I was looking on the Omnivoracious blog and they had the 2014 best book suggestions from celebrities and others. I staunchly told myself I would not tI was looking on the Omnivoracious blog and they had the 2014 best book suggestions from celebrities and others. I staunchly told myself I would not take a book recommendation from a celebrity. "Oh, wait... it's BJ Novak... well, I can be curious..." Glowing rec of Spoiled Brats. Ok, I'll bite. The longest story and the turning point of the book - when it stopped being so fun and original and brilliant - also had an "appearance" by BJ Novak. And then, slogging through the rest, I saw that I had failed to notice across the top of the cover: BJ Novak's recommendation snippet. Cozy, these two. ...more
I loved this book. There is no doubt that Susan Casey is an incredibly talented writer and it shows here. While it's hard to make a subject like greatI loved this book. There is no doubt that Susan Casey is an incredibly talented writer and it shows here. While it's hard to make a subject like great whites and a forbidding set of nearly uninhabitable islands boring, she could have very well written a bad book. She didn't. I'm torn about being judgy here because it's well worth the read and my details are going to make it sound like Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, which it's not.
Casey is certainly not your everywoman - in the beginning I would empathize with the brief foray into her emotional life as tied to the islands, and as the book went on it got harder and harder for me to do so. At first I wondered why, and by the end it was pretty glaringly obvious. You're not going to connect with the reader with lines about roughing it like "I always felt sexier than I'd ever felt walking around Manhattan all cleaned up and wearing Gucci heels or La Perla underpants." Yes, well. Then there's the time where she details shopping preparations for the big trip and blows $160 on an antique Ouija board to take with her. I felt like this was supposed to be a bonding moment between she and the reader gone horribly awry. She's sitting there, saying in between the lines "Aren't we so silly sometimes?" Instead of sharing the moment and laughing along with her I could only think "Yes, wow, that was rather stupid."
I was annoyed by the ending, and the more I think about it, I'm just boggled. Forgive this for being awkward, as I want to give as little away as possible: I suppose given the events that occur, it could not be glossed over in a paragraph or two. But I picked up this book to read about the sharks, and I want to continue reading about the sharks, and what she did really doesn't square with journalistic integrity. Oh, and I have to laugh, because another reviewer commented on the subject of underthings - how she takes care to note the SMALL size of her (some brand name, probably ridiculously expensive!) thermals as they're floating out to sea. This line in the book also struck me as so odd. A major catastrophe happened, and your way to describe it is by zeroing in on brand name/size?
And is it necessarily wrong to not be the everywoman? Of course not. Just have some finesse about it. Mistakes happen. Shit happens. But I found it so difficult to empathize with her given her delivery, and her justifications so pat that I could only shake my head. ...more
So conflicted about this book. First it was just ok, it took her 200 pages to really set the stage and you're immediately placed into the middle of thSo conflicted about this book. First it was just ok, it took her 200 pages to really set the stage and you're immediately placed into the middle of this frenetic, brash family. I disliked the majority of characters but I felt really invested in finding out what would happen - the difference between a bad and a good book, I would say. It got much better as things began to snowball, and wow, did they snowball. I never would have expected the last 150 pages or so from the beginning. And some of the characters really grew on me, while others I disliked even more by the end. Overall I was just fascinated once she did this grand reveal that sets in motion much of the rest of the plot how quickly I got caught up in the story and how it was used to really reveal the psychology behind a number of the characters. Very much recommended despite my ambivalence about the book when I began it....more