This was a mixed bag for me. There were some really cool ideas and some interesting world building, I liked the idea of a society of dragons, sociallyThis was a mixed bag for me. There were some really cool ideas and some interesting world building, I liked the idea of a society of dragons, socially stratified by color. There is a lot of potential story telling in this world. Unfortunately, the story itself fell a little flat for me, it wasn't terrible, but neither was it particularly ground breaking. The characterizations were very two dimensional, with little or no character growth, with the exception of one character, who was not the protagonist, but rather one of several sidekicks, this characters story arc, was actually more interesting than the protagonist.
One thing I do have address is the sex. Please don't get me wrong, I am no prude, I am all for good sex in a good story, especially lesbian sex. However, in this book it felt a lot like fan service. The author knew his primary readership was going to be horny teenage boys and wanted to throw them some hot babe sex to keep them reading. This did not in anyway contribute to the story, the relationship between Krys and Trudy could have easily been addressed with out the graphic sex scene....more
This is an interesting book, it is actually two stories that blend together to make one long fascinating multi generational family drama. From the incThis is an interesting book, it is actually two stories that blend together to make one long fascinating multi generational family drama. From the incestuous grandparents, through the post WWII parents building a mid 20th century nuclear family, to Cal, born as an intersex (hermaphrodite) and raised as girl, this story is captivating on many levels. The central character is supposed to Cal, but he really is not, he is just one character among a cast of equally interesting characters.
The story starts with Desdemona and Lefty, a brother and sister couple escaping post WWI Turkey, to remake themselves as a married couple in America. The Desdemona and Lefty relationship is an uncomfortable one, the author tried to build an epic love story here, but there is a definite ick factor here. Their story is not really about the oddity of the relationship or really even the relationship itself, but rather it is about transformations and making a new life for ones self.
This transformation and building of a new life, parallels Cal's own story, upon the discovery of Cal's condition, she runs away and starts a new life as a man. There is even a bit of an ick factor, while Cal is a teenage runway he becomes a performer in burlesque show where his genitals are displayed for the entertainment of paying customers. Interspersed throughout the book is the story of a middle aged Cal meeting a woman who excepts him for who he is, this part of the story is very short and told in single paragraphs throughout the book.
In between Cal and his grandparents is the story of Milton and Tessie, Cal's parents, who are also cousins. Their story is not so much about transformation, but more about what life was like for ethnic immigrants and their children in the mid 20th century as they build a life together and have children. Their lives fall apart a couple of times, but always they seem to bounce back, stronger than before.
Over all, really good book, strong characters, interesting story lines built with strong writing. I liked the way the author faded from one story to another, with little to no transition. In one paragraph you will be reading about Lefty's gambling problem in the 1960's and in the next reading about Cal spending time with a women in the early 2000's. The transitions are smooth and a couple of times I did not even realize they had happened, it just felt like the natural flow of the story....more
I am not really a camper, especially in my old age, I am not inclined to sleep on the ground. I like my bed, indoor plumbing and internet access. HaviI am not really a camper, especially in my old age, I am not inclined to sleep on the ground. I like my bed, indoor plumbing and internet access. Having said that, there is something appealing about being a free spirit and taking a cross country trip on a motorcycle, and live a happy carefree life, even if just for a few weeks.
This book is not a self help book in disguise like so many of these books tend to be. It really is just a story about Peter Beagle and his best friend Phil making a cross country trip to see a girl. The story is mostly about the people they meet along the way. Beagle does not spend a ton of time on any one person, but manages to convey what each persons life is like anyway. All of the people depicted were shown as likeable in some way, I would suppose this is more of a reflection of the time then probably the actual character of the people. In the early 60's life was different and our expectations of other people were different. Mothers taught their children that if you could not say something nice about someone don't say anything at all, and I think Beagle took this to heart while writing this book.
Many of the characters were outright racist, both Peter and Phil were very tolerant of this, even being Jewish themselves, they accepted even anti semitic statements, with a sort of blasé attitude. Beagle. in spite of this, still painted there people in the best light possible, which says more about Beagle's kind heart than anything else. His depiction of Jilly, the hooker from Los Angeles was an interesting one. On the one hand, she was depicted as this person who had lived and adventurous, if criminal life, who was maybe a good person under it all. However as Beagle tells her story, you come to realize that she really is not a good person, not particularly evil, but willing to do what it takes to survive. Jilly is probably the most interesting character outside of Peter and Phil in the book. Beagle also spends the most time on her.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book, it is not an action adventure story by any means, it is just a slice of real life in 1962 America. It reminded me why I like to travel and I don't really mind driving across the country, as long as I have someone fun to share the experience with....more