I haven't been this disappointed in a book in quite some time, so perhaps I had it coming? I'm shocked that so many people loved this book. I could ha...moreI haven't been this disappointed in a book in quite some time, so perhaps I had it coming? I'm shocked that so many people loved this book. I could hardly get past the first page of cliche passages, let alone the entire three-hundred something pages of them. (less)
I loved Catcher in the Rye. Franny and Zooey? Not so much. Perhaps it's the period of my life right now, when all I'm intere...moreI tried. I did not like.
I loved Catcher in the Rye. Franny and Zooey? Not so much. Perhaps it's the period of my life right now, when all I'm interested in is practicality, achievement, graduating and getting a job. Perhaps I could relate to the narcissistic wit of Holden Caulfield in high school when I lived in a school of phonies. Now, I just want to tell Franny and Zooey to get out of the house, go get some air, go make some friends. Go for a walk. That's really what needs to happen in this book.
One other thing: I can't believe Salinger hasn't given an interview since 1980. That man needs to get himself a blog.(less)
I have to admit that until the last thirty pages, I was set on giving this book two stars. But then I had my "Oh" moment, and everything clicked.
First...moreI have to admit that until the last thirty pages, I was set on giving this book two stars. But then I had my "Oh" moment, and everything clicked.
First of all, I think half the reason so many people have read this book is because the cover is intriguing, and the book itself is under 200 pages. Everyone loves an easy read. When a novel is this widely praised and adored, it becomes even more interesting and worth the purchase.
That said, this book has a lot of preachy-ness to it, which I was not anticipating nor really prepared to receive. I went into this with only a brief plot summary in mind and the recommendations of many friends, so when I felt my personal beliefs start to be pushed around I got a little bit defensive.
Fate is great. Serendipity? Cool. It's always nice to think God has laid out the path of life for us, but I honestly don't know anyone who has enough time to analyze every instance of their life as a potential omen and how that can be interpreted to foresee the next step. This book encourages us to take chances, follow our dreams, but do stop and smell the roses every once in a while. Did I need to read all of this to get those messages? No, but 167 pages didn't require much effort, so why not.
Anyway, I think I'm going to go find something obscure to read now...(less)
It's now been twenty-one hours since I finished this book, and my afterthoughts have definitely fluctuated since then. However, I think three stars is...moreIt's now been twenty-one hours since I finished this book, and my afterthoughts have definitely fluctuated since then. However, I think three stars is still a reasonable rating for Max Tivoli. As a solid character alone, though, that rating would be too generous.
I think I've come to my own conclusion that I'm much harsher on romance stories than any other genre of books. Rarely have I come upon one that has knocked me off my feet (The English Patient in particular), but I can't imagine that story having nearly as much of an impact had it not been the writing style of Michael Ondaatje. Andrew Sean Greer tried hard, and this is a pretty good shot at the genre. The book contains some scenes that are so beautifully woven, and some of the sentences are velvet on the page. But I feel the biggest letdown is Greer wants Max Tivoli to be the next Humbert Humbert, who he absolutely cannot be. Tivoli is not nearly strong nor selfish enough to maintain a level of love as concentrated and bizarre as that in Lolita, which I can't help feeling is a reasonable comparison to the format and narrative of this book. In a way, I could never get over the perverseness of Tivoli falling in love with a fourteen year-old girl. To me, the love never had a foundation. I never wanted to love Alice too, and I never found myself rooting for Tivoli, either. Sadly enough, I think this review has made me realize how little I cared.
I still give three stars. The concept of 'Tivoli' intrigued me well enough, and I would love to see the same backwards-living life story told from a perspective of a completely different person. (less)
I think I'm just too optimistic of a person to deal with these kinds of stories. I don't like post-apocalyptic movies either, so I can't imagine this...moreI think I'm just too optimistic of a person to deal with these kinds of stories. I don't like post-apocalyptic movies either, so I can't imagine this movie adaptation will be of my taste. I don't feel completely moved or riveted, which is what I had hoped the reading of this book would do for me. I mean, it won the freaking Pulitzer Prize. I think Waiting for Godot is better - not only in length, but especially with the overall message. I gave that two stars too, but now I'm starting to think maybe Godot should be bumped up to three.
Let me also emphasize this: I try to give stars based on how much I enjoyed a book - which is not the same as rating based on how the book ranks in the world of literature. I can appreciate the stark, empty text of McCarthy as artistic, almost like modern art. Sometimes it's freaky-looking, but you know it can be appreciated for some quality; only problem is, you're not really sure what that quality happens to be.
I don't know. Maybe give me a couple days, weeks - maybe a year - and I'll feel differently about this book. Right now, I'm just scratching my head and glad that I am fortunate enough to lie in a soft, pillowy bed surrounded by warmth and the possibility of a hot bath.
Sorry, Cormac. I guess we just don't share the same cup of tea.(less)
This would be a 2.5, but I'll bump it up to 3 for writing quality alone.
Not sure how I feel about this one. Honestly, the reviews on the back of the...moreThis would be a 2.5, but I'll bump it up to 3 for writing quality alone.
Not sure how I feel about this one. Honestly, the reviews on the back of the book blew it so out of proportion that I felt I should feel underwhelmed, so the fact that I am is all the more disappointing. Ms. Byatt certainly knows how to turn a phrase, but her stories never found the niche I desired. Were they intended to be creepy? Insightful? Mesmerizing? One cannot know.
I think I hold short stories to a higher standard because I've read some truly incredible ones over the years, so finishing all five of these with barely feeling an ounce of fascination for the character stories is another reason I rate so harshly.
I do believe the last story, "The Pink Ribbon," was the highlight of the collection. This story did captivate me on a larger scale, and the final paragraphs gave me the "Aha" moment I desired. Short, sweet, and a conclusion I agreed with but still surprised me, I wish more of the book had been like this.(less)