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review 2018-07-04 20:08
How much loyalty to family is necessary?
Faithful Place - Tana French

Faithful Place, Tana French, author; Tim Gerard Reynolds, narrator

The novel takes place in Dublin, Ireland, on a fictional street called Faithful Place. It is a dying street with the odd empty lot and abandoned house. The Mackeys and the Dalys live on the street. Frank’s family is very dysfunctional with an overbearing mother and unemployed drunk for a father. Rosie’s family is more normal, with a father who is hard working and a mother who was once the darling of Faithful Place.

Frank (Francis) Mackey is in love with Rosie (Rose) Daly. Both 19, living in homes that are very controlling and confining, they longed to be free. Passionately in love, they plan to run away to London and begin a new life together. On the night they plan to meet up, only one of them arrives at the meeting place. The other, does not appear. As the hour grows later and later, Frank becomes convinced that he has been dumped. He is so disappointed that he runs away by himself and never returns to the neighborhood or his family for 22 years. He believes that Rosie has gone to London without him.

Now, decades later, he is an undercover cop, quite contrary to the expected behavior of anyone coming from Faithful Place where cops are completely disdained and mistrusted. The only person he has kept in touch with, over the years, is his sister Jackie. When he receives a frantic call from her, asking him to return home, he is not happy. However, the family is at their wit’s end because a suitcase was discovered in an abandoned house on their street. It may very well belong to his old girlfriend, Rose Daly. What was it doing in number 16 Faithful Place? Where was Rose Daly? Did she run off all those years ago? If she did, why did she leave her suitcase behind? Where did Frank Mackey run 22 years ago? Why did he run? When 16 Faithful Place was fully searched, a body was found hidden there. Many more questions arise. Was Rose Daly murdered and if so, by whom? The story twists and turns and highlights family loyalty above all else, even with their awful warts and foibles.

The story’s murder investigation highlights the whirlpool some people get stuck in because of poverty and a lack of education. The meaning of the family and the neighborhood take on new meaning? How much does any family member owe to another? What is the responsibility of one to the other? How much damage does a dysfunctional family do to each member? Can a family be so toxic that the only cure is a complete separation from it? Should family devotion and honor (even when the family is less than stellar) be above the law? On this matter, I believe the novel sends mixed messages when the interactions between Frank and his daughter Holly are explored. When is it okay to lie? Is it okay to lie to law enforcement? Does genetic history predetermine all personality traits? Can negative traits be overcome? Can good behavior be learned as well as bad behavior? Can a person who has experienced poor parenting be a good parent? Is the solving of a crime dependent on expedience or guilt or innocence? Why is there so much resentment toward the police force? Many questions arise, and they are even more relevant today regarding law enforcement than when the book was written a decade ago.

I was glad that this author did not fall prey to the need to put in wasteful sex scenes to titillate the reader even when there was no relevance like so many authors do today in order to attract readers. However, there was too much wasted dialogue that seemed irrelevant. The narrator, Reynolds, was excellent in both accent and tone. The author caught the authentic atmosphere of family life in Dublin on such a street like Faithful Place.

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review 2018-06-30 02:04
Asterix and the Falling Sky, Uderzo
Asterix and the Falling Sky - Albert Uderzo

Often Caesar hatches a nefarious plan to conquer the one small village of Indomitable Gauls that still holds out against the Roman invaders. More rarely our heroes get caught up in an external conflict for some reason - and that's what happens the day Chief Vitalstatistix' only fear comes to pass - and it's a conflict of a scale and type not even Getafix could anticipate!

 

This is pure, distilled Uderzo, whimsical, fantastical and of course, down right silly, perfectly fitting for his last Asterix album. So long, Uderzo - you, along with your great friend, Goscinny, have entertained (and even educated) me as long as I've been reading independently and will no doubt bring me much fun in the future, too, even though there will be no new stories from you. The existing ones still delight every time. I hope your successors can retain the spirit of the little village on the coast of Armorica back in 50 B.C. as they bring us new adventures of Asterix and Obelix. I'll find out soon enough.

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text 2018-06-29 22:10
Reading progress update: I've read 16 out of 48 pages.
Asterix and the Falling Sky - Albert Uderzo

Super-bonkers from the outset!

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review 2018-06-15 14:08
The Lies They Tell
The Lies They Tell - Gillian French
Pearl’s father says he wasn’t drinking the night the house burned down, he says he was doing his job, it was just a typical night but, on his watch, the Garrison property went up in flames. Surprisingly, there were no leads in this case so everyone pointed their finger at her father. There was one lone survivor, a boy named Tristan, who now lives inside his own little world.
 
Pearl wants to get to the bottom of what happened the night of the fire and it seems the only way to do that is to befriend Tristan. Pearl believes her father when he says that he was not under the influence the night of the fire. Since that night, her father finds refuge at the local tavern or at home, with a bottle in his hand. The town that he once called home has now turned their back on him. I felt that Tristan had an air about him which I found annoying but Pearl had other objectives and she worked her way into his circle. She needed the truth to get her own family back on track.
 
This novel wasn’t the thriller that I thought it would be but it was enticing. There were times in the novel though where things slowed down but later they did pick back up. The more I read, the more “I” wanted to know the truth behind that night as something felt out of place. Tristan was somber, and who wouldn’t be after losing everything they had in a fire, but there was something about him I didn’t like. I liked Pearl as she was determined to get to the bottom of this terrible crime. Her father had now become an alcoholic and an embarrassed member of the community. I thought the ending was interesting, it definitely tied everything together.
 
I received a copy of this novel from a Goodreads Giveaway- thank you to the publisher and to Goodreads.

 

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review 2018-05-31 16:31
Asterix and Obelix's Birthday: The Golden Book, Goscinny & Uderzo
Asterix & Obelix's Birthday: The Golden Book - Albert Uderzo; Rene Goscinny

It's the 50th Anniversary of Asterix and Obelix, so they get their own Birthday Book! What would our heroes be like in the year 1 AD? It's amusing to find out, but let's face it, the perpetual 50 BC they are stuck in is more fun, so let's return there after out glimpse of the future...

 

How old are our heroes, anyway? Why aren't they married? What should they get as Birthday Gifts? How many characters from previous adventures will show up to celebrate? How will Caesar try to ruin the party? How many artistic styles and famous paintings can Uderzo parody (amazingly well) in one book? Just how surreal can one Asterix book get???

 

This has to be the most bonkers Asterix book of them all - by some considerable stretch! Best appreciated by those most familiar with the entire history of the village of Indomitable Gauls still holding out against the invaders...

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