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review 2017-12-23 00:52
Fed up and gonna do something about it
Thornhill - Pam Smy,Pam Smy

Just to show how long I've had some of these books on the back burner, today's book was actually read around Halloween of this year. Thornhill by Pam Smy immediately caught my attention because of its stark black and white illustration on the cover (and the black edges of the pages). This is one of those times that the cover was not misleading as to the artistic style found within the graphic novel. Reminiscent of Brian Selznick, the art was done with pen and pencil and was entirely black and white. That definitely helped to lend a creepy vibe to the text (although it didn't need much help). This is the story of Mary, an orphaned girl, who spends her time making dolls and writing diary entries about her miserable existence at Thornhill, an all-girls orphanage. The reader is introduced to Mary through her diary entries which are read by Ella, a lonely girl, who lives with her absentee father next to a desolate, run-down building with Thornhill written above its gate. At first, it's rather confusing as to which point-of-view we are seeing and which time period we are inhabiting but I think that's done on purpose by the author. Both girls are very similar especially in terms of their circumstances i.e. they're both very lonely. As mentioned before, the tone is quite eerie but at the same time I felt that it was very realistically written. Alienation, abandonment, bullying, and emotional and psychological abuse are explored in a very interesting way. If you like Gothic horror with a dash of realistic drama then this is the perfect book for you. I read it at Halloween for the ambiance but you wouldn't be wrong reading this on a dark, stormy night either. 9/10 (with a deduction because creepy dolls are creepy)

 

I mean look at this stunning artwork. [Source: Macmillan]

 

 

What's Up Next: Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive One of History's Most Iconic Extinct Creatures by Ben Mezrich

 

What I'm Currently Reading: it's 3 days til Christmas so I'm all over the place

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-08-18 16:56
Automatons, clocks, and a train station
The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick

I'm guessing that if you haven't read The Invention of Hugo Cabret then you've at least seen the film Hugo starring Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz. The movie adaptation is actually very faithful to the book. If you're unfamiliar, it's about a boy that is living in a train station in Paris and trying to put together a clockwork man. In order to do so, he has to stoop to thievery, sneaking, and subterfuge. But it's not simply the storyline that sets Selznick apart from the pack. It's his use of illustrations and words that make reading his books so enjoyable. There are full-page spreads with no text whatsoever that are absolutely breathtaking. Generally, his illustrations are done in pencil and without color. They're gorgeous and I love them.Themes explored include but are not limited to: loss and redemption, solace in the written word, trust of children over adults, and orphaned children. Out of the three I'm reviewing today this one was my least favorite but that might have been because I already knew the story from seeing the film...or that he was still experimenting with his style with this earlier work. However, I'd still rate it a 9/10. 

 

 

Source: Goodreads

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-12-21 04:46
Peter Rock: My Abandonment
My Abandonment - Peter Rock

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I especially liked the tone of the narrator, Caroline. She is straightforward and guileless, which seemed appropriate for someone who has been raised alongside but separate from society, and who has been taught to mistrust everyone who is not her father. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to strike this note, and I was constantly impressed. Recommended.

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review 2016-09-04 00:00
The Days of Abandonment
The Days of Abandonment - Elena Ferrante,Ann Goldstein The Days of abandonment opens with Mario walking out on Olga his wife Olga, and their 15 year marriage and their two children.
The narrator of the story is Olga and the story is her account of the abandonment.

I listened to this on audio and the narrator was Hillary Huber and she was excellent.
This is a short read set in the family apartment and we experience the meltdown of the narrator after her husband's abandonment.

The writing is shockingly honest and unnervingly blunt and I can see why readers of Ferrante love her books.

I didn't identify with the characters of Mario and Olga or their lives and while I enjoyed the first half of the novel I became tired of the ranting and raving by the second half.
Having said that being married for over 20 years I haven't thankfully experienced what Olga experienced and I will be the first to admit here that I have no idea how rational I would be if I was dealt these cards so therefore I don't want to be judgemental on a topic that I know women out there are experiencing as I write this. I actually don't even want to think too deeply about how I would react as I consider myself a calm and rational person but faced with an experience like The Days of Abandonment after many years of marriage how would I react?

I like a sense of time and place in a novel and I enjoy character development and background and I just didn't get it from The Days of Abandonment and this is why this ended up being a two star read for me.

This is my second book by Elena Ferrante and this is where we will part company and while I appreciate writing, her books just don't float my boat.

I actually think this would make a very interesting book club discussion read and I would love to have read this as part of a group as I feel I would have got so much more from it.
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review 2016-01-29 19:57
The Lost Mother
The Lost Mother - Mary McGarry Morris

This is the heartbreaking account told by 13 year old Thomas during the Depression era.  He lives in Vermont in a tent in the woods with his dad and his younger sister Margaret after his mother leaves to "seek a better job elsewhere." 

 

A perfect example of how children interpret the mysteries of adults.  With what little information his dad has told him as to why his mother left his innocence paints a different story than the truth and he is determined to find his mother, either to bring her home or to go live with her.  Life for Thomas and his sister have not been easy while in their father's care who seems to be on a streak of bad luck.  When they are informed their dad had to leave for temporary out-of-town job they are passed from house to house.  At first they are happy at each place once they are warm and fed but each household reveals their skeleton and ultimately making it impossible for the children to stay.

 

Mary McGarry Morris does a superb job in depicting Thomas's emotional, frustrating and painful experience as he finds his way to the truth.  Definitely my favorite to date that I've read by this author.  I would recommend this book for those who appreciate thoughtful reading.

 

How I acquired this book:  Barnes & Noble clearance shelf

Shelf Life:  Approximately 3 years.

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