Sunday, July 26, 2015
Bossypants by Tina Fey
What would you like to know about Tina Fay? Would you like to know about her dreams and aspirations? Would you like to know about her childhood woes and life as a young girl? What about high school, friends and relationships? Well, you’ll get it here but I’m not sure if it will be what you expected. This comedian takes her life and in a very entertaining way tells her story. You do learn about her life and the experiences that brought her into the position that she is in today: a successful writer, producer and director. Tina also talks about her family and what it is like to be a working mother. But it’s lighthearted and hilarious. I’m not sure if it will be to everyone’s taste but I found it entertaining.
Personally, I guffawed (I love that word) often while reading Tina’s story. I was in the mood for something fresh, funny, and easy to read. Check. Check. Check. I picked this book up, dived right in and giggled throughout. Tina Fey is a comedian and so much more. This book is a reflection of her comedic genius. She shows her chops as a writer throughout these pages and I enjoyed it. I would recommend it if you are in the mood to laugh with (and at) the author. I give this 4 out of 5 stars. Was it perfect? No, not at all. But I liked that she was able to convey her story and make me laugh.
Rod: The Autobiography by Rod Stewart
The opening pages of this autobiography were written in such a hilarious form that I knew instantly that I was going to enjoy this book. When Rod Stewart announced in the first paragraph of the first chapter that he knew he was a mistake because his parents were “forty two and thirty nine with four children to feed, the youngest of them already ten” I laughed. Then he took it further to justify these feelings by also announcing that his birth happened during World War II, though near the end. Rod Stewart set the stage early on that he was going to make fun of himself, many of his situations and be honest. He was all of those things throughout the pages, which takes us through his untimely birth, his youth in London, his many trials and tribulations with bands, his solo careers and his marriages, turbulent as they may have been.
The best ways to describe this autobiography: witty, hilarious, well written, intriguing, without a dull moment. The best ways to describe Rod Stewart: an unadulterated, philandering mess, with poufy hair, an unwavering love of Scottish football, a sense of adventure and an ability to perform his heart out in front of the crowd. I like Rod Stewart and I said all those things in a light hearted and joyous fashion. His autobiography gave me the opportunity to understand Rod Stewart. He didn’t hold back many details about his rise in the music industry, his image (to the point where he went into painstaking detail about how he created his trademark hair), his marriages (all three), his issues with being faithful, and how hard it was for him to be a father while also being a touring artist. Rod described the rise and fall of the bands that helped him along the way, his relationship with other artist like Elton John and what it felt like to receive a CBE from the Queen. I really enjoyed this autobiography and getting to know Rod Stewart. You can tell in his writing style that he had a story to tell and one he enjoyed telling. I give this novel 4 out of 5 stars. Definitely a recommendable read for any fan of music history.
Friday, July 10, 2015
The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen
Hannah never wanted to remember what happened to her grandparents and aunt when they were children in the Holocaust. Now that she is experiencing it for herself, she realizes that the memories are all they have. All of their possessions and many of their loved ones are all gone and all that remains are the things they can remember. Hannah isn’t sure how she ended up in a village in the 1940’s. She was (not really) enjoying the Passover Seder at her grandfather’s house when she opened the door for the prophet Elijah, per tradition, and found herself in Poland. People were calling her Chaya, her Hebrew name, and she could understand Yiddish. Hannah also understood when she saw the line of officers near a distant village that they were Nazi’s. The memories of her real life that she was clinging to forced her to warn the others of what was to come but they wouldn’t listen. It was too late. As Hannah was loaded into the trucks, and eventually into the box cars she realized the worst was yet to come.
The Devil’s Arithmetic is an emotional, captivating, young adult novel that handles with great sensitivity the horrors of the Holocaust. I honestly feel like children have a really hard time being empathetic towards traumatic events they have never experienced. Not all children, but Hannah definitely fits into that mold. Experiencing the Holocaust and the routine of horror that she does as Chaya in 1942 will forever change her view on life. She struggles throughout the novel with what version of her life is real, the one of the unnamed family or those that she is currently experiencing. It was an interesting internal dialogue. Hannah knows that millions of Jews die but how does she know that with such conviction? How can any of this be happening or any of it be real?
I really enjoyed this novel. It was heart wrenching, well written and appropriate for the age range it was intended for. Yolen wasn’t overly graphic with what occurred in a concentration camp but she was able to depict that is was a harsh reality. I was invested in the outcome of all the characters even though I knew there was no happily ever after to be had in this story. Yolen did a great job with creating a novel that could represent this horrific moment in history and divulge a great amount of emotion. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and would definitely recommend it. It’s intended for younger readers but I think everyone would enjoy it.
Sunday, July 5, 2015
The Sound of Glass by Karen White
When Merritt Heyward moved to South Carolina she was hoping to start a new life far away from her hometown in Maine. Her husband Cal was a fireman who had died on the job. His grandmother Edith had left him the home that had been in the Heyward family for generations. Since he was also deceased the home passed to Merritt, who had never been to South Carolina and didn’t know anything about Cal’s family. Moving to South Carolina would change Merritt and her outlook on life. Not just moving to a new home, meeting Cal’s brother Gibbes, and realizing a cycle of abuse. But meeting her half-brother, Owen and her stepmother Loralee, the woman who had damaged her relationship with her father.
The Sound of Glass is a well written, enjoyable, fascinating story about women, relationships, physical abuse and secrets. Merritt is the main character of this novel and she is shattered beyond belief. She blames herself for the death of her mother, she fractured her relationship with her father before his death and she had an abusive husband. Merritt is the POV character through most of the novel, with third person views of both Loralee and Edith. All of the female leads were well rounded characters with believable and interesting story arcs, with motivations that it took time to understand and who I genuinely liked.
Karen White did a pretty good job entrenching me in this story. From the beginning the emotions were heavy, the scars were obvious and there was a hint of mystery and scandal laced throughout. I enjoyed seeing the characters develop and their lives change. This novel was simply well executed. The plot slowly unfolded but didn’t drag. White handled a very painful topic in a very sensitive and yet honest manner. Some pains and cuts run very deep. It takes time for those wounds to heal. Sometimes the most unexpected situations can be exactly what you need to heal and grow. I would recommend this book and give it 4 out of 5 stars. This wouldn’t be a bad summer read at all!
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.