To all the kids who don't belong, for whatever reason.
This one's for you.
My dad says that the dogs and cats in America are luckier than most people in the world.
- page 34
My dad always says that kindness is our religion and if we treat everybody the way we would like to be treated, the world would be a better place.
- page 40
... only bookworms get excited over other bookworms
- page 69
"Who would ever have thought that a person could be so powerful, then so completely powerless, all in the same lifetime?"
- page 219 (referring to the downfall of the shah)
... even though we belong to three different religions. We are alike in so many more ways than we are different.
- page 299
It was only when I stopped pretending to be someone else that I found my real friends.
- page 360
This was a good read. Zomorod (who changes her name to Cindy) is from Iran. Her father is an engineer who works with American companies building oil refineries in Iran, so they moved back and forth a couple of times. Now she is starting junior high (which nowadays is called middle school) and doesn't know anyone. She wants to fit in, but she focuses on how different she is from all the other kids. The first friend she makes (in the summer before school) decides she doesn't want to be friends when school starts. Poor "Cindy" is lost and worried and tired of having to explain to everyone where Iran is and how to pronounce her last name.
Cindy finds friends and seems to be settling in and basically happy. Then Iran has a revolution, the shah is kicked out of the country, and Ayatollah Khomeini takes over. On November 4, 1979, Iranian students, angry that President Carter allowed the shah to come to the United States, take a group of Americans hostage. This changes Cindy's family's life and her father loses his job.
I was in junior high during the Iran Hostage Crisis. I remember feeling vaguely angry at the hostage takers and worried about the hostages. My mom wasn't huge on watching the news with us or anything, but I knew what was happening (at least generally).
It was interesting reading this story told from the point of view of an Iranian girl in America at the time. It was so hard for Cindy's family, and many Americans were so hostile towards Iranians, even though those living in America weren't responsible for the situation and didn't necessarily approve of it. Cindy and her parents were so appalled that a religious leader could be responsible for such behavior. But that didn't save them from hate and discrimination.
This is a nominee for the Florida Sunshine State award grades 3-5. I really liked the book and will highly recommend it to our students when school starts.
I'm DNFing this at 200 pages because it's boring me so badly I want to go to sleep. There is nothing creative or compelling that's hooking me. I hate feeling forced to read something. Plus, Andie is just another typical teen with "tight lip" syndrome. She just refuses to speak about anything deep or meaningful and then is utterly baffled when relationships fizzle. All the characters are flat and bland. No depth. No dimension. It's like the author watched a bunch of CW and Freeform dramas and thought that's what teenagers are really like. Not for me.
edit: After I wrote this review I realized there was a simple part of the story I felt like touching on: how to pronounce "Gem". She corrects 2 different people that "...it's Gem, not Jim." Okay, this is petty and I know that, but what is the difference? I seriously cannot tell. Was that really what you needed to write? Because I cannot tell a phonetic difference in those two words.
This was nothing original. Nothing new. It was a short read, and the premise was simple. Gem and Dixie live with their selfish, druggie mom in a piss-poor tenement block with no food. Their dad is gone, and their mom cares more about being their buddy than an adult. Gem is the mature one. Dixie is still starry eyed and refuses to believe their parents are bad, no matter how many times her heart gets broken.
It's full of typical young adult tropes. You just want to slap the shit out of Dixie the entire book. No matter the nasty words, the loud shouting or the fact their mother doesn't feed them, she just can't swallow the fact mom is a neglectful addict. "Maybe she has reasons..." No honey. No. You have to stop being stupid. It's getting very old.
The dad is your typical "I wish I was a rock star" asshole. He only loves himself. He does not even acknowledge Gem as his daughter. It's always "Dixie and her sister". "You know how your sister is." He's a douche bag.
I didn't learn much from this, except that I get tired of wading through the young adult muck to find the gold.
I have so many issues with this. The rampant misogyny, of course. The fact that, personally, I find the whole espionage reason d'etre detestable. And generally, the part where this was not the story I was expecting.
Let's say I waive away the misogyny with a bit of dark amusement (passing the middle-point, I just wanted Vesper to stick it to Bond; and then there is the line "sweet tang of rape" that should be killed with fire, you can get some great examples under the spoiler tag), and take the spy tale on the hope that it'll be some fast action cheap-thrill. I did not get even that. I got a lot of card-playing, torture, and then a mess... I don't even know of what category, certainly not romantic, maybe melodrama. Hell, I though it was already cheap that a woman couldn't be competent unless she was evil, but it was something (see, even lowering my standards to not be an angry female, what a waste), and then Vesper couldn't even rate to Femme-fatal. So no, there is no way to waive the misogyny. It's entrenched into the plot.
Someone could argue it's truer to the real world and the era, either the unexciting grimness or Bond's stance. I say fuck all that. Let us please have no more Vespers in real life, no more Bonds being glorified in fiction. Let us find other icons.
You can find some the shout-inducing bits here
Women were for recreation. On a job, they got in the way and fogged things up with sex and hurt feelings and all the emotional baggage they carried around. One had to look out for them and take care of them.
Charming, huh? Another beauty:
And luck in all its moods had to be loved and not feared. Bond saw luck as a woman, to be softly wooed or brutally ravaged, never pandered to or pursued. But he was honest enough to admit that he had never yet been made to suffer by cards or by women. One day, and he accepted the fact he would be brought to his knees by love or by luck. When that happened he knew that he too would be branded with the deadly question-mark he recognized so often in others, the promise to pay before you have lost: the acceptance of fallibility.
Women, if they defeat you, take away you self-assurance.
This was just what he had been afraid of. These blithering women who thought they could do a man's work. Why the hell couldn't they stay at home and mind their pots and pans and stick to their frocks and gossip and leave men's work to the men. And now for this to happen to him, just when the job had come off so beautifully. For Vesper to fall for an old trick like that and get herself snatched and probably held to ransom like some bloody heroine in a strip cartoon. The silly bitch.
He really likes that word.
'Torture is a terrible thing,' he was saying as he puffed at a fresh cigarette, 'but it is a simple matter for the torturer, particularly when the patient,' he smiled at the word, 'is a man. You see, my dear Bond, with a man it is quite unnecessary to indulge in refinements. With this simple instrument, or with almost any other object, one can cause a man as much pain as is possible or necessary. Do not believe what you read in novels or books about the war. There is nothing worse. It is not only the immediate agony, but also the thought that your manhood is being gradually destroyed and that at the end, if you will not yield, you will no longer be a man.
The bad guy has more respect for a woman that the "hero". Women are more difficult, not because of some chivalrous bullshit, but because men are so attached to their organ *eye-roll*. And for the WTF crown:
And now he knew that she was profoundly, excitingly sensual, but that the conquest of her body, because of the central privacy in her, would each time have the sweet tang of rape.
It's supposed to be romantic. But then, this is just the inner character commentary, you have to still contend with the plot if you can go past that. Fuck this, I'm done.