Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gravity vs. the Girl by Riley Noehren

I loved this book so much it actually brought me out of a year and a half book review hibernation.  It is funny, witty, and relevant.  It's privately published so a little spendy but I understand it is available on kindle so maybe that helps.  LOVED it.  You must read.  Must.  Something More Substantial if ever there was one.

Room by Emma Donoghue

I was surprised by this book.  I really expected it to be depressing.  Actually it was rather inspiring.  The story is about a five year old boy whose mother was abducted seven years earlier and has in the years since been kept prisoner by her abductor in a shed.  (See?  Sounds depressing/disturbing, right?)  Through the understanding of this sweet little boy we see a charming view of the world as he knows it inside of Room.  When they manage to escape they experience bittersweet adjustment to a whole new world but the book ends with hope.

I really liked this book.  I loved the kind of mother this boy has and the efforts she makes to create a happy, healthy, loving life for him.  Reading this inspired me to be a better mother and that's why I think it is something more substantial.

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

I've put off getting and reading this for a couple of years.  I wish I hadn't.  Maybe I wouldn't have been so disappointed if I hadn't waited so long to read it.  The story is meticulously rendered like Hale's other fairy tales.  The details are evocative and consistent.  The setting is medieval Mongolia and she paints a believable, breathable picture.  That said, the story was just ho hum for me.  I was bored.  If you're going to read Shannon Hale I would recommend you skip this one and pick up something else she has written.  Not that this book wasn't okay.  It's just that the others are better.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Sigh.  I didn't even want to review this book after reading it.  In fact, I had decided not to but I just saw that it is one of the books on my A-Z Challenge so I felt like I should.  What to say... what to say...?  My mom recommended it.  When I mentioned to my best friend from 7th grade that I was reading it she got very enthusiastic and went on about how it is her favorite book of all time and how she regularly buys new copies since she is always giving her copies away.  SO-  some people like this book.  I guess.  I suppose they would have to for it to keep being printed and selling copies.  I am not one of those people.  Not even a little bit.  Not even just one part.  I think I'll stop there. 

Some objections:  general lack of reverence for the Divinity of Christ (Owen, we are to understand, is the result of another immaculate conception and is worshipped by the narrator after Owen's death), the politics (but if you hate Republicans it probably won't irritate the crap out of you), the language, and this quote:

"...although the subject of the president's personal (or sexual) morality would not have dampened everyone's enthusiasm for his political ideals and his political goals, Owen Meany was not "everyone"--nor was he sophisticated enough to separate public and private morality."
" seems that the only people who are adamant in their claim that public and private morality are inseparable are those creep-evangelists who profess to "know" that God prefers capitalists to communists, and nuclear power to long hair."

Truly there are no words.

In addition to my general objections, the pacing is too slow.  We spend hundreds of pages building up to something we're supposed to care about and by the time you get there you are so sick of waiting for the moment that the feeling is more one of "FINALLY!" instead of "Oh NO!  Poor OWEN!". 
Skip this one.  And if after reading this you really feel you must experience it, rent Simon Birch from Netflix instead.  I understand Ashley Judd is lovely as usual.