Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Need...

I need to read something that makes you just feel good inside! Any suggestions?

Friday, September 23, 2011

State of Wonder

Ann Patchett  
  I so wanted to LOVE this book, but the most I can say is that I liked it... without an impressive amount of enthusiasm behind my statement. The book description reads like an action/mystery novel: Dr. Marina Singh travels into the Amazon in search of the truth regarding her lost friend and the project her company has entrusted to her old mentor Dr. Annick Swenson, but instead finds an even greater mystery awaiting her. It was only after I started the book that I was informed that it is actually a modern day telling of Heart of Darkness. The story itself was actually very interesting, and forces the reader to consider some challenging ethical issues. How far can modern science go? What are the limits? What SHOULD be the limits? What lines are we willing to cross? The questions that Ann Patchett raises still pop into my head weeks later.
     My main issue with State of Wonder was the structure. Basically nothing happens for the first 150 pages of a 350 book. When the catalyst (Dr. Swenson) finally arrives on the scene, the pace picks up and we get to the heart of the story. However, the pace continues to pick up and you are left with an extremely abrupt ending. Everything that Dr. Marina Singh was searching for, all of her decisions, come to a very rapid close in the last 20 pages. I felt a little shell-shocked. That was it? After such a thoughtful and slow beginning, I felt that the book came to a careless end. Maybe that was the feeling that Patchett was aiming for; to create the shocked feeling that her lead character must have had, but I felt deprived of the lengthy ending I surely deserved after waiting for the resolution Marina searched for throughout the entire story. Despite the negative points of State of Wonder, I am still impressed by Patchett's writing and skill in developing a magical Amazonian world, and will try another of her books in the future.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

13 Reasons Why

by Jay Asher

I actually read this book in July while I was on my vacation. I'm not quite sure why it has taken me so long to get around to writing a review, but this book has crossed my mind nearly a hundred times between finishing it and putting down these words. The premise (I'm not giving away any spoilers) is certainly unique: a young high school boy (Clay) receives a set of tapes in which Sarah reveals the "thirteen reasons why" she committed suicide. While it sounds like a story that may romanticize the idea of suicide, it really deals with the people left behind and the horrible things they experience, while also addressing the prevalent issue of bullying among high school students today. Clay becomes the readers guide through the grief, anger and confusion of being called to put together the puzzle pieces and carry on. Truly, the most shocking aspect of this book to me was the bullying and teasing that was illustrated among the students. I'm pretty sure I don't remember people being so fantastically cruel when I was in high school, but the world has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Thirteen Reasons Why is definitely a book that teenagers (and even adults years out of high school) can relate to and empathize with. So many teenagers have been "saved" by reading this, and "the reason why" isn't hard to see after a solid afternoon spent drawn into the story.