The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon is about an Autistic boy named Christopher whose mother recently left his father and ran away with the neighbor’s husband. When the neighbor’s poodle ends up dead on the front lawn, Christopher takes it upon himself to be the neighborhood Sherlock Holmes and solve the mystery.
The story is less about Christopher’s autism and more about a child’s view of right and wrong. Christopher believes his mother is in the “hospital”. He insists on visiting her and his father tells him she is dead. Christopher is heartbroken and focuses all of his efforts on his crime solving novel regarding the neighbor’s poodle. He is told repeatedly to let go of the mystery of the dog’s death, but Christopher simply cannot sleep with a killer on the loose.
Christopher is enraged when he finds stacks of letters from his mother hidden under his father’s bed. All of the letters are to Christopher, telling him she’s alright and living with Mr. Shears (the neighbor’s husband). He confronts his father, who also owns up to the murder of the dog. Christopher is in a rage and runs away from home. He travels by train all alone to visit his mother and ends up sitting outside her house all day awaiting her arrival.
His mother returns and is so happy to see him! She cannot believe that Christopher’s father told him she was dead. Christopher is afraid of his father and ends up moving into an apartment with just his mother. His father is granted daily visits, but Christopher remains afraid of him.
The novel ends with Christopher’s father bringing him his very own puppy and allowing him to name it. He promises to work on mending his relationship with Christopher, no matter how long it takes.
I thought the story was interesting and new. There were slow parts where I definitely considered stopping, but I’m glad I finished the novel. The parents are trying to raise Christopher well despite their own relationship problems, but I really just did not like either of the parents. I think Christopher is the only character with his morals in the right place. Interesting novel, though not what I would call fun. Worth reading, but not a favorite!
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards was not what I was expecting. What’s the opposite of blown away? That’s what I was with this novel…
It’s the story of a man whose wife has twins, one of whom has down syndrome. He decides to give away his special needs daughter to an orphanage, but his nurse is taken with the child and adopts her as her own. As someone who dearly loves a young woman with special needs, I thought this story would be heartwarming and sweet.
It was just boring. Is that awful to say? I’m so surprised that it was a #1 NYTimes Bestseller. The story was far too slow for my liking and I just found myself disappointed. Not a recommended read.
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi is a young adult novel about a teenage girl whose touch is lethal. After accidentally murdering a young boy, Juliette finds herself in an asylum and that is fine by her. Juliette just wants to be left alone. Left alone she doesn’t harm anyone; left alone she can control her powers.
It may be a lonely life, but Juliette is happy knowing she is contained. UNTIL the prison puts another prisoner in her room. It is only a matter of time before she accidentally touches and harms the young man in the room with her. She recognizes the teenager immediately as a former school mate named Adam who was always kind to her. He doesn’t seem to recognize her and that is all the better for her. The less people who know how damaged she really is, the better.
And then everything falls away as Adam is revealed to be a soldier for an enemy militia. A militia with a leader, Warner, hell bent on using Juliette’s extreme powers to further his evil motives. Juliette will do anything to escape without harming anyone else.
The story was alright. It was different. I found the constant slashes through text unnecessary, but an interesting device from the writer. Not interested in continuing the series, although it wasn’t half bad. Two out of five stars for originality, content not engaging enough.
Holy Amazing Main Characters, Batman! Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi was such a wonderful surprise. I was expecting nothing more than my standard enjoyable, but not fantastic, young adult dystopia. What a wonderful way to start off your career Miss Rossi.
The story begins with Aria, a 17 yr old living in one of many dull, grey pods where the inhabitants escape to life in the realms to survive their everyday. The realms are virtual reality, where Aria attends classes, meets with friends, and practices her operatic talents. That is until a classmate plays with fire and she ends up being kicked out of the safety of her Pod and finds herself amidst a world of savages with an ethereal sky hanging down on them all.
With the danger of the sky above ready to break down on civilization and the savage civilizations themselves, Aria has no hope of survival until she runs into Peregrine (Perry) who is a savage himself from the lands beyond her Pod. With Perry’s help, Aria hopes to return home to her Pod and her mother.
The characters are so well developed and their relationships so complex, I really found myself enjoying this novel. It was fun to read and NEW. When reading dystopia, I find myself mostly looking for new storylines and engaging characters. Under the Never Sky met those challenges with tenacity. Definitely recommended for dystopia and YA fans alike.
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers is a classic novel that I never had the chance to read as a child! I have, of course, loved the film with Julie Andrews since the age of 10, when I first saw it. The enchanting scenes and stern loving that Mary Poppins offered really spoke to me as a child. The novel, though different from the much beloved film, did not disappoint this reader.
Blown in by a strong wind, Mary Poppins is given a job as nanny to the four children who reside at Number Seventeen Cherry Hill Lane. The children are Jane, Michael, and twins: John & Barbara. The twins are still infants and while I understood the need to cut their characters from the movie, I found that they added a lot to the novel version. They were funny and had many deep thoughts and ideas about Mary Poppins.
Jane and Michael were just as rambunctious as their film-counterparts, though they minded Mary much better in the book. The birthday party at the zoo and the trip to buy gingerbread stars from Mrs. Corry & her two daughters were my favorite bits of their adventures… and BOTH were really lacking/missing from the film version.
All in all, I REALLY enjoyed this novel. So much so that I want to read this to my children before they ever catch a glimpse of the film. It was magical and fun and everything a children’s novel should be. It reminds me of the novel Peter Pan! Fun and a bit dark, like life. DEFINITELY recommend reading this classic if you haven’t picked it up yet!
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt is a non-fiction novel about the death of gay prostitute Danny Hansford. The novel describes the life of Danny Hansford and his lover Jim Williams in Savannah, Georgia. The novel does not read like a non-fiction at all! It reads more like a fictional retelling of non-fiction activities.
Honestly, I felt that this novel was all over the place. I couldn’t even nail down what was going on in the story. I found myself easily distracted during my read-through. Not a suggested read. Not well written and uninteresting. I expected more from such a widely talked about novel.
Emma Donoghue‘s Room is the incredibly heartbreaking fictional story of a young boy who is born and raised inside of a single room in a shed where his mother is held captive and raped on a nightly basis. Wow. No way to avoid the blatant truth of the story.
The story is told through the young boy’s eyes and his attachment to his mother’s own personal hell is hard to take. He feels safe in room, with their Sunday treat and sleeping in the closet so Uncle Nick (their captor) can’t see him. His mother really struck me as a strongly written character. She was written in a very realistic manner and I found myself understanding her mood swings and occasional bouts of depression.
The poor little boy is just coping in his room, with tv and his books and toys. His focus is on their daily allotment of food and his mother really focuses on giving her adequate nutrition and education in their limited surroundings. Eventually, his mother comes up with a grand plan to escape, but she will need the little boy’s help. He is not interested in leaving the safety of room, but he goes along with his mother’s desperate plan to free themselves from the shed in Uncle Nick’s backyard.
This story is hard. Hard to read. Hard to swallow. Hard to think about and imagine what women who have lived in similar circumstances to this fictional novel have gone through. As a novel, I found it dragged a bit in the middle… just a lot of monotony, but the overall message was fantastic! Definitely a great novel, but have some tissues at the ready!