I have 18 pages left to read, but I'm writing the review now to keep myself from peeking at the end.
When I was a school librarian, I once read a book...moreI have 18 pages left to read, but I'm writing the review now to keep myself from peeking at the end.
When I was a school librarian, I once read a book to a Kindergarten class. I forget the title, but it involved a character who had lost something very dear and was looking all over for it. A boy in the back who had enough storybook schema to understand that things usually worked out at the end yelled out, "LOOK AT THE LAST PAGE!!!" He was anxious for the character and simply COULD NOT WAIT for her to be reunited with her treasure.
I think about this kid all the time because I am this kid. My husband and I will be watching certain movies and, anxiety growing, I try and fight the urge to look at a synopsis on the IMDB. Does he die?! Does she find out about the betrayal?! Do they ever see the dog again?! I must know. If I do peek, it's a relief to know. It is. But I also know I have cheated myself out of something by peeking.
This book! The Goldfinch! It's the first book that I've loved in so long. And it's the first in ages to make me want to peek ahead. So many times! And I have a time or two, I admit it. But I really wanted to save the ending from from my cheating ways and to read it without already knowing so taking a break to write this review is my defense against my own reader-self-sabotage. And I'm going to finish this review without giving you a single peek of its content. It's the kind of book that is difficult to review or talk about without ruining it for potential readers. If you are like my husband, you HATE a spoiler. He nearly has a panic attack when a show gives a peek into the next week's episode. He is grasping for the remote while making noise so he doesn't hear anything. So I won't say a single thing except for: I love this book.(less)
I finally read it! When I was a librarian, I used to recommend it all the time and bullshit those kids into thinking I'd read and loved it. It was pre...moreI finally read it! When I was a librarian, I used to recommend it all the time and bullshit those kids into thinking I'd read and loved it. It was pretty good!
Phew. What put off children's classic should I tackle next?(less)
There are a lot of poetry collections for babies/toddlers, but this is the best. The very best! Jane Yolen is one of the greatest geniuses of the worl...moreThere are a lot of poetry collections for babies/toddlers, but this is the best. The very best! Jane Yolen is one of the greatest geniuses of the world. (less)
I do not condone calling Dr. Laura for advice and you should never (EVER) read one of her childrens' books, as they will hurt your eyes and your soul....moreI do not condone calling Dr. Laura for advice and you should never (EVER) read one of her childrens' books, as they will hurt your eyes and your soul. I do support you reading this memoir that features Dr. Laura and my fair city, though. Wholeheartedly!!(less)
Today I got all the Charlotte Zolotow books from my school library. This was the best one. It's so sweet. And Arnold Lobel's illustrations are lovely....moreToday I got all the Charlotte Zolotow books from my school library. This was the best one. It's so sweet. And Arnold Lobel's illustrations are lovely. I'm going to have my class make a class book in this style.
This is a throwback review from back when I had my dream job:
One of my duties as a librarian is to hold up the rights of academic freedom! Book bannin...moreThis is a throwback review from back when I had my dream job:
One of my duties as a librarian is to hold up the rights of academic freedom! Book banning will not be tolerated! I have already had several run-ins with parents who object to my carefully chosen selections and I am always articulate in my defense. There's one book that is near the top of the banned books list, however, that I hope never comes up. I will turn into a listless idiot if I try to defend Vivienne Goodman's righteously awesome illustrations for Mem Fox's read-aloud masterpiece, "Guess What?" I can imagine the conversation:
Concerned Parent: This book is inappropriate for children.
Miss M: As a parent, you have the right to limit access to your own child's library books, but not every family shares your...
Concerned Parent: Why is there a dead fish lying in the crotch of her underwear?! That is disgusting! No kid should see that!
Miss M: Um...well, it's because she's a witch and there is a strong death motif that the animals in the book are...
Concerned Parent: She is naked on page 8! If she's so tall and thin, why does she have giant breasts? Why would a children's book have a naked lady in it?
Miss M: Some families feel strongly that nudity is not shameful and that...um...art?
Concerned parent: Do you see this bird?! It's sniffing her underwear! She has a Sex Pistils button on! Why?! It's inferred that she killed her husband! Why are they dragging poor Paddington Bear into her perversion?! Look, she's recruiting a child into her coven at the end! This book is filthy! And dangerous!
Miss M: Um, well, kids love this book.
Concerned Parent: They love all sorts of things that are bad for them, Miss Montambo! It's our job to protect them!
Miss M: Many of the parents in our community make bad decisions and it's important for their kids to have a message that even outrageously peculiar behavior may not be evil.
Concerned Parent: Did you see her pinky nails?! She has coke nails!
The postmodern novel is so passe, as is the dysfunctional family. Not here, though, under Johnny Payne's pen.
I've never read a book like this. It's g...moreThe postmodern novel is so passe, as is the dysfunctional family. Not here, though, under Johnny Payne's pen.
I've never read a book like this. It's got magical realism, a' la Murakami (Ha! Seth! I fit a Murakami reference in!), but rather than being about a detached, spaghetti-loving sexual deviant, it's about a family. And the family has problems.
I don't know why, but I kept thinking about spoons as I'd learn more about each family member. You know how you sometimes use a spoon to dig out ice cream, and it gets all bent? And you try to bend it back, but it's never the same. It never quite nests in with the others the same way again. Well, this family is like a stack of spoons that have all been used to scoop out ice cream. Each time they are hurt, abused, self-abusive, neglected, etc., they get bent until they don't fit with their family anymore. Each family member feels it. They are trying to nest back in with each other, but they're too damaged.
Sorry for that stupid metaphor!!!
Each child intrigued me. I felt particularly amazed after reading a chapter where the post-suicidal Talia is in a psychiatric facility. I'd try to explain it, but I wouldn't do it justice.
The character I loved (I think love is the right word actually) is the father, Jean. An alcoholic, he did them wrong, but he was trying and trying and trying and TRYING to make up for it. The way he dealt with Talia's independence was amazing. The way he dealt with Judy's abuser was awesome. When he "spoke" to his dead father in a surreal and powerful scene, I was smiling the whole time because I was in awe of how Payne was making me feel so invested. Good God, y'all! And I actually got angry at Constance, his wife, when she wouldn't recognize how he'd changed. Too caught up in herself. I'm a sucker for fathers, anyway.
This book was recommended to me by someone who I always admired, pouring on more affection and attention than he seemed comfortable with. I checked out three books in one week just to try and connect with him. I only wish that I wouldn't have told him about it until I was done, because he got all mental about it! He's a super-sensitive guy, which is probably why he likes this book so much.
I just counted how many pages I'd dog-eared to go back and look at later (yes, I'm a librarian who dog-ears!) There are 18. Not bad for a 250 page book. That took me too long to read. (less)
1. Grow dreadlocks. 2. Listen to Offspring in his presence. 3. Wear pants with a dress.
These are his 3 "dealbreak...moreThis Is How I Would Lose My Husband:
1. Grow dreadlocks. 2. Listen to Offspring in his presence. 3. Wear pants with a dress.
These are his 3 "dealbreakers" that we've been joking about since the beginning. They are jokes, of course. It's true he hates these things, but the real things I'd have to do to lose him are more disgusting than even dreadlocks. I don't like even thinking about doing the type of things that could make him leave. I could never do them. Right? I'd have to hate myself pretty badly to screw this up.
Yunior is Junot Diaz's semi-autobiographical character first introduced in his short story collection Drown. Reading about Yunior's transgressions in this cheater's manual of sorts makes me worry about Diaz. How "semi" is the autobiographical nature of the character? I only hope that Diaz, who has told interviewers that he plans to write more novels about Yunior (like Updike's Rabbit,) is writing about a self he has somehow left behind. As bad as I feel for the women who trust and love him, I feel immensely worse for Yunior. Why did you fuck that up, Yunior?! Estupido. Puto. Sucio.
I've left the estupido shit behind. Yunior isn't "real" but I hope the writer behind him has left it behind, as well. I never read far enough of Updike's Rabbit to see if he became less loathesome but for some reason I care more about Junot. I mean Yunior. Fingers crossed!!(less)
I don't know why I kept reading. I normally take pride in giving up on a book I'm not enjoying. I am in charge of m...moreTHANK GOODNESS IT'S OVER!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't know why I kept reading. I normally take pride in giving up on a book I'm not enjoying. I am in charge of my reading life! I don't let guilt propel me! There are too many great books I'll never read to waste time on those I don't like.
Why did I keep on reading this one even though I was not enjoying it? 1. I enjoyed the first one. I assume it's going to be a trilogy and I like reading trilogies. 3 is the magic number! 2. I like the look and feel of the books. The illustrations are lovely. 3. It's a mythologized version of my own city, nearby neighborhoods and the Forrest Park wooded area that crowns Portland. 4. My husband bought it for me for Christmas. I like getting books for Christmas. 5. It seemed like I would enjoy it if I would just straighten up my attitude.
I was bored. It was tedious. There was no heart. I thought the underworld would be more like an underworld (more banished souls and/or a devil character and less moles.) The Portland references (including the Shanghai Tunnels) and a nod to our Pabst Blue Ribbon hipster culture only made me roll my eyes. And now it's over and it was such an unsatisfying non-conclusion, which means that there will be no closure unless I read the 3rd and final installment. I don't wanna. I'll read the Cliff's Notes but that's it.(less)