This book is a must read if you have children. Not even just a girl, but any children. This book gives an enormous amount of insight into girls and, f...moreThis book is a must read if you have children. Not even just a girl, but any children. This book gives an enormous amount of insight into girls and, for that matter, women. Even if you have a boy, he will either date girls or be friends with them or both, so reading this book will still prove invaluable!
The book itself is written well - very personable with a balance between informative information (facts, science, studies), personal anecdotes of both teens and moms, quotes from teen girls and a good amount humor. The resources section in the back alone is worth the price of the book (in my opinion). But beyond that, she has a great way of putting it all together to create an enjoyable and informative book.
I'll admit that the book also did a lot of eye opening for me with regard to my own high school experiences and friends. I was NOT a queen bee but it was very interesting to realize what "type" I was, why certain circumstances were the way they were or played out the way they did (ie. queen bees being jealous and asserting their dominance, which I now realize had nothing to do with me, etc.) and TONS of suggestions on how to understand and deal with your teen daughter in a way that will honestly help while not being overly permissive. That fact is one I really appreciated - I often read things that seem to suggest being friends and allowing almost anything, which isn't something I don't agree with and can't stand. The author gives many realistic suggestions (not always what you want to hear, but based in reality!) and supports them with quotes from teen girls, specific examples, and describes in detail why they would be effective.
There were a few times I thought it got a bit dry and I have been trying to get through and finish the book FOREVER, but I think it had more to do with the hectic nature of my life lately than any reflection on the author or her abilities. But I mention it because if you are not able to really read the book and give it the attention it deserves, I'd recommend setting it on the to-read shelf until you do have the time. If that will never happen on its own, then try to make the time because this book is invaluable. I know I'll be reading it again before my daughter becomes a teen and when she does, I plan on having this as a reference book and always handy, because I'll need it!!(less)
This book was loaned to me from a friend and I admit at first I was a bit sketch about it. While I have begun to learn and enjoy the art of gardening...moreThis book was loaned to me from a friend and I admit at first I was a bit sketch about it. While I have begun to learn and enjoy the art of gardening in the last few years, I am not really into all things plants. However, after I began reading it, I really loved it. As a matter of fact, I am going to buy the book for myself AND buy one for my mother (who IS a gardening lover). The book is well written and doesn't get too bogged down in the tiny boring details. Instead, it more focuses on all the little facts and stories regarding plants that we are very familiar with and others that are pretty obscure. Every page is full of interesting facts that are perfect for cocktail party talk, trivial pursuit questions and general conversation starters. (Did you know that tomato plants are part of the Nightshade family?) Beyond the content and the writing, the actual book is beautiful. The cover design gives you a hint of the intricate and beautiful drawings that are on almost every page. This is a great read for doctors appointments, etc. as it is very easy to read a short chapter and put it down to pick up again later. Given that there isn't a true plot, etc. you can put it down for quite awhile and pick it up with no problems. I highly recommend this book to everyone - I guarantee even if you don't really like plants, this book will surprise and entertain you. (less)
I picked this book up on a whim in the Barnes & Noble because I liked the look of the cover and the jagged edges of the paper that gave it a "clas...moreI picked this book up on a whim in the Barnes & Noble because I liked the look of the cover and the jagged edges of the paper that gave it a "classic" feel. I was looking for a new bedtime book to read to my children - 2 and 6 at the time. We like to read a bigger book, one chapter each night - for bedtime stories. I read the description and thought it sounded like a good idea so I went ahead and bought it (which is REALLY unusual for me - I can be a cheapskate!) It is by far some of the best money I have ever spent. The book is really that good. While technically a children's story, I could have read this as an adult before I had kids and loved the book just as much - it is a story that is so beautiful, classic and timeless. The thing I think I love the most about her writing style is that she does NOT dumb anything down. Not the language, characters, plot, theme or anything. The style is like a story teller telling you the story, with some asides and speaking to the reader. Which added so much to the story. The book is paced perfectly (there were many nights we all wanted to just keep reading and reading!), and the chapters are perfect breaking points (I would not be surprised at all to find out that she purposefully chose the chapter breaks with nightly reading in mind - there is a wonder cliff hanger feel to each chapter ending. Every night my son would look at me with big eyes and say - I wonder what is going to happen next??!!) The themes are very complex, but everything is understandable even to young children (my 2 year old daughter was able to follow along without too much difficulty - but with a lot of word definitions!) I liked that it dealt with such big themes like duty and love and heartache and redemption and the reality of the world around you. (ie certain characters are not evil but mean, sometimes people do stupid things that you can't fix, etc.) I could go on all day about things that I loved and scenes that were so wonderful i can still see them in my head. We have read this as a family for bedtime stories 3 times now!! And given the chapter a night pace and the size of the book, that is no small feat! This is a book that I will save and give to my grandchildren. I can't recommend it enough!!
Also check out The Journey of Edward Tulane - we loved Despereaux more, but it is a very close call. That book is very similar and also wonderful. (less)
We read this book to our kids and we all loved it! We picked it up after reading another book by the author (Despereaux) and we loved that one so much...moreWe read this book to our kids and we all loved it! We picked it up after reading another book by the author (Despereaux) and we loved that one so much, we decided to get another of her's. Well, this didn't disappoint and we love this one too. The thing I love about this book in particular is the growth of the characters. While this is a great story to read to children, I wouldn't call it a children's book - because it is so much more than that. The complexity of the themes (love, compassion, becoming mature, adversity, etc), the depth of the characters (regardless of the fact that the main character is a child's toy), the profound messages - all add up to a rich and wonderful book that can be read and discussed over and over throughout your children's lives. This is the type of book you can read to them at a young age and they enjoy the idea of a talking rabbit. Then older and they relate to one character, older and they begin to understand some of the bigger themes, older and the deeper messages, etc. All the while the story becomes a beloved one for you and your kids. This is not a fluff book with all happiness and rainbows. The book has some real adversity Edward must overcome, but nothing too graphic or disturbing. I can't recommend this book enough.
(Also check out Despereaux, which we love even more than this one - and that is a very difficult choice!!)(less)
This book has single handedly shown me that I spend too much time skimming and not enough time really reading and thinking about the books I have been...moreThis book has single handedly shown me that I spend too much time skimming and not enough time really reading and thinking about the books I have been reading. I have two kids and so I'm busy and I often find myself reading when I am stealing time or tired. But that is not even an excuse for this book. When i read the book I thought it was pretty good. Not great, but not bad. I liked the concept and the fact that the girl was the narrator. I like a murder mystery, so I liked the suspense of waiting to see if the guy would get caught, etc. So when all was said and done and I finished the book, I thought - yeah, okay. Not bad, but not great. Then I went online here and read the other reviews, particularly one by TheDane (http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/16...) and I went - HEY!! That's right! I mean, the writing alone is something I should have picked up one had I really been paying attention. Pupils pulsing like olives?? Buttering toast with tears?? Umm... I really must have been distracted or skimming like crazy because that is ridiculous. And the real meaning of the final scene went WAY over my head, which I am somewhat ashamed to admit. When I read it, I really was like, yeah yeah, oh that's sweet she got one night with her boyfriend which she had been cheated of and all. But when you slow down and really think of this, the enormity of that is overwhelming. A young girl who dies after being RAPED. A girl who's first sexual experience was RAPE by an older man. A girl who actually barely knew this boy in her life. This girl can only let go of life after having sex. With that boy. That she really didn't know that well. That alone is enough to send of some big alarms. But then you add that she was allowed to go back to earth - to have sex??? Not see her family, not comfort her father and brother and sister? Not point out the killer?? Nope, heaven lets her go back, then of all times, not earlier when she wanted it more, or could have done more both for justice and her family? So the admission to heaven is teen sex? Really? The way to overcome deep grief and gain acceptance and peace is.. again, teen sex? Wow. I missed out as a teen because that was NOT my experience. Okay, now louder warning bells should have been going off. But the final issue - she takes over the body of a "friend". Without the girl's knowledge or permission. The "friend" who is a lesbian. And uses her body to have sex with a boy. Just taking over her body is a violation. Taking over her body and using that time to have sex is another violation. And to have sex with a boy, knowing that is the antithesis of everything this "friend" would have wanted or agreed to is yet another violation. What the hell??? And none of that gets brought up or mentioned. No, it is a feel good ending. yeah! I mean, I have some pretty close friends - some I have known for at least triple the time these two girls have "known" each other - and if I somehow managed to just steal their bodies and have sex with a woman?? Well, it would be good for me that I was already dead. That is a betrayal in the worst sense on so many levels it is shocking. And what of the possible consequences? Pregnancy? STDs? Never mind the "lesser" consequences of emotional damage, damage to their friendship, the trust issues, etc etc etc????? After thinking about it more and more, I was truly embarrassed to have not seen these dark and disturbing connotations, made all the worse for the fact that the author serves this up as the feel good ending - not noticing the irony at all of having the main character who was raped and violated in turn rape and violate a friend, while denouncing the first act as a heinous crime and lauding the second act as happy ending? So in short, I have learned my lesson and I am now making more of an effort to truly read and then think about what I am reading!!!(less)