Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Year of Magical Thinking (sans magical writing)

The Year of Magical Thinking The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
So many people have raved about this book, and it won awards so though memoirs are not my usual genre, I thought I would really enjoy it. Boy, was I wrong.

The author is a writer and so was her husband of 40 years. Her writing is excellent, well researched points of view, etc. But as far as being engaged in the story or caring about the characters? Nada.

Perhaps if I had been touched by tragedy and death I would be able to understand and appreciate the authors POV. Until then, I'll stick to fiction.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Certain Slant of Light

A Certain Slant of Light A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
The premise of the book intrigued me-could the undead really have soulmates? The story line from the book jacket:

Someone was looking at me, a disturing sensation if you're dead. I was with my teacher, Mr Brown. As usual, we were in our classroom, that safe and wooden-walled box - the windows opening onto the grassy field to the west, the fading flag standing in the chalk dusty corner, the television set mounted above the bulletin board like a sleeping eye, and Mr Brown's princely table keeping watch over a regimen of student desks.

That "someone" was Billy, a spirit inside a living person's body. This novel is an interesting and original ghost story that kept me rooting for the main character, Helen, who has haunted her live hosts without contact for over a hundred years. I literally could not put this book down last night until I finished it to find out what happened to Helen as Jenny and James as Billy.

Unfortunately, the end was rather anticlimactic. I ended up reading it twice to make sure I wasn't just tired, but alas... the end lacked the substance that kept the pages moving. The passion in the relationship when Helen was living her life in Jenny's body led to an end I felt somewhat cheated by. Helen and James got to live happily ever after in 400 words or less. There were far too little answers on what happened to the bodies they had been inhabiting while falling in love, their perfect spirit love was rather boring. I felt cheated as this had such wonderful possibilities. It got me wondering whether the editor got tired and let the last few pages go, as the producer did in nearly all of Steven King's movies.

A good, somewhat "light" YA novel with a lot of mature themes not suitable for your little sister.

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