I tried to forgive this book its many faults. I can be a nit-picky reader at times. When Annie describes watching Detroit fade away as she flies out o...moreI tried to forgive this book its many faults. I can be a nit-picky reader at times. When Annie describes watching Detroit fade away as she flies out of DTW and I thought, "I've flown in and out of that airport dozens of times heading to or coming from the west and have never seen the city from the airplane," I try to forget that. And when Annie is surprised to read "The Yellow Wallpaper" in the feminist literature section of her lit survey as though it is not the starter short story for reading feminist literature, I tried to forget that too. And again when the story really heavy-hands it with the yellow wallpaper parallel. But...
The Ruining had a shaky start, but it did have an interesting middle. By chapter thirteen, I had figured out what turned out to be the big reveal, but was still interested in Libby, the mom that Annie nannies for. She obviously is trying to control Annie, but to what end? If she is making her go crazy, how exactly is that? I thought she must be drugging her in someway. After Annie is poisoned by the nutmeg in the banana bread, I think the story goes off the deep end (PUN INTENDED). Annie has moments of lucidity as she spirals toward the crazy house, but none of it makes sense or is even emotionally believable. We are told that she works long hours, has to skip class, doesn't get enough sleep, but also that Libby is great and is the only person who cares about Annie. None of this is actually shown in the story's action. And how is Libby controlling Annie's phone? That part is never explained.
I also found the love interest compelling through the first half of the book, but after that he seems to exist for a kind deus ex machina. He will save you Annie! He doesn't have to move after all! He's rich and you can live with him! He loves you! He will talk to the shrink and the shrink will suddenly become not-a-villain! And he can computer hack away all your plot problems!
"'You're forgetting that I'm an expert when it comes to computers,' Owen said. 'I can hack into almost any system.'"(less)
Gaah. I cannot wait for Just One Year. I read the last page of this book three times before turning it, hoping it wasn't really the end. I can't wait...moreGaah. I cannot wait for Just One Year. I read the last page of this book three times before turning it, hoping it wasn't really the end. I can't wait to find out if I hate Willem or if I love him.
My favorite things about this book: -all the traveling. I have never been to Europe, and now I've never wanted to go more. -the realistic freshman year of college experience. At least it felt realistic to me. -Allyson's friendship with Dee. -Allyson's friendship with Melanie. I totally relate to that as well. -Serendipity! While not a world traveler, I have managed to be somewhat of a U.S. traveler, and serendipity is a big part of my traveling motto. My mom and I once sat in a bar in Michigan with an old woman from Oklahoma, chain-smoking and listening to her life story and how she made the resolution, after being sad about moving to Michigan because her husband was dead and she couldn't live alone anymore, to get out there and make friends. And this was her first night out after having decided to do it. She asked to sit with us just as we were getting ready to go and we ended up staying with her for a few hours. -the part with the doctor in Paris that totally redeemed Willem (so far) and made me cry. -all the traveling. Did I say this already? And the food. And the getting out there and learning French.
I think this is an incredibly inspiring novel. I need a to make a list of books I wish I'd read when I was a teenager. This is totally one of them.(less)
I think I'd like to read the original edition with all the Australian slang that has been so carefully edited out for us Americans - and for whom the...moreI think I'd like to read the original edition with all the Australian slang that has been so carefully edited out for us Americans - and for whom the word "Australian" has been added (probably) into the text several, noticeable, times.
This is a wonderful novel. It is so beautifully honest and I really felt it for both Amelia and Chris.(less)
I like to think of Tom Wolfe doing his research at the University of Michigan, bar-crawling in his double-breasted suit. Some reviews give this book a...moreI like to think of Tom Wolfe doing his research at the University of Michigan, bar-crawling in his double-breasted suit. Some reviews give this book a hard time about using stereotyped characters, but I think part of the point of the book is how college students stereotype themselves and put themselves into little boxes or roles. So the frat guy has to be an investment banker and the nerdy guy has to be a certain kind of intellectual. I think this idea is pretty clear when it comes to Jojo, the basketball player. The book fizzled out strangely at the end. Charlotte's depression was weird, as was her coming out of it and the final epiloguey thing. (less)
The plug on the cover of the book calls it "saucy," which it is not, and "profoundly funny," which it is also not. (I am beginning to wonder if review...moreThe plug on the cover of the book calls it "saucy," which it is not, and "profoundly funny," which it is also not. (I am beginning to wonder if reviewers feel like they have to call a book funny if they liked it, even if it isn't particularly funny.) It is "beautifully written," however, so at least Tracy Quan, author of "Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" got that part right. The first half of the novel is an angsty introduction to Susannah and her life, then the book hits its stride. I enjoyed the level of philosophy in the story and its application to Susannah in her moment of crisis. I wished - and thought - she would have made a different decision in the end, but what can you do? I think that this could be a more important and serious book than the chick-lit cover gives it credit for.(less)