Which I believe is the only correct response to this book. How do I know this ? Because when I Google Image Searched for this meme I found it on Write Which I believe is the only correct response to this book. How do I know this ? Because when I Google Image Searched for this meme I found it on Writer For Wrongs review of the same book.It also shows up in pretty much every review of this book.
We on Books and Sensibility occasionally use tropes when we review books and if I had to pick some out for Grasshopper Jungle they'd include And I Must Scream, Nightmare Fuel, High Octane Nightmare Fuel, Fridge Horror with a sprinkle of Nausea Fuel
Seriously, bring on the brain bleach. Every time I dove back in to this I was like, well it can't get any worse and then Andrew Smith proved me wrong.
All that said...you can’t deny Andrew Smith is an excellent writer and is doing something very unique with the YA genre. His writing is probably some of the best I've read this year.
If you know this book, then you know the basic plot and it's very WYSIWG
Grasshopper Jungle centers around two major conflicts in 17-year-old Austin Szerba's life; he's in love with his gay best friend. And man-eating bugs the size of refrigerators are infesting his small Iowa town. There are also a few themes about identity and heritage that I liked, but I think the first two are all you need to know.
Despite the squick, I actually really liked this novel. Once I finished I couldn't stop thinking about it, I think it's because of how well Smith built Austin's town of Ealing, Iowa and the characters around it. I feel like I know the characters and how to act if I was dropped in this fictional Iowa. I mean look, these character's aren't in anyway likeable, they are extremely flawed and I think that's what makes them feel so real. You get the sense there is a lot of despair and pent up frustration in this town.That said the female characters do left a lot to be desired, they were like cardboard and maybe that has to do with out narrators perspective, but it was annoying that they didn't seem to have any agency or personality.
In a lot of reviews, Smith's style is often described as being Kurt Vonnegut-esque and I totally got that while reading Grasshopper Jungle. I haven't read a whole lot of Vonnegut, but the narration has this repetitive, rhythmic language like Slaughterhouse-5 and the weird science fiction elements I think Vonnegut is known for. I really loved how this novel was written. From page one you know you are reading a history so Austin will occasionally switch to what other people were doing while he was doing something and it turns the first person narration into a kind of third person with an opinion.
However, if anyone asked me, I would be very cautious in suggesting this novel. I'm laughing at myself because I called Charm & Strange explicit, but it has nothing on this book. Smith examines the ugly side of life, this book has it's gritty moments, so I don’t think that’s going to be everyone’s cup of tea. And while there is a fair amount of stuff related to sex in here, I wouldn't call it titillating or super inappropriate or anything. The narrator tends to be kind of antiseptic about it.
Although I guess graphic content is just Smith's thing. As I was on Goodreads, I realized Andrew Smith is also the author of The Maybury Lens, a book I was going to read but had been warned it was graphic. That all said, I’ll be darned if Smith's next book, 100 Sideways Miles, about a boy who thinks he's a character in his Dad's cult classic novel sounds good (although the cover freaks me out).
Okay, off to find a coming of age contemporary romance to cleanse my brain! ...more
Cheryl Strayed is probably best known for Wild, the story of her journey hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, which kicked off Oprah's Book Club 2.0 and waCheryl Strayed is probably best known for Wild, the story of her journey hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, which kicked off Oprah's Book Club 2.0 and was recently released as a film with Reese Witherspoon. I feel like a couple years ago I heard her name sprinkled through every literary website and podcast I subscribed to, so when I saw this audio on Overdrive I checked it out.
The set up for this book takes some explaining. It's a collection of advice columns from when Strayed wrote an advice column on the culture website, The Rumpus under the pseudonym Dear Sugar. For each question he usually picks a story from her past to illuminate her advice. Strayed has had such an interesting and full life and her stories are captivating. She's brutally honest about herself and doesn't hold anything back, she shows quite a bit of vulnerability with her readers and I think that's why the columns were so popular.
I'd heard so much praise for this collection, but I wasn't sure it would be for me. I didn't really know what I was getting into when I started, but I really enjoyed this audiobook overall. Strayed's mix of memoir through advice is fun. Strayed does the audio and I think hearing her voice gets across some of her intention in her responses to advice seekers. Like she calls her readers sweet pea and when you read it it can sound condescending, but the way she reads it it sounds more affectionate.
This is definitely a coffee table book to be picked up and read in pieces. You can skip around the essays because they weren't written in any specific order. I think this book showed up on a lot of lists every grad/women/person should read and I kind of agree. While I couldn't relate to everything there were always something I could grasp on to.
This book is great for a YA audience because while they may not be able to relate to her stories they can use her advise for later. It's perfect for maybe high school or college grads. ...more
This book chronicles is the life of Louis Zamperini, a celebrated Olympic athlete, who was drafted into the US Air Force as a bomber during World WarThis book chronicles is the life of Louis Zamperini, a celebrated Olympic athlete, who was drafted into the US Air Force as a bomber during World War II. During a routine flight to Australia, he plane crashes and he and two of his crewmates are stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a 7 foot raft for 47 days, only to become POWs in a camp with some of Japan's most notorious war criminals.
No event in the 20th century has inspired American culture and media more than World War II. It’s a constant source for stories of survival, brotherhood and victory. It’s remembered as time when America threw its weight into a war and won. WWII narratives have spawned novels, memoirs plays, movies, video games and not one but two HBO miniseries. None have ever peaked my interest as much as the story behind Unbroken.
Zamperini ran for USC in the 1930's
One of the interesting experiences I had with this book is that even though I knew Zamperini was still alive when this book came out, I was so nervous he wasn't going to make it through all of the trials. I found myself looking up dates so I would know when he would get out of certain situations. It also doesn't help that there isn't a lot about his crewmates, so I had to go Googling for their fates before I could finish reading.
Needless to say this has to be one of the most brutal reads I've ever read. And it's not all from horrible treatment of the Americans at the POW camps and descriptions of their days lost at sea. When Louis is stationed in Hawaii he witnesses a lot of his fellow Airmen go out on missions and just never come back. The Air Force was making these planes so fast and really had no idea what they were doing and they would crash all the time. And this is the Pacific Ocean, so there are a lot of sharks.
I learned a lot about World War II from Unbroken. I feel like in school we learn a lot about the European side of the war and less about what was going on in the Pacific. I would be interested in reading more. (I started Hiroshima by John Hersey) This is an American book so it may have its own biases. Hillenbrand not only tells Zamperini's story, but gives the entire context of the war so you begin to understand things like why exactly they dropped the atomic bomb....more