Saturday, July 5, 2014

Quick Reviews

Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve don’t anything related to books, so I might as well talk about some of the books I’ve read recently.

J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
Characterization: 9   Plot: 9  Writing: 10

I expected to like this book and I was honestly surprised how much I did so. In a sense, it’s a book, within a book, within a book, as two college students, Jennifer and Eric, write notes to each other back and forth in a book called Ship of Theseus by a mysterious European writer known as V.M. Straka. The books a mystery, a love story, an allegory, and really all around enrapturing. I don’t think a description can do it justice, just that it’s a fun read and impressively done.

Calling Me Home
Julie Kibler
Characterization: 3  Plot: 6  Writing: 4

I’m not sure where to begin with this book except to say, for a novel about interracial relationships, I’m really not sure the writer has met any black people. And seriously, what is with her idea that hair dressers have to turn to stripping to make ends meet and from that often fall into drug use? Is that a real thing? It doesn’t seem like a real thing. The main characters are Isabelle and Dorrie, an elderly white woman and a black woman in her thirties. Dorrie has some serious family problems going on, but don’t worry, everything’s wrapped up in a neat little package by the end without her doing anything. And Isabelle. She’s just a completely unsympathetic character. Every decision she makes is completely self-centered, and while there’s a lot of painful things in her life she can’t control, for the sake of her “soul mate” doesn’t justify it. I don’t know. Other people seemed to like this book. I really didn’t. If you like soapy romances, maybe you’ll enjoy it more than I did.

Labor Day
Joyce Maynard
Characterization: 6  Plot: 4  Writing: 7

I absolutely love To Die For, so I was eager to get a hold of this, and found myself sadly disappointed. Maybe because To Die For is so good and it clouded my reception of Labor Day, because I just didn’t think it was very strong. It’s about a thirteen year old named Henry, his mentally ill mother Adele, and an escaped convict named Frank that they bring home over Labor Day weekend. It…makes more sense in context? Kind of. I really didn’t get why Adele, who’s extremely social phobic, would give an injured hitchhiker named Frank a ride to her house. With her thirteen year old son. I mean, something like that (really, really stupid) could at least be explained if the characterization is strong enough, but it just isn’t. It does make sense (at least a little) why they start to trust Frank. It’s just hard to swallow that they get taken hostage by a violent offender and he’s the only nice guy in the penal system. Plus the whole hostage thing doesn’t scream “good guy”.

The Fault in Our Stars
John Green
Characterization: 4  Plot: 6  Writing 4

Yeah, I might get lynched for not loving this one, but I really didn’t find it all that impressive. It’s an interesting idea, two teenaged cancer patients falling in love, but…the characters just didn’t feel natural to me, either as teenagers or as cancer patients, and that’s kind of an issue. It doesn’t help that I didn’t find Green’s writing all that interesting. It was an easy read, though, so I’ll give it points for that.


  1. Not everyone likes every book. Surprised you finished the second one as low as it scored. If a book doesn't catch on with me within the first three chapters, I never finish.

  2. I've only heard of that last book because of the movie. Somehow the whole concept of the story just would feel too "hallmark" for me.

  3. Didn't they make Labor Day into a movie? My niece and her friends watched that at her slumber party/birthday party. It was... interesting, I guess.

    I read something about how when a book gets really popular, more people who wouldn't have read it read it, and they find it isn't exactly how awesome the true fans thought it. Perhaps that's why The Fault in Our Stars didn't speak to you.

  4. I loved TFIOS. The characters do seem older and wiser than normal, even for their circumstances, but I adored them. I remember reading Maynard's memoir long ago.


Please validate me.