Michal’s Window is not a Bible story that a reader should go into with preconceived notions, even if they’re familiar with the story of David. The sto...moreMichal’s Window is not a Bible story that a reader should go into with preconceived notions, even if they’re familiar with the story of David. The story opens from the third person perspective, depicting a scene of violence. This technique was effective, because it notified readers that this Bible tale wasn’t just a “romance” for women regarding Michal. It put the spotlight squarely on this manly figure, David and opened up a big plot, before shifting to Michal’s first person perspective.
Readers see that the trials and triumphs of being human were happening since ancient times and got an up close view of the lives of royalty. In many ways, Ayala depicts the emotions of the characters as being stronger, more intense than the emotions displayed in many ‘modern’ day stories. These emotions lead to actions that create conflict throughout the story, making for an interesting read.
We see that others were suspicious of David’s interest in Michal being that she was King Saul’s daughter. We witness the jealously between sisters Michal and Merab. We see the bravery of David who won numerous battles and was loved by his countrymen. It’s easy for readers to side with Michal in scenes such as Merab being promised to David and being glad for her when she gets David instead. But sometimes her undying devotion came across as blind love. Yet, there was much to admire about David, including his intelligence and the baffling (by today’s standard) respect that he showed toward King Saul. Phalti’s gentleness made him winsome, as well as Jonathan’s friendship to David. Michal isn’t a heroine readers might always side with. It was hard for me not to get angry with her after she’d told Phalti that she’d never go back with David and would always stay with him, yet showed that this wasn’t true.
The story is entertaining and presents a number of questions for the reader, some of which the author answered as the story moved forward. The details used allows readers to visualize keenly the author’s version of the story and we see that David’s confidence in himself was one reason Princess Michal loved him, though he began a servant before ruling. I was surprised by Michal’s boldness toward David so early in the story and her lust for him, being that she didn’t know him too well. Of course, her feelings quickly became love. But at least she admitted to readers, David was the center of her life.
The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka tells the story, or should I say stories, of a group of young Japanese women who are shipped to San Francisco...moreThe Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka tells the story, or should I say stories, of a group of young Japanese women who are shipped to San Francisco as brides. Their husbands chose them by how they looked in a picture. The book uses the first person plural voice throughout the narrative. Readers learn of how the brides viewed their journey and the opening chapter is the one where this “group” has the most similarities—with many thinking they’ll have a good life in America.
It then takes readers to their first night with their husbands, their varied experiences of toil and hard work in this new land, and how they relate to their children who’ve never seen Japan. The book ends with the Japanese being rounded up during wartime. The narrative voice changes to that of their perplexed neighbors in the final chapter, wondering where the Japanese have gone. But it’s the children who are most concerned about where their classmates went, until more time passes and new tenants move in, causing the neighbors to ask more questions. The book is slim, at 129 pages, but readers come away with a full experience regarding the characters’ lives. (less)