logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: the-reminders
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-07-11 19:34
THE REMINDERS Review
The Reminders - Val Emmich

Release Date: 05.30.17

Val Emmich's debut novel, The Reminders, is a Beatles lover's fantasy. This one is filled to the brim with song references and nods to John Lennon's New York City life (where, incidentally, a large chunk of this story takes place), I was almost too distracted by the shout outs to focus on the characters and their goings-on. 

Told in alternating first-person POVs, The Reminders is the story of two people: Joan, a young girl with the rare ability of being able to recall in vivid detail every memory of her life; and Gavin, a family friend currently mourning the loss of his husband, Sydney. Gavin, having grown up with Joan's parents, moves in with the family and soon he and Joan become close. She helps him by sharing with him every memory she has of Sydney (who is another friend of the family); he helps her by co-writing a song with Joan for an upcoming contest. Joan is a lover of music and aspires to be famous. 

Honestly, I wanted to like this novel . . . but just couldn't. The emotions are contrived; there is no "there" there. Toward the beginning of the novel, Joan decides she wants to write a crying song for the contest, because crying songs get remembered most. I feel Emmich tried writing a crying novel but forgot to give these characters enough life for the reader to care about them. A major part of the novel is Gavin's grieving over his late husband, but Sydney is nothing more than a name and a few memories. Their relationship is never shown in the light; Emmich tells the reader he or she should care, but doesn't show much of whythat is. 

Really, that's this novel's largest fault: the novelist falls prey to one of the oldest predators in fiction-writing — telling, not showing. I never got a grasp on these characters; they feel like ciphers and nothing more. Joan's extraordinary memory gift is almost never utilized, except to rattle off dates at random or tell Gavin about Sydney's visits through the years. The rest of the time, Joan is too preoccupied with writing her song and Gavin spends his days wallowing in grief and Joan's parents are basically big nothings. 

I wanted to love this novel, and for a moment I thought I did . . . but I realized I was in love with the Beatles references and not much else. This could have been a big literary experience; instead, it is a flimsy paint-by-the-numbers bore set against the smog and rush of the Big Apple. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC, which was given in exchange for an honest review.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-05-20 14:06
The Reminders - Val Emmich

This was an interesting read. Joan, an eleven year old girl, has a special power. She can recall memories, the date, and the weekday from everything she has lived through since she was about 5 years old. I had heard of this special? power while watching an interview with Marilu Henner on a talk show. As a matter of fact, she is mentioned in the acknowledgements. This helped with the believability, for me, in the story and added to my enjoyment.

Joan is a huge part of this story, together with her mom and dad and an old family friend, Gavin Winters. Music is also a huge part of this story.

I enjoyed spending time with Joan and the other characters while also feeling a little sorry for the eleven year old girl. The author did a great job in writing about her special power and showing the reader that maybe it's not all that special.

Thanks to Little, Brown and Company for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-07-31 18:05
Inception for bad books
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood,Margaret Atwood

...maybe you'll climb out of it at some point but the smart ones drive off the bridge right at the beginning.

 

Oh, wow. That turned out more meta than I intended.

 

Anyhoo. The first chapter is called The Bridge, it's only two pages long and it's the only good chapter in this book of 521 pages. There were a handful of good observations or amusing passages here or there, but nothing resembling a coherent, well written, good story. And I wasted all three weeks of my holiday reading it. So. Boring.

 

I have an itch to read The Handmaid's Tale at some point, so I won't say I won't be reading Atwood ever again. But it's a close thing.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-10-11 10:00
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand

In ten words or less: It's a horrible, terrible book and you should read it.

 

Ayn Rand's 1168 page behemoth is listed under classics and fiction, though, I fail to understand how it fits under either genre. Atlas Shrugged is a poorly written, illogical propaganda manifesto without even a semblance of character, consistency or plot. Everything is orchestrated to serve Rand's absurd philosophy and to deify her main hero, John Galt, a Christ-like figure who was, in fact, based on a child murderer.

 

Not counting infodumps, and convenient telepathy when a third-person omniscient narrator could have been an option, Rand struggles with basic concepts of good story telling such as showing not telling, foreshadowing, and in-world consistency. More crucially, her basic reading comprehension is in question. For example, I don't think Rand had any idea what logic is.

 

Here a character is explaining why people won't believe Galt:

 

"'It seems to me,' said Chick Morison, his voice tentatively helpful, 'that people of nobler spiritual nature, you know what I mean, people of… of… well, of mystical insight'—he paused, as if waiting to be slapped, but no one moved, so he repeated firmly—'yes, of mystical insight, won't go for that speech. Logic isn't everything after all.'"

 

And here's an excerpt of a dinner conversation:

 

"'If you still want me to explain it, Mother,' he said very quietly, 'if you're still hoping that I won't be cruel enough to name what you're pretending not to know, then here's what's wrong with your idea of forgiveness: You regret that you've hurt me and, as your atonement for it, you ask that I offer myself to total immolation.' 'Logic!' she screamed. 'There you go again with your damn logic! It's pity that we need, pity, not logic!'"

 

Additionally, Rand doesn't seem to know how women work, despite having been one herself. None of her female characters—there's a handful—come across anything more than pawns and men's playthings. Even Dagny Taggart, the supposed heroine, is little more than a Mary Sue Magdalena to Galt's Jesus.

 

Certain prominent American politicians have inhaled her ideals hook, line, and sinker and want to live out Rand's libetarian utopia, but that doesn't mean the rest of us should. They can't make you. Except that they're politicians who set policy, so in a very tangible sense they are making you.Littered with post-its, my library copy of the book.

 

Atlas Shrugged is a prime example of why you shouldn't just go with the flow, and accept what people appearing smarter than you say. You should be fully aware of what you're co-signing by proclaiming the author as one of the great thinkers of recent history. You should read the detailed racism, misogyny, and misandry Rand and her followers preach. You should read, so you can suss out when someone is just repeating what they've heard—or worse—genuinely believes that empathy is the cancer of humanity.

 

So, yes. It's an actively offensive book, and you should read it.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-09-20 18:14
Reading progress update: I've read 1168 out of 1168 pages.
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand

I AM DONE. Finally. Not four months as I thought but almost three. Because of some things I was linked to—thing one, thing two—I am definitely writing a review. If I ever recover to write coherently again (HA!). 

 

Post-it count: 314 (I sort of lost my spirit towards the end and started letting things slide.)

 

Last note: "That's not how it works."

 

Other: While we wait for my review (*chinhands* whatever will it say, come on tell me!) we can still play the game where you give me a number between 3 and 1168, and I'll give you a quote or a post-it comment and a quote it refers to. Or a general description of that page. If you like.

 

Or you could click the links, read the articles, and we could discuss.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?