I'm not a zombie fan. I don't go out of my way to watch zombie movies or read zombie books.
But I do enjoy a good zombie story (book or film), and this...moreI'm not a zombie fan. I don't go out of my way to watch zombie movies or read zombie books.
But I do enjoy a good zombie story (book or film), and this one was fantastic. The best zombie stuff that I've run into over the years hasn't been about the shuffling undead. Instead, it's about survival and what we're willing to do to see the next day.
Basically, it's the ultimate expression of naturalism, where the world is truly hostile and out to wipe you off the face of the planet. In that vein, wouldn't Jack London's "To Build a Fire" have been better with zombies?(less)
I've seen this book around for some time, and it always vaguely drew my attention. However, I didn't really want to invest the time reading it; I'm wo...moreI've seen this book around for some time, and it always vaguely drew my attention. However, I didn't really want to invest the time reading it; I'm working on a dissertation, and a big book like this one eats a lot of time. Further, this book is popular, and I'm always leary of books that make as big a splash as this one did.
However, a few of my friends gave it positive reviews, and that made me curious. Then, Julie gave the audiobook a fabulous review, and I knew what I had to do. I had to get the audiobook and listen to it on my Ridiculous Commute (1.5 hours each way, twice a week).
Listening to this book left me with one clear response: I wish my mom could read it. She passed away 20 years ago, and I know that she would have loved this book. She grew up in Detroit, and graduated from Cody High School in 1966. The Jackson, Mississippi of this book is a world away from the Detroit my mother knew (for instance, my mom was not in any kind of Ladie's League--that was far outside her social class), but she would have still recognized this world. She spent much of my childhood teaching my sister and I to reject racism. Having lived through the 1967 Detroit riots, she knew just how terrible things could be, and she wanted my sister and to be a part of making a better future.
Unsurprisingly, I think that's what the major struggle of this book is: characters seeking to make a new future. Skeeter Phelan is a recent college graduate, and she's returned home, unmarried, to discover that there's no real place for a woman like her in Jackson. All of her friends dropped out after getting their "MRS," and Skeeter's mother wants her to get a job primarily to find a husband. Getting a job for the sake of actually working is outside of anyone's experience. The only job Skeeter can find is writing "Miss Myrna" columns for the local paper--a cleaning and marriage advice column. With no experience in either topic, Skeeter asks her friend Elizabeth if she could talk to Elizabeth's maid, Aibilean, to get answers for these letters. Reluctantly, Elizabeth agrees, and this breakdown of the social barriers between Skeeter and Aibilean will lead to a friendship and to the book itself.
Jackson in 1963 is a city on the cusp of change, and everyone can feel it. Some people, like Hilly Hollbrook, try to resist the change. In additon to publicly segregated bathrooms, she's trying to get all of the local families with "help" to install a separate bathroom for their Afrian American employees. Murmurs of change from outside Jackson arrive throughthe TV every night. And Medger Evers is killed outside his home in Jackson.
Writing a book of interviews with household help is a dangerous task in Jackson at this time. Skeeter knows this, but she doesn't really understand the risk. All of the woman that work with her do understand, but all of them take this risk. They know that they have a chance to speak, finally, and the words must be said.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is beautiful and terrifying, heartwarming and chilling. It is the kind of book that reminds us not only how ugly humans can be but how amazing as well. It's a book that understand that sometimes changing the future is as simple as telling a child "You is good. You is kind. You is special." It is one of the best books I've read in a very long time. (less)
I hate unicorns. That is, I hate them now. As a kid, I cross-stitched two unicorn pictures to hang on my bedroom wall.
Thankfully, that phase passed pr...moreI hate unicorns. That is, I hate them now. As a kid, I cross-stitched two unicorn pictures to hang on my bedroom wall.
Thankfully, that phase passed pretty quickly. I grew tired of the sickly sweetness associated with unicorns, and I moved on.
This book confirmed for me that unicorn worshipping is a very bad idea. When an animal has horns, what are they for? They're usually a weapon used when fighting another animal. They're not some kind of beauty accessory.
Peterfreund's ideas about unicorns make sense, and she's created a fantastic world to set them in. As I read the book, I couldn't help but be amazed by how fully detailed it was--and how carefully Peterfreund thought out the implications of her ideas.
I hope there's another book in this series, and I can't wait to recommend it to other people either sick of sweetness or needing some serious girl power.(less)