reminded her of her own. Good to know that women still think it is ok for a male to be overpowering and dominant to the point of abusive. At least I know what is holding back the feminist movement. I take major issue with a man conditioning and domesticating his wife as if she were a household pet. Breaking a person's spirit to obtain obedience is disgusting.
I like Kate as a character, but I think I prefer her as Kat in 10 Things I Hate About You. At least in that adaptation, she is not physically tortured by Patrick. (less)