Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan ****

Obviously an older book (it came out 20 years ago now), I'd never read it even though I'd heard about it a lot. It was a well written book with interesting characters, & I felt particular empathy for Jing-mei Woo, one of the daughters. I think the reason I don't give it 5 stars is because of the way it made me feel--the competitiveness of the 4 mothers & using their daughters as an extension of that. I've felt that way myself, especially like Jing-mei, who didn't live a life worthy of boasting about. Her mediocre job, failed marriage, & the way she was confused about what she wanted in this life made her feel very inadequate compared to the other 3 daughters. For me, her story was the best part because she was a very real person who doesn't know her own strength & may never have to.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale *****

Though this book is written for the teen & pre-teen bunch, I found it on a blog that had a bunch of recommended books for adults. So I gave it a whirl. It was great! It's basically the retelling of a fairy tale, done in a way that makes sense to adults. The author did a great job with the characters & it was an overall wonderful read.

Another author that does a great job retelling a classic story is Mary Renault. She's done a trilogy of books based on the myth of Theseus, & they are magnificent! It is amazing how she made something like the Minotaur, a monster that's half-man & half-bull, into someone who could actually have existed. In fact, it's hard not to come away from her books with the idea that she has somehow figured out how myth is made--where reality is turned into something unreal simply by the unique coincidences that occur once in a lifetime.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

True Evil by Greg Iles ***

Yes, another book by him! I got both of them at the same time. I need to take them back to work & leave them on the break room table...

Anyway, it was better than Turning Angel, but not by a whole lot. I guess I'm a sucker for a flawed hero, & the main heroine just didn't do it for me. Yes, she'd made mistakes in the past. But she kept getting out of impossible jams, & it got old.

The suspense was good, which of course means I finished it in a timely manner. But over all, it was just OK. I gave it 3 stars since I'd given Turning Angel 2, but now I'm thinking I should have given TA 1. Ha! Second guessing myself even in my own rating system!