Am I the only person in the world who didn’t realize that this was a true account?
For some reason when I saw the movie back in high school I assumed the book was a fictionalized account and I would never have discovered this if it weren’t for my books into movies book group. I will say that the movie stayed pretty close to the book until the last 30 minutes or so when the director changed things to make Kaysen a first hand witness to a few things, ultimately increasing the dramatic tension, but other than that the novel and movie were great.
As part of Kaysen’s story she shares many of her own medical records (with redactions of course) that explain why and her admissions as well as updates on her progress while institutionalized. But what I found most interesting were here insights into the families of people who institutionalize they’re loved ones, such as this line: Click here to continue reading.
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.
I rarely read nonfiction and even more rarely go out of my way to read nonfiction. However, when I saw the cover to the right I HAD to request a copy of this book to read. I requested a copy from the publisher via Net Galley. The response below is my honest opinion and I received nothing in return for reading the novel.
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill is two-for-two for wonderful books I’ve read so far! Comet’s Tale was an endearing read and touching read, and I thoroughly enjoyed The Art Forger, which I read earlier this year.
Now the reason I requested to read a copy of this book is because of the beautiful greyhound, Comet, on the cover. I currently live with a greyhound and she constantly baffles me with her joie de vivre and just her lovable personality and I wanted to know if she was unique. Blogging world, meet Olivia:
How can you not love her adorableness in that photo? Tom took this photo one day after everyone else had left for work and it definitely made my day. That is pretty much how she spends her days lounging at home. I think it’s hilarious that she’s so sprawled out and always tease her about how she should be more lady like, but it means she’s comfortable and loves us. Olivia is about six years old and is a retired racer (tattoos and all) and she definitely shows a lot of the same characteristics as Comet from the book. The way she plays, the way I know she judges me and her higher-than-thou look she gives you when she thinks you’re being an idiot are just a couple of examples.
I need to stop saying I don’t like nonfiction and start saying I enjoy immersive nonfiction. It seems the majority of nonfiction works that I do like are those that delve deeper into societal issues from a different perspective, like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks(Amazon Associates Link).
This was a fascinating read and it constantly reminded me of an updated (more micro-focused) version of Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Manin which he discusses and shows the errors of many scientists whose procedures created ultimately racist data. If you enjoyed Skloot’s work you should definitely check out Gould’s, although it’s not as much about the personal stories behind the family and behind Skloot’s interest in this subject which makes Skloot’s work more approachable to the general public.
I’m not surprised it took me this long to actually get a copy of the book, but I’m sad it did. This was a fascinating read about the family’s personal issues, the ethical issues, the scientific issues of the infamous HeLa cells and Skloot’s personal story and relationships to all of it. What I found most fascinating was the evolution of the scientific community over time and how much has changed since the cells were first gathered in the 1940s/50s. I think that science and research are vitally important to the continuation of society, but I have to agree with something Skloot said in her afterward, Click here to continue reading.
Any book that can make me want to do something I have no desire to do is clearly a good book. And that makes Novella Carpenter’s Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer an AWESOME book. I found myself giggling constantly at her way with words and reactions to events, and I found myself desperately wanting to become an urban farmer and try growing something in my backyard (not quite bringing up an animal, but baby steps). This book doesn’t count for any challenges – other than a fun read that I randomly grabbed off a shelf at the library.
Farm City was the Somerville Reads book for 2012 and I read it after the event and it’s made me want to get involved next year. Somerville Reads“is a project that promotes literacy and community by encouraging people all over the City to read and discuss books on the same theme.” I truly feel libraries help build community and provide resources for many people who don’t have access to other opportunities and this is just one example. But on to the review!