Two stars for structure and writing style (subtitle could've been "Hilarious yet Touching Malapropisms from Hardened Gang Members in order to DemonstrTwo stars for structure and writing style (subtitle could've been "Hilarious yet Touching Malapropisms from Hardened Gang Members in order to Demonstrate Their Humanity," which got old), four stars for worldview and challenge to compassion. I like Father Boyle a lot....more
Levithan's utopian vision for a world in which no teenager is forced to "come out of the closet" - because he or she never has to hide in the first plLevithan's utopian vision for a world in which no teenager is forced to "come out of the closet" - because he or she never has to hide in the first place - is inspiring. The normalization of same-sex first love, drag-queen quarterbacks, and all-around positive weirdness makes comment on today's less than inclusive reality by portraying a more accepting environment.
However, many of the gay adults I've talked with and read reviews from have a very different reaction to Boy Meets Boy - usually along the lines of, "This bears no resemblance to the crap I had to deal with growing up." That's a more than fair point, and something to consider when recommending, reading, or talking about this book to a gay or questioning teenager.
However, on a seemingly minor note, I noticed that Levithan namechecks Patty Griffin's song "Tony" on the acknowledgments page. Apparently, whenever he needed inspiration, he listened to it on repeat. To me, this speaks volumes about Levithan's intent: Patty Griffin's Tony ends up committing suicide, which she relates to his being harassed about his sexuality in high school. In that light - and considering that the book's only character who experiences discrimination shares that name - Boy Meets Boy seems to be an expression of defiant hope that, eventually, no one will have to endure Tony's particular kind of hurt.
how i live now has been called a modern-day Jane Eyre – which I can dig, had Bronte’s novel been set during a terrorist occupation and featured incesthow i live now has been called a modern-day Jane Eyre – which I can dig, had Bronte’s novel been set during a terrorist occupation and featured incestuous teenage romance. (St John Rivers doesn't count.) Fleeing a disinterested father, a wicked stepmother, and an eating disorder, 15-year-old Daisy moves to England to live with her cousins on a farm. Their idyllic adventures are interrupted by a war with an unnamed, unseen enemy, and the children are forced to go on the run as food, water, and eventually hope begin to run out.
how i live now is excellent on a number of levels. The plot is well-constructed, with Daisy retelling her story from the future by dropping ominous hints through foreshadowing. Some critics complain about Daisy’s unique brand of grammar, erratic sentence structure, and Random Capitalization, but I believe the style Rosoff selected for her anti-heroine reinforces the confusion in Daisy’s own mind as well as the chaos of the war. The circumstances surrounding the war are eerily relevant to the type of unstructured, viral attacks facing the world today, and the cousins’ initially blase attitude towards the seemingly distant enemy is realistic. Although I was disoriented by the narrative jump forward from Daisy’s rescue to six years after the war, I found the conclusion satisfying and powerful – even though I knew I would miss the family as soon as I turned that last page.
I love a good young adult novel about dystopian futures, and Uglies is undoubtedly my favorite so far. Set hundreds of years after Americans finally sI love a good young adult novel about dystopian futures, and Uglies is undoubtedly my favorite so far. Set hundreds of years after Americans finally self-destruct at the hands of foreign oil dependency, Scott Westerfeld's future seems, at first glance, a neo-liberal paradise. All energy is clean and renewable, all materials instantly recyclable; all citizens are vegetarians, appalled that their ancestors ever wasted acres of South American farmland on raising cattle. There is no war, no hunger, and no poverty. And there is no racism or discrimination - because everyone looks the same, thanks to an operation that renders every 16-year-old "pretty," a work of biological beauty, with perfectly proportioned and symmetrical features.
The idea is that because everyone is the same, there is no basis for hate. But of course, as lovers of dystopian fiction know well, this ideal seldom works out as planned. On the verge of her surgical rite of passage, 15-year-old Tally meets a community of rebel citizens who persuade her that being pretty isn't all it's cracked up to be. Tally's dilemma over an order from the department of Special Circumstances to betray this rogue cell is absorbing, and the novel's conclusion risky and refreshingly complex. I finished this book days ago and I'm still mulling over its implications for how we live now, and the fact that even noble liberal principles have a dark side. Highly recommended....more
Easterly is the anti-Jeffrey Sachs, and White Man's Burden is his answer to The End of Poverty. I heard Easterly speak at the University of PennsylvanEasterly is the anti-Jeffrey Sachs, and White Man's Burden is his answer to The End of Poverty. I heard Easterly speak at the University of Pennsylvania recently and find his argument against a West-engineered Grand Plan to End Worldwide Poverty extremely compelling. He argues that the most effective change is generated by people native to impoverished countries, and that is is usually incremental and unimpressive at first glance. Sorry, Bono - your passion is inspiring, but I'm going with Easterly (and the majority of my aid-worker friends) on this one.
First of all, why do you keep telling the same stories and quips over and over, repeating yourself like a demented party guestAnnie, we need to talk.
First of all, why do you keep telling the same stories and quips over and over, repeating yourself like a demented party guest? Remember Jesus drinking gin straight out of the cat dish? Let's get back to that type of hilarious creativity. But let us never speak of Jesus as a 13 year old punk again. It was funny the first time in Plan B. When you brought it up in this very next book, verbatim, I physically cringed.
Also, nature is lovely and healing and all, but I got bored the third time you embarked on a cleansing hike in this book. Even moreso when you continued to describe such walks in minute, stultifying detail for the remainder of the essays. Have you forgotten how to find God in the city? Or just how to write on more than one theme? I don't know - maybe I'm just not that outdoorsy.
I ask all this out of love, because you can do so much better. This is evident in the final section of the book, where you write so lovingly and compellingly about Sam as a teenager. "Samwheel," in particular, is heart-wrenching in all the right ways. To my surprise, I even liked the stuff about your relationship with your mom, which could quickly have gone the way of the aforementioned nature hikes. But it turns out that describing the slip and grip of grace in everyday relationships is still your strongest suit, whether those relationships are with the physical world and its institutions, the life of the spirit, or with those around you. The way you talk about people and their quirks is as astonishing as ever, and I mean that in a good way.
I'll keep hanging onto that until your next book, Annie. For all of our sakes, I'm hoping it's a novel.