Friday, April 20, 2012

Boy A, by Jonathan Trigell

Boy ABoy A by Jonathan Trigell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wish I could find a way to adequately convey my love for this book without sounding like a gushing groupie. But, I can't, so I'll soldier on with my groupie flag flying.

What can I say other than this book is amazing. I can't begin to say how amazing it is in a short review, and I'm a fair hand at wordplay. I'll do my inadequate best.

Trigell takes the story of Jack, a newly-released-from prison, twenty-something convicted child murderer--as in, he was a child when convicted of murder (the victim was also a child) and makes you wallow in it. He takes you into the mind of Jack and makes you love him. He takes you to the slimy, dark, gritty underbelly of English society and makes you lie on your back and lick it. You can't help but do what he wants as he weaves the story through the minds of various characters, crafting a perfectly plotted, perfectly paced, perfectly terrible story of attempted redemption. As you slough along towards the inevitable conclusion, you know what's coming, but you breathlessly keep reading, wanting to look away but utterly unable. Such is the hypnotic control Trigell masters in this artfully honed masterpiece of suspense. As difficult as it must be to create such tension in a book where from the start you know almost without doubt of the story's outcome, Trigell does it, and does it well.

Although his writing style is more gritty than poetic, Trigell can turn a phrase with beauty and almost magical precision. I can't count the number of times I had to stop and savor a sentence and wish ardently that I could weave words together with such breathtaking rightness. Because each of these sentences shows craft and a kind of heartrending accuracy. You find yourself thinking simultaneously that you'd never think to put words together in that way and that it's the exact way they were created to fit together.

In short, from the first words this book grabs you by the throat like a vicious, one-eyed mangy dog with oozing pustules and shakes you senseless until the last breathtaking sentence.

Although I can't recommend it to everyone due to its graphic nature, I wish I could.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Godless, by Pete Hautman

GodlessGodless by Pete Hautman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was very clever and thought-provoking without ever crossing over into that territory where I feel like an author is patting himself on the back the whole time he's writing, thinking "I'm SOOO smart to think of this." No, Godless is smart and funny without being arrogant. I enjoyed reading it very much, and it's a book I will recommend to readers as well as writers as being an example of great writing. The author does an amazing job at showing (rather than telling) everything from the characters' social status to their beliefs. It's also a thought-provoking exploration of finding and losing faith. It might make you uncomfortable or make you question your beliefs, but in the best possible way. After all, if you're not willing to question and examine your beliefs, how strong can they be?

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blogger Awards

Hey fellow readers!

As many of you know, I spend an inordinate amount of time on Goodreads. My blog is now up for an Independent Book Bloggers award. If you have a Goodreads account, please take a moment to click on the 'VOTE' button on the right side of my blog. There are lots of wonderful blogs up for awards, so make sure to check them out if you  have time. Thanks so much for your support and for reading my blog!

Have a great day.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a WallflowerThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

This was one of the strangest books I've read in a long time, maybe ever. At first, the start of it didn't suck me in and I didn't know about reading a book written entirely as a series of letters because I don't normally like those gimmicky formats. Usually it seems like those things are used to prop up weak plots, so I put down the book for almost a month. I found it again last week and thought I'd give it another shot since I had heard so many good things about it. I am so glad I did.

This book was so unique and quirky, but not enough to irritate me. It never tried too hard. It managed to be funny and moving and wonderful all at once. Charlie had such a strange voice and he was such an odd character that I kept wondering if he has Asperger's. It took me a bit to get into the flow of the story because of the odd way he articulated everything. But I was already absorbed into the plot, and pretty soon I got used to his voice. Then it got weird because he reminded me of this guy I knew who was mentally insane and talked *exactly* like Charlie thinks. So I started wondering if Charlie was crazy.

This book is probably best for older teens as it has a lot of disturbing themes, including rape, incest, child molestation, underage sex, drinking, drug use, domestic violence, etc, and how often people are passive to these things or stay with (and love) the person perpetrating the abuse. It deals a lot with passivity to life in general. There are also lots of homosexual scenes that some people would not be comfortable reading. The book has lots of bad language and is a very sexualized account of this boy's life and experiences. While the sex isn't described in a titillating way, it is pretty graphic in terms of what goes where, what exactly is happening, who is in what positions, etc.

I must also warn that this book is extremely absorbing and written from the perspective of a child with psychological problems. Sometimes while reading, it made me feel a little like I was losing it. To me, that is a sign of a great book, being able to draw the reader in so thoroughly. My only complaint was that the surprise at the end seemed unnecessary, and I would have liked a more internal explanation for Charlies problems, since he was such an internally focused person.

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