The story in this book is excellent - a lad is on trial for his part in a robbery + murder, and we see it through his eyes. Small parts are written li...moreThe story in this book is excellent - a lad is on trial for his part in a robbery + murder, and we see it through his eyes. Small parts are written like a diary, but the majority of the book is written as a movie script that he composes along the way. Making films is something he has been working on at school, and is his passion.
While I have only given it 3 stars, I can see why it won the Printz Award (in 2000). It's hard-hitting in its dealing with truth and lies, and it's very relevant for young people. The format would also be very attractive, I imagine. It's different, and with very little narrative it would be quite easy to read for those who don't particularly like the task of reading. Personally, I didn't enjoy the format - I found it distracting.
Still, I recommend this book for young teens.(less)
The scary thing is that one could believe this sort of future! The United States has caused itself major fertility problems through pollution - chemic...moreThe scary thing is that one could believe this sort of future! The United States has caused itself major fertility problems through pollution - chemicals in food, radiation poisoning (the destruction of nuclear power stations from earthquakes), etc. - and the Christian fundamentalists take over. All access to jobs and to money is removed from all women, all marriages that are not first marriages are forcibly dissolved. Some women become servants (a Martha), the 'lucky' ones are Wives, women unable to bear children (or requiring extreme punishment) are sent to the 'colonies' to clean up toxic waste, and all others are trained to be handmaids, i.e. the bearers of children for the wives who are unable.
This is the first book I've read by Margaret Atwood (yes, gasps of shock - where have I been etc., a woman of my age and not having read her till now!). Actually, I tried another some years ago but didn't like it enough to read beyond the beginning (which means I really must have not liked it, because it's only recently I've felt the 'freedom' to stop reading a book - it's like leaving food on your plate when somebody's gone to all the trouble of cooking, and "You asked for it, you have to finish it!"). So I was taking a leap of faith when I started reading this one.
As we all know, leaps of faith can be disastrous. However, this one was successful. I found this book fascinating. Couldn't put it down! (less)
This book (on Audio) was my travelling companion while journeying to and from a holiday destination - I listened to the first half and then thirteen d...moreThis book (on Audio) was my travelling companion while journeying to and from a holiday destination - I listened to the first half and then thirteen days later had the second half to accompany me. During the time in between it frequently came to mind, and when I started the homeward trip it felt like I'd only left off the day before. This is, I believe, indicative of how strongly the characters and story are written.
Bethia tells the story in this book. Her grandfather led a group to form a settlement on an island off the coast of Massachusetts, due mostly to disagreements over theological interpretation, especially where it comes to overly zealous punishments for sin. Of course, in the mid-17th century, beliefs were rigid. Bethia's father is the parson to the people, and makes it his goal to "save" as many of the local Indians as he can from their savage spiritual practices. Bethia herself is extremely intelligent, fights a quick temper (a great sin in a female of the time), and strives to make sense of the conflicts between her own experience, what her religion teaches, and what she believes deeply.
This is also a thoroughly researched tale of life in that time, before the large-scale slaughter of the native peoples and when there was still hope that peaceful coexistence might prevail. We see the difference between country life and the town (a disgusting cesspit of a place in this story); we see the appalling conditions that students suffered; we see the loveliness of a simple life and the natural dangers of the time. And this is all within the beautifully told story of families and friendship and love.(less)
Bill Bryson never fails to entertain. This book is everything it promised to be. What a pleasure to walk with him through the wilds and observe the to...moreBill Bryson never fails to entertain. This book is everything it promised to be. What a pleasure to walk with him through the wilds and observe the towns that live in the wilds.(less)
I really enjoyed this book. It's fast and punchy - a fun mixture of cops-and-robbers, or rather American-detective, and fantasy, with the Knights Temp...moreI really enjoyed this book. It's fast and punchy - a fun mixture of cops-and-robbers, or rather American-detective, and fantasy, with the Knights Templar in the modern-day, and the eternal battle between good and evil. I really liked the way that the sub-story was worked in with the main plot, and the dead-pan narration is great.(less)