Tag Archives: book review

“The New Republic” By Lionel Shriver: A Book Review

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11778910Ever since reading “We Need to Talk About Kevin”, Lionel Shriver has been on my go-to author whenever I feel like having my ideas and opinions turned upside down.  She has an innate ability to take taboo subjects that people often shy away from and rub their faces in it.  She treats her readers as an etch-a-sketch, imprinted with their experiences and then shakes them with her words, leaving them a blank slate to be re-written on.  “The New Republic” received scathing reviews from a lot of people, but I enjoyed it.  Sure there were some characters I felt could have been left out, but the very idea driving the novel was what kept me turning the pages.  A satire on terrorism, this is not for the faint of heart.  She puts a social commentary on terrorism.  While most people see the act of terrorism itself, Shriver makes you a witness to the dealings in the background.  Dark, politically eye-opening, “The New Republic” will make you question your very trust in elected officials, the media and how it spins world events.  For my full review, click here.

“In comes Edgar Kellogg.  A former fat boy and lawyer turned freelance journalist, looking to escape his second string complex and finally get his big break.  Much to his chagrin, he is charged with finding out was happened to his predecessor, Barrington Sadler, who disappeared while reporting on the SOB (Os Soldado Ousados de Barba) who claim international bombing.  When Kellogg arrives, his complex comes back with full force as he finds that everyone cannot stop talking about the infamous Barrington Sadler.  It isn’t long before Edgar realizes there is more to Saddler than all rumours his fellow Rat Pack spew.  Bombings, international recognition and effect on local policy increase, and soon it isn’t long before things begin to spiral.”

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Little Red Hen

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The Princess’ teacher sent home an update on what they are learning about at school.  Counting and estimating for math, how vegetables grow for science and they are reading “The Little Red Hen” and have begun their reading journals for English.  As an avid reader, I always told myself that when I had children I would read whatever my children were reading in school so that I would be able to carry on education at home.  I’m a firm believer that in order for your child to excel at school, you have to carry that on at home too.  I try to mix fun with learning and I’m excited to read Little Red Hen with my Princess.  The Princess has numerous books and we are fortunate to have not one, but three copies of this story.

Basically the gist of the story is Little Red Hen plants wheat, harvests is, mills it and bakes it into bread with no help from any of her barnyard friends.  However, once the bread is baked, all the friends want a bite, but the Little Red Hen says no as she is the only one who did all the work.  The moral of the story is that people who don’t want to contribute to the project, do not get to reap the benefits of the end product.

Originally a Russian old folk tale, the Little Red Hen had its role in reading instruction.  In the late 1800’s, there was a shift from religious texts to texts that still portrayed clear morals with less religious content.  Also with its repetitive vocabulary, it is still is reading technique used for reading beginners.

We Need to Talk About Kevin – The Movie

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Back in February, I read “We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver.  While I struggled with the first part of the book, I did enjoy it.  This epistolary novel tackles the question that parents do not ever want to ask themselves about their own children; Are killers born or made?  Shriver succeeds with this novel by providing many instances throughout where it is left up to the reader to argue whether it was Eva’s fault that Kevin turned out the way he did, or if Kevin, was born evil. Her focus on this theme is demonstrated by the characters themselves; Eva, and her ambivalence toward motherhood, Franklin, the high hope, “my child can do no wrong”, optimist, and Kevin, the antithesis to a loving child.

So when I heard that it was being made into a movie I was really excited.  Now whenever books are made into films, I do try to see the movie first because if I read the book first, I find the movie is ruined for me.  I know how things are going to end, I already have what the characters look like in my mind and things that are omitted from the movie that were in the book irritate me.  But if I watch the movie first then read the books, I can still enjoy both for what they are.  There are scene, lines and characters that weren’t in the movie that are in the book that let me differentiate and enjoy the book.

With all that in the mind, I did read the book first, attended a book reading of Lionel Shriver where she spoke about the book and had her sign my book, so I had high expectations of the movie.  And they didn’t meet them, whatsoever.  I have to say that for the most part, the characters were horribly miscast, especially Franklin, played by John C. Reilly.  With that said, Ezra Miller who played Kevin and  Ashley Gerasimovich who played Celia, were how I imagined them.

I think the thing that bothered me the most was that the movie felt almost like “Art for art sake.”  With the odious music that often drowned out the conversation and the montages of Eva scrubbing the red paint off of her house, the blatant metaphor of “blood on her hands,” I found myself wanting to turn it off.  The movie failed to capture the struggles between the main characters and some of the things that Kevin did in the book.  The movie implied the struggle between Eva and Kevin without showing it, at all.    So if I had to choose, the book all the way!

“Fifty Shades Darker” by E.L. James

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Just when women (and men) thought that they had been left hanging at the end of Fifty Shades of Grey, E.L. James gives what everyone has been asking for, Fifty Shades Darker!  Published in 2011 by Vintage Press, EL James gives her readers what they’ve been asking for the most; more Ana and Christian.  This novel outshines its predecessor in terms of character development, plot twists and most of all, more Shades of Grey.  Read more of my review here.

Grey’s long and complicated history is revealed to both the reader and Ana, leaving all involved grasping for more and more.  Mrs. Robinson makes her debut and Ana’s inner goddess is baying for blood.

“Never Wink at a Worried Woman” by Lynn Johnston

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Graphic novels and comics may not be for everyone, but Lynn Johnston’s “Never Wink at a Worried Woman” is as true to life as you or I.  Witty dialogue, realistic life experiences mixed with the laugh out loud antics of the Patterson Family makes this novel a great read.  Published in August of 2005, “Never Wink at a Worried Woman” is number 24 in a 29 novel “For Better or Worse” series.  For my full review, click here.  For better or worse, never wink at a worried woman!

Another great thing about this novel is that despite being a part of a rather lengthy series, I was still able to read the story without wondering who was this character, and most of the history was discernible that it didn’t leave parts of the story segmented.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” by EL James

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The buzz in unanimous, “Fifty Shades of Grey” by EL James is sexy, sultry and will make anyone who reads it hot under the collar.  Come find out why Christian Grey and Ana Steele have everyone lusting after them.  Please note that this is an erotic novel and is not appropriate for everyone.  Check out my full review.

“This deliciously salacious novel is an erotic descent into the carnal world of BDSM.   The story is about the virginal and inexperienced Ana Steele, who is drawn into the “palm twitching” hands of Christian Grey, a wealthy entrepreneur with a dark sexual appetite and a darker past.”

“Fifty Shades of Grey” by EL James

“The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe” by J. Randy Taraborrelli

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   “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” – Marilyn Monroe

Without Marilyn Monroe, we wouldn’t have that iconic white dress over the street grate.  Without Marilyn Monroe, we wouldn’t know diamond’s are a girl’s best friend.  And without J. Randy Taraborrelli, we wouldn’t know The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.   Taraborrelli blows the rumours of Monroe out of the water and leaves nothing but the truth.  You will learn about her tumultuous childhood, her family’s history of mental illness, her half-sister, her confrontation with the man she believed to be her father, Joe DiMaggio, Arthur Miller, JFK & RFK and the FBI, but last but not least, her sad spin into barbiturate addiction.  For my full review, click here.

“His first hand accounts from the people who knew her blows the myths, the rumours out of the water and leaves the truth, naked and exposed for all our prying eyes, needing to know more about Marilyn.  The candor leaves your nerves raw, your heart ache and your soul weep.  Taraborrelli lets us all into The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.”