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Showing posts from March, 2014

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

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Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

Budo is Max’s imaginary friend. He looks like a real person, unlike most imaginary friends, and he is the oldest imaginary friend, at 5 years old, that he knows of. That’s because Max is different and he needs a friend like Budo. Max doesn’t have any friends. He doesn’t talk a lot, look people in the eye, understand sarcasm or many social cues. But he understands Budo. When Max leaves with Mrs. Patterson, one of the teachers that works with Max in the Learning Center at his school, Budo is the one who has to save him because no one else knows the truth behind Max’s disappearance at school. Budo knows Max is alive because he, Budo, still exists. But he doesn’t know what will happen once he rescues Max. Max may not need Budo anymore and if he doesn’t then Budo will disappear, like all imaginary friends must, when their friend no longer believes. That’s a risk Budo will take to save his imaginary friend. Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend was a …

Banned Books: As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

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 As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

It would be a few days journey in the wagon to take Addie Bundren to Jefferson from Yoknapatawapha County once she passes away. The family has been preparing for the journey since she fell ill. Days have passed, death is imminent and you can hear the coffin being built. Anse, her husband, has promised to take her back to her home town. All of her children, most of whom are grown, are ready to take the journey with their father. But when she passes away and the rain begins to fall, the journey becomes more dangerous and tiresome than they expected. Tempers flare, emotions are spent, words are exchanged and what was supposed to be a going home trip becomes much more. As I Lay Dying is a captivating novel that examines a family’s emotional mindset after the death of their matriarch. The narrators changed throughout the novel, allowing everyone’s point of view to be seen, including some of the townsmen they come across throughout the journey. There was a…

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb

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She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

Here we have Dolores Price and her life.  See her at four when she watches TV for the first time. She rides her bike with friends at ten. By thirteen she’s fantasizing about men. At seventeen she is two hundred and fifty seven pounds. She has no respect for anyone, hates high school and doesn’t want to go to college. She has horrible relationships with her parents and absolute no use for authority figures. Dolores is willing to blame everyone but herself for everything that’s gone wrong in her life and isn’t sure what adulthood will bring. And this as they say is just the tip of the iceberg.  As she looks to her future, she still makes rash and hurried decisions that truly lead to her undoing.                 This novel didn’t pull me in right away. The storyline took awhile to really take shape to me. Dolores and her family seemed like an average 1960’s family, everything wasn’t perfect and you had a feeling something was off but nothing horribly out of…

Banned Books: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

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A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Fifteen year old Alex is well known in the streets of London, him and his Droogs, who terrorize any and everyone. Fighting, stealing, bullying, raping, and drinking is all in a nights work. No worries for these teens who do as they please. Alex’s parents swallow the lies he tells about working nights. His Post –Corrective Advisor is well aware that he has been running the streets but knows he is helpless in stopping him. These droogs feel like the night is theirs for the taking. Until Little Alex finds himself in prison for murder. Life inside those walls are much different from the care-free life he has been living. There they try to cure him of his violent ways and thoughts. Sickness overwhelms him whenever he thinks of rape, murder, and fighting. Imagining doing wrong after the treatments he has been subjected to, sends his mind and body into turmoil. In order to return to society he must be purged of the urges to commit crimes. He has no choice…

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The day Theo Decker lost his mother in an attack on a New York Museum, he saw “The Goldfinch” a painting by Carel Fabritius, for the first time. It was also the day he stuffed it in his backpack and kept it for years. It was his mother’s favorite painting and as much as he wanted to return it, he couldn’t. It reminded him too much of his mother, of his loss, of his pain and of how much things had changed. As he aged, he felt his life in many ways was defined by possessing the painting, as illegal as that maybe. “The Goldfinch” was with him as he lived with an acquaintance from school, travelled to Las Vegas to move in with his father and eventually with Hobart, back in New York, who lost his partner in the same attack that took the life of Theo’s mother. Theo changed and yet his dedication to the painting of the little bird in a chain never wavered. The Goldfinch is the coming of age story of Theo. With Theo as our narrator we are able to see his ups and dow…

Banned Books: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

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For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Robert Jordan fell in love in the mountains of Spain. As part of the International Brigades he was sent to an antifascist guerilla unit to blow up a bridge. Maria was with the guerillas after being rescued from the fascist. The emotions were real and wholly unexpected between the two. Their days together were few and filled with mission planning, fear, scouting and a thirst to know one another. We live through their days together and learn of the plight of the guerillas and the International Brigades in their fight against the fascist.                 There is no denying that Hemingway is a great writer, who is able to add passion and beautiful details to any scene. In For Whom the Bell Tolls we see Hemingway at his best. The story of love in the middle of the battlefield isn’t completely unexpected from Hemingway but the situation provides one fraught with danger, where love is the last thing anyone was hoping to find. Death is too near in t…

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

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Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Molly has been to a dozen foster homes in 9 years since the loss of her father and the destruction of her mother. Shy in nature and a loner by choice she has never had many friends and doesn’t feel at all understood. After being sentenced to fifty community service hours for stealing, she meets Vivian, a ninety one year old retired woman who lives alone in a fourteen bedroom mansion. Molly’s mission is to spend her community service hours cleaning out the old woman’s attic and then figure out what she will do in nine months when she turns eighteen and is no longer a part of the foster care system. But as she goes through each box in the attic with Vivian, who doesn’t seem very interested in changing anything in the attic, the history of each item comes to life. Vivian begins to tell her life story and how she went from being Niamh, the young Irish orphan, on a train from New York to the Midwest in hopes of finding a family, to the wealthy woman she…

Banned Books: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

                Holden Caulfield just failed all but one of his classes and is being expelled from yet another school. But he has no remorse. Why? Because he hates the phonies. Can’t stand them, doesn’t understand them and doesn’t want to be around them. So he deliberately cuts class, doesn’t study and eventually gets kicked out, of all the schools he’s attended. As he wanders through the streets of New York, trying to decide when he should return to his home and the anger of his parents, he reflects and observes the people he has had in his life. In his mind, every encounter affirms his beliefs. It’s not him, it’s them.                 There is something about The Catcher in the Rye that sticks with people. I remember reading this book in high school and being able to relate to the angst-filled dialogue, the analyzing of others behavior and the belief that I alone was different. This novel affirms that everyone goes through a phase, not to the e…