Touch is the story of 14 year old Maisie, who's 3 best friends are boys. One day on the back of the bus, they touch her inappropriately and thus touch...moreTouch is the story of 14 year old Maisie, who's 3 best friends are boys. One day on the back of the bus, they touch her inappropriately and thus touches off a saga as she attempts to remember 'what really happened' and deal with regular life in the process.
Prose's book doesn't stack up to another great teen drama I recently read, Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak. The book is a quick read and not bad, but it doesn't grip you in a way it should. As a protagonist, Maisie is not a terribly sympathetic character. As the actual events from the bus are finally told, it's a let down and the entire end of the book just sort of runs out of steam.
There are other books worth reading first. This one is just OK.(less)
I hated this book and hated myself for reading it.
This is my 3rd Anita Shreve book and the worst of a bad batch. The previous two I'd read were book...moreI hated this book and hated myself for reading it.
This is my 3rd Anita Shreve book and the worst of a bad batch. The previous two I'd read were book club books and the people who recommended them both loved Anita Shreve. But I'm afraid this book was the final nail in the coffin for me--I won't read her again.
The book centers around a bunch of friends who reunite for a wedding after many years. They are all nervous because of a deep dark secret in their past, which happened to be the reason one of their friends died--although only one of the people assembled actually knows the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The others are randomly nutty, insecure, ill, or otherwise pre-occupied.
And they are all obsessed with 9/11. I don't know if Shreve wrote this book immediately after 9/11, but in the midst of everything else, they kept bring up 9/11 and it REALLY pissed me off. I felt like the whole thing was cheapened by the discussion of it in the book. I hate books and movies and literature that mention 9/11. It's too soon, in my opinion and no one has yet to adequately capture what I felt, and what I think many or most of us felt that day. SO LEAVE IT ALONE.
The ONLY redeeming factor of this book for me was that one of the characters was writing a book/story and it was included in this book as a kind of subtext. That story was genuinely interesting and made me wish that Shreve had just written that and forgotten about these nutcases in New England.(less)
Rarely have I had so much fun as reading this book. My copy now has tons of little papers sticking out for my favorite quotes, many of which I plan to...moreRarely have I had so much fun as reading this book. My copy now has tons of little papers sticking out for my favorite quotes, many of which I plan to incorporate on my blog. No subject is taboo, from money to sex, from men to politics, from what women can do to what men think women shouldn't do! Great women from Amelia Earhart to Gypsy Rose Lee to Marie Curie to Queen Victoria to Helen Keller to Gloria Steinum are all quoted. Read, laugh, think, enjoy, and be inspired!(less)
Last night, the General and I had a little Thursday night date night. We've both been a little (lot) tense about the adoption and needed something to...moreLast night, the General and I had a little Thursday night date night. We've both been a little (lot) tense about the adoption and needed something to do together that we could relax and unwind. We had both decided to sort of skip Valentine's Day this year--no need to purchase overpriced flowers and chocolates when we have so many other things to do with our money. But at the same time, we wanted to celebrate somehow.
I've spent the last 8 days of my driving life reading Richard Yates's Revolutionary Road. And of course, Kate Winslet won the Golden Globe for her portrayal of April Wheeler in this film. And although she didn't get an Oscar nod for it, many people thought she should. Well, as I was reading the book, a single thought kept coming to me: how the hell did they turn this into a movie?
So I finished reading it Wednesday (and, coincidentally, started on The Reader by Bernard Schlink, whose main character Kate Winslet did win an Oscar nod for protraying and she better win, darn it!) and decided I just had to see the movie. Now of course, I'm a wee bit behind the eight ball on this one--the movie's been out quite a while. So when I looked at the movie listings, I had exactly one time to choose from in Fredericksburg for Wednesday and Thursday nights before it left the theater: 9pm.
Well, this would have been OK for me, but it's been a long time since we've been to the movies and the General was hot on going with me and so we decided to turn it into a Valentine's Day date. We looked at the listings in Woodbridge and fortunately at Potomac Mills last night, it was showing at 7pm. We decided to kick it off with dinenr at the Silver Diner and then went to the 7pm show--getting home before 10 which allowed me to still do my workout :-)
So, a brief synopsis for anyone who doesn't know what the book is about. The story centers around Frank and April Wheeler (played in the film by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet), a young couple who move to the Connecticut suburbs after meeting in post WWII New York, falling hastily in love, and finding themselves expecting a baby. Frank takes a job at the same company where his father worked, while April busies herself as a housewife. Some years after, with two children, the Wheelers come to see their lives as a trap they've fallen into, and start to wonder if there is any kind of meaning in it, or if they can escape before it's too late.
I'm glad I read the book first, but I'm equally glad I saw the movie. The book spends the majority of its life plunged deep inside Frank's head, examining his thoughts and feelings about everything and everyone, and his motives are crystal clear. April's thoughts are clear, but only as an extension of Frank's own. There is very little actual 'action' to the book--Frank goes to work, April visits with the neighbors, Frank and April go dancing with their friends--the majority of it is truly their disappointment in their lives.
I don't know why, but in reading the book, I felt completely disconnected from the Wheelers. I didn't find them sympathetic characters, I didn't love them or hate them, I just felt total apathy. As they did certain things in the book, I was kind of like, "What the hell!?" but not in a way that made me seriously incensed by the fact that they'd done anything--just that in the overall scheme of things, nothing seemed like it was done because either of them thought that it would improve their lives.
This was the beauty of seeing the film. I was able to relate more to the characters and come to have feelings for them. I do quibble with the choice of Kathy Bates as the neighbor, Mrs. Givings, and frankly whenever I look at Leonardo DiCaprio, I see a 12 year old boy (hate him for that! He and Matthew Broderick never seem to age.), but the acting was excellent. I am pleased to note that Michael Shannon is up for an Oscar for his portrayal of John Givings, Mrs. Givings's crazy son. He was jaw-droppingly fantastic in that role. As was Dylan Baker as Frank's obnoxious co-worker, Jack Ordway.
I will say that the writers stayed as true as I think would be possible in bringing the book to the big screen. There were 2 scenes in particular that I had some issues with their changing, one of which was the very last 20 minutes, and the other which was when April and her neighbor Shep are in the car after a dance. The things that they left out were central to the very core of who April was, in my opinion and had they left in a couple of things, you would have gotten a much better sense of what was going on in her head.
That being said, seeing it acted out did make it all the better. There were times in the book when I would think, "They did what?!" But seeing it made a bit more sense. For instance, in the beginning of both the book and the film (and I'm not giving anything away here), Frank and April are driving home from a play in which April has acted and they start to argue. Frank pulls the car over on the side of the road and April jumps out of the car and the two of them proceed to scream at each other in a big dust up on the side of the road. And I remember the whole time thinking, "Seriously? People actually do this type of thing?" But actually, in the film, it doesn't really seem so weird.
The movie ended and the General said, "On the way home, you're going to have to explain a few things to me." And in fact, I did and to him that made the movie make a whole lot more sense. But because I had the novel's picture of what was going on in their heads, I was able to make sense of it for him and now he's interested in reading the book. So I think that will be a new project for him--I gave him the CD's to read.
If you haven't already seen the movie, do yourself a favor and read the book first. Despite my apathy towards the characters, I really, really enjoyed reading the book, and consequently, I really, really enjoyed the movie.
I'll have to see The Reader on DVD, as it doesn't appear to be playing around here any more. And I will probably miss the Oscars telecast as we'll be driving home from WV that day, but I'll be rooting for Kate all the way. She deserves it!
Lorna Landvik has done it again! I love all the books she's written that I've read, but this one ranks right up there with Angry Housewives Eating Bon...moreLorna Landvik has done it again! I love all the books she's written that I've read, but this one ranks right up there with Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, which was amazing. I just finished reading it and I had tears in my eyes--not because the ending was sad, but because the book ended. The characters were amazing, warm, fun, funny, flawed, frustrating, and infuriating. The Andreson family was wonderful--reminded me of my family in so many ways. Joe, as a main character and as a man written by a woman, was warm, strong, and it was easy to love him. I wish I could read it again for the first time!(less)
This book took me forever to read, and ultimately I only finished it on account of the fact that I really, really, really wanted to have a Q book comp...moreThis book took me forever to read, and ultimately I only finished it on account of the fact that I really, really, really wanted to have a Q book completed for the alphabet challenge. The premise is good--New York City girl hates her life and convinces her employer to foot the bill for her move to small town Kansas where she runs into a bunch of eccentric townsfolk and falls in love with local eccentric. And I guess, by and large, it was OK as chick lit, but that was the whole problem: it was just OK. Nothing to recommend it as even "good". Lucinda was "likeable enough", Faye was "unlikeable enough", Mason was "man enough", and so on. It was just enough to get you through to the end, but not enough to make you love it.
I won't read it again, for sure, but it was a fine read for the purpose.(less)
I didn't love this book and didn't hate it either. It reminded me a lot of Emma and Me by Elizabeth Flock, but it wasn't nearly as compelling reading....moreI didn't love this book and didn't hate it either. It reminded me a lot of Emma and Me by Elizabeth Flock, but it wasn't nearly as compelling reading. The first half is very slow indeed, but the second half of the book was much more engaging and read much more quickly.(less)
I thought from the cover that the book would just be about the investigation into Amy Latus's murder. I was so...moreMy first stay up all night read of 2008!
I thought from the cover that the book would just be about the investigation into Amy Latus's murder. I was so wrong. And at first, it really annoyed me that Janine Latus had decided to tell her own story of domestic violence and abuse at the hands of her husband.
But as it progressed, I got totally wrapped up in the story. It was so interesting to read Latus's justifications for putting up with abuse while advising her sister not to.
This was a great read, compelling, fascinating, terrifying, honest, and raw.
This is one of those books you wanted to love more than you wound up loving it.
Brashares's book about sisters Riley and Alice and their summer friend...moreThis is one of those books you wanted to love more than you wound up loving it.
Brashares's book about sisters Riley and Alice and their summer friend Paul is poignant, as they face family secrets, serious illness, and the fragility of their own bonds in the face of deception.
Brashares's writing is lyrical and sweet, poignant and touching, but almost too much so. You get to a point where you think, "There aren't enough hours in the day for these people to be so thoughtful and deliberate, and so thoughtfully and deliberately mean to each other." Sometimes it was overboard.
The ending is obvious, and I suppose meant to draw you to tears, but I just felt betrayed. I thought, "Well, isn't that the only way it *could* end?" and I wanted her to be more clever than she was, or to tie it up better or differently.
Not my favorite this year, but it was a fun way to pass the time. I think it suffers in comparison to all the other books I am reading currently. For her first foray into writing for adults, let's face it, Brashares could have done much, much worse. But she also could have done better. As she writes about Paul's eyes, "He looks both you and old and she couldn't decide which." That about sums up the book for me. I couldn't decide if I loved it or hated it.(less)