Thursday, September 10, 2009

Book List: Three that I Couldn't Put Down and One that I Almost Didn't Finish

The Good:
The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff: This was a very interesting read. It intermingled two stories: the story of Ann Eliza Young, one of Brigham Young's wives who tried to end polygamy back in the 1800s, and the story of a young man who grew up in a modern polygamous sect. Reading about polygamy is kind of like watching an accident or an episode of Jerry Springer--you want to look away, you can't believe these are real people who do and think this, but you just can't resist learning more. However, even more than the subject, the amount of detail and the varied viewpoints really make this book very interesting. I love the juxtaposition between the Mormons in the 1800s and the modern cult. To me this book made me think a lot about religion in general and the differences between religion and faith. All in all, a good read.

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker: This novel tells the story of Truly. Truly is born weighing over 29 pounds with a medical condition that causes her to grow at a faster than average rate and she lives her life as a "giant" who is much bigger and heavier than everyone she knows. Truly's story is an interesting one and is told beautifully in a way that makes you feel her pain, but not pity her for her battles with the world and all of its beautiful "normal" people. Baker is good at giving you just enough information about what's going to happen to make you want to keep reading until you know all the hows and whys to go with the whats. A lovely story and enjoyable to read.

Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos: This book centers on two main characters: Cornelia, a thirty-ish single woman who loves old movies and dreams of being swept away by love, and Clare, an eleven year-old girl who's dealing with a mother with mental issues. I LOVED the way this book is written. It is narrated alternately by Cornelia and Clare and I especially loved the voice of Cornelia. She was so real and so interesting and I just loved hearing her inside my head. The plot of this book is interesting and both predictable and unexpected at times. I enjoyed the plot, but my favorite part was just the voices of these two females and the likability of their characters.

The Bad:
Love Will Tear Us Apart by Sarah Rainone: Let me just preface this by saying, I don't think I have ever stopped reading a book once I started it. I always finish the book even if I don't like it. On that note, I really almost stopped reading this book about half way through. I just did not enjoy it. In this novel, Dan and Lea are getting married. Their four friends from grade school are in the wedding. The story is told by these four friends who although they all bonded in a grade school gifted program are now royally screwed up adults. All I could think while reading this was "What a bunch of losers." I know that is really mean and awful, but that is what I kept thinking. In the end, the book got a little better as the author moved away from overuse of stream of consciousness and into more storytelling and as the characters stopped obsessing over how they felt inadequate because going to a gifted program made them social outcasts. I did not go to a gifted pullout program in grade school, but I have lots of friends who did. I know they did not turn out to be drugged out losers, but did they feel this bad about themselves in grade school? I don't think so, but I could be wrong. Read this one at your own risk.

1 comment:

bodoba said...

I may have not been in a gifted program but I was an outcast throughout my schooling and as an adult am still traumatized by it so that last book I may relate too but I work hard to try to be "normal" despite my issues so I would probably end up with the same thoughts in my head too.