Limonessa's Reviews > Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
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Sep 10, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: ebook, ya-lit
Recommended to Limonessa by: readalong with the amazing Shirley, Reynje and Maja
Read on November 06, 2011

Talk about a heartbreak. I'll have to read at least TEN predictable, fluffy, instalovish, lovetrianglish light-hearted books to recover from this one.

The main voice is Vera's, an 18 y.o student/pizza deliverer who lives alone with her father and whose best friend Charlie has just died. We don't really know how or why, nor do we know why Vera seems to be so royally pissed at him:

"Let me tell you - if you think your best friend dying is a bitch, try your best friend dying after he screws you over. It's a bitch like no other."

If you've read Suicide Notes (and if you haven't, shame on you) then you'll recognize the narrative strategy in the "revealing" flashbacks. We are introduced to the story when the main events have already taken place, in this case Charlie's death, and we are completely left in the dark about the motives.Through a reconstruction of often terrible memories and revelations we gradually discover the circumstances and the truth.

This is not a book that aims at making you feel better about yourself or society or that will leave you with a happy feeling in your heart. This is a testament to bad parenting, bad choices, bad environment, bad genes and the struggle of a girl to try to prove them all wrong. It's a book where the main characters, Charlie, Vera, Ken are portrayed in all shades of grey, where there is no absolute good or bad (well, except for Jenny and Ken's mother who are the essence of evil). At some point or another, I got angry with all of them in turns and then tearfully forgave them all. I felt for Ken, Vera's Dad, a man whose best was never enough and who was never taught to love. I felt for Vera, because it is not easy to grow up in a situation where you are the product of your messed up parents and have to bear their cross on your back your whole life. But most of all, I felt for Charlie, because he's the one who couldn't escape his very messed up situation. He didn't make it, I felt like he couldn't make it and he made all the wrong choices, victim of his low self-esteem, self-loathing and poor judgement.
And as far as choices go, I keep on thinking: would none of that have happened - or maybe not tragically so - if Vera had chosen to tell the truth from the beginning? Or would it have been different had Vera's parents not turned their head the other way and taught Vera to ignore, no matter what? This book certainly raises some ethical questions which are, at the same time, both obvious AND controversial. Honesty and altruism should be social givens but they seem to go against the trend, at least in this society.

The book is not a 5 star for me for mainly two reasons:

- I didn't like how the Vera/Dad relationship got dealt with in the end. You don't solve deeply rooted family problems by going to see a shrink FOUR times and by role-playing once. You just don't. The ending felt so out of place in respect to the general tone of the book that it felt like I was suddenly reading another book.

- I didn't like the gratuitous propaganda against having a pet. Especially from the pagoda's side. I don't need to be reminded that the food I buy for my puppy could feed a starving child. I mean, it could be true, but this is not the place. On the same note, I didn't like the presence of a skinhead guy to represent the bad, crazy guy. It just felt superfluous and judgmental. Those were two instances where the author tried to feed us a piece of her mind which I didn't want.

Nevertheless Please ignore Vera Dietz is a fantastic book I recommend to everybody. It's raw, shocking and so heart-breaking that it makes you look at your kids with different eyes, in my opinion.
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Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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message 1: by Maja (The Nocturnal Library) (last edited Nov 08, 2011 07:05AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) See? I told you we're awesome! Well, you are. I have yet to prove my general awesomeness. :D


I was never here! :D


Limonessa ROFL.... and I'm still rolling.
One day I'm going to publish a review full of insults and improbable stuff and see how many like it before someone points it out. LOL!
Thanks hon, no need to delete, if I'm dumb and freudian what can I do?


Maja (The Nocturnal Library) :D I already did. Stupid Goodreads is messing with us today. Gotta go now, but I'll be back later. Be good. Don't do anything I wouldn't.


message 4: by Miriam (new)

Miriam I don't need to be reminded that the food I buy for my puppy could feed a starving child. I mean, it could be true,

Whaa? I mean, yeah, ok, it could, maybe a few pets worth of food money would cover a kid if you could somehow magically get the money/food to them rather than having it stolen by fake charities or the local criminals or a corrupt infrastructure, but so could the money for tons of other crap than is less worthwhile than feeding an animal. It's not like we can let the doggies and kitties roam free since we have 1) domesticated them and 2) taken away the natural environment in which they could survive on their own. Does King think animals don't deserve to live? How about hassling people who buy $500 shoes, instead.


Limonessa She is obviously against having a pet but.... I'm not sure, really. It was a weird theme in the book: Vera just adores animals, her dad absolutely forbids her to have one because he's a former hippie kinda guy, there's a pet store that becomes a crime scene and there the talking pagoda just comes out with that preaching sentence. I don't know what the author really wanted to say with that.


message 6: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Huh? I thought hippies liked animals... my parents and their hippie friends always have cats and dogs in those old photos...

Sounds like the author has some kind of weird issue with pets.


Lauren  Librarian @ Miriam, I would read Death of 100 Dogs by the same author. She seems to have a very understanding, realistic view of animals. Every chapter tells you the story of a different dog's life. Also, it's about a girl pirate which is awesome.

Lisa, your review is well done and thorough. However, I would hesitate to say that things were "resolved" between dad and daughter. Even though perhaps it was tied up to neatly, I liked the way it ended.


Limonessa "Too neatly" is the operative phrase here, Lauren. Maybe the word "resolved" wasn't the best choice here but it was too sudden for me, especially that role-playing.


Limonessa As for the pets, it is clear she loves animals. It is also very clear that she is against keeping them as pets. It was already sufficient to create a character like Ken to reflect the author's opinion, that propaganda through the pagoda was unnecessary and downright irritating for me.


message 10: by Shirley (last edited Nov 08, 2011 06:46PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Shirley Marr Awesome Lisa, I'm secretly very pleased that we share a lot of common views on this novel (view spoiler)

I am beginning to get a picture of this woman as a "free-all-animals!" sort of woman that wouldn't believe in zoos or wildlife sanctuaries either. Which is fine, I wish she didn't make the Pagoda her political mouthpiece.

Did I get get passionately worked up over a talking Pagoda again?

Going to go hug a tree BRB


message 11: by Surin (new)

Surin Lovely review Lisa! I'm gonna have to put this higher on my TBR list.

And what fun you, Reynje and Maja are having on your readalong :)


Limonessa Are you still hugging that tree Shirley? LOL
Thanks Shirley even though I have a universe to learn from your and Reynje's writing skills... I was actually asking Maja yesterday what possessed us to do a read-along with you two :D :D


Shirley Marr Yes *hugs tighter*

By that, do you mean you are asking me and Reyne on another double-date?


Limonessa If we're going to talk about naked neighbors, muffins and Ronan Keating, then YES.


Shirley Marr Did you just say that a naked Ronan Keating is your neighbour??? In that case, I am heading over to your place right now!

I wonder if there are any other GR couples (or singles) that want to come to come to the next party? Bring a plate of food and your own book.


Reynje This is so funny - I actually have review envy for all three of you :) You're all so dang... smart and articulate!

Shirley, I am going to lure you away from that tree with a naked Ronan Keating holding a plate of muffins in one hand and a Markus Zusak novel in the other. He's waggling the book at you suggestively - you know you want to let go...


Lauren  Librarian Well, I hesitate to speculate... but some of the cameos in Dust of 100 Dogs have some really touching scenes between dog owners and domesticated dogs. There's a beautiful story about an old woman who enjoys cooking for her dog and stirs cubes of bread in with milk on the stove for dessert. It's darling. Just from that story, I would guess that she's not against domesticated pets in general... Also, Vera seemed to be very interested in working at that pet store.


Limonessa Ok Lauren, then I'm lost to what she wanted to convey.


Heartofkenna Your review is spot on. I felt the same anger/ forgiveness toward the characters again and again. My peeves were also the same as yours. I wish Vera's father could have shown more respect for his daughter as an adult towards the end.


message 20: by Em (new) - rated it 3 stars

Em I agree that this book had some very good points that made you think about things, should you just ignore or tell? I think it's interesting because I, like a lot of other people, was always told as a child to ignore harassment, and late on in life, I've ended up in some situations where I absolutely should not have ignored. But I learned. My main pet peeve with this book was that it seemed very anti-sex worker. UGH


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