You almost have to be under 20 to be able to appreciate this work. At that age at least you're paralleling the energy and passionate attempts of Ray aYou almost have to be under 20 to be able to appreciate this work. At that age at least you're paralleling the energy and passionate attempts of Ray and Japhy to find out about things and yourself while trying to carve out a space and personality in the world around you.
Any older and this just comes off as average repetitive writing with incredibly dated and poorly construed understandings of Buddhism. It was short and otherwise largely forgettable.
For a much better work on a similar theme that stands up to rereading as an adult, try Maugham's The Razor's Edge.
Ferrante is an excellent writer. Her ability to write a coherent saga without unnecessary filler, develop characters, and show the complexities of friFerrante is an excellent writer. Her ability to write a coherent saga without unnecessary filler, develop characters, and show the complexities of friendship and growing up are simply amazing and beautiful. I'm definitely looking forward to reading the last two books and the series, and so far at least, believe that this is one of the best family/friendship sagas in literature....more
3 stars is maybe a bit generous, but I thought the work was written with an interesting style/voice that is not common in mass market lit.
Oscar is a3 stars is maybe a bit generous, but I thought the work was written with an interesting style/voice that is not common in mass market lit.
Oscar is a the ultimate stereotype of nerd nice guy who pities himself while being incapable of growing up and learning how to interact with women in a healthy normal fashion. The "redemption" if you could call it that was all too brief and inept, which while unsatisfying, was entirely believable for the character.
Some people have posted reviews condemning the rampart misogyny in the work and how it is playing up to "latin stereotypes." No judgments directly address this in the work, but I felt it was so overt that it was an intentional foil for the expectation Oscar was trying to live up to and how far he was from that trope. I also read it as somewhat of a satire of the stereotype with Oscar as the counter-hero. That could be off from the author's intent, but it didn't bother me as much as others in this work. I see where other people could certainly feel differently reading it though, and I certainly find misogyny and "nice guy" entitlement problematic in our current society.
Other people were frustrated with the amount of Spanish and Spanish cursing in the book. There's a lot, and not being able to understand it would result in missing out on some of the tone and feeling that is important to the work. I am not sure if that was Diaz's attempt to assert his Latin roots or be experimental with blending languages in a work for the English mass market lit crowd, but it could certainly be frustrating to those unable to understand it.
The largest flaw for me though was the character manipulation. Some were handled well and looked at in depth, while others just appeared and were never fleshed out. These included the uncle, narrator, and servants. It detracted from the overall reading experience.
Despite the flaws, I found it an interesting read and good change of pace. Not deep or heavy lit, but an interesting enough story to check out. ...more
This work is an important voice capturing an experience that still exists across much of the United States. The reality of Richard's life and messageThis work is an important voice capturing an experience that still exists across much of the United States. The reality of Richard's life and message is still true in America now, that if you are poor, your peers will not understand why a person would be interested in reading and questioning the status quo from an independent perspective.
There is a narrative among poor whites that intelligence and questioning makes one a liberal elite or basically a traitor to your kind as well as a pawn of the system. This mentality is either a bubbling to the surface of an underlying current of thought that was never stamped out, or a regression back to the 1950s style of Southern racism where it was fine to be poor as long you are white because you are still better than minorities. It's a sickness that was never fully dealt with in the United States and seems to be coming more and more to the forefront these days.
Without going into depth into systemic reasons these perspectives have bled into some minority groups, they have resulted in disillusionment and distrust in the American societal structure/myth. Similar lines of present day thought mirror what Wright experienced, where if you are not specifically trying to use the system to get a professional degree or follow a prescribed track, you are lost or a tool of the system and don't fit into the norms of your peers.
I think the relevance of this work in today's times makes it so much more important to read than just a good historical character study. People need to hear perspectives beyond the direct groups they interact with, and hopefully think about what we allow to occur and how we choose to allow our society to act. Read if you get the chance and think about it in relation to the world around you....more
Least favorite Vonnegut work. Just didn't have the same energy, heart, or cheekiness to it that many of his other works do. I'd pass on this unless aLeast favorite Vonnegut work. Just didn't have the same energy, heart, or cheekiness to it that many of his other works do. I'd pass on this unless a hard core Vonnegut fan that wants to read all his works....more
This was light and entertaining piece of historical fiction. It's a well written quick read that engages throughout. The ending feels slightly rushedThis was light and entertaining piece of historical fiction. It's a well written quick read that engages throughout. The ending feels slightly rushed and too good to be true, but a theme throughout the book is that everything seems to work out for her due to fate and protectors.
Some of the criticism about the east for west by a westerner mass market fiction is certainly valid, but this isn't a historical or scholarly work, so just enjoy the lovely ride of this faux memoir. ...more
Farmer lays out his case for an ethical imperative to provide global medical care regardless of social standing or ability to pay. He lays out exampleFarmer lays out his case for an ethical imperative to provide global medical care regardless of social standing or ability to pay. He lays out examples of neglect and abuse, refutes weak excuses for not providing care that rely on neoliberal economic forces, chastises NGOs and the structure of convenience surrounding human rights, and looks to liberation theology for a moral and ethical foundation for his arguments.
The book is somewhat dated in that it was written in around 2000. Most of the situations he highlighted have not significantly changed with one slight difference being an improvement in accessibility to AIDS drugs.
Sadly Haiti is even worse presently following bungled aid attempts and billions squandered after an earthquake in 2010 further devastated the nation. On top of the other issues he discussed, they face problems related to sufficient shelter, clean water, sanitation, and cholera outbreaks....more