Thursday, July 7, 2011

I've thought of an ending for my book - "And he lived happily ever after... to the end of his days."

A few more book reviews.

Ok, secretly I was going to try and post these one at a time. But then I got busy reading three books at once. So here are all my reviews at once.

What are you reading?

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Secret Daughter: A Novel

Gowda tells the story of two families, one poverty-striken in India and the other is an American couple, both doctors, who can't have children. The Indian mother takes her baby girl to an orphanage and the girl is adopted by the Americans. The novel flips back and forth between the two families, so you get a feel for what life is like for the Indian family and the difficulties of growing up different.

The review: Loved it. It was a good, complex story that kept me involved emotionally with the families as they all went through their various struggles. I worried for them and cheered when they overcame.

Favorite scene: When the now-adult girl meet a young man, he says "Do you know what your name means?" and she says "no" even though she does. It made me laugh and reminded me of how Mom tells the story of Carla meeting Cary (which is probably a story for another day).

My one criticism of this book is that it was written in an odd verb-tense. It was set up so that it created some distance from the action with the choice of verbs, and I felt like it wasn't really consistent. -- I realize that sounds very English-teacher-y of me, but it was enough that it kept throwing me out of the action.

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The Sound and the Fury: The Corrected Text

This one was for my upcoming American Lit class.

It is the story of the Compton family and their many, diverse, and deep problems. It is told through the perspective of 4 narrators, who each get their own section (although the final narration is pretty shaky in its perspective).

The review: My students are going to hate me for this.
Click HERE to see how I feel about that.

Ok, the reason I say they will hate me and this book is because it is incredible difficult to get into and nothing is explained clearly. The book actually starts with the section narrated by the youngest son Benjy -- who is mentally retarded. He can't talk, can't care for himself, and basically is just followed around by the black servants who keep him from harming himself. His thoughts -- which are what we read -- are a huge mess of craziness, jumping back and forth between at least four different times and what he is doing in the present.

And that's just the beginning.

Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest

Band of Brothers is the story of E Company and their involvement in World War II. Ambrose starts with their training, follows the men to England and their jump to Normandy then all the other battles, until their grand finale at Hilter's "palace" Eagle's Nest.

This was for book club, so I'm going to save most of my thoughts on the book for that.

The review: This was an excellent book. It's nonfiction, but it was easy to get into and a fairly quick read. Ambrose does a good job of getting you involved in the significant parts of the story. That said, it is a little difficult for someone like me, with absolutely no military knowledge at all, to really get some of the technical military terms and jargon. Not a reason to not read the book though.

Deep Down True by Juliette Fay
Deep Down True: A Novel

Fay writes the story of Dana a forty-something whose husband has just divorced her and left her to raise her 12 year old daughter and 7 year old son. The novel follows them for a year as they go through their ups and downs -- mostly downs, the addition of the 16 year old niece, the 12 year old's battle with bulimia, lost jobs, etc, etc. And then it turns into a romance.

The review: A good beach read. This was light and not at all serious (which made it perfect for me after The Sound and the Fury), the developing love story was cute, and I finished it in an afternoon.

I was frustrated with the beginning because it was all so realistic and downer, and I was reading and thinking, geez, I don't really feel like getting all involved in someone else's totally normal and realistic problems. It's just too happens all the time. But then it got a little more quirky (with the addition of the niece and relationship with the sister) which made me more interested.

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