31 January 2012

january reviews

This took way longer than planned. For that, I apologize.

I got the final kick in the pants when a friend emailed me about "The Story of Beautiful Girl" and I realized I needed to get this review up. 
My mom was reading this book and I assumed, incorrectly, that I wouldn't like it if my mom was interested in it. We have totally opposite opinions on books. Completely opposite. She's stopped asking to borrow my books because she says that I don't have "her kinds" of books. Whatever, Mom. 
But. The Story of Beautiful Girl is a book we both agree on. (Actually, now that I think about it, my mom & I read all three of the books I will be reviewing for January. I guess our taste in books isn't so different...) 

I really loved this book. I hesitated to type those words because there is so rarely a book that I don't like (there IS one that is coming for February that will get a poor review, I promise). How to go about reviewing this book without telling everything? The story opens on a dark and story night. Novel gold, if ever there was. Martha Zimmer, a retired school teacher, widow, and almost complete loner opens the door to her farm house to a rain soaked Lynnie and Homan, escapees from the Pennsylvania State School for the Incurable and Feebleminded. Wrapped in stained and rain-soaked rags is a newborn baby. 
The book breaks into three different story lines, following how Martha, Lynnie and Homan's lives change after their fateful night in the rain.
I feel like I'm leaving out so much in my description here, but I don't want to give it away! It is a story of love, choices, hope and chasing love wherever it takes you. 
Some of you might recognize the author, Rachel Simon, from her first novel "Riding the Bus with my Sister."  I haven't read or seen the movie based on the book, but if it is anything like "Beautiful Girl," I'll have to put it on my list.

I am NOT going to apologize for this, however: run, do not walk, to your nearest book place and pick up The Help by Kathryn Stockette. Seriously. There is hardly much more I can say about this book. I have heard some reviews about the book, commenting that it is just one more book by a white woman trying to understand and explain the life of black women. I don't know how I feel about that. I know it was written truthfully. My mom got the book that Stockette used for research and she was amazed by some of the stories. Will we ever really get the true and honest stories? Maybe. Maybe not. But the stories that are out there, if they contain even mostly truth, they are shocking and eye-opening. Just like The Help. And maybe after you read it, I can have Minny bake her famous Chocolate Pie so we can chat about the story.

The last book I read in January (and finished right under the wire!) was The Vow by Kim and Krickett Carpenter. I am very excited to see the movie that is coming out the end of this week (Channing Tatum. Need I say more?) and like the good book reader that I am, wanted to finish the book before the movie. 

I wish I had nothing but good things to say about this book. The story is romantic, sad and everything in between. Kim & Krickett Carpenter were married three months before a horrible car accident changed their lives forever. While Kim (the husband) had pretty serious injuries, his wife suffered much more. Krickett came out of her comma missing the last year and a half of her memories. Unfortunately for Kim, that year and a half included the first time they met and the romance that led them to their marriage. 
All of that said, I had trouble reading this book. I was looking at it like a novel. For a novel, the writing is poor, unclear at times and not very good at drawing the reader in. BUT. (And it took me a while to realize this.) It isn't a novel. It isn't fiction. It is written by the man who found the love of his life, lost her in a car accident and kept loving her. Even through her bad days, days when he could have given up and left, he stayed by her side. And that makes it worth it in the end.
*Update* I finally got to see the movie! And sadly, I was not impressed. So much of the story had undergone changes, as I expected Hollywood to do, that it was hardly recognizable. 

Well, I'm sorry this is so late. I really am. And I realize that now I'm three months behind. I hope you have no high expectations for the upcoming posts. I am looking forward to sharing with you what I've been reading. 

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