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review 2018-01-10 01:28
Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People - Dav Pilkey
For more reviews, check out my blog Craft-Cycle

If you thought the last Captain Underpants book was weird, you ain't seen nothing yet. Time travel, alternate realities, and more hypnotism, this is definitely a strange one. A very entertaining read with all the same things that made you fall in love with these books in the first place (the cheesy jokes, the toilet humor, and most of all, the flip-o-rama).

A quick and funny read. 
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review 2016-12-13 07:15
The Illegal reads like a fairy tale, poorly written
The Illegal: A Novel - Lawrence Hill

Zantoroland is a small island ruled by an evil dictator. People from Zantoroland are black, poor and friendly. The only thing good about Zantoroland is it produces the fastest long distant runners in the world. Keita, the protagonist is one of them.


Fifteen hundred kilometres across the Sea of Ortiz is Freedom State, a far larger island, a democracy and one of the wealthiest nations in the world. People from Freedom State are mostly white, mostly rich and mostly bigots.


The people of Zantoroland are trying to get to Freedom State anyway they can for obvious reasons. The people of Freedom State are tired of illegal immigrants for obvious reasons and have elected a quasi-fascist government to find and deport them.


When Keita's father is murdered by the evil dictator he must flee and ends up in Freedom State. Unfortunately, the evil dictator has kidnapped his sister and is demanding Keita pay a ransom for her release.


As an illegal the only way Keita can make money to pay the ransom is to win long distance races. This is the premise behind The Illegal by Lawrence Hill.


This preposterous plot is further hobbled by stereotypical characters including the aforementioned evil dictator, a whore with a heart of gold, a female cop that answers to love rather than her commander, a feisty old lady, and a sleazy, unethical prime minister and his sociopathic assistant.


The political machinations in The Illegal are convoluted to the point of being ridiculous.


On every level, except for the running, this novel lacks authenticity and credibility. The first sentence of The Illegal should have began , "Once upon a time..." The last, "And they lived happily, ever after."


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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-01-31 23:47
Completed January 31, 2015
We Were the Mulvaneys - Joyce Carol Oates

This review is way too long, and riddled with spoilers.  I need to include them in order to explain how truly awful this book is.  Please consider my review a public service announcement.




Michael and Corinne Mulvaney have four children- three sons and a daughter.  Together, they are THE MULVANEYS.  Picture flashing lights, a movie marquee, all the bells and whistles.  THE MULVANEYS are perfect.  Everybody loves them.  Everybody wants to BE them.  Life is good.


But the gravy train is about to derail, in spectacular fashion.  Daughter Marianne is savagely raped after a high school dance.  Mom and Dad have no idea what to do.  So what DO they do?  They send her away to live with a distant relative she HAS NEVER MET.  She is banished - excommunicated.  So she flits from job to job, feeling worthless, the abandoned becoming the abandoner as she flees anyone who gets too close.  Of course, Marianne never figures out that, hey, lightbulb on, I'm over 18 and I can see my family if I damn well want to.


Meanwhile, dear old Dad, for whom this banishment was supposed to be a resurrection (Mom literally having concocted this atrocity to solve all Dad's problems!) becomes a violent drunk and throws away, like yesterday's garbage, a successful business, the country club membership he was desperate to obtain, a happy marriage, the rest of his so-called family, and, ultimately, his life.  Of course, none of this is his fault!  Oh, no.  It's the country club - the same club to which he willingly sold his soul to gain entry!


Mom still believes religion is the answer to all their prayers, so while everything crumbles around her, she takes refuge in a series of nutbar churches that offer her nothing but momentary escape.


The three sons have all found havens of their own.  


Mike Jr., a recovering alcoholic who still drinks, has run to the Marines, so he's perfect again (phew!).  Patrick, who I could swear is autistic but it's never addressed so I'll never know, has a brief moment of exciting insanity and decides he's going to kill the rapist (this is the best part of the entire book) but doesn't (oh, the crushing disappointment!!!).  Patrick is capital-B brilliant, but tosses his almost-completed degree aside and finds his way, after a long voyage of self-discovery, to...California.  But none of THE MULVANEYS know this, because they don't see or hear from him in FOURTEEN YEARS.  Remarkably, no one files a missing-persons report.  Mom just figures he'll call "eventually".


Judd gets sick and tired of being the only one left to deal with belligerent Dad and clueless Mom, so he quits too.  He moves out of the house (fortunately, just before foreclosure) and manages to become a newspaper editor by sheer force of will.


and then everybody gathers for a barbecue and a softball game, and the kids are all married or in love or (Judd) buried in career, and THE MULVANEYS realize they really do love each other after all.  The End.


What a fucking train wreck.





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