Hello, everyone! The price of perfection is not a novel theme in literature, but through the lenses of innocence, sex, and parenthood, Megan Abbott’s newest novel You Will Know Me spins a tired premise into a tense, grim look at the world of competitive gymnastics. Though I took issue with the Abbott’s writing style, the book won me over in the end due to its frank take on the often exploitative relationship between parents and their champion children. In a youth-driven sport like gymnastics, kids become legends in their teens and fade only a few years later. Abbott’s novel pokes at this phenomenon by questioning the ethics of a sport that pushes kids to their physical limits in an often futile quest for stardom.
Hello, everyone! If you’re an avid reader, you’ve probably stumbled across the forked tongue beast of the book world: the overhyped novel. These books spread like wildfire across the nation, appearing on every book lover’s nightstand, even if it’s just to see what all the fuss is about. It’s the allure of the New York Times Best Sellers List that convinced me, two years after the initial publication, to give Paula Hawkins The Girl on the Train a try. So what do you get when you combine “the next Gone Girl” with two years of expectation? A healthy dose of disappointment.
Hello, everyone! I recently finished Emma Cline’s debut novel The Girls, a tale of one girl’s summer in a Manson-inspired cult which apparently sold for a cool $2 million advance. I gave up on reading books about bored, apathetic teenage girls around 9th grade, but I was suckered in by the punchy, cool-girl cover design. Readers, don’t be fooled. The Girls is a trashy teen lit book dressed up as a sophisticated thriller, mired with angst, female self-hatred, dangerously sexy older girls, and men so uniformly despicable that they belong in a treatise on misandry. The prose is entertaining, but overworked. Worst of all, the whole thing is tiresome. Everything from the plot to the characters to Evie’s individual thoughts have been done before. But Cline’s fatal flaw is in her protagonist: Evie is a Nick Carraway with no Gatsby to make up for it.
Hello, everyone! In summer you can usually find me curled up on the weekends, re-reading a book for the fourth or fifth time. This summer is no different and I’ve returned to one of my favorite authors, Lisa See, a Chinese-American author whose novels Peony in Love and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan reveal the lives of Chinese women during the 17th and 19th centuries, when they were cloistered in compounds, isolated and uneducated, and restricted by the morals of a strict, repressive Confucian society. See’s Shanghai Girls series jumps forward into the 20th century, yet still focuses on the lives and relationships of Chinese women as they move from China to the United States and back again. Although the protagonists Pearl, May and Joy may live in a more modern world than their peers in See’s other novels, See’s key theme remains the same: in a culture in which women are restricted in thought, behavior, and expression, the most important link between women can be faith in a shared secret life.
Hello, everyone! For my 100th blog post, I’m reviewing Revolutionary Road, a phenomenal book and a keystone in the suburban disillusionment genre, which includes icons like American Beauty and Mad Men. Chances are, if you’ve viewed either of these works, the fundamental themes and character beats in Richard Yate’s Revolutionary Road won’t be, well, revolutionary, but their timeliness and sincerity is what makes the novel a must-read. Looking back on the Fifties from our lofty pedestals, it’s clear to see the stifling role that traditional society played in the lives of young Americans, but writing this novel in the wave of traditionalism, Yates’ novel was an urgent voice against the dangers of complacency.
Hello, everyone! I want to start by apologizing for the massive screw up with gifs on my blog over the past 2 weeks. I didn’t realize that if I deleted gifs from my media library, they would also be deleted from the posts. That seems like something that shouldn’t need to happen, but anyway, PSA: do not delete images from your media library! Don’t do it! It took me five hours to fix everything. Again, I repeat, don’t do it! This has been a PSA.
Hello, everyone! I hope you’ve enjoyed your last few weeks of summer and are ready to dive into fall! Today I wanted to take a break from reviewing horror movies and talk about my favorite subject: crazy fairytales. I’ve read my “King Thrushbeards” and “The Goose Girl” and even “The Three Little Men in the Wood,” but while all of them are twisted, none quite hold a candle to the special act of cruelty embodied in the Grimm Brother’s tale “The Girl Without Hands.” Even the title is a doozy.
Hello, everyone! I’m off to college in a few weeks, so I’m trying to speed-read all of the books that I’ve checked out the from the library, about 7 in total. This summer I’m re-reading some joyful, light books and trying to catch up on a children’s classic. And in a few months I’ll be reading textbooks. Volumes and volumes of textbooks.
Hello, everyone! I decided to do a review on Watership Down, a wonderful book with a very misleading title. See, when I first heard of the book, I heard the “ship” and the “down” parts and assumed it was a book about naval warfare. Imagine my surprise when I learned it was about rabbits. As it happens, I’d take a book about rabbits over a book about naval warfare any day. Something about those endless maritime battles put me to sleep.
Hello, everyone! I got rid of the slider feature on my home page after I learned, through the interwebs, that no one really clicks on it. Well, I thought it was cool and I clicked on it a bunch of times. But alas, for you, dear readers, I have made the change. I hope you enjoy the grid format more than you enjoyed that misleadingly playful-looking slider feature.