Son: Why are you reading a book called Jesus Land? Me: It's a true story, about this girl... Oh, here, readMy 7-year-old son saw me reading this book.
Son: Why are you reading a book called Jesus Land? Me: It's a true story, about this girl... Oh, here, read the back. Son (after reading the back of the book): Why are you reading about a girl with a messed up life? Me: I don't know.
I have seen this book around, but wasn't sure about committing, and then I saw it at the Friends of the Library book sale -- the one where you can fill a grocery bag with books for $1. My standards get lower when faced with tables of super cheap books.
Jesus Land is a train wreck from which I could not look away. Like The Glass Castle and Running with Scissors, it made me appreciate my so-much-less-dysfunctional childhood. Seriously, Julia Scheeres adolescence was messed up. I don't want to ruin anymore than the back synopsis already does, but her story will punch you in the gut over and over. She admits to some literary creativity to protect identities & make the timeline tighter, but there's support for the validity of her story, regarding both her neglectful/abusive family and the church reform school to which she and her brother were sent. If you need to indulge your voyaristic tendencies, read away....more
An insurance salesman is given a few months to live. With his wife's encouragement, he goes on the trip of a lifetimeStop me if you've heard this one:
An insurance salesman is given a few months to live. With his wife's encouragement, he goes on the trip of a lifetime, charging it all to credit cards, knowing his wife will be able to pay it off with his life insurance payout. Then the doctor calls and says the prognosis was actually wrong. He's not dying. Faced with crippling debt, he decides to fake his own death. Eventually he finds out it was all a scam to get him out of the picture so that his wife could marry the doctor.
For some inexplicable reason, the plot of a crappy Jerry Lewis movie (Hook, Line, and Sinker, 1969) that I watched on TV almost 30 years ago has stuck with me -- the idea of cutting all ties and disappearing. Ms. Greenwood finds herself similarly fascinated with real-life people who have faked their own deaths, whether for the insurance pay-out, to escape a prison sentence, or just to get away from their unsatisfactory lives. Overwhelmed with student loans and the banality of everyday life, the author finds herself googling "how to fake your own death." She even goes so far as to get a fake death certificate, a scene which opens the book, but doesn't play out the way you might expect.
Overall, this was an interesting exploration of a random subject that I find fascinating. She interviews people who have unsuccessfully faked their own deaths (committed pseudocide in professional terms), because obviously we'll never know about the successful ones. Their reasons, methods, and the aftermaths all made for good reading, but sometimes Greenwood philosophizes too deeply and includes more of her own drama than I care to read about. ...more
“A story is a map of the world. A gloriously colored and wonderful map, the sort one often sees framed and hanging on the wall in a study full of plus“A story is a map of the world. A gloriously colored and wonderful map, the sort one often sees framed and hanging on the wall in a study full of plush chairs and stained-glass lamps: painstakingly lettered, researched down to the last pebble and participle, drawn with dash and flair, with cloud-goddesses in the corners and giant squid squirming up out of the sea...[T]here are more maps in the world than anyone can count. Every person draws a map that shows themselves at the center. But that does not mean that no other countries exist.”
With the third book, this series was starting to lose some of its sparkle, but this fourth book brought it back. By changing focus from September to a baby troll who became a changeling, Ms. Valente brought new magic to the series.
“Being a troll, he loved the earth. A troll’s love for the earth is a peculiar thing—it is something like the way you and I love our parents and our dogs and our favorite novels and the stuffed rabbits we have had since we were in our cradles and the very best thing we have ever done with our own two hands, all smashed up together in a rough, enormous ball of feeling the size of a planet.”
Hawthorn the Troll, who becomes Thomas the Human Boy, broke my heart. He breaks almost everything he encounters, tries to talk to inanimate objects, and is, in many other ways, "Not Normal" according to his psychologist father. His story is a metaphor for every child who feels like they don't fit in. But he manages to find a friend who is also not of this world, and together they create additional friends and find a way back to Fairyland.
The best new character is Blunderbuss, the scrap-yarn patchwork Wombat from the land of Wom, created with "magic" by Thomas's loving mother. I really hope she -- because the gravelly-voiced, blunt-spoken Wombat is a kickass girl -- is in the last book. ...more
I'm throwing in the towel in page 104, when she starts talking about going to the parental interview for Montessori preschool. I made it through her dI'm throwing in the towel in page 104, when she starts talking about going to the parental interview for Montessori preschool. I made it through her discussion of buying maternity clothes at Liz Lange on Madison Avenue, which she stresses is not "Liz Lange for Target," no, she's talking about $275 boot-cut pants. Birthing options, breastfeeding struggles, acid reflux -- that stuff I could relate to -- but overall, her upper-class NYC "normal" is too far out of my realm.