Anyone who knows me, knows I am completely obsessed with the 2006 novel “Water for Elephants.” I wholeheartedly believe it is the best written romance novel of our time. It is one of my favorites, and don’t even get me started on the movie. Few movies make me weep tears of joy at the end, but “Water for Elephants” does.
The author of this deeply loved novel—Sara Gruen—recently released another book “At the Water’s Edge.” I was so excited to check it out and see what this fascinating author has been up to since creating one of my favorite reads.
The thing about Sara Gruen that I love so much is that her stories are so original. Until “Water for Elephants” I hadn’t ever read a novel about circus workers. I’m sure there are a few out there, but what I mean is that this concept wasn’t some idea that’s been done over and over. It was different than every other novel I had ever read. Her newest novel is even more creative and original than the last.
“At the Water’s Edge” follows Madeline Hyde in her story of self-discovery. When her rich in-laws kick her and her husband Ellis out of their mansion in Philadelphia and cut them off financially, Ellis gets the crazy idea in his head that the two of them along with his best friend Hank should travel to the village of Drumnadrochit, Scotland in search of the Lock Ness Monster. Normally this would be a bad idea, because everyone knows the Lock Ness Monster is just a myth, but it’s even worse of an idea due to the fact World War II is raging in Europe.
Almost against her will, Maddie decides to tag along to Scotland. What she doesn’t know is that her entire life is on the verge of change, and sometimes change is a really good thing. Everyday Hank and Ellis leave her to go search for the Loch Ness Monster. In the meantime, Maddie becomes close to the locals and imagines how life could be outside of her privileged upbringing. She discovers there is so much more to life than parties, money and keeping up appearances. In the journey to find a monster, she finds herself.
Gruen writes period pieces with beautiful eloquence and wonderful word choice. Granted I’ve never lived in Scotland during WWII, I felt like I was actually in the story. Her visual articulation captivates readers, and her stories are laced with characters who seem real and relatable. While I wouldn’t say her newest work is as good as its predecessor, I quite enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone.
“At the Water’s Edge” has everything I look for in a story—romance, adventure, adversity, hope. It is the perfect book to cozy up next to the fire with a cup of hot cocoa and read as the chilly weather creeps in.
I will always hold a special place in my heart for “Water for Elephants” and will probably always be a little biased towards it. After reading “At the Water’s Edge,” though, I am certain there is room in my heart for a few more favorites.
Like many other women in the world, I was captivated by John Greene’s novel “The Fault in Our Stars”. I loved the characters, I loved the story, I loved the pain it demanded me to feel. Despite what neigh-sayers may say, it’s a beautiful book.
After I finished it, I promptly bought another of Green’s works, “Looking for Alaska” and put in on my bookshelf. As much as I hate to admit it, that’s exactly where the book has been sitting for over two years—just collecting dust between my Gillian Flynn novels and the classics. I kind of forgot I had it honestly. So many other books have come into my life.
One of these other books, was “Paper Towns” another John Green book. After seeing the previews pretty much nonstop for months for the feature film, I really wanted to read it. When I received it as a gift, I read it in about a day. A couple weeks later, I found myself alone in a movie theater watching it on the big screen.
“Paper Towns” is about Quentin “Q” Jacobsen, a high school senior looking forward to his looming graduation. Throughout his entire life, one thing has been a constant—his love for Margo Roth Spiegelman. As children, the two of them were inseparable until in the park one night they discovered the body of a man who had committed suicide. After that insane encounter, the two grew apart. Margo moved on with her life making new friends and becoming the most infamous girl in the entire school. Q, however, held on to his love for the girl who lived on his street. He always held out hope that they would reunite.
Sure enough, only a couple weeks until graduation, she shows up in his bedroom needing him to be her accomplice in a night of mayhem gaining revenge on all the folks who had done Margo wrong. When the night ends, Q feels like his life is finally coming together and he’s finally gotten the attention of the girl he loves, but then Margo disappears. Q and his friends go on an epic journey to find Margo based on clues she left behind.
From the first page, I enjoyed “Paper Towns”. It is a fun read, and sometimes, that’s all you need a book to be. Don’t get me wrong, it is a coming-of-age story that I’m sure most teens can relate to in some ways. Even as an adult, there were elements I could relate to.
After reading “Paper Towns” I realized I still had that other John Green book lying around somewhere. With only a little bit of digging, I found it and began reading. “Looking for Alaska” was actually Green’s first novel, and it received the Michael L Printz award from the American Library Association in 2006—a prestigious award given to the best Young Adult book written each year.
Much like “Paper Towns”, “Looking for Alaska” is told in the perspective a teenage misfit boy. In this story, he is a high school junior named Miles “Pudge” Halter attending a boarding school by his own choice in Alabama. Miles is loner who is oddly obsessed with knowing famous people’s last words.
His first year at the school, he encounters a wide range of different personalities and becomes friends with the most exciting personality there—Alaska Young. Despite the fact that Alaska is in a committed relationship, Miles falls quickly in love with her. He also becomes best friends with his roommate Chip Martin, who is affectionately called The Colonel. The three of them become a crew of pranksters taking out their plots on other kids in the school. As they become closer, Pudge falls more and more in love with Alaska. Then something insane happens, and they are left picking up the pieces of an impossible puzzle.
These two books have a lot of similarities that are pretty undeniable. Both Pudge and Q are quiet unpopular outsiders, whereas Alaska and Margo are both popular free spirits. While both books are in a way about a boy’s great love for a girl, they focus more on the boy’s friendships with a core group of other misfits. In the end of both books, the friends are brought together for a secret mission given to them by the women they loved.
These books aren’t exactly the same, but there are a lot of parallels I can’t really ignore. Regardless of that, though, I did enjoy reading both books. “Looking for Alaska” is definitely the darker of the two, and “Paper Towns” has a little more comedy. In my opinion, “Paper Towns” is the better read, but there are likeable characteristics in both.
John Green is a great writer, and he definitely knows his niche. Despite the fact he is a 30-something year old man, he has a way of getting into the minds of teenagers and knowing exactly how to portray them. Few young adult novels come across as organically as John Green novels do.
If you’re looking for fun and easy reads with just a little bit of drama, either one of these should do the trick. While I think “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is the best Young Adult book ever written, I do merit these as being pretty decent too.
These writers don’t care about the boundaries they’re pushing and the people they offend. Instead they live guided by the pursuit of truth and justice. These folks, aren’t only authors, but they are journalists who shake up the foundation of beliefs we have about society and our culture.
One such writer, and the best at doing this in my opinion, is Jon Krakauer. He’s had a number of best sellers in recent years, such as “Into the Wild” and my personal favorite “Under the Banner of Heaven.”
His most recent work entitled “Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town” deals with a topic not often discussed or written about—the date rape epidemic taking place in our college towns.
While I normally talk about fiction books on my blog, I regularly find myself completely engrossed in nonfiction works. This book particularly had me intrigued. For one, I think that Jon Krakauer is brilliant in his writing and ideology. Second of all, I like reading about those tough subjects so that I gain perspective on them.
The book highlights the town of Missoula, Montana, a small college town invested more in football than safety of those living within city limits. Krakauer tells the stories of multiple women who have been sexually assaulted in this college town. The horrific testimonies of these women’s experiences fill this book, but what’s even more upsetting is the way the government within Missoula handled these situations.
Within this book you will find detectives, government officials and campus leaders downplaying and even disregarding rape cases in order to keep up appearances or keep popular players on the college football team. You’ll see police officers who are supposed to be helping troubled women in their time of need, instead blaming these women for the horrible things that have happened to them.
“Missoula” is definitely eye opening, and overall a good read. For those who don’t like nonfiction, this book will prove to be a little drier than some of his other works. It is filled with dialogue and testimonies from real conversations and court appearances. There is also a lot of factual information mixed in as well. For those faint of heart, this also may be difficult to read. The accounts of each women are very graphic and upsetting.
Despite the things that may keep you from reading, though, it is truly a fascinating piece of work. Even though “Missoula” focuses only on one area, it makes me question what the justice system across the nation looks like in the context of date rape. How do other colleges handle this sensitive topic? Are other cities neglecting women who have experienced trauma as Missoula has clearly done? Why are people covering up such heinous acts instead of doing something about them? Why instead of punishing men who hurt women are we so focused on silencing the women and allowing these things to be morally acceptable?
Reading “Missoula” has made me very angry, and if you read it, you will probably be angry too. That being said, I recommend this book highly. I think it is important to be informed about hot topics like this, to take a stand and to have a voice. If you read this book, you will have opinions, questions and concerns just as I do. But more than that, you will be informed of the truth, and the truth is a powerful weapon to have.
People are always talking about the worldwide hit novel “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion. For about a year, I’ve had it in the back of my mind to pick it up and give it a read. This week, I finally read it so I could be in the loop and know what all the hype was about.
In “The Rosie Project,” Don Tillman is a genetics professor with brilliant scientific ideas but dreadful social skills. Living in Australia, he is completely on his own aside from his work colleagues and a married couple that he considers his best friends. While he isn’t aware of it, the author alludes to the fact this eccentric character may in fact suffer from Asperger’s Syndrome, which causes his social ineptitudes.
When realizing he is aging with no romantic prospects, he decides it’s time to find himself a wife. Because of his love of scientific method, he decides to find his partner the only way he knows how—using a science experiment. With the help of his friend Gene, he compiles a list of questions that he believes will help him find the perfect wife. What he doesn’t know is this little experiment, affectionately called The Wife Project, will change in ways he never expected.
Don gets all of his questionnaires back, but realizes quickly that maybe his idea wasn’t the best, because none of the women seem right for him. Gene introduces Don to a friend who he knows is the complete opposite of what Don is looking for—a waitress named Rosie with spikey hair and a tough exterior. She doesn’t meet any of Don’s criteria.
While Don feels no romantic emotions towards her, he finds her to be his next science project. The two embark on a mission to find her biological father. Against all odds, these two become friends and realize that all their walls can be broken down with help from one another. Can Rosie look past Don’s social awkwardness and see the heart beneath his complex exterior? Can Don ever feel love or does he only rely on science?
Overall, the book, is pretty decent. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it and I didn’t really get what all the fuss was about. The best part of the story, in my opinion, isn’t the story itself, but the characters within the story. They are quirky, likeable and realistic.
While I did find it interesting to see someone overcome their social awkwardness in print, I thought the story itself was very predictable. Even though many people have said that “The Rosie Project” is an original and unique idea, I saw it more as a fancy fan fiction version of “The Big Bang Theory” where Sheldon somehow gets Penny to fall in love with him.
With that being said, I love “The Big Bang Theory” so I thought “The Rosie Project” was a cute concept and a fun and quick little read. It certainly wasn’t my favorite book I’ve ever read, but I do think that there is a huge market that would love this book. I put it in the same category as I put the “Shopaholic” books. I read them, I liked them, but I don’t actually think they are anything special. They’re just fun to read.
Recently, it was announced that “The Rosie Project” would made into a movie in the next couple of years. Believe it or not, I’m actually excited to see this on the big screen for a couple of reasons.
The first is that I actually think it would make a better movie than a book. There is a lot of dialogue in this book that I think would come across on screen better than in print, and I would love to see the characters come to life even more when given a physical representation.
The second reason is that Jennifer Lawrence has been cast to play Rosie, and she can’t do anything wrong can she? She can only make “The Rosie Project” more likeable, and it’s already pretty likeable to begin with.
Recently my sister came to visit me, and one of the things I love about my sister is she always brings me gifts galore. This visit, she brought me a book called “Hyperbole and a Half,” written by Allie Brosh.
Maybe I had been living under a rock or something, but I had never heard of the phenomenon of “Hyperbole and a Half” until rather recently. This is only surprising because it’s actually kind of a big deal. Not only is it a big deal, but it is laugh out loud funny and unlike anything else I’ve ever read.
In 2009, Brosh started a blog with the same name, and it gained fame rather quickly. Her blog is a web comic that she illustrates herself.
When the website became popular, she took a few of her favorite stories from the website and wrote a few new stories to create a book filled with color illustrations and comical anecdotes. It is essentially a picture book for adults.
Not only are the stories in the book absolutely hilarious, but her drawings will crack you up as well.
These comics range from stories of her childhood to stories about her relationship. A lot of the comics are dark, dealing with her depression and anxiety. The star stories—in my opinion—all revolve around her dogs, though.
Brosh’s voice is so clearly defined within the context of her work. After reading only a couple of her stories, you will feel like you know and understand Brosh. Regrettably, if you’re anything like me, you will probably connect with her on some level too—which will probably make the stories funnier to you.
While each comic is completely ridiculous, it is ridiculous in a great way. I read every story, and I laughed at each and every one. It’s a great way to escape your daily activities and just enjoy a few minutes of laughter.
Whether you have a ton of time on your hands or hardly any time at all, you can definitely fit “Hyperbole” into your busy schedule.
Unlike a novel, it doesn’t matter how much or how often you read it, because none of the stories are actually connected so you can go at your own pace. You may not have time to get immersed into lengthy novel, but you certainly have time for a ten page short story that is destined to put a smile on your face.
“Hyperbole and a Half” is a fresh new take on blogging and humor books alike. If you are a fan of humor books or blogs, you should definitely shell out the cash for this one-of-a-kind read. If you love to read but are looking for something other than a novel, this may just be for you too.
Next time you are looking for a good laugh, trust me, and try “Hyperbole and a Half.”
*Photo Credit: Original drawings from “Hyperbole and a Half”
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—I am a hopeless romantic. I will never love a book the way I love “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott, and I find the story of “Jane Eyre” to be beautifully eloquent.
A great modern day love story, though, is hard to find. Sure there are a plethora of Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult books coming out on the regular, but stories like that are a dime a dozen. It’s a rarity to find a romance nowadays that actually makes you feel something long after you’ve closed the book. I was moved by “Water for Elephants” in 2006, but that was nine years ago. Romance novels just aren’t written like they used to be.
However, the latest book I read, “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes, tested that theory.
The story starts out by introducing us to Louisa Clark, a young waitress who abruptly loses her job. Looking for any way to make some consistent money for her family, she finds a short term assignment as the caretaker of a young quadriplegic—Will Traynor. Will used to be a daredevil with a perfect career, perfect girlfriend and perfect life. However, when he is injured in a motorcycle accident he loses everything—including the use of his arms and legs.
In the beginning, these two don’t really get along, but the more they get to know each other, the more they understand each other. Pretty soon they become friends, but Louisa finds out an appalling secret about Will that changes everything. She decides to use that negative news to turn Will’s entire life around. What she doesn’t expect is that her life will be changed forever too.
There are many things about this book that I liked. I like the tone of the book, I like the way it is written and the word choice of the author. I like the way the characters are a complex mix of likeable and beautifully flawed.
The realism of the story is what really got to me, though. Sometimes you don’t like someone when you first meet them, but once you peel back the layers, you think they’re a diamond in the rough. Sometimes life really does seem too hard to bear. Sometimes you can’t overcome your circumstances. Sometimes love doesn’t actually conquer all.
This book takes you on an emotional journey. If you read this book, you will feel a full range of emotions. You will question your ideas on some controversial issues. You will (probably) shed a tear or two.
There were moments I was happy, there were moments I was sad, and there were moments I didn’t even know how to feel. At one time, I actually was so happy I put the book away and considered not finishing it. I was just so nervous something would go wrong and the book would be ruined for me.
I did break down and finish it, though, and the book was not ruined. I would be lying if I didn’t say that the cried throughout the last few chapters. Even when I finished “Me Before You” I sat in the same spot for about 20 minutes weeping uncontrollably. When the tears subsided, I still couldn’t shake what I had just read. Even a week later I am still thinking about it. If that isn’t a good book, I don’t know what is.
I recently found out that a film adaptation of “Me Before You” will be hitting theaters later this year. Sam Clafin, who I am a fan of, will be staring in it. You can rest assured I will be one of the first people in line to buy a ticket. I am also looking forward to reading Jojo Moyes other books.
My only regret in reading this book is that I made the mistake of borrowing it from the library instead of buying my own copy. I’m going to have to change that.
If you are at all like me, when you finished the book “Gone Girl”, you wanted more—more of the craziness, more of the deception and more of the eloquently written phrases.
While Gillian Flynn has yet to tell us what happens to Nick and Amy Dunne after the book ends, she did write two other books before all the “Gone Girl” hype that some say are just as good, if not better.
My mission—which I’ve chosen to accept—is to read both of her other books and try my best not to compare them to her crazy book I love and will probably always hold on a pedestal.
I decided to read “Dark Places” first. In a few months the film adaptation will be hitting the big screen, and I prefer to read the book before I see the movie. I had heard a lot about “Dark Places” before reading it.
Over and over again, for instance, I heard that it was really dark. Let me start out by saying that is a hundred percent accurate. This book is not for anyone who can’t handle a little grit in their stories. It’s dark at its core. Even the title has the word “dark” in it. Hopefully you get the point, it isn’t your run of the mill crime story. It’s that, and then some.
Like many crime novels, there’s not much I can say that won’t give away key elements in the book, but I can give you a very surface level synopsis.
When Libby Day was seven years old, she survived something horrible. One January night her mother and two sisters were brutally murdered in what would later be called The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas. Only two members of the Day family survived—Libby and her older brother Ben. He was convicted of murder, and Libby believed (enough to testify against him in court) that he was the murderer.
Twenty five years after the crimes, though, she meets a young man named Lyle who is about to change everything. He takes her to group called the Kill Club, which is essentially a group of people obsessed with famous murders.
In the case of Ben Day, however, the group’s only purpose is to free him from prison, believing he’d been wrongly accused. Trying to make some money and believing whole heartedly that Ben killed her family, Libby digs into an investigation to find the truth. It sends her on epic journey to face her past and face the truth. What happens next is a series of incidents that make the reader question every character in the book.
This was a fun book to read regardless of how dark it got. “Dark Places” takes you on a ride from start to finish. It is a classic whodunit story with modern day twists.
Over the summer I read “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote and was completely fascinated by it. While I could never compare the writing of Capote’s epic classic nonfiction story to a new age piece of fiction, I can say that people who loved Capote’s work will probably be intrigued by this too. Just like “In Cold Blood” you are in a front row seat through investigations, interviews and facts to find out who committed the crime.
Generally speaking, I pride myself on my skills of figuring these things out. Usually I do a pretty decent job, but this time around, I was completely wrong. There are enough twists and turns to keep even the most confident of investigative readers on their toes.
Congrats to Gillian Flynn for stumping me again this time. Flynn’s writing is truly on a level of its own. She knows how to trick the reader into believing exactly what she wants, just so she can pull the rug out from under you at the very last minute.
After reading two of her books I’m starting to think Flynn may be the best modern day crime author out there. I’ll let you know my final consensus when I read “Sharp Objects”. Until then, let’s just say the woman is smart and knows what she’s doing. If you’re smart too you’ll read the book—that is if you think you can handle it.
As much as I love a good dystopian young adult novel or a true crime nonfiction story, every now and then I enjoy reading a piece of fiction that reads like a romantic comedy. You know, the kind of book you don’t have to think about when reading? Every once in a while I like to get caught up in a pointless feel good story.
Recently for book club we read “The One and Only” by Emily Giffin, and I was excited to do just that. If you don’t know who Emily Giffin is, that means you missed out on one of my favorite feel good love stories “Something Borrowed”. While I love the charm and humor in Giffin’s first novel, I felt that a lot of what I loved about her writing is missing in “The One and Only”.
This book centers around Shea Rigsby, a football enthusiast living and looking for love in the small town of Walker, Texas. Shea loves everything about her hometown, but her favorite thing about Walker is the football team that she works for—that is until she finds true love.
Through the course of this book we see inside of Shea’s insecurities and “daddy issues,” which I think is a real strength in Giffin’s writing. She knows how women think, and she conveys it well. We all have insecurities and weaknesses, and Giffin portrays a woman’s flaws in a comical, yet real way.
While the idea of “daddy issues” doesn’t really resonate with me personally, I have known a lot of girls in my life who have the same problems internally that Shea deals with in the book. My problem with the book, however, is that I don’t think she deals with these issues in a healthy way.
I honestly read this book in one setting because it was an easy, interesting read—until about three-fourths of the way in when it got weird. I don’t think anyone in my book club was one hundred percent comfortable with the way this one ended.
“The One and Only” was a great book club choice, because it opened us up for some interesting discussions. However, I still wouldn’t recommend this book. It wasn’t that bad, I just didn’t like the ending. An ending can ruin a whole a book for me.
Not to mention, there are definitely far better romantic novels out there—some even by Emily Giffin herself that hit the mark where this one didn’t.
In my opinion, “The One and Only” made one huge flaw that cost the book its greatness. You’re supposed to leave a cute romantic fiction book with a smile on your face. This one, instead, will just leave you scratching your head.
Even more annoying than that, I actually watched the movie before reading the book. I absolutely hate doing that.
Why did I make this regrettable decision? Let’s just say, I had been judging a book by its cover for far too long.
When the “Divergent” series first hit the shelves I had heard that it was a knock off Hunger Games, and of course, I believed it.
Fast forward to March 2014. It’s my birthday weekend. I always go see a movie on my birthday. There were very few things I was interested in seeing though. I read a few reviews and decided “Divergent” was probably my best option. Long story short, I loved it. I thought divergent was an excellent film, and completely underrated. I put it on the list of about 599 other books I wanted to read.
Fast forward to about a month ago, and my husband had purchased me the entire “Divergent” series from Costco. So here I am finally getting into them and I am pleasantly surprised.
To go back to my first point, “Divergent” is not a poor man’s “Hunger Games”.
Are they both about young strong girls living in a dystopian society? Sure, they are. That doesn’t mean they are anything like each other though. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have seen any Tom Cruise movie that’s come out in the past five years. I’ve probably seen them all and enjoyed each one of them even though they basically have the same concept. He’s fighting aliens and/or saving a civilization. Similar yet entertaining and original—that’s how I see the two book series.
While you can find many similarities throughout (like the concepts of factions and districts), there are also a lot of differences. Those differences are what makes each story worth reading.
But we’re not here to talk about “The Hunger Games”. “Divergent” deserves to be discussed on its own.
The story follows our hero Beatrice Prior who is living life in a dystopian society. In the beginning of the book she must take an aptitude test to decide which faction, or society, she will belong to.
Ultimately the choice is hers, but most people choose the faction the test tells them they were made for. If you leave the faction you’re raised in, you must leave your family behind and take on a new identity and faction.
When Beatrice takes the test, though, her results are inconclusive and she finds out she is among a group she never ever heard of—the divergent. To stay alive she must join another faction and pretend to be someone she is not.
Of course, things are not as easy as she hoped. I’ll stop right there when it comes to synopsis. You should pick up the book if you’re interested in finding out what happens next. This book has a lot to offer a variety of different readers. There’s action and suspense. There’s blood and there’s gore. There’s even love and romance.
My favorite thing about the book, however, is the vulnerability within the main character. When reading “The Hunger Games”, I never once questioned Katniss Everdeen’s ability to do anything. She’s a beast.
Beatrice is a whole different kind of animal. She’s fierce, but she’s vulnerable. It’s an endearing quality for a hero to have. Telling the story in her voice was great choice on Veronica Roth’s part. Because you get a look into Beatrice’s thoughts, you can see that she isn’t as tough as she may put on to everyone else. Her life may be completely different than every person reading the book, but she has the same thoughts an insecurities we all deal with.
I really enjoyed the first book and have already started reading the next one. Despite what I’ve heard, I’m looking forward to seeing how this series ends. It’s gotten some negative criticism, but that only makes me want to read it more. I think I learned my lesson this time around going off of what other people said.
This year I’ll be spending my birthday the same way I did last year—seeing the newest installment of the “Divergent” series, “Insurgent”, in theaters. The difference is, this year, I’m super excited about it.
*Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment
As many of you know, I’m currently a part of a book club which I absolutely love. It seems like such a mature adult thing to do. We read a book, and then get together to eat, drink wine and discuss what we read.
The way we pick a book is very intricate. I’m actually being sarcastic with that—we literally just draw the name of a book out of a hat. This month, our book was one that has been getting a lot of feedback all over the place. We read the book “Room” by Emma Donoghue.
“Room” has something going for it though—it is unlike anything I’ve ever read.
What’s so different about this novel, you may ask? The main difference between this book and every other one I’ve read is the fact that this book is told in the perspective of a five year old boy named Jack. For the first time ever a child of only five years is the narrator. The innocence of the child makes the chillingly eerie plot hard to take in.
The thing about Jack’s story is that it isn’t a happy story about living in a two story house with a white picket fence and a mother and father taking him on trips to Disney World. Instead, this is a story of captivity.
Jack and his Ma are being held captive by a man named Old Nick who keeps them in a shed behind his home. The only life Jack knows is as a prisoner. Jack has never been in the outside world.
I would give a synopsis of the book, but honestly if I say anything more than I have said, it would completely give away important elements of the book.
What I can say is that this book was well crafted in its originality. I think writing a book in the perspective of someone so young was a bold choice. It could have gone very wrong, but instead it somehow works.
While I will admit it took some getting used to, once you get past the first twenty pages or so, it gets easier to understand the voice the story is written in. When you identify with the character, it isn’t too hard to get into. However, I could understand this being a real road blocker in reading this book.
I think using the voice of a child also makes the reader connect with the character instantaneously. While I’ve read many books in my time that had characters I couldn’t relate to, despite my 21 years on Jack, I could familiarize myself with him. Mostly because he was such a young boy. The moment I began the story, I was on Jack’s side because he was a child. I also think it made it easier for the author to write about horrible circumstances but not make a completely depressing book. Had this story been told in his mother’s voice, it would have been hard to read and very emotional throughout.
I can also say that the book’s plot kept me very entertained. I wanted to know the entire time if Jack and his mom would ever escape and if so, where life would take them from there. While I can’t say the book had me on the edge of my seat the entire time, I can say it intrigued me in a way I haven’t been intrigued while reading a book. For the entirety of “Room” all I wanted was for Jack and his mom to be okay.
I try to use humor in all my book reviews to show that no matter what I’m reading—good or bad—I still have my sense of humor. This book, though, is nearly impossible to crack a joke about.
I can’t promise you that you will love this book. It’s creepy in the worst kind of way, but I can promise you that if you read it, you will experience a type of literature you have yet to.
I’m grateful to have read it because it was so original and I respect that. Most books are written in first or second person and generally narrated by someone between the ages of 16-60 years old. As I writer, I really loved reading something completely different. It pushes me to want to think outside the box in the works I create too.
I do recommend “Room,” but I recommend getting it from the library and not buying to read whenever you want. Even though I enjoyed reading “Room”, I probably won’t be dusting it off the shelf anytime soon for a second read. I just found it a little too disturbing for pleasure reading, but for a thought provoking discussion piece—“Room” is perfect.