“You read a book for the story, for each of its words,” Gordy said, “and you draw your cartoons for the story, for each of the words and images. And,“You read a book for the story, for each of its words,” Gordy said, “and you draw your cartoons for the story, for each of the words and images. And, yeah, you need to take that seriously, but you should also read and draw because really good books and cartoons give you a boner.”
Okay, Alexie’s YA novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is unlikely to give anyone a metaphorical boner, but it was an entertaining book. Fast-paced and irreverent as it dealt with serious issues of teen angst, alcohol abuse, poverty, and isolation, this is a good low-level/high interest novel that appeals to both genders. My high school sophomores thoroughly enjoyed this summer reading pick. ...more
I'm fascinated how Lindsay can make Dexter both smug and whiny simultaneously, though I’m not quite sure if I find him compelling or annoying. This seI'm fascinated how Lindsay can make Dexter both smug and whiny simultaneously, though I’m not quite sure if I find him compelling or annoying. This second novel in the Dexter series had a much more compelling plotline than the first; but, one again, the ending was tied up just a little too neatly and quickly. I do wish that Lindsay would stop telling the readers what they already know. Yes, we know Dexter hates blood. Yes, we know he thinks everyone else is a stupid waste of space, but I wonder how much of Dexter’s misanthropy is a mirror of the author’s own. We also know he thinks he doesn’t have any emotions, which Lindsay insists on telling us every time Dexter’s actions could be mistaken for empathy. Which tells me he is trying to compensate for many of Dexter’s actions being out of character. Of course, if you can explain it away with a flippant “Not that I have any feelings” there is no hole in the character development, right? Then again, how else can you make a serial killer heroic? ...more
I have a love-hate relationship with Fitzgerald: I love his prose. I love the way he can say absolutely nothing and say it so brilliantly. “It was a lI have a love-hate relationship with Fitzgerald: I love his prose. I love the way he can say absolutely nothing and say it so brilliantly. “It was a limpid black night, hung as if in a basket from a single dull star.” But I hate his women. Beautiful, vapid --they are all incarnations of the same fallen ideal. I read somewhere that The Great Gatsby is Fitzgerald’s lament about being scorned by his former debutante lover Ginevra King. If so, then Tender is the Night is the realization of the inevitable dissolution of the dream of marrying into such wealth and power. When the love has been drained only a shell of your former self can remain. And so it is with Dick.
I liked Dick. I did. I empathized with him. In Book I, told from Rosemary’s perspective, Nicole was so stoic and that young tart Rosemary just kept throwing herself at him. I mean really, what defense did poor Dick have? Obviously he is a very sensitive man and Rosemary just kept CRYING! “’I do love you—I can’t change that.’ It was time for Rosemary to cry, so she cried a little in her handkerchief.” But, of course, she is so much more worldy when she stumbles into him later: “’I was just a little girl when I met you, Dick. Now I’m a woman’” claims the 22 year old voice of maturity.
Book II jumps back in time and we see how the young, handsome, affable and naive Dick meets the tragically beautiful Nicole. Told from Dick’s perspective, we catch a glimpse of a Fitzgerald woman that maybe has a little substance to her. A woman with whom we can sympathize. But alas, that is not to be. This woman who “had waited by the entrance, wearing her hope like a corsage” loved Dick as long as he doted on her and took care of her, making him the rock upon which she fastened herself—-like a barnacle. “He tried honestly to divorce her from any obsession that he had stitched her together—glad to see her build up happiness and confidence apart from him; the difficulty was that, eventually, Nicole brought everything to his feet, gifts of sacrificial ambrosia, of worshipping myrtle.” How does a dedicated young doctor turn down such ‘devotion’? How does he say no to the rich family that is determined to “buy her a doctor”? And, once the weight of Nicole’s devotion is realized, how is it possible to escape? “Naturally Nicole, wanting to own him, wanting him to stand still forever, encouraged any slackness on his part, and in multiplying ways he was constantly inundated by a trickling of goods and money.”
Although largely told from Dick’s perspective Book II does offer an interesting glimpse into the mind of Nicole. We see the ebb and flow of Nicole’s mental state as she narrates in stream of consciousness. But, as her sister Baby shrewdly states: “I think there is enough madness in this affair.”
Book II begins with another astute observation, this time from the wife of Dick’s business partner: “ I think Nicole is less sick than anyone thinks—she only cherishes her illness as an instrument of power.” It is in this final chapter that Dick, now jaded and broken, is released from Nicole’s grasp. The narration shifts to that of a much more mentally stable Nicole who, upon realizing that Dick —no longer the life of the party, no longer wholly devoted to her— can no longer provide for her what she needs, she divorces him for her new lover. A lover who has worshipped her for years. But this should come as no surprise. After all, “Nicole had been designed for change, for flight, with money as fins and wings.”
Fitzgerald’s horrible women aside, this is a brilliant book. The narrative and time shifts are well crafted and, of course, there are those moments of Fitzgerald humor: the women in the French hotel waving good-bye to their American boyfriends using their panties as “sizable flags”. Or the exclamation “Lucky Dick, you big stiff”. Did it have the same connotation at its publication in 1934? I don’t know, but I nearly fell out of my seat from laughing so hard.
And I still love Fitzgerald. Even if I still hate his women. ...more
Of Mice And Men is a brilliantly crafted book. Propelled by the use of dialogue, the lyrical dialect and colloquialisms alone are worth the read. But,Of Mice And Men is a brilliantly crafted book. Propelled by the use of dialogue, the lyrical dialect and colloquialisms alone are worth the read. But, of course, this wouldn't be Steinbeck if there wasn't the heavy hammer of morality bearing down upon the reader. Maybe that is why Of Mice and Men is such a staple of the American educational system -- students can’t help but notice the themes of political oppression and injustice characters face as they struggle against the forces of the world. And sometimes, basic human decency in its simplest forms is found in the most unlikely of places. ...more