This book does not deserve a real review. It is awful.
I read Submergance because Emily St John Mandel (whose book Station Eleven I love) named it asThis book does not deserve a real review. It is awful.
I read Submergance because Emily St John Mandel (whose book Station Eleven I love) named it as her favorite book. In truth this book and Station Eleven do have a fair amount in common (random facts, divided narrative, a sort of disconnected quality). My loathing of this book has lead me to question my love of Station Eleven, maybe I gave it the benefit of the doubt sometimes (it would have benefited from a lot of editing). Maybe when I re-read it, my conclusion will be different.
The Positive: There are some well constructed sentences. That hotel sure sounds nice.
The Negatives: The poorly developed characters. The superiority complexes of the two main characters. The mess of a plot. The waste of a good premise. So many terrible sentences. So many half fleshed out ideas. So much pretentiousness without a point. ...more
Victuals by Ronni Lundy is about a cuisine I've never really had, since I have never been to Appalachia. My only previous exposure to that region wereVictuals by Ronni Lundy is about a cuisine I've never really had, since I have never been to Appalachia. My only previous exposure to that region were Sean Brock's episodes of Mind of a Chef, as well as his cookbook, and the novel Prodigal Summer by Barbra Kingsolver.
I actually feel like reading Prodigal Summer best prepared me for this Victuals as the two feel similar in tone. I am not usually someone who reads cook books like novels, from the front to the back, my mother in law is and I have always admired that, and wanted to that.
Usually when I open a cookbook I skim through, look at the pictures (I know!) and then choose based on pictures and apparent ease and cost of recipe, what I am going to cook. I then turn down the corner of those pages and slowly over time I make most, if not all of those recipes.
I tried to have that approach with Victuals but alas, the writing sucked me in more than most of the recipes. My husband and I ended up reading vast sections out loud to each other, the writing was so entertaining, engaging, and informative. Frankly it felt a bit like traveling to Appalachia but not as a tourist, but rather visiting a local friend. Which makes sense based on the subtitle: An Appalachian Journey With Recipes.
If I had to just one section to read again it would be a hard fight between the Introduction, Roots and Seeds, and Preserving.
The few recipes we made from the book were very good. We stuck mostly to the Apple-achia section of the book (pun intended) as our four apple trees were overwhelming us at the same time Victuals arrived on our doorstep.
The apple butter was particularly good and easy to make, and a large amount of apples (thank goodness).
I don't know why the recipes didn't engage me more. The pictures are very appealing and I am sure we will make more in the future, but after reading all the non recipe sections of the book (a good 1/2 of the book itself) only a few pages are dog eared. I think part of it is that I have never eaten very much of this kind of food before so I don't know what to expect in terms of finished product.
Even when it comes to apple butter, I had only had it once before hand, so it took us a while to get in the habit of using it, even though it was very good.
I am planning to make my mother The Shack's Sweet & Savory Banana Pudding and I am rather excited about trying it myself. I am sure I will make more of the recipe's over time, but even if I don't, I learned so much from this book already, and I enjoyed every minute I spent reading it.
I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review....more
The first few chapters had me. There is a dramatic decapitation scene, a lot of witty sentences, and an intriguing premise.
I was actually fairly addiThe first few chapters had me. There is a dramatic decapitation scene, a lot of witty sentences, and an intriguing premise.
I was actually fairly addicted to this book the whole way through. It took me two days to read. But the more I read, the more I disliked it. The writing was tight, the sentences well constructed, but the plot twist was super frustrating and obvious and more importantly the book itself felt entirely disingenuous.
Ezra is supposed to go from being junior prom king to an outsider. Really he just goes from being an athlete with athlete friends to being a former athlete with cool nerd friends. The kind of cool nerd friends who have parties and do things as a group and spend every lunch together. I was an outsider at high school so I do know the difference first hand.
Not only that but even though Ezra can't play tennis his injury seems to come and go a bit depending on how much pity we are supposed to feel for him (I think). He hikes a lot for a person with a serious permanent leg injury and is able to discard his cane with no explored consequences that I remember. Pain is occasionally but infrequently mentioned. I read this just after reading Formerly Shark Girl, and the difference in how pain was portrayed was stark. One seemed honest, the other did not.
Also the incidents involving social situations that are supposed to be traumatic are rather mild. There is this huge deal made about another character insulting him by calling him a name (cripple) and almost all the important secondary characters cut the name calling character out of their lives.
I feel like this book would have been much better if the author actually allowed her main character to deal with real issues in a realistic way, instead he remains throughout the whole book the kind of golden boy who could prevent the whole drunk football team from vandalizing a playground with just a few words. ...more