Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Hour I first Believed

I hadn't read anything by Wally Lamb before this one and had no idea what to expect. There's always that little bit of anticipation with a new author. Will I love the book or despise it? So I was excited to get into it but that excitement didn't last long at all. Even just flipping through the book I could see several strong expletives. I read about 25 pages and then had had enough. Strong expletives and adult situations make this one rated R. Because the books deals with the tragedy at Columbine, I would assume that there is lots of violence and after getting to know the main character a little, I would assume that there are explicit sex scenes as well.
The book is written in first person, the main character being a teacher dealing with anger management issues. He and his wife move to Colorado from Connecticut to try to connect with her family and they both get jobs at Columbine High School. I didn't get any further in the book than that but the blurb on the jacket indicates that she is caught in the crossfire of the rampage. They end up moving back to Connecticut where she grapples with her sanity and he discovers old family secrets.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Christmas Sweater

"When you choose the path, you choose the destination"

"Sometimes the gift you want most is right in front of you, but you have to get out of your own way to receive it."

After I read this book, the main themes of it kept popping up at me, seemingly every where I looked. I read Richard Paul Evans new book "Grace" just after this one and it has a similar theme. I watched "It's a Wonderful Life", "Scrooge", and "The Family Man" again all with a similar theme! It being Christmas, I guess those introspective thoughts tend to be on people's minds unless they are still stuck in the commercialism of the season (which is actually another theme in the book).
I know of Glenn Beck as a tv talk show host so when I saw that he had written a novel I was a bit skeptical about his fiction-writing abilities. I thought, okay so maybe he has written a decent story, something to enjoy and then forget about. I did enjoy the story in this, but I didn't forget about it. It stayed with me for quite a while, and I even had to go back and read it again, something I don't usually do until years later. The book was well-written and the main character was flawed but likable, just like most 12 year old boys are. He wanted to have what everyone else had-a Huffy bike-and I am sure he was aware of their difficult financial situation but somehow he believed that because he felt he deserved it, he would get it somehow. When all he got was a homemade sweater he is upset. He feels that God has let him down. He doesn't see how much his mother put into the sweater and how hurt she is by his attitude. He is a typical self-centered young teen who just doesn't appreciate the gift.
There are a lot of surprises in the book so I don't want to say much more about it. I heartily recommend this book. I would rate it G.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sundays at Tiffany's

I picked this up at the library thinking that it might be a quick fun read, fluffy but fun, until I get some of the bestsellers I want to review. James Patterson has a book on the bestseller list and I thought that this would be a good substitute for now. It seemed like a sweet story at first, something that would be appropriate for young teens, and had an interesting premise-an imaginary friend that becomes real many years later. Then I read page 108 with a paragraph with 3 f-words in it. After that it all goes downhill. The story line becomes more contrived and stilted and there are more f-words and other obscenities as well as an inappropriate sex scene. What a disappointment! If he had just cleaned it up it would have been a nice story for teens even if it is too simplistic for adults. As it is, I can't recommend it for anyone. What a waste of paper!