Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: the-road-through-the-wall
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-04-01 13:58
Your Neighbours Are Not Always Nice...
The Road Through the Wall - Shirley Jackson

Neighbours as we know it can be friendly or not. But in Shirley Jackson's The Road Through the Wall, neighbours as we know it is not what it seems to be. I had quite a number of days to read her first book, which turns out for me quite conflicted whether I like it or I don't. Never the less, I do enjoy her writings and even though there is much to talk about of its flaws, this is still a good read for me.

In Pepper Street, this neighbourhood seems 'perfect'. Neighbours greet each other, they are formal in their own way of being nice and courteous and they have their days of sharing a common hobby together like sewing. But within each household lies another reality - shallow thinkers, bullies, selfish actions and egoistical show offs. The children have secrets among one another, so are the parents. Everyone harbours lies that on the outside, they are superficial. Only one goodness remains - Caroline Desmond, a three year old little girl hardly spoken, hardly knew what is going on in this neighbourhod. There is a wall that divides one street to the next but when the bricks starts to crumble and a tragedy strikes, every thing else is an open secret and what was once consider a nice neighbourhood no longer matters.

Its a simple story really with a lot of characters being introduced in the first chapter itself. I do get a little confuse with one of the other but as I read its easier to know who is who. Still, this is a book that is difficult to rate for me. There are loop holes involve where its never explored at all. Some of these are as to 'why' the actions of certain characters of what they do were never explained completely. I had to make assumptions in order to fulfill them and its easier, as the setting does feel like the late 1940s and early 1950s. The dark part of the book are how each of them backstab each other in ways how superficial they are in front of the neighbours and the children, well, they shown their dark parts too. The writing on the other hand is, as always, pretty much how Shirley Jackson would write - clear, precise and straight to a point. What I enjoy most is how she hook me into the chapter of some of the characters, in a way development explain of who they are and then of course, reach to a point of a little surprise there that feels as if she wanted me to the ride that may keep me guessing. The ending on the other hand, is typical of her and since this is her first book in 1948, I am pretty sure her intentions of writing them is as real as her experience much like how neighbourhoods are in any place in the world.

For me, this is a hard rating to give. I like it but not that much to a point I love it. Its good writing, just not the story itself. Where else there can be much to explore here, I wonder what motivates her to write this story as her first book. I won't say it is bad or any thing but as conflicted as I am in giving a good rating, the best I can think of is a 3.5. I won't say I will recommend this but this story is much like a cautionary tale of what neighbours are (and even can be as an example for today) behind closed doors.


Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2014-04-05 02:47
Tucson Festival of Books
The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World - Nancy Jo Sales
The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox - Nina Burleigh
Lazy B: Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest - Sandra Day O'Connor,H. Alan Day
Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court - Sandra Day O'connor
Making Masterpiece: 25 Years Behind the Scenes at Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! on PBS - Rebecca Eaton,Patricia Mulcahy
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey,Robert Faggen
The Road Through the Wall - Shirley Jackson,Ruth Franklin

Held annually in Tucson, AZ, usually over the first weekend of Spring Break for the university students, this year the Festival of Books was Saturday, March 15 to Sunday, March 16. 


I went on Saturday. Basically, the best day ever.


Or, at least one would think. I was not in serious go mode for most of the day so I missed book talks by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Materpiece's Rebecca Eaton because the lines filled up. I still managed to get signed copies of their books, which was still neat. There are some serious author event goers who started lining up bright and early!


I did make it to a panel discussion about crime and popular culture with the authors of two of the books tagged in the post, Nancy Jo Sales and Nina Burleigh. Both journalists knew each other, and it was fun to hear them talk both as friends who were catching up and as being prompted by the moderator. There were a lot of the same well trod out concerns about young women, their sexuality, and crime (which frankly I am so bored of it's not even funny). However, I found something interesting in what they were saying that the moderator never followed up on, so I bought their books. Both are great: very critical but not sensationalized versions of the true crimes they write about. An excellent antidote to In Cold Blood in my pantheon of true crime reading (not like I do all that much, but I thought it would be fun to expand my crime fiction reading horizons). 


I'm already excited for next year's Festival of Books, because I will be prepared for the mega-talks as well as trying to hunt down smaller and more manageable small panels as well. 





Like Reblog Comment
review 2013-08-22 00:00
The Road Through the Wall
The Road Through the Wall - Shirley Jackson,Ruth Franklin Jackson's first novel, finally put back into print (in high style) by Penguin classics.

Reading a well-known author's early work is a strange experience. Of course, she had already written "The Lottery", but in the novel form her style was still developing. In the residents of Pepper Street, Jackson has sketched out wicked portraits of suburban middle-class hypocrisy. The community is dissected from the top down, from the country-club aspiring snobs and attendant social climbers to a young girl trying to take care of her disabled sister alone without raising the suspicions of prying, "neighborly" neighbors. Two characters, elderly women living by themselves, are interesting of themselves, but also considering how much Jackson wrote later about the woman alone and her particular place (or lack thereof) in society.

What most readers will notice is the near-absence of the supernatural and horror elements, though there are tinges here and there throughout. However, nearly everyone is mental.

It's mostly through the children that Jackson depicts daily life. She crafts each of them as an individual, but none are immune from the mob mentality or the cruelties their parents consciously and unconsciously pass onto them. In today's world of heightened "bully" awareness it shouldn't shock us what callous monsters children are, but through Jackson's eyes it's heartbreaking. What plot there is concerns the eventual removal of a wall at the end of their neighborhood and the fear of the social miscegenation that will erupt because of its absence. But the novel is well worth the read simply for the way that Jackson can write about people and their relations with each other. Jackson could Observe.
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?