A really well-written book, but with a frustrating form.
Essentially, the story is framed within a court case; it starts at the Supreme Court, goes baA really well-written book, but with a frustrating form.
Essentially, the story is framed within a court case; it starts at the Supreme Court, goes back to explain how the protagonist got there, and then ends up back at court.
Unfortunately, this doesn't work. Yes yes, I know, this is satire, and realism isn't exactly in play, but the whole Supremes element feels like a punch that's missed. Worse, the rest is so tightly woven together that the contrast is jarring.
Overall, the plot isn't much and it takes a while to get going, but the book as a whole is worth the trip. I suspect I'm probably a bad person, because I frankly didn't care much about Bonbon's messed-up childhood and crazy dad (except for the part about dad telling jokes at open-mic night in APA style, which was awesome—especially since I really dislike APA style). But I loved several of the set pieces, particularly Hominy's rolling birthday party, and some of the running jokes (like Foy's blackwashed retellings of American classics—modern, preppy Tom Soarer in front of a wall covered in gang graffiti, the "Mc, please," Irish bit). Beatty's also right that cities are often prettier at night.
The ahem, modest proposal to beat racism by bringing back segregation was grotesquely thought-provoking, as it was meant to be, but I wish Beatty had spent just a little more time on just exactly how it worked, especially in the school.
Beatty's sheer style is really the star, though. There are some great lines, but many more gorgeous riffs that go on far too long to be quoted (also some scarily current pop references, though it's too soon to know how well those will age). Yes, I felt the obvious discomfort one would expect from a white girl reading the n-word a thousand times, but that's okay; I should....more
Really interesting. I read this not long after killing of the lion Cecil in Zimbabwe, and I kept thinking of what was happening to the guy who did itReally interesting. I read this not long after killing of the lion Cecil in Zimbabwe, and I kept thinking of what was happening to the guy who did it in the context of this.
It's scary, of course, to realize how fast and how thoroughly people's lives can be ruined by a single misstep, once it goes online. But, then again, it's almost like a return to the past, when the vast majority of people lived in small communities and didn't travel, so mistakes lived forever in their families' and neighbors' minds. For centuries, we've found ways to run away from that sort of thing (Twain's line about "lighting out for the territories" leaps to mind), but now, the Internet has brought us full circle, and there's seemingly no escape.
Says the woman posting her thoughts online, for all to see. ...more
American magical realism, done well. Admittedly, I'm often a fan of books about books, and people who appreciate them, but the idea of a couple of peoAmerican magical realism, done well. Admittedly, I'm often a fan of books about books, and people who appreciate them, but the idea of a couple of people coming together over a shared love of an author resonated quite strongly with me.
I wasn't nuts about the relationships between some of the characters, though. When a woman finds out that the man she loves and is living with is sleeping with another woman, there should be a bit more of a reaction than is depicted here, let's say.
I did enjoy a small geographic nod to my old town, though. At one point a character looks through a stereoscope at a random town scene, described as "Dobbs Ferry, New York." Okay; I was surprised, because it's a small river town, in the suburbs, and though I grew up there until I was fourteen, I'd never really thought of it as particularly picturesque, but then again, the Hudson is pretty gorgeous and one does get spoiled about what one sees all the time. It did seem funny given that most of the book took place in a small town in Missouri, though (talk about unrelated).
Then, twenty pages later, two minor characters back in Missouri go bowling at Scappy's Harmony Lanes, and I laughed, because there used to be a Scappy's Harmony in Dobbs Ferry—and it had bowling.
I checked; Carroll used to live in Dobbs Ferry. Awww....more
Good fun, as usual. The first-person narration was different, but it was sort of a neutral change; not better, not worse. In fairness, I often find stGood fun, as usual. The first-person narration was different, but it was sort of a neutral change; not better, not worse. In fairness, I often find stories focused on snipers interesting (really accurate target shooting is fascinating), so it had that going for it, too.
I did like Child's acknowledgment of his hero's vagabond status; the nickname "Sherlock Homeless" isn't bad.
And I was probably unreasonably amused by the offense taken by an English gangster, when Reacher asks him if he's carrying a cell phone and the old guy responds, "Do I look like the sort of man who makes his own phone calls?" ...more
I fully admit to having a weakness for light, comic science fiction, as well as short stories that center around a bar or other cozy sort of spot wherI fully admit to having a weakness for light, comic science fiction, as well as short stories that center around a bar or other cozy sort of spot where regulars congregate (Arthur C. Clarke's Tales From The White Hart leaps to mind) and this ticks all the boxes. I'm sorry I had to start with the last book in what the author swears isn't a trilogy, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. I definitely want to go back and read the first two.
NB: This book features some shockingly bad puns. Fair warning....more
This was a genuinely terrible book. I finished it solely because my husband asked me to (long story), and I'm a sucker.
1) The mystery part is bad. TheThis was a genuinely terrible book. I finished it solely because my husband asked me to (long story), and I'm a sucker.
1) The mystery part is bad. The actual "plot" probably doesn't take up more than 20 pages, and a four-year-old could figure out "whodunit." There's more, but it's spoilerish; just trust me, given the circumstances under which the first victim was found, it's fall-down funny that the main character, Kelly, takes a paragraph to realize, "OMG, it must have been murder!"
2) The knitting part is bad. At the beginning, Kelly has started knitting a sweater in the round, and is failing to understand how that works. Instead of actually explaining (it's dead simple), the more experienced knitters (supposedly her friends) just dismiss her questions, saying, "Oh, it's magic!" Worse, when she promptly makes one of the only errors in knitting that can't be fixed and has to be ripped out (twisting the cast-on when joining work done in the round), they don't explain why it was wrong and how she can avoid doing that (again, easy, if you know to pay attention). They just say, "Oops, you messed up, do it again."
The yarn element is bad. Supposedly yarn-crazed Kelly and friends don't seem to have any real appreciation for the locally produced, supposedly great alpaca yarns, swooning instead over artificial novelty yarns. They also have no idea how big/heavy a fleece is, nor how valuable (hint: Heavy, and not something you leave bags of in a barn indefinitely).
3) The writing/editing are really bad. Aside from terrible character development (the only one I cared about was the poor dog) and plot, there were inexplicable repetitions: After a pointless visit to Wyoming (from a story point of view), Kelly comes home and retells all the events of the trip to her friends who didn't go—in the very next chapter, with no real changes. So, in one chapter someone makes breakfast, and then the next chapter, Kelly tells people how her friend made breakfast. Padding, much?
Even the basic grammar/style was bad. Adverbs ending in -ly shouldn't be hyphenated, but they are here (beginning of chapter 6). Words and phrases repeat, because apparently the author has a very limited vocabulary. Indeed, her verbs for questions are basically asked, probed, and pressed—over and over again. Etc., etc.
That said, I thought it was fascinating. It was particularly cool to see the patterns developing, how the cheesFull disclosure: I proofread this book.
That said, I thought it was fascinating. It was particularly cool to see the patterns developing, how the cheeses related to each other in the ways they were made. I'm not a very brave cook myself, but the recipes seemed straightforward enough that even I could probably manage them—which is saying something....more