Cute, inspiring story about a boy who does not like poetry and ends up writing poetry, with the encouragement of his teacher. I liked it, but I don't think children would appreciate it as much as adults (more specifically, teachers). But, it is a good quick read that children could read in one shot. Also, I loved that the poems discussed in the story are included in the back of the book.
Honestly, I expected more from this book. I can't put my finger on what bugs me about it, but there is something lacking (in my humble opinion). It did get better towards the end, though. Perhaps I am too old for this book because children seem to love it.
Abortion, divorce, environmentalism, Canadian-American relationships, sexism – oh my! This list of difficult issues is tackled in Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing, which is about a woman who searches for her lost father in northern Quebec, along with her boyfriend (Joe) and a married couple (David and Anna). These subjects may seem a bit overwhelming for one novel, but Surfacing handles these issues (and more) very well. The unnamed narrator is deeply affected by these problems of twentieth-century society, and the novel’s messages are not lost on a twenty-first century reader. I don’t know how good of a strategy this is, but when I read novels, I like to be able to say to myself that ‘character X is a good/bad person’. I just find that the characters are typically more memorable when I can label them according to how their morals and intentions compare to my values. It was easy for me to do this with characters like David (who I found despicable, yet entertaining), and Anna (who I felt sorry for, while I also wanted to knock some sense into her). The reader feels like he or she knows where David and Anna are coming from, even though the novel is a first-person narrative. On the other hand, Atwood skilfully kept Joe, and his relationship with the narrator, a little mysterious. Joe’s intentions were never clear, and the narrator kept waiting for him to physically hurt her, but he never did. Although such vagueness about an important character would normally annoy me, I enjoyed the vagueness of Joe. The first-person narration means that every insight about Joe depicts the narrator’s numbness to love. Atwood uses Joe as a vehicle for the reader to learn about the narrator, and Joe never really becomes more than ‘the narrator’s boyfriend’, but he does play a major role in the narrator’s transformation. One aspect of the novel that I thought was very interesting was the Canadian view of Americans. Atwood seems to have grasped the love/hate relationship that Canadians feel towards our neighbours to the south. With the huge differences in population size, it is understandable that Canadians feel threatened by American society, and are therefore critical of it. In Surfacing, Americans are represented as polluting, careless killers who will do anything to get what they want: “Are the Americans worse than Hitler?” (129). David is especially vocal about his distaste for Americans, calling them things like “rotten capitalist bastards” (12). But, the irony in David’s character is how much he is actually like the Americans he hates so much. Besides the fact that he loves baseball (the American past-time), he seems to treat his wife Anna the same way the Americans abuse the Canadian environment; they take advantage of it for their own leisure without regard for the damage they are causing. Many people would probably call Surfacing a feminist novel, but I think that Atwood gets even deeper than that. She seems to be commenting on what it means to be human, not just a female human. This comes from the narrator’s understanding of nature, which I would say is the main reason to read this novel. The narrator does not accept the roles for women in society, but she does not seem to accept society in general, either. Having grown up in northern Quebec, the narrator connects to the natural world better than any city or suburban person ever can. It is this connection that makes her critical of people’s place in the world, which is seen in her views on animals, surviving in the woods, and environmental exploitation. The narrator’s insight may make you want to pack just the essentials, and head off into the wilderness! Overall, Surfacing is a psychological exploration of a woman’s search for her place in the world. While the serious issues in this novel are not too heavy, they will make the reader go into deep thought about the major problems presented. I have heard that Atwood’s newer works are much better than her earlier stuff. I don’t know if that means people typically do not enjoy Surfacing or they just really love her later works, but in my case, I know I will definitely be checking out more titles by Atwood since I really enjoyed Surfacing. How could her writing get better?
I found it difficult to get into this book at first because the subject matter is so disturbing. I started off reading just a few pages at a time and having to put down the book for a few days. I didn’t feel like being depressed and uneasy around Christmas…However, I would say the first half of the book is the worst, in terms of squeamish stuff. What makes you want to read the book is Gemma’s attitude. I could not imagine being in her situation at all, but if I were, I don’t think I’d be able to handle it as well as she does. She certainly is amazing. There are a few things about the book that bothered me – the constant reference to God, Gemma’s voice (which sometimes seemed really hill billy-ish (if you know what I mean), and other times, she used impressive vocabulary that didn’t seem to fit), and the predictability of the plot. I am happy to say that these things did not ruin the book for me. I still found it very interesting. This book is good for anyone who thinks they can handle the graphic nature of the book. The book not only goes into detail with the rape scenes, but also uses a lot of vulgar language. If you think you can handle it, I suggest you read this book because it is important to realise that this stuff actually happens (the author herself was abused by 4 different men). We can't forget/ignore that.
This story changes settings and characters very often, yet I was never once confused over time, place, or character. Just as the story’s context changes rapidly, so too did my emotions. I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster reading this book (in a good way)! I felt the characters’ joy and pain right along with them. I sympathized with Aruna even though I was also frustrated with her at times (at the same time, I would feel guilty for feeling angry at her because she suffers from a mental issue). The plot takes an unexpected turn at one point, and from then on, you are drawn in, trying to figure out what will happen next. You don’t know whether to cringe or to smile.Overall, I recommend it! It's well written, but still an easy read. I will definitely check out more books by Roopa Farooki.
I don't really know what I think about this book. There were quite a few parts of the book that I liked, but overall, it didn't move me. I did sympathize for Kitty (a little). I think we should've gotten to know her brothers and James a little bit better. Also, I thought there would be more of an emphasis on colour...Overall, I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it, and I'm glad I did, but don't expect it to be 'astonishing'.
This book is interesting in that you get to see what daily life is like in Afghanistan under the Taliban. However, the story itself was rather plain. I guess this may be very intriguing to children since the topic will shock them and the writing is simple. It is not recommended to squeamish kids.
What can I say? I don't usually read chick lit, but the premise of this book appealed to me. Who doesn't love the intrigue of the one who got away? This is a typical girly book, full of sentiment and stereotypical characters. However, I appreciated the fact that the main character, Ellen, was not one of those materialistic, self-centred protagonists typical of chick lit. Overall, I would definitely recommend this quick read to lovers of chick lit, or someone who needs a light summer, looking to escape for a while.