I read this book in great gulps, ignoring my family and responsibilities. The narrator, five-year-old Jack, is captivating and beautifully written - t...moreI read this book in great gulps, ignoring my family and responsibilities. The narrator, five-year-old Jack, is captivating and beautifully written - the author must spend a lot of time paying attention to five-year-olds. All the supporting characters were interesting, believable and textured, brought to life by Jack's plain and effective descriptions.
The story was fine, but really just served as a scaffold for a descussion of relationships, love, and the choices people make in difficult circumstances. The finest novels are about human nature, and this is one of them.(less)
Ballet Shoes is a book about three sisters in 1930s London who have to attend a school of performing arts to earn money when their Great-Uncle Matthew...moreBallet Shoes is a book about three sisters in 1930s London who have to attend a school of performing arts to earn money when their Great-Uncle Matthew disappears on an adventure and their money runs out. The book tells the story of their experiences at the school and at various acting and dancing gigs.
Delphine and I enjoyed it very much (Delphine wants to know if there's a sequel). I liked learning about performing, and I liked the cast of characters. (I especially liked the fact that two of the family's boarders were a pair of lady professors living together, and that the middle sister Petrova is a tomboy.)
I found the way the book jumped forward in time to be a bit disconcerting - the children always seemed to be older than I thought they should be.(less)
I picked this up at the library because I loved the cover and was intrigued by the premise. I got Delphine to read it, and she really enjoyed it, but...moreI picked this up at the library because I loved the cover and was intrigued by the premise. I got Delphine to read it, and she really enjoyed it, but when it was my turn I wasn't as captivated. Not sure why - the characters didn't grab me, the prose was pretty pedestrian, except a few passages which sparkled. The story was exciting and moved along at a good clip.(less)
Oh god.... what did I think? This is a pretty bad book. The logic is bad, the plot is bad. It's basically written for someone who won't be engaging th...moreOh god.... what did I think? This is a pretty bad book. The logic is bad, the plot is bad. It's basically written for someone who won't be engaging their brain as they read. And for that it's pretty good; I got caught up in the plot in the middle for a while. But then a character got root access on the bad guy's BSD machine (why he's running BSD we'll never know) because the bad guy forgot to change the root password from "root" (even though he's supposedly a security nut). Having root access, the character then spends two pages trying to guess the bad guy's account password. Once he's "cracked" that by guessing a hard password (which I honestly think no-one has ever done, and certainly not in a few minutes) he finds a Word document (why he's running Word on BSD is not clear -- maybe it's actually a Mac?) which lays out his entire evil plan (with one ultimately irrelevant detail changed). It's so lazy!
That's about when I checked out of the book. You know when you're reading a good book you're completely immersed its world and you think about the characters and the plot as if they were real? I was at the opposite end of that spectrum, where while you're reading you're completely aware that these are just words on a page that some author has decided to write down, and the things that they describe are merely fabrications.
There was a low-speed Hummer/tank chase and some property got destroyed and some trees got blown up, and then everything ended, but not before setting up the next in this series. Which my mother will send to me and I will read. Good thing I'm a fast reader.
(I gave it two stars because there was that bit in the middle where I got caught up in the story.)(less)