It's been a long time since I read one of Wilbur Smith's books. So long that I'd forgotten just how enjoyable those books are!
The memory came rushingIt's been a long time since I read one of Wilbur Smith's books. So long that I'd forgotten just how enjoyable those books are!
The memory came rushing back with the first page! "Desert God", 5th in Smith's Ancient Egypt series has all the charm, adventure, and atmosphere of the first book in the series, "River God".
Taita, former slave, loyal supporter and friend to Pharoahs and Queens, tactical and practical genius, narrates the tale, as usual. And what a tale it is! Battles, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and daring missions vie with beautiful Egyptian princesses, breathtaking treasure and forbidden romance for the reader's attention.
The true Egyptian royalty of Upper Egypt are still battling the Hyksos usurpers who control the Nile Delta. Taita, as is his wont, has come up with a brilliant and devious plot to cement Upper Egypt's alliance with both the Minoans of Crete, and the Babylonians to the East. If all goes as planned, the evil Hyksos will be hemmed in by enemies on three sides, and the sea on the other. There's also the possibility of a huge treasure for Taita's beloved Pharoah.
With a casual glance, a potential reader might mistake "Sexually Dangerous Individual" for an entirely different sort of book. In actuality, the titleWith a casual glance, a potential reader might mistake "Sexually Dangerous Individual" for an entirely different sort of book. In actuality, the title refers to a diagnosis used by mental health experts to classify sex offenders. "Sexually Dangerous Individual" is the harrowing non-fiction account of one man's experience as a clinical psychologist in a system that tends to devour its most devoted.
Anyone who has ever worked as a health care professional will recognize and identify with the dangerously destructive power structure. After a 35 year career as a nurse, I can attest to the shortsightedness and general uncaring attitudes of those at the highest levels of decision-making in most health-care settings. One quote in the book, from an administrator, illustrates this attitude perfectly: "I just set the standards; it's up to you to figure out how to implement them.". (translation: I know it's impossible, but it's up to YOU to make it look like it's being done, and up to me to pretend to believe you--until something bad happens. Then it's YOU who'll be the scapegoat) Add in political corruption and cronyism, and you have the system that systematically destroyed a dedicated psychologist's career, and wrecked his life.
Dr. Joseph Belanger was plainly and simply a victim in this cautionary tale that, tragically, is no tale, but a true story. His honest convictions and dedicated work were used against him in a battle he didn't realize he was fighting until it was too late. He saw gray areas in a world where the powerful and greedy wanted only black and white facts, and paid dearly for his refusal to compromise.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in seeing how corrupt politics can be, how shockingly some mental health care facilities are managed, and how often loyal, honest staffers are set up to "take the fall". In addition, "Sexually Dangerous Individual" is very informative about mental illness, and about those dedicated professionals who care for, and champion the rights of the mentally ill....more
Three unlikely friends, all Asian-American, all from very different parts of the country and very different families, first meet in San Francisco in 1Three unlikely friends, all Asian-American, all from very different parts of the country and very different families, first meet in San Francisco in 1938.
Grace, Ruby, and Helen, each for her own reasons, want to become entertainers. Grace lusts for success, Ruby for adulation, and Helen just wants to defy the stifling existence she leads as the only girl in a large, prominent Chinatown family. When they try out for positions as dancers for the exclusive new "Forbidden City" nightclub, two of the girls land spots in the "All Chinese Revue", while the other finds work dancing at the Golden Gate International Exposition, a more lucrative but much less reputable job than the glamorous Forbidden City. Still, the three remain friends, offering support and companionship to each other.
Each girl harbors her own dark secrets--secrets that will severely test their loyalties and friendship as they endure the ups and downs of their unique niche in the entertainment world and the changes in the larger world headed for war. The intricacies of their own relationships with families, men, and their pasts affects the friends relationship with each other, bringing them close to the breaking point, several times, yet always being resolved, until the day when an explosive truth is revealed, changing the girls forever.
This is a fascinating story about women, and their power to endure, to forgive, and to love. A power stronger than any of them ever dreamed possible on that day in 1938.
I thought I'd really love this book--after all, it's been so highly recommended on book lists and book newsletters, and it was reported to have a noveI thought I'd really love this book--after all, it's been so highly recommended on book lists and book newsletters, and it was reported to have a novel time-travel element: a telephone that reaches into the past (and boy, do I love any book that incorporates the concept of time travel!)
BUT I must say, however regretfully, that Landline was terribly disappointing. Despite its adult subject matter (a troubled marriage) Landline was hardly an adult novel. The writing was on the level of a rather boring Young Adult novel. The main character, Georgie, displayed all the childish angst and insecurity of a 13 year old girl in the throes of an adolescent crush. Understandable for an eighth-grader; somewhat odd for a woman who's been married for years and has two children.
Additionally, neither the confidence-challenged Georgie nor her distant (and clearly passive/aggressive) husband Neal, are at all likable or relatable. It's hard to imagine that the two ever married, and harder still not to hope that their marriage is over.
And the mysterious telephone that calls the past? The outdated landline so integral to the story that the book's title is Landline? Dismissed in a single sentence near the book's end with no explanation or justification.
Perhaps the author is better suited to writing the YA novels which seem to have won her such a strong fan-base.