Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: 2015
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

 Joe is forty-four years old; he’s a proud Boston police officer, an Irish Catholic and a devoted husband and father to four.  Recently, Joe has been having issues with disorganization; he has sudden outbursts and some involuntary movements.  When Joe is forced to go to a doctor, he has no idea how much his world is about to change.  He is diagnosed with Huntington’s disease; a devastating disease that has no cure and a gradual, early death. Joe has to come to terms with his immediate future, and the future of his children, as each of his children has a fifty-percent chance of inheriting this disease themselves.

Joe wants to hold on to his position on the police force for as long as possible, but rumors start to go around and he doesn’t know how much longer he can keep his job. His involuntary movements start to increase, and he becomes embarrassed. Joe is mostly scared for his four children. He grew up believing his mother was an alcoholic, but now he realizes she had Huntington’s disease. His four children are young adults, and each deal with the disease in their own way. Should they get tested? What would happen if they tested positive? Can they live their lives to the fullest, knowing they would have an early death?

I read and loved Still Alice years ago, and couldn’t wait to read this one. It started off slow, but picked up and I really started to enjoy it. Genova writes from Joe’s perspective, as well as his daughter Katie’s perspective. Inside the O’Briens' is an eye opening and honest read. A family trying to come together to support their father but also confused about their own future.  I didn’t love this one as much as Still Alice, but I thought it was a great read. 

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Review: Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

Publisher:  Harper Collins
Released: 2014
Source: Personal Copy
Pages: 320
Rating: 3/5

Station Eleven is a post-apocalyptic book, and the story starts out really strong and believable. Jeevan Chaudhary attends a play featuring, a famous actor named Arthur Leander. During the middle of the play, Arthur has a heart attack and dies. Jeevan leaves the theater and heads home, and receives a phone call from his friend that he needs to get out of town, fast.  A plague has hit North America and within hours, those who are symptomatic are dead. Station Eleven tells the story of Arthur, Jeevan and a group of actors who roam around the ruins of this post-apocalyptic world.

Station Eleven started out really strong for me as a reader. Once the plague hits and everyone is panicking, it becomes very believable and real. Unlike many post-apocalyptic stories, you don’t just read about the “after,” you live the demise. This was my favorite part. Mandel explores before, during and after the pandemic.  While I loved those parts of the book, I didn’t completely love it.

All the character’s that remain are connected to Arthur Leander which seemed a little odd when 99 percent of the population is gone. Arthur is explored throughout the novel, and it felt like a character study of him. The post-apocalyptic world wasn’t really explored as much as I would have liked. Mandel likes to allude to these “horrible” things that happened to one of the characters, but she never explored or explained those things. As a reader, I wanted to know. The prophet could have also been explored more in my opinion. I felt like the action started and stopped right away. The book remained more about Arthur than anything else.

I liked this book, but it wasn’t a favorite and I really felt like it was overhyped for me. It started out really strong, and then I just kept waiting for something to happen. I think it’s worth the read, if you’re interested. I kept reading, I didn’t want to put it aside, but I had issues with the book. I have read and reviewed Mandel's Last Night in Montreal, and I would like to try her other books as well.

Monday, May 4, 2015

April Wrap Up

I had a great reading month in April. I read a variety of books, and can't wait to review some of them. I don't think I'm going to review every book that I read. Often, I find myself not wanting to review the next book on the list, and it slows down my posts. I think I'm just going to review the ones I really enjoyed and would recommend, the books that I really want to talk about.

Here's the list of books I read:

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple 3/5 Stars
Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova 5/5 Stars
The Education of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir by Joseph Auguste Merasty 5/5 Stars
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel 4/5 Stars
Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories by Sandra Cisneros 3/5 Stars
How to Love by Katie Cotugno 5/5 Stars
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn 3/5 Stars
The Storied Life of A J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin 4/5 Stars
Golden Boy by Abigail Tartelin 4/5 Stars