Friday, April 13, 2012

March Book Reviews

Because I went on a kid-less holiday I was able to read a few more books that usual this month, yay! Some I liked, some...not so much. Here's my reviews:

1. Barney's Version - Mordecai Richler.  This is one of our book club selections that's also on the 501 Must Read list. It took me a few pages to get into the story but once I was into it, I was really into it. You follow the life of Barney and it jumps back and forth through his life. He leads a terribly interesting life mixed with murder charges, 3 wives, risky career choices, and some amusing friends. I found the book to be entertaining throughout and you really learn to like the curmudgeon of a lead character. Enjoyable!

2. When We Were Friends - Elizabeth Joy Arnold.  I picked this read up because it was on sale. Sometimes you win these and sometimes you don't, I'd say this was a 'don't'.  The story is about a woman who reconnects with a friend, turned enemy, from highschool. Shortly after reconnecting the friend asks her to protect her child for her but then tells the police her child was abducted. The whole situation is incredibly fake and sadly it just goes from fake situation to even more incredibly fake situations. The worst is the fake, too easy ending. Skip it.

3. The Cat's Table - Michael Ondaatje. This is the story of a boy being sent on a large ship to England for his studies. It's his tales of being stuck at the 'Cat's Table' which is considered the furthest away from the Captain's Table, therefore the lowest of the low. There are 2 other boys around his same age so the book follows their adventures on the ship. The book is decent but there's nothing terribly memorable about it. The ending feels unresolved, which are usually the books that drive me nuts.

4. Before I Go To Sleep - SJ Watson. I read this book over the span of 2 days because it was well written and timed to keep you interested. It is about a woman who suffers a condition where whenever she falls asleep and then wakes up she doesn't remember anything from her life for the past 15 or so years, A doctor tells her to start writing down what she experiences each day so the book is you reading how each morning she realizes she's married, older than she thinks she is, etc. but she adds some details each day to what she finds out. The book is a mystery so you know there's a twist in there somewhere and I'll admit that I didn't quite figure it out until closer to the end.

5. The Descendants - Kaui Hart Hemmings. Most people have already probably seen the movie so I won't really give a big description of the story. Instead I'll just say that I actually found that this was probably much closer to a real family than to many other books or movies I've seen. The kids are real kids, a little messed up and confused. The dad is a real dad, a little disengaged from the family and the mom is someone who doesn't seem comfortable in her role as a mom. The way the dad struggles to deal with his wife in the hospital and the responsibility of 2 kids seems to be just how I'd imagine most men would react, a little shock and awe moment. Worth a read in my opinion.

6. Fifty Shades of Grey - EL James. Here's what I wrote in my book summary "HATED IT". Yep, that's all I wrote.  This book started as fan fiction. If you're not familiar with fan fiction it's basically when a fan of another author/novel (in this case Twilight) takes the characters and rewrites them in a slightly different way. I believe this is the the first time a piece of fan fiction has been published rather that just made available on the internet. It should have stayed as simply fan fiction. There's SO MUCH wrong with this book it would take me a whole page to rant and rave about how much I hated it. It's fake. Fake. Fake. Fake. On top of that the dialoge seems to be written by a 15 year old girl and the sex scenes by a 50 year old man. This book makes Twilight look like a Pulitzer prize winner. Arg. I have to stop there. It already is making me mad just writing this. When there's SO MANY wonderful books out there I want to burn things like this and hand people the 501 Must Read Book list and say 'pick one, they're 100 times better!!'

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