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review 2014-07-18 11:24
Jostein Gaarder's The Orange Girl
The Orange Girl - Jostein Gaarder

First things first, before I start talking about the book itself: (1) I've ruined myself for any other Jostein Gaarder's books by reading Vita Brevis first. Anything and everything pales in comparison to Floria Aemilia's fictional letter to Augustinus Aurelius. (2) I'm not really a fan of stories told by teenage boys. I read them, I like some of them but I'm less forgiving to a book as a whole when I don't like the main character when it's a boy.

That said, this might contain more or less spoilery spoilers.

About The Orange Girl.

The Orange Girl is a good book. It's the second one I've read by Jostein Gaarder and I already feel he's a master of storytelling, he's very good at writing different voices (a woman that've been through a lot like Floria Aemilia in Vita Brevis, teenage boy who's father died when he was very young like Georg and long dead father speaking to his son through a letter like Jan Olav) and, oh god, the letters. I love letters, letters are my vital like. I have moments when I want to read nothing else but epistolary novels (the ones that are written in letters, or emails, or diary entries...).

But... And there is a but with The Orange Girl. Every story is a journey of sorts that we as readers decide to visit and go along with the character. This is a journey of Jan Olav and the Orange Girl (told via eleven years old letter). And it's also a journey of Georg. And that is the problem. I don't like Georg. It might be because he's a teenage boy (and I'm no longer teen age and I'm definitely not a boy) and it also might be because his voice is, to me, in a way more annoying than Holden Caufield's. Because his "descriptions" of his family were more than unnecessary. Because more than half of the back story he provides disturbs the beautiful search for love and reflection of life and death his father was sending him.

So here, Georg was my problem. And yes, it's probably just because he's a teenage boy and the way of thinking of a teenage boy makes me wanna... do things. Like cross all of the lines he has "written" off of the book. With think black marker. And I suppose that's why it was so easy to put the book down for couple of months after just forty pages and than pick it up again and put it down again (and than finish it while commuting to and from work).

There. But I still like the book very much so maybe I'm not that much unforgiving as I like to think I am

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review 2013-12-04 00:00
The Orange Girl
The Orange Girl - Jostein Gaarder description
Umm well, I .. Liked this book!
But you know, not really liked it!
I think it was a little bit .. Boring!
Actually, I don't know! I'm confused! It rarely happens to me, to be confused in front of a book.

I read Gaarder's Sophie's World two years ago, and I loved it. I thought 'The Orange Girl' would be written differently - but unfortunately it wasn't :(

Anyway, it was a good read. Not what I was looking for, but it was fun nevertheless.
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review 2012-12-26 00:00
The Orange Girl - Jostein Gaarder This was a lovely story. 15 year old Georg is handed a letter his now-deceased father wrote to him 12 years ago. Georg was only 3 years old when his father passed away, therefore has no real memories of him. The letter his father writes recounts a story of "the orange girl."

I liked how the story was structured; first Georg reads a section of his father's letter and then he digests and questions what he's just read. As the letter progresses, we can see Georg's thinking process and see how he evolves.

Be warned: I got a bit teary-eyed towards the end of the book.
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review 2012-12-04 00:00
The Orange Girl - Walter Besant Illustrated by Warren B. Davis NEW YORK: DODD, MEAD & COMPANY 1899 "OVER THIS RURAL PLACE WE STRAYED AT OUR WILL."Opening: On a certain afternoon in May, about four or five of the clock, I was standing at the open window of my room in that Palace to which Fortune leads her choicest favourites—the College, or Prison, as some call it, of the King's Bench. I was at the time a prisoner for debt, with very little chance of ever getting out. More fortunate than most of the tenants, I was able to carry on my business. For instance, all that morning I had been engaged in composing a song—it was afterwards sung with great applause at the Dog and Duck; and on the bed reposed the instrument with which I earned the greater part of my daily bread—my faithful violin.Oooo - looks juicy!
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review 2012-10-25 00:00
The Orange Girl - Jostein Gaarder When I was 14 I read Jostein Gaarder's "Sophie's World". It quickly became one of my all-time favourite books and even inspired a theatre piece I wrote in my third year of university. Eight years later, I have finally read another of Gaarder's books and it was wonderful to rediscover his brilliant writing style.The Orange Girl is a short novella of only 150 pages, so I was easily able to devour the whole book in one sitting. Just like in "Sophie's World", there is a mystery to be solved and the book is narrated by two different characters. Georg, 15, has received a long letter from his late father, Jan, who tells him the story of the Orange Girl and how she affected his life.Gaarder does a good job of giving the two characters two different 'voices'. Georg, as a teenager who isn't particularly interested in literature, has a simple and sometimes irritating narrative style that reflects his youth and slight ignorance about the world. Jan, who is older and fancies himself a writer, is fascinating and a remarkable story-teller. He not only tells his son about the Orange Girl and the whole story surrounding her, but goes into immense detail about his thought processes. I especially loved his paragraphs speculating about who she is. They were so entertaining! In my own writing I do a lot of that kind of thing, and have always been worried it would be considered 'waffling' and readers would be annoyed by it. But I love that kind of thing - to me it is one of the best kinds of characterization. If Jostein Gaarder does it, then so shall I!The mystery of the Orange Girl is not a difficult one to figure out, but you fall in love with the characters through the mystery and suspense of it all. I was less interested with Georg's story, but he has a role to play too, and the story is so much more meaningful when you consider that he is reading a story from his late father.Jostein Gaarder had me hooked again in this book and, as always, leaves us with the moral of the story:"Nature is a miracle, the world is a fairytale, and life is a lottery in which only the winning tickets are shown. And if you are reading this then you have a winning ticket, lucky you!" (And also, stalking is fucking romantic.)
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