I chose this novel because it has an awesome name. I had a vague idea of what the book was about, but didn’t have any particular views going into the book and didn’t realize it was nonfiction (or mostly so apparently) until after I finished reading and verified it because I wasn’t quite sure.. I knew it was an ‘adventure’ of sorts and thus I stuck it into my Back to the Classics challenge as a Classic Adventure and it conveniently qualifies also for my Mount TBR and my longer term The Classics Club Challenge.
It only took about two days to read the book and what I primarily noticed was that people are really interested in Orwell. I had multiple people ask me what I was reading on the T. I assume this is because Orwell’s name is in pretty large letters across the cover and that portion stuck out of my back pocket. It was a bit strange, but it was nice to talk to strangers. I feel like most people have only read Animal Farm or 1984 like me, but those who have read most (or all) of Orwell say that this one is his best work and it’s interesting as it’s his first ‘full length’ work.
What a month. I can’t believe how fast the month has gone and things were definitely not boring here in Boston with the marathon bombings and ensuing chaos. I’m glad to see the month go, but not ready for May or the summer that follows shortly after.
April felt like a short month for reading, but I actually read an above average six books: one for book group, three challenge books (two pre-listed one additional) and two ‘trashy romance’ novels/galleys. (I don’t really think they’re trashy, well some are and some I read are, but I just love to call them that.)
Well I was doing really good about not buying books and then in the last week of the month all of a sudden I bought three books and downloaded two galleys (one of which I completed); story of my life right? I bought one kindle book for $1 (it sounded too good not to buy) called No Strings by Nick Nolan which I’m excited about. In addition I bought two physical books, Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, Peark and Sir Orfeo translated by J.R.R. Tolkien, above left, which I saw on someone else’s blog and I wanted a copy; and I purchased a copy of Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen, above right, for my May Books into Movies book group.
For some reason, this novel just felt more real and better developed than Tenino’s first novel in this series. Frat Boy and Toppy wasn’t bad, it just annoyed me and could’ve used a better copy editor. This novel seemed more polished and a bit more developed. I’m not sure if this had to do with the (seemingly) fewer sex scenes, the (seemingly) more emotionally intense battles or if it’s because the author progressed as a writer. I like to think it was a mixture of the three.
I received a copy of this from the publisher and I received no compensation for my honest response.
The fact that this was a continuation of a love story between two of the characters that broke off fora reason you find out pretty early in the book really helped this be a better novel than the first in the series. The history between Paul and Trevor provided the crucial emotional turmoil for this book to succeed and made it more believable. Let’s face it, I’m a sucker for first-love and second chance stories and this one was definitely a good one. In addition the past history of the two main characters lessened the need for lovey-dovey nicknames that really rubbed me the wrong way in the first novel. There was one used but (and it was my LEAST favorite – babe), but since it appeared only once I just let it go.
For April the hosts of The Classics Club have asked “Who is hands-down the best literary hero, in your opinion? Likewise, who is the best heroine?” And although I have major issues with the separation of hero and heroine, there is no need to separate the two into gender based categories or if you’re going to separate them make a point and call it a ‘shero’, my answer is below.
I really wanted to write about Bone Cartwright from Bastard Out of Carolina, and I guess I could write about her, but I tend to restrict the monthly memes to this specific reading list. If not there’s no telling who I’d write about, so I’ll go for another character with a story similar to Bone’s. Although hero isn’t the first word to come to mind she is one. Wikipedia has a great line which sums up her existence:
In modern movies, the hero is often simply an ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances, who, despite the odds being stacked against him or her, typically prevails in the end.
I’m choosing to equate the word hero/heroine with the word survivor. From the moment of Celie’s introduction in Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Color Purple, as she is being viciously raped, the reader is aware her story and her life will be a struggle for survival and existence.
Looking back, I’ve realized that this novel is sort of like a proto-’Love Actually’ – in that it is a network of love stories with interconnecting people who are only revealed slowly throughout the book. I felt the author did a great job at this even if it did cause me no end of frustration for the first couple hundred pages. I kept asking myself where this book was going and why the sisters from the beginning of the novel just disappeared, but they eventually reappeared and tied the story together.
Although the book clocks in at over 880 pages, it didn’t feel as if it were 880 pages. I believe this is a credit to the story and the language the author used. Her writing was not difficult to read and there were many beautiful passages and great descriptions, just look at how many quotes there are in my Additional Quotes section below. The one line that just made me laugh and think oh wow that’s me was
“When a conversation has taken a wrong turn for us, we only get farther and farther into the swamp of awkwardness.” (146)
It is just the perfect description of what happens when I pretty much ever open my mouth. I mentally thought ‘honey I’m mired in the swamp of awkwardness and am like the swamp lights (will-o’-the-wisps) that trick you into the swamp and then you die because you get lost, but without the death and lots of awkwardness.’
One of my friends put it best, ‘So apparently Cujo is just a bad lifetime movie with a rabid dog’ and although he was referring to the movie, it pretty much sums up the book as well. I just was not impressed and couldn’t get into the novel. The major plus side was that it felt like a short novel.
If you haven’t figured it out yet I didn’t enjoy this book. I am glad I can now say I’ve read a Stephen King novel but overall it was lack-luster and disappointing. I didn’t choose to read this novel on my own, it was the selection for our April Books into Movies library book group. So my disparaging review is totally legit. I did have major issues with the formatting of this book. I read this book through Overdrive from my local library and somewhere during the conversion process a lot of mistakes were processed. It was really distracting and felt more like a galley than an actual published book.
I had a lot of problems with the book especially after it started out with such a good sense of terror and what was to come. I definitely freaked out within the first ten pages, but that feeling slowly disappeared and never returned, a lot of this had to do with King’s writing. It felt like he was writing down to his readers, almost dumbing things down for them and this bothered me. (I will provide a caveat that I read this in the middle of reading Middlemarch which is incredibly well written.)
I just wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who checked in with me after what happened on Monday. I’ve not met any of you in person, but the number of you that reached out to me to make sure me and my friends were okay was truly heart warming. I apologize if I didn’t get to respond to everyone individually, but hopefully you saw my message saying I was okay.
I was with friends about 2-3 miles from the finish line around the 24 mile marker and well away from Copley Square. It took a long time to get home that evening, but that was okay; I was safe and everyone I knew was safe. And as much as I love to complain about the MBTA and hate to admit anything great about them, I have to say their response immediately afterward and ability to get things back up and running mostly that evening and 99% the next day was incredible.
The city is slowly getting back to normal, but there are daily reminders, good and bad, that the Boston is dealing with the aftermath. Every morning I go through Copley station and the station is still closed and it’s an eerie reminder of what happened with all of the lights dimmed. There is still a large area cordoned off around the scene, including the historic Boston Public Library. But the worst is how empty the city feels; it is school vacation week, so many families are out of the city, but the lack of people on the T and walking the streets is eerie.