I really wanted to like this book. It had such an interesting premise. The first few chapters sucked me in becaus...moreOh, it is so hard to have everything!
I really wanted to like this book. It had such an interesting premise. The first few chapters sucked me in because these were kids my son's age and their lives were so foreign to me. But, on the whole, it was so, so dripping with angst and melodrama that it just got harder and harder to read. Just so much emotional tragedy. Not one character who was all right in any way. Humorless, dry, self-involved people who behaved and spoke in ways I've never seen people act or heard people talk. It just got so dull.
The idea of the book was a good one and handled with some humor and a lighter touch, it really might have been great. (less)
Oh man, this book was awful. I can't believe I finished it. It would have made a good drinking game if you were reading it at a party, though. You cou...moreOh man, this book was awful. I can't believe I finished it. It would have made a good drinking game if you were reading it at a party, though. You could do a shot whenever a character started a sentence with hell, or used damn as an adjective or said that something "damn near" happened. It wasn't that they were swear words that offended me, it was that there were a MILLION ZILLION of sentences like that. It got to where I had to set the book down and groan at parts to rally myself into plunging ahead to see if the plot paid off.
It did not.
The writing was not only bad, it was lazy. He could have been more descriptive and created better dialog if he'd put any sort of effort into it at all, instead of just going right to, "Hell, it was dark... but it was a damn good one... and he damn near fell off..." I found myself recreating the sentences in my head as I read, to make them more bearable.
In a book that's over 500 pages long, you have to use tricks like that to make yourself get to the end, if that's your goal.
The plot was predictable and forgettable. And then he padded it with meaningless drivel to add thickness between the covers. There were probably about 498 pages of fluff, seriously, Neil Gaiman could have told this story in three pages and made your spine shiver with it, instead of wanting to throw it across the room when you were done. (less)
There are others who reviewed the book better than I can. I just didn't like it. Thought it sucked actually. Flipped through to see if it would improv...moreThere are others who reviewed the book better than I can. I just didn't like it. Thought it sucked actually. Flipped through to see if it would improve and from what I could tell, it just got worse, so I quit. Then I read other reviews and was glad I didn't bother plodding though it. (less)
Oh my God, this book was sooooo bad. The characters were like paper dolls and the dialogue was unbelievable. The whole plot was just unreal, too. Are...moreOh my God, this book was sooooo bad. The characters were like paper dolls and the dialogue was unbelievable. The whole plot was just unreal, too. Are there people that dumb in the world? I hope I never meet them.
The only reason I finished the book was to see which macho man--the tall, built, sweet government guy or the sensitive but tough mafia due--was going to win the damsel in distress at the end. I uh, won't spoil it for you in case you, too, want to muddle through it to find out for yourself. (less)
I could not get into this book. I was excited to start it because of all the praise it received, but I guess I'm not that big of a dog lover, because...moreI could not get into this book. I was excited to start it because of all the praise it received, but I guess I'm not that big of a dog lover, because I just could not plod through an entire book written from this dog's point of view.(less)
Stupid, stupid book. I read the first bunch of pages until I felt blood streaming out of my eyes, and then I flipped to the back fifteen or so pages t...moreStupid, stupid book. I read the first bunch of pages until I felt blood streaming out of my eyes, and then I flipped to the back fifteen or so pages to see how it ended and was so glad I hadn't wasted any more time with this stupid, stupid book. (less)
I hated this book so much. I only kept reading it because I had to find out why Campbell, the lawyer, had...moreSpoiler Alert. This review contains spoilers.
I hated this book so much. I only kept reading it because I had to find out why Campbell, the lawyer, had a service dog, since he kept that such a secret.
I hated the clichés (Julia chose just that moment to crash through the door… Anna chose that precise moment to speak up… Rita chose this moment to gag on bad writing…).
I hated the overwrought melodrama. Everything was just so saturated with heavy-handed tear-jerking prose that the book was soggy and just about dripping. About halfway through the book, I started skimming it, looking for dialogue relevant to the plot. Brian’s metaphors about fire and Sara’s reminiscing about the kids’ childhoods and Campbell’s backflashes about Julia and Julia being pathetic in every possible way and Anna’s cluelessness just got so very dull. If I was ever to find out why Campbell had that dog, then I needed to get through the material faster. Putting the book down to groan out loud every few paragraphs was taking too long.
The characters were two-dimensional and irritating. They really were just like paper dolls, given name tags, dressed up in stereotypes and given lines to say (and melodramatic thoughts to spill out). It was like, This is the mom and she’s a big martyr who puts her children first all the time… she’s a GOOD mother, she just got blinded by trying to be too good, so she seems kind of bad now. But we’ll be on her side in the end because of her deep insight. Waggle mom paper doll and have her blah, blah, blah and then Over here is the Big Bad Lawyer doll… ooooh, he’s a ruthless go-getter with a hazy past, but he’ll have some secrets to pull out at the end so we’ll realize he’s a decent, stand up guy after all. Waggle lawyer paper doll and have him blah blah blah, and so on.
The plot was all right through all of that until the big Law and Order courtroom twist at the end. That was just a convenient trick to get out of actually trying to find a solution for such a dilemma. She worked it up to such a point that there was no way out that would sit well with an audience, there was no good way to wrap it up, so she pulled a rabbit out of a hat. Then she went a step further and did something that I guess some might find bold, but it just made me shout a stream of obscenities and then made me thankful that I had just skimmed the second half of the book and didn’t really invest in it at all. Otherwise, I would have been furious with such an ending.
This is the second Jodi Picoult book I’ve tried to read. I didn’t like the other one either (Vanishing Acts), so I guess I won’t be reading anything else by this author.
It's hard for me to give a star rating to this book because through the whole of it, I really enjoyed it--until the end. The end was bizarre, impossib...moreIt's hard for me to give a star rating to this book because through the whole of it, I really enjoyed it--until the end. The end was bizarre, impossible, half-hazard and abrupt. Everything was going along fine and then there were the last 5 pages or so and it was just so stupid.
This is a book about Aaron, an American, who goes back to his family home in Ireland to have a big private pity party for himself. The family house was now owned by his aunt Kitty. Aaron and Kitty were "...through the generational peculiarities of the McClouds--near contemporaries, with Kitty two years older." He wanted to go back to the house and feel sorry for himself because the woman he had a crush on did not return the feelings, so he planned to spend his vacation walking along the beach and having his bad luck in love witnessed by the great raging sea.
He kept his vacation plans a secret, and therefore they kept being ignored or thwarted by those around him: Aaron wondered if now was the time to tell her the truth--that he had come here to suffer. He had come to deepen the lines on his forehead, to implant a mournfulness into his eyes that would forever silence the joyful and inspire shame in the indifferent.
Aaron decided he'd wait and tell his aunt another time. Or, better, she would become aware and ask hesitant questions, becoming more sympathetic and compassionate with each and every answer he'd quietly, stoically give. She would be moved. She would admire him. He would become choked with gratitude. Soon, but not now.
See? Funny stuff.
Of course, there is THE PIG, the one mentioned in the title. The pig plays a much smaller part in everything than I'd originally have imagined. But, it does kind of tie things together, bringing people together that wouldn't have come together otherwise.
For example, it digs up a body that had been buried in his aunt's yard. This is the crux of the book, really. The characters know who the body is, and there is a blame triangle, based on current passions, past family feuds and Irish pride. Again, it's funny stuff. It's Irish madcappery at its finest. I'm not a fan of the madcap, but this book did entertain me greatly. It presented a lot of Irish heritage, as observed by the young American: Aaron had kept alert for a pause where he might interject some expression of astonishment or ask a pertinent question, but he soon realized it was a vain hope. The monologue, the soliloquy, the extended speech fueled by a fiery passion was, he knew, an Irish invention, one of the country's more notable contributions to the stultification of the civilized world. The Greeks had merely "anticipated" the form, which had reached its destined fulfillment in, of course, Shakespeare, who, as is generally known, was Irish, his use of the soliloquy the proof of it--if proof of the undeniable was needed.
So, the book progresses in a very The Trouble With Harry manner, trying to find out who killed the guy and everyone refusing to involve the police.
Aaron goes along with it Kitty was, to Aaron's mind, as much a candidate for the crime as the woman she'd named. How the scene between the two of them might end Aaron had no notion. But he should be there. He was, after all, a writer. This display of human conflict, of murder and of love, should not pass unseen by the artist's eye. He owed it to himself and to his readers, to those dependent upon him for uncommon insights, to say nothing of high drama and the amusement that only a killing can provide.
Yes, it goes along fun and well written until the last five pages. There is an irony here that cannot be ignored. The character Aunt Kitty makes her living as a writer as well. She takes classics and re-writes them. She changes the characters a bit, changes the scene and the time and most importantly, she changes the ending. ...she answered that she was helpless without the anger and frustration aroused by those who'd written the originals. They'd gotten it all wrong, and she would set it right. Their mistakes fueled her imagination; they generated energy. Without the goad of their errors, she had no will, no need to proceed. Her sense of superiority allowed her to see their world and all its people with a clarity made possible by being seen from so great and grand a height, a vision obviously unattainable to her precursors because they failed to be, quite simply, Kitty McCloud. She was doing them all a favor.
So, you've got to wonder, with a book that is as well written as this one, with characters funny and likable in their snobbish unlikability, and a character who changes endings of loved classics for a living--was the author taunting us with his crappy end? Was it on purpose, so we, like Kitty McCloud would be fueled by our outrage and create in our minds a better ending? Who knows. (less)
I started this book twice and just couldn't get into it either time. The first time was ON vacation and I figured there was just so much going on in m...moreI started this book twice and just couldn't get into it either time. The first time was ON vacation and I figured there was just so much going on in my real life that I couldn't be sucked into the plot of this book.
The second time was right after I finished reading The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which isn't really fair because anything would pale in comparison to that.
But, while Oscar Wao was a book about tragic characters chained to their ancestral past, which branched out in snarly directions both bizarre and repeating, it had humor and it broke rules with language and style that no other book ever has. It had a narrative voice unique to itself (and then the "omniscient third person narrator" stepped out from behind the curtain and revealed himself as a true character in the book, eliciting just one more, "Whoooa, Dude! Cool trick!" from its collective readership.).
Monsters of Templeton seemed to be about tragic characters chained to their ancestral past, which branched out in snarly directions both bizarre and repeating, and it was ordinary in the telling, a predictable narrator, doing nothing more than moving the plot along. Humor was thin and token and of the "madcap" variety. Nothing that actually knocked the wind out of you.
It was just blah. It was my hometown lake after seeing the Pacific Ocean. It was, "Yeah, OK, what else have you got?" Frankly, I just don't have time for that. Moving on.
This is the guy who wrote A Simple Plan, which I didn't read, but saw the movie (Billy Bob Thornton), and enjoyed it a lot. That had a nicely complex...moreThis is the guy who wrote A Simple Plan, which I didn't read, but saw the movie (Billy Bob Thornton), and enjoyed it a lot. That had a nicely complex plot and lots of ups and downs to follow which was a lot of fun. But maybe it was because Sam Raimi directed it and it had a great cast that it was so good.
Anyway, this other book is just about a killer vine in Mexico that traps a bunch of college kids. I don't read blurbs and that's why I end up with books like this. All settled in, getting into the characters and then seeing where it's leading and thinking what the heck? This was a really highly recommended book, by reliable sources. Probably just because of the Sam Raimi movie based on this author's only other book. In case you have no idea, Sam Raimi wrote, produced and directed The Evil Dead II, which is like the best movie ever. Oh, and he did the Spiderman movies, too, which weren't half bad.
Anyway, I felt totally jilted, coaxed into reading a stupid book about a killer plant. But, the trailer for the movie actually looks kinda good.(less)
Eh. It was eh. I liked her first book, Field of Darkness. It had a lot of holes in it, but I really liked the main character and forgave the unevennes...moreEh. It was eh. I liked her first book, Field of Darkness. It had a lot of holes in it, but I really liked the main character and forgave the unevenness of the writing and the plot because it was her first book.
Crazy School is her second book, same main character, but it’s a big step down from the other book. She relied too heavily on the work she’d done building up the characters in the first book and was negligent with developing them further in this one.
And the timeframe was weird. It was a little odd in the first book, too, but weirder in this one. The first book took place in the mid 80’s, and the main character was in her mid-twenties. In this one, the book is in 1989 and the character is in her later-twenties. It’s hard enough in the Sue Grafton books (A is for Alibi, etc) to remember that Kinsey doesn’t age in real time, but rather from book to book, so that those take place in the 80’s. But, Sue Grafton can do that because she’s a well-established author and she started that series in the 80’s and that’s how she chose her character to age. But, for this book, from someone brand new, it’s just strange. Why not make it real time? What was the point in having the time lapse, other than laziness on the part of the author, not wanting to update things to real-time.
Anyway, in this book, Madeline was teaching troubled teens inside a very bizarre psychiatric institution. It was poignant to me because 1) I was a troubled teen in the late 80’s, so much so that I could have almost been one of the kids in the institution she wrote about (mine would have been more circa 1986 though) and 2) I was a social worker in an almost identical institution in Ohio just a few years later (’92-early ’94), so I could identify with both sides in this book with just a little wiggle room with the ages on either side. So, I can say with complete authority, she had it all wrong.
The dialect was wrong, for both sides (I don’t remember anyone saying, “dude” in 1989, that’s a much more recent thing), and her psychobabble seemed second-hand fake and mocking. Nobody I worked with in social work was anything like this main character (but maybe that’s because this main character was soooo much better at her job than any of us were—big eye roll here). And none of the kids had any depth at all. Then the character's proclamation at the end about how therapy is worthless for depression and you should just take prozac was so out of left field, it was just the fitting ending for such a freaky and ill-written book.
I don’t know why I bothered finishing the book, really, other than the turf being so familiar in so many ways, but mishandled so offensively that I just had to see it to its end.
Not a great mystery, not a great storyline, no wonderful character development, the dialog was choppy and inaccurate. I guess it’s worse than an “eh” when all is said and done. I guess it sucked, dude.
Didn't like it. Didn't finish it. It was boooooring. This is the second book by this author that I've tried to read and have quit. I guess I just don'...moreDidn't like it. Didn't finish it. It was boooooring. This is the second book by this author that I've tried to read and have quit. I guess I just don't care for her writing. (less)