Nov 29, 2004

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time

Christopher is an autistic teenager who is mathematically gifted. His family is a mess, partly because raising a challenging child put strains on a marriage. When the dog across the street is murdered, Christopher tries to figure out the murderer, even though his father does not approve. Christopher's reasoning and mathematical skills sometimes complicate his search and sometimes prove successful.

When Christopher's father lies to him, Christopher feels he has to find a new place to live. How can he trust again? Who can he trust?

From reading this book, I learned about the difficulties of being autistic from Christopher's perspective and from his partents' perspective. From another series of books about Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos, I learned about the feelings of a person with hyperactive syndrome. From both books I learned that loving fathers can do wrong things for their children.

Nov 23, 2004

The Perfect Family by: Jerrie Oughton

Jerrie Oughton did a wonderful job writting a novel on a young girl who gets preganat. Welcome had fell in love with a wonderful man and had the best summer ever until school started up.Her love went to college and she had still been in high school but still talked to him as much as she could
and saw him on that note as well. Her loves name was Nicholas Canton and he was everything a girl could ever want in a guy until he tried to seduce her. Of course Welcome had enough will power to over come him. In october Welcome went to a college football game( the same team Nicholas plays for) with a high school friend of hers Randy. When the football game was over Randy took Welcome to the top of a hill and was able to do what Nicholas had tried to do and the only reason that is, is becasue Welcome let her feelings for Nicholas come over her.
Welcome had realized weeks later that she was preganat with Randy child but couldn't tell him, not after she used him in a way. Her being preganat opened a new chapter to her life she just wasnt ready for. She moved with her Aunt Lacey where she went through every stage of her life from there on out. Once the baby was born she had to come up with what she wanted to do. At first she kept the child but she realized what she had to do.

Nov 19, 2004

Boy Meets Boy, David Levithan

Paul is openly gay and has been since he learned what the word was in kindergarten. His parents are great with it, and so is his community. In fact, his community is full of people who are out in every way - the high school quarterback is also homecoming queen! So this book takes on a really light tone that other books about gay teens don't have. At first. Because later on, we realize that everyone doesn't have it so great. Paul's friend Tony's parents aren't ok at all about Tony's sexuality. Although there are many sub-plots to the book, and Tony's relationship with his parents isn't perhaps the most important one, it is the one I found most interesting. Tony has a unique way of trying to deal with the conflict between himself and his parents, one that is rare and really mature - he talks to them. He is honest, he respects that they do what they do because they love him and that although it would be really easy to just block them out and count down the days till college, he understands that he really loves his parents, too, and he wants a real relationship with them.

Nov 17, 2004

Angels and Demons

I recently read Angels and Demons by: Dan Brown and I loved it. I couldn't put the book down, every page left me wanting more. Robert Langdon's crazy trip around Italy was amazing. Dan Brown did an amazing job adding unexpected twists throughout the story. This story is about Robert Langdon and Vittoria Vetra, the pope has past away and the four cardinals who are most likely to be elected pope have been kidnapped and their lives are in danger. Vittoria and her recently deceased father created a substance called "anti-matter" which is highly explosive when it touches anything made of matter (which means everything including air) it has been stolen from their lab and will annihilate at midnight exactly. Langdon and Vittoria travel on an ancient trail across Rome to the secret Church of Illuminati, who are the suspected kidnappers. Will Langdon and Vittoria find the cardinals in time? Who's behind the kidnappings? Will everyone get out of Rome tonight alive?

Nov 11, 2004

The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd

This is my second time through with this book, and I am glad I re-read it. The first time through, the story itself kept me busy - what had Lily done? And where would she end up? And what would happen to the Calendar sisters and everone else? Everyone's fate seemed so up in the air, there were so many people to worry about. The second time through, I was able to really get into the emotion and spirituality of the book. There is an earnestness in this writing, honest embellishments that lay open the story. What does it do to a person, to have killed the very thing you yearn for your whole life? To know that, if it hadn't been for you and your actions and your mistakes, the happiness you think of with every breath might have been yours? I cannot wrap my mind around it, how one can somehow come to a place where they can live with themselves and the knowledge that they killed their mother. Of course it is August, and August's faith that helps Lily there, but still. I wonder if Lily can be ok with it because her mother had left her. Because for the moment, as she is finding all this out, she is so angry and sad at the thought of having been left. She never quite brings it home in the end, never quite faces up to it (although I suppose she faced up to it for much of the novel, a large part of her sadness and flight). In the end, when Lily asks T. Ray if she really did kill her mother, standing there in the driveway as he is ready to say goodbye forever, T. Ray tells her honestly that she did: "Maybe he was telling me the truth, but you could never know a hundred percent with T. Ray" (299). So she is still hanging on to that little bit of possibility, and I guess maybe that's how someone could survive emotionally intact.

Nov 7, 2004

A Private State, stories by Charlotte Bacon

I am a blubbering idiot in the face of this woman's writing. I am reduced to gasping in awe, to quoting huge passages verbatim, or quick small lines. These stories are amazing. Simply amazing. More character in three lines than in a whole Dan Brown, ie: "But Mrs. Prichard can't remember the last time she turned down a chance to get mad: she's a woman who writes letters to congressmen. A woman who picks up trash on the street and puts it in bins . . ." (from Mrs. Pritchard and Mr. Watson) or "Last fall, her husband Frank Marten, a veterinarian who hunts, began renting across town." (from Live Free or Die). A veterinarian who hunts - what succinct description of this man! And place, and small detail, and human emotion. She never puts a beautiful face on the ugly, never pretends there is an easy clean answer. Almost every story ends abrubtly, but as it is meant to do. There are no neat packages here. We understand these characters have been there before we arrived, and will go on, in their bumbling stumbling way, after we've gone. And we're left holding our breath, that reaction to supreme beauty, that waiting for the ordinary so we remember to breath.

Nov 3, 2004

Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood, Benjamin Alire Saenz

Just finished the book of the above title (available in WHS library). Set in a really really small town in New Mexico, back in the late 60s, very Hispanic. I was worried it was going to be dated, but it wasn't at all. The mix of English and Spanish was ok most of the time (I'm not really up on my Spanish slang), occassionally I got a bit lost but I just let it roll. For a while I wasn't really into this book - sooo depressing - but toward the end I ate it up. I really appreciated the characters, the complexities, how certain situations didn't resolve themselves - just like real life. For example, when Sammy and his friend stop the gay guys from getting killed, but then the friend isn't sure he did the right thing. How crazy, in my view, but how reflective of how inflexible and complicated things can be.

In the beginning . ..

This is the beginning of a great experiment - a book club online! This is a space to talk about books we have read, ask questions, bring up issues, and in other ways share our love of reading.