Posts filed under elora reads

such a pretty girl

We wait to be rescued, but for whatever reason, no one comes. We figure that if no one protects us then we must not be worth protecting so we become prey and are easily picked off. Our wounded, kicked-puppy gazes attract sly predators and we sell ourselves for clearance sale prices, mistaking screwing for caring. We binge, purge, sleep around. We drink too much and get too high, anything to blot out the past. We accept and endure beatings and humiliations because our fathers, our uncles, and our mothers' twisted boyfriends said they loved us, too...

This book is not an easy read. Well, scratch that. It's incredibly riveting - I read the whole thing, cover to cover, in less than three hours. You want to finish the book because then that means there is some type of closure for this poor 15 year old girl. You just hope it ends well.

But, despite the brevity - despite the quickness of the read - this work is absolutely wrenching. It takes place in an obscure town, torn apart by an incredible scandal involving a father, young boys, and his daughter. The daughter has been promised nine years without her father's touch, and because of good behavior in prison, her father has been released in three years. It's first person, so from the very first sentence the narrator, Meredith, pulls you into her life with one fell swoop.  She is 15 years old, with experiences under her belt most 50 year olds would cave under - but her strength pulls her through some of the most disgusting situations. Wiess' ability to completely capture the monster within her father is breathtaking, and incredibly repulsive. Because of that characterization, I would definitely limit who reads the book - I don't suggest it for anybody under 13.

I connected with Meredith. I wanted to taker her in & protect her - share love with her & show her how precious she really is. This is what made the book a hard read. Because to me, Meredith is so not fictional. I see her walk into my classroom every day. I mentor her & hear her gut-wrenching stories of being torn at the expense of someone else's crude desire. I've wiped her tears & shielded her from her own anger. So reading this story was difficult, to say the least. For this very reason, this book needs to be read - for others to see the utter brutality of child abuse & the hope of a new beginning, even in the face of such a monster.

Posted on June 10, 2009 and filed under books, elora reads.

everything is illuminated


I finished this book a couple minutes ago & I am still reeling from the shifts of intensity Foer manages to incorporate into his writing. Needless to say, this is a great read. I didn't really know much about this book going into it, and because of that, I think I was a bit confused at times. Well, that & the fact I started reading the book about three months ago, got busy and had to put it down, forgot about it, read other books, found it while moving & decided to pick it back up again. Note to readers: don't do this. Overall, despite my complete lack of respect for continuity of characterization, I loved the narrator, Sasha. He offers humor, honesty, and complete & utter heartbreak in the span of the novel's pages. I'm serious. There's not many books which make me laugh AND cry...but this has definitely been one of them.

If you choose to read this book (and you should), there are a few things you need to know. This is not your average plot. Jonathan is writing the books & Sasha is translating & Sasha & Jonathan are traveling together & getting translations skewed & Sasha is writing to Jonathan in his stilted good & witty. I appreciated this as a writer myself. Epistolary novels are rare, so I loved the added transactions between Jonathan & Sasha, albeit a bit one sided. If you aren't paying attention however, this style easily brings on some confusion because of the narrative shifts. You get use to this-I promise. Soon the nuances of language endears you to the characters.

Also, this book is not rated PG. If you are in any way caught blushing or sweating a little because of scenes that become slightly risque, then there will be a few pages you will need to flip over, but don't be surprised...and keep reading. Because, the jewel of this book is in the end. My literary mind was seriously going on sensory overload because of everything happening....syntactical changes dealing with emotional urgency, historical fiction dealing with the atrocities of the Holocaust, and plot twists that could have anyone reeling.

I can't really say much about the novel itself, because I don't want to give anything away. However. Foer does an incredible job pointing out that some ghosts hide beneath our eyelids & just won't let us go. It's the raw poignancy of the story behind this idea which sticks with you. Definitely, definitely pick up this book. Or at least add it to your list.

Favorite quote:

Try to live so that you can always tell the truth...

Posted on June 7, 2009 and filed under elora reads.