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Showing posts from July, 2016

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

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Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson



                I love it when words flow beautifully across the page. When the narrator is telling a story in a unique way, almost like a song, with a melody that flows and has entrancing rhythm. That’s what reading Brown Girl Dreaming was like. Each verse flowed. Each moment was eloquently described. Each passage was a memory and each memory was the story of childhood, race, family, the north and the south.                 In Brown Girl Dreaming Jacqueline Woodson tells her story of being a young black girl in 1960s and 1970s in the midst of the civil rights movement. She moved with her family from Ohio, to Greenville, South Carolina to New York City. Each location shed a different life on what life could be, how society viewed her and what was expected of her. It begins with the beginning of her life and the stories that were told to her of her own existence. It is simple in the way that stories are passed from ear to ear. In every way this …

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story by John Berendt (1994)

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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story by John Berendt


Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a story about the many different types of people living Savannah and the culture that existed in the 1980s. It was 1981 when Danny Hansford was shot three times by Jim Williams in the study of the Mercer Home. Berendt, the author and narrator of this story, had known Williams and had met Hansford before his untimely death. Berendt would live in Savannah part-time throughout the course of the many trials Williams resulting from the killing and William’s cry of self-defense. As much about the murder as it is about the culture and people of those living in Savannah at the time, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is an interesting look at life in southern Georgia.                 It took me a while to really get into this novel. I expected the story to focus more on the actual murder case and trial. Instead, the first hundred pages of the book focused on many outlying c…

The Client by John Grisham (1993)

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The Client by John Grisham

                Well, it isn’t every day you watch a man blow his brains out, after trying to stop him from committing suicide, and your little brother goes into shock. But it is a day that will change your life. Take Mark Sway for instance. He was an eleven year old boy, teaching his little brother how to smoke in the woods behind his trailer park, when a black car pulls up. He had no idea that Jerome Clifford was in the car. He had no idea that Clifford represented a mafia man accused of murdering a U.S. Senator. The last thing Mark ever thought would happen was Clifford telling him where the senator’s body was buried. But now Mark has the information that the District Attorney wants and the mafia is willing to kill for.                 I’m not going to sugar coat anything: this book was really damn good. I have never read a John Grisham book in my life (what a failure on my part) but I am glad this was the first. I know this story because I remember this m…

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

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Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

                When Ruth looked into the file of newborn Davis Bauer she saw the words “NO AFRICAN AMERICAN PERSONNEL TO CARE FOR THIS PATIENT.” That note wasn’t there that morning when she started her shift. That note was placed there after Ruth, the only African-American nurse in Labor and Delivery, checked on the patient that morning. Young Davis’s father Tuck demanded to talk to Ruth's supervisor and she was reassigned. Two days later the newborn goes into cardiac arrest while Ruth was the only nurse left to attend to him. Even though a code was called by Ruth’s supervisor, she was found doing nothing, only participating when instructed by her supervisor. Davis died and Tuck believes that Ruth is the reason why he is dead. Ruth loses her job, is arrested in the middle of the night and charged with murder. Kennedy is the public defender handed the case and she must find a way to prove Ruth’s innocence while not confronting the one issue that p…

Teacher Misery: Helicopter Parents, Special Snowflakes and Other Bullshit by Jane Morris

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Teacher Misery: Helicopter Parents, Special Snowflakes and Other Bullshit by Jane Morris

                If you are looking for a book that is going to sugarcoat how amazing it is to be a teacher then you might as well throw this book out of the window because this is not the book for you. But this is the book that people need to read to understand the climate of schools in this era. Classroom teachers are severely underappreciated and neglected. This book written by a teacher under the pseudonym of Jane Morris is a testament to the everyday struggles of teachers in public schools.                 Morris decided to separate this book into three different parts: Students, Parents and Administrators. Why you may ask? Because these are the three different elements that teachers have to deal with. Each part is equally depressing and distressing and you won’t want to believe any of it. Unfortunately I have enough experience working in classrooms to believe and acknowledge that the crazy she…

End of Watch by Stephen King

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End of Watch by Stephen King

                And here we are again with retired detective Bill Hodges and his partner Holly Gibney. Martine Stover, a woman who was paralyzed from the chest down after the massacre at the City Center is dead. It’s being ruled a murder-suicide. At least it looks that way. Her mother was found dead in the bathtub and it’s obvious she took her own life. But Pete, Hodges’s old partner called Bill for a reason. The situation doesn’t feel right. As the police officially closed their case, Hodges and Gibney begin their investigation and it leads them back to what should be a dead end, Brady Hartsfield. Hartsfield has been in the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic for years. The nurses call him a gork, the lights are on but nobody’s home. But Hodges had been hearing rumors about strange this happening around Hartsfield. Rumors about things moving, water faucets turning on, and blinds rattling when no one is there to move them. Now Hodges is being forced to believe th…

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx (1992)

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The Shipping News by Annie Proulx

                I’m not going to lie. This book was a struggle for me. From the very beginning of the novel I felt completely disconnected. I didn’t care for Proulx’s writing style. I didn’t care for the pace. I didn’t necessarily care for the plot. I’m saying all of this early on so you can understand why this review may have a very negative tone. The Shipping News is the story of Quoyle, whose philandering wife has stolen his kids and left him, leaving a hefty amount of debt and a note. She dies in a car accident and he is able to retrieve his kids around the same time his father and mother die. Quoyle then decides to move with his aunt and two children to the small town in Newfoundland where his family hails from. There he begins working for a newspaper.                 I think I understand what Proulx was trying to do: create a novel about an adult male and how he recovers from loss. The problem was she created a character that in my opinion was de…