(It says I give this 5 stars but really I want to give it a 4.5)
It's heavy handed in the same sort of ways that the film is, but just like the film, i...more(It says I give this 5 stars but really I want to give it a 4.5)
It's heavy handed in the same sort of ways that the film is, but just like the film, it saves itself by having a lot of heart. Though the film probably had more heart, whereas I think the book was almost funnier than the film. The literary magazine entries were brilliant and as a former high school literary magazine editor I appreciated those very much. Be still my heart, seriously.
The only major criticism I have is that there are some parts where Carson's sense of superiority seems vastly, vastly undeserved and incredibly annoying. I mean, he rants and rants about no other kids having ambition, but Scott Thomas had ambition! SCOTT THOMAS, CARSON!!! And so did Remy! And it really just seems that Carson calls himself more intelligent than everyone else as an excuse to never get to know anybody because he's been so hurt in the past--I just don't know if that was what Colfer was going for. At parts it really felt like he was trying to say that Carson truly was smarter and better than everyone he went to school with, and that seems really short sighted to me. But one great thing about the book is that it fleshes out the secondary characters a lot more than the film did and so it at least hints at the ways that Carson might be wrong in thinking he knows everything. The first half of the book saw me sincerely put off by Carson's vitriol towards his fellow students, but I wouldn't give it this high a rating if I didn't think that the book (and Carson, as the narrator) kind of recognizes that by the end. I actually think that's something about the film that could have used work and was better done in the book.
I also loved the addition of Carson's ongoing struggle with relationships and sexuality because of his home life, as I know that one of the criticisms that will be made about the film is the main character's lack of sexuality. The novel does a good job of establishing him as a sexual being but also a 17 year old who has not figured himself out sexually and really doesn't consider it a big deal. BTW I ship Carson Phillips/Rachel Maddow, in a different world.
(One teeny tiny criticism I have has more to do with the publisher. It needed some better copyediting. There is no excuse for the couple glaringly obvious typos and inconsistencies I found just from reading it quickly over a few hours. Carson would be so annoyed.)
Anyway, there were parts of this book that had me laughing out loud, even harder than in the movie. (and I did think the movie was very, very funny.) And I really hope that Chris writes something else in the YA genre because I think he has a talent for it. I also think this novel shows his comedic ability in a way that The Land of Stories really couldn't. (Just as the movie shows his comedic acting in a way that Glee really hasn't since season 1. Yeesh.)
Final verdict: it actually works as a stand-alone YA novel. I know, I was shocked too. However, I was very glad that I waited until I saw the film to read it, because the novel basically gives away the entire arch of the plot and all the characters. I really enjoying seeing them first played by that freaking amazing cast. Christina Hendricks is really the most beautiful person on earth. Rob Aguire is second most beautiful. That's how I'm gonna end my review, even.(less)
A bit dense, but if you're interested in the history of obscenity laws and/or sexuality and/or the suppression of information in any form, or even jus...moreA bit dense, but if you're interested in the history of obscenity laws and/or sexuality and/or the suppression of information in any form, or even just American history, or even just Victorian-era anything, read this book! Unless really long and dense history books don't gel with you. Maybe they'll make a PBS documentary one day or something. Personally, my own research interests have focused on the history of and attitudes toward erotica and I found this book really fascinating and helpful. Also, Anthony Comstock was an epic bag of dicks, oh my god!(less)
Probably the first Shakespeare play I've read that is pretty explicitly about sex. (To be specific, sexual morality and the policing of it.) I'm no Sh...moreProbably the first Shakespeare play I've read that is pretty explicitly about sex. (To be specific, sexual morality and the policing of it.) I'm no Shakespeare scholar, but I found it interesting. If only I could understand all those old-timey words!
ETA: it's probably worth mentioning that the final act is kind of a hot mess, and is thus considered one of Shakespeare's "problem plays" which just means it's a lot more interesting!(less)
These stories did nothing for me. I don't think that erotica should just be hot, but I think if it's not doing anything for me personally, any artisti...moreThese stories did nothing for me. I don't think that erotica should just be hot, but I think if it's not doing anything for me personally, any artistic element of it will be lost on me because it's all too evident that it's just about a bunch of messed up people fucking.
Little Birds wasn't bad, in my opinion. Maybe it was that I had my fill with Little Birds. Maybe it was because Nin herself didn't really want to be writing these stories. Maybe it's the overwhelming Frenchness, or the time it was written. Oh, all of it, all of it, probably. I'm glad to be done with this book and I'm wistfully wishing that the erotica found in dusty university libraries could do its job a little better.(less)
I loved the title so, so, so much before I realized it was borrowed from a U2 song. It makes sense though. Levithan is writing from a teenaged point o...moreI loved the title so, so, so much before I realized it was borrowed from a U2 song. It makes sense though. Levithan is writing from a teenaged point of a view, and a teenager would totally name their book from a line from that song. That brings me to what I liked about this book: it was quite earnest, which is how I likes my YA lit. (less)
This is kind of like a very bleak and bizarre sequel to the Glass Menagerie and it makes me want to dig a well, jump into the well, and replenish a wa...moreThis is kind of like a very bleak and bizarre sequel to the Glass Menagerie and it makes me want to dig a well, jump into the well, and replenish a water supply with my tears forever. And then write a play about it.(less)