Whoa...this is considered Christian Fiction? Really? Well, huh...just goes to show how much I know. Anyway, Barnes and Noble sucked me in by giving me...moreWhoa...this is considered Christian Fiction? Really? Well, huh...just goes to show how much I know. Anyway, Barnes and Noble sucked me in by giving me the free sample (the Prologue, which is deceptively, darkly wonderful) and with the super-cheap price on the Nookbook version of "Listen", I foolishly dropped the dollars for the rest of it. The book was founded on some really great ideas, and suffers from terrible development and delivery. No worries though, it was a great way to waste my time for the holiday.
Overall, it reminds me of a novel I tried writing when I was in my early twenties. I took a convoluted true story involving a lot of my friends and a plot that was dubious at best in real life, unbelievable in fiction. I changed the names of the players to reflect their real names/faces but conceal their true identity and then I did my best at rendering each person's viewpoint in painful detail. I stayed true to the story, cramming in as much of the truth as I'd understood it. When I re-read the text later in life, it was horrible. Nothing flowed. It was stilted, stuttering, awkward. And "Listen", much to my dismay, reminds me of my painful experiment in authorship.
Generally, I dislike giving low reviews without any greatly detailed reasoning, but this novel doesn't stir up any energy with which to rant and rave at the disappointment that this book created. I can muster the energy to explain just a couple low points for this novel.
One, when we are introduced to the characters, they each are transforming themselves. We get a tiny peek at who they used to be and a great big look at their current state of flux. Instead of telling us that a character used to be a certain way and that their current state is just "so" unusual for their character, show us. Show us who they are, and then guide us through their transformation, so that we can see they are acting out of character. (Examples: Kay going all chameleon to fit in with the cheer moms, Damien transforming from op-ed to investigative reporter, etc.)
Point Two is personal preference and nothing that can be quantified solidly; the names drove me up a wall. Principal MaLue, Gavin and Damien are WRETCHED names for adults; I didn't buy them at all. Especially Damien, as a thoughtful, intelligent, responsible adult. Now, the Caydance and other kids' names, yeah, I get that; lots of parents my age are giving their kids "naymes" that make us all cringe. I just had a really hard time remembering which character was which, especially when the author was throwing names around; one paragraph was full of names (Eddy, Lou, Damien, Frank, wait, which one's Eddy again?) that I had to stop reading, go back a page or two to try to grasp some sense of identity for each character. Maybe it's because there were a lot of characters with lots of intimate details for whom I had no fondness/investment?
And yet, I didn't hate it. It was okay. I won't tell all my friends about it. I just wish it'd been handled MUCH BETTER and developed in a way that it really made me think about the obvious (and overstated) message from the author.(less)
I suppose I'll have to re-read this book. Someday, far off in the future when I'm no longer in such a snit over it.
You see, in its first pages the nar...moreI suppose I'll have to re-read this book. Someday, far off in the future when I'm no longer in such a snit over it.
You see, in its first pages the narrator tells us she's a liar as if that's some sort of excuse or warning. I've read books like that before, and it's exhausting. I would spend so much time trying to root out the lies and read between the lines as I went and it just got so cumbersome that I hated the book. So this time around, I just went with it, taking the narrator to have at least a couple shards of truth, basic plot lines to be true but that the details were wrong. Nope. Not this book. All the plot lines were absolutely false, in many many ways. Congratulations, Brunonia Barry (as if that's an actual name, hmph), you have managed to pull the wool over my eyes. Mission accomplished, take a bow, yadda yadda. But guess what? I'm just going to file this main character away as schizophrenic and I'm not going to waste another moment of my day wondering about the intricacies...was she really schizophrenic or did she have an imaginary friend or multiple personalities or whatever.
Because guess what? I don't care enough about this character to give any more energy to it. That, and I've spent enough time BTH dealing with my own Cal and more than enough time ATH trying to get away from the fallout.(less)
Well, I had this huge stack of books to read for this past week's Book Talks and had to decide what to cram in at the last minute. I had to choose bet...moreWell, I had this huge stack of books to read for this past week's Book Talks and had to decide what to cram in at the last minute. I had to choose between three very interesting possibilities, and decided to dive into this one, The Hunt For The Seventh. I actually enjoyed it and once I'd started it I couldn't give up on it, because I wanted to sell it to the 6th grade guys.
I ended up buying the copy I'd previewed. Maybe my little guy, when he's old enough, will want to read it. Yeah, that's sad...I liked it 3 stars out of 5 and bought it just in case. I think I have a problem! :)
Disclaimer: I read this book with the intent of previewing it for a booktalk for our upcoming book fair at our K-6 school. My opinions would perhaps differ on this and the other books I read if I had read them with some other intent. /disclaimer (less)
I expected the plot to unwind very differently from how it did...and that, to me, is particularly refreshing! French uses such descriptive language th...moreI expected the plot to unwind very differently from how it did...and that, to me, is particularly refreshing! French uses such descriptive language that rarely I'd skim to get to the next twist. Really enjoyed the characters as written and am glad that the screwed-upness of the characters was believable and remorseful enough to still enjoy reading. Am looking forward to "The Likeness" as it centers around my favorite character from "In The Woods". Also, a little sad that no resolution to Det. Ryan's childhood was uncovered, but it probably would have ruined the artful handling anyway.(less)
I had never before given any thought to the world as seen through the first peoples' eyes. Though Twain exploited tired old comparisons between the se...moreI had never before given any thought to the world as seen through the first peoples' eyes. Though Twain exploited tired old comparisons between the sexes for laughs, he kindly and thoughtfully crafted true love and character. He used gentle humor and thought-provoking situations to really involve the reader. Twain conveyed sincere respect for these people and made me even grateful for the final chapter, wherein Adam reassures us that the glance of a mother's love is eternally constant in a world where everything else has changed. Twain used brilliant insights and imagination to really bring these two people to life.
And Guess What? I never have enjoyed Twain's writing that I'd previously read; it was all too folksy and stuff. This version of this book, however, is timeless and almost felt like a modern writer!
I highly recommend this short read to everyone; it will challenge your ways of looking at the world around you without being pop-psychology or using worn-out self-help crap; the humor is gentle and intelligent and thought-provoking. If I'd had any peace from my children, the reading would have only taken 2 hours.(less)
Ms. Meyer has her hands full, trying to keep everyone happy. It's impossible, but she sure...moreOnly Four Stars? Is that even possible?
Yes. And Here's Why:
Ms. Meyer has her hands full, trying to keep everyone happy. It's impossible, but she sure tried to do it and it showed. She explained so many facets thoroughly and in deep detail, as if in defense against an angry mob of soon-to-be-ex-fans. It is rather difficult to describe; the writing felt sort of like an apologist's style. That's ultimately what kept it from being a five-star review, in my opinion.
I will not put spoilers in this review, only my impressions and reactions to the book, which may not appeal to you. Sorry! For those of you that have read the book completely, the rest of this review will only make sense to you. Maybe.
Ms. Meyer thew a bone to the Jacob fans who are disappointed about Bella's wedding (that's not really a spoiler, okay?) by letting him take over the narration for a while. Some people complained about that, but can you imagine just how nauseatingly claustrophobic it would have made the reader to experience Bella's viewpoint during that section? I mean, really, she had such a focus on her very limited situation, and there was more to the plot going on than just Bella's deal. So, I understand the decision to use Jacob's narrative voice. Which was a refreshing change up! I liked his voice, by the way, and I've never actually been a Jacob fanatic.
Of course Ms. Meyer broke her own universe's ground rules, which didn't bother me as much as it should've. After I got over the shock of THAT broken ground rule, I realized how inevitable it would be to the moving-forward of the story. It was kind of like looking at the time played on the DVD player to determine if the movie was almost concluded, and if not, how much more plot we'd have to wade through.
One other reason I appreciated Jacob's narration was that it made the other minefield of a plot twist that much less stomach-turning. I had read the spoilers out there on the web, and couldn't believe that particular point. It just didn't make any sense. It was downright repulsive to me in black and white like that. However, after having read Jacob's section, I seemed slightly more open to the "thing" that happened.
At the ending, Ms. Meyer seemed compelled to relay, in excruciating detail, every minute emotion of too many characters all at once. It got quite tiring, to tell the truth.
All told, it was worth the wait for me. I read Twilight right after Eclipse came out, so it was just 1-2-3, bam-bam-bam. However, when (and not if, when) the next book in the saga is released, I'll pre-order it but keep my perspective and not be salivating quite so badly to read it.(less)
For being YA/Juvenile literature, it was very well-written and drew me in. The characters are recognizable; the likable characters are extremely likab...moreFor being YA/Juvenile literature, it was very well-written and drew me in. The characters are recognizable; the likable characters are extremely likable and similarly so for the unlikable characters.
There's this nagging element for me, however: Who were the builders, and what precisely were their objectives in creating The City of Ember? I probably have to read the other books in this series to have the burning question answered. I keep fluctuating between religious fanatics and nuclear-conspiracy theorists.
I suppose I could google it and find the answer, but I actually enjoyed this book enough to want to read the following books. I guess that says it all, right there.
Yes, I recommend it. If you enjoyed The Giver, you will definitely enjoy The City of Ember. I have a copy I'd be willing to lend.(less)