Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Local News--Miriam Gershow

From magazine articles to fellow book bloggers, I'd heard a lot about this one. It seemed an interesting premise; Lydia Pasternak is left to deal with the loss of her older brother, Danny, after he mysteriously disappears. Everyone in the community bands together in an effort to bring Danny home and Lydia, along with her family, is thrust into a celebrity-like status. Described as a "deeply moving story about the complicated bond between a brother and sister," you would expect an endearing tear-jerker, right? Yeah, not so much.
Lydia feeds off of others' sympathy in the wake of Danny's disappearance--she actually wants people to feel sorry for her. She uses her new distorted celebrity to gain a higher social status at school and finds herself spending time with Danny's friends.
Her parents hire Denis Jimenez, a private investigator, in hopes that he would be able to track down their son. While Denis asks Lydia for help, she goes overboard trying to impress him. She is trying so hard to get his attention that she seems to forget the goal: to find Danny.
As more time passes with no leads on Danny's whereabouts, Lydia becomes more content with the notion of being the only child in her family--and finally out of Danny's shadow. Even if I could wrap my mind around the idea of someone relishing the loss of their sibling, reading of Lydia's relationship with her brother didn't seem to warrant such behavior. Though they didn't always get along, she reminisces about the fun times they shared growing up together. It's frustrating; she didn't appear to hate Danny, so why was she so relieved when he left? Lydia's back and forth, ambivalent feelings for her brother is tiring and leaves you feeling confused. Even when it is revealed that Danny has been killed, (trust, I'm not ruining anything--there's no anticipation surrounding this issue) Lydia can't get it through her head--he's really gone. There's just no pleasing this girl; her brother was out of the picture, so she was free to take the spotlight, but he would never be coming back--whatever that meant to her.
The end of the book cuts to her ten years in the future, and she is discontent as ever. If something was going well, she would want to bring pain to it--literally. She was having a nice conversation with her mother and boyfriend, and felt the urge to kick each of them in the shin.
I am baffled by the fact that this story is described as funny in some of the reviews that I read; whoever finds this story amusing in any way has an interesting (read:strange) sense of humor. Maybe Lydia's ambivalence and selfishness is meant to come off as humorous, but I found it to be completely un-relatable and desperate.
Aside from the slow-moving storyline, Lydia's character will irritate you to no end. If I haven't made it clear enough: DON'T BOTHER.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

List Lovin' So and So

I love lists. Not writing them so much as reading them. I also love YA fiction. Combine the two, and I'm in book nerd heaven.

Cecil Castellucci has written a list for the LA Times Book Blog: Young adult books that rock: a beginner's list, and thanks to it, my TBR pile just grew a little more. I've already read (and loved) two of the books on the list (King Dork and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) so I'm optimistic about the other selections.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Dear Readers, please forgive my lack of frequent posts. I'm only just now recovering from the madness that was helping one of my best friends with her wedding. I'm happy to say that little Samantha Jarvis is now Mrs. Samantha Sager. After I take a break and collect myself, I promise I'll be back to posting.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

So Cute!

Ok, so I know this isn't a book review, but it's sort of book related. And, hello? This is ADORABLE! As soon as I stumbled across it on my quest to reach the end of the internet, I emailed one of my crafty friends, begging her to teach me to embroider.

Check out the other precious designs.

Oh, and wish me luck in my creative endeavor.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Modest Request

Thanks to Google Analytics, I know SOMEONE other than immediate family members are reading. It means so much that people all over the place are reading this humble little blog. I checked the Map Overlap feature and was SHOCKED to find we've had visits from Romania. ROMANIA! How awesome is that??

Ok, so while I love the fact that you're reading, I'd like to know what you all think about this blog. Katie Lou and I would really appreciate some comments. Please let us know what you like, what you hate and what you'd like to see less or more of on this blog. We're here to please!

Again, thanks SO MUCH for reading.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter--Jeff Lindsay

I must confess, there's a new man in my life...and he goes by the name of Dexter. For those of you who don't know, there's a show by the same name on Showtime. It is riveting and yes, I'm sure my school-girl crush on Michael C. Hall adds to my overall interest in the show. I've been watching it for a few seasons now, and I figured it was about time to read the series it's based on.
The main character, Dexter Morgan, works for the Miami Police Department as a blood spatter analyst. His fascination with blood extends far beyond forensics; Dexter himself is a killer. But Dexter doesn't go killing all willy-nilly; he only kills those he knows have killed others. Think of him as a sociopathic vigilante, cleaning up what the law failed to. Dexter was adopted at the age of three after he was discovered at the site where his mother was murdered--sitting in her blood for over two days. He carried immense pain where his mother was concerned and felt it necessary to avenge her death. Dexter lived by a certain code--one taught to him by his foster father (and respected cop), Harry Morgan. Dexter showed signs early on, so Harry constructed a set of rules for Dexter to follow. "He taught me to be careful as only a cop could teach a killer."
Dexter was also taught to fake his emotions; whatever he actually felt, he was to act exactly the opposite. De
xter learned to imitate life. You get a true understanding of what a sociopath is--Dexter struggles to feel ANY emotion. That said, he sometimes came off like a foreign exchange student, attempting to find the appropriate phrase: "Ah, it's what you call...um...being in a committed relationship?" Like, he kills people as a hobby--I think he can manage to string a sentence together.
It's interesting to read how Dexter copes with his urges. He refers to these urges as his "dark passenger."
He must please his companion by killing others or else it will keep nagging him.
With all of this said, you think I would be running to the library to get my hands on the next books in the series...not so much. While Lindsay had all of the elements, he failed to create any real sense of excitement or suspense. He even managed to turn Dexter into a somewhat cheesy character. At one point, Dexter actually says "au contraire." Ick. This is one of the rare occasions that I'm going to recommend the on-screen version;
the show gives you all of the "page-turning" excitement Lindsay couldn't deliver. Seriously, sign up for a trial period of Showtime and give "Dexter" a chance. He's a serial killer you won't spending time with...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mess With the Salinger, You Get the Cease and Desist

Oh happy day! Not that I was really worried or anything (ok, maybe just a teensy bit) but a U.S. District judge has ruled that the odious "Coming Through The Rye" can not be published in the U.S.

In her ruling, Judge Deborah Batts wrote that J.D. California's (real name Fredrik Colting) claim that he wrote the book to "critically examine" the character of Holden Caulfield was "problematic and lacks credibility." No objections there.

Colting's attorney is "saddened" by the verdict, apparently on the basis that "members of the public will be deprived of the chance to read the book and decide for themselves whether it adds to their understanding of Salinger and his work." HA! Deprived? No deprivation here, buddy.

One of Salinger's lawyers, Marcia Beth Paul declined to comment on the decision. Wise move Ms. Paul. I'm sure she felt like getting all up in Colting's grille and yelling "in your FACE you two bit HACK!" But comments like that aren't widely believed to be "professional" or whatever. Nice restraint.

I think it's pretty fitting that this decision comes down just before Independence Day. Now I can enjoy my long weekend, free from the tyranny of bad writing and ill advised sequels.