claireleo (claireleo) wrote in bookish,

Chris Bohjalian, Louise Fitzhugh, Mark Haddon and Marian Keyes

Recent reads:

The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian -- I absolutely loved Chris' Trans-Sister Radio, so I make it a point to try all of his novels. But for me, The Double Bind was a head-scratcher. I. just. did. not. get. it. And the ending only made me more confused. Granted, the author's note -- at the back of the book! -- said that he was making parallels to "The Great Gatsby" (which I haven't read.) I wish I had known that ahead of time. And at that point, my level of frustration certainly didn't make me want to attempt "The Great Gatsby" only so I could re-read this puzzle of a book. Better luck to others out there!

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh -- What a trip down memory lane! Like many other youngsters I'm sure, Harriet and her multitude of notebooks encouraged me to keep a journal of my own (too-truthful!) observations. Reading the book this time around, I was struck by...well, how much of a child Harriet actually was. Running around the house, slamming doors, yelling, carousing, singing, demanding her tomato sandwiches (hee hee!). Even though I have affection for her, she was kind of a brat. Also, I didn't remember Ole Golly being that stern, and I didn't remember the story's ending being so flat. But it's all one's perspective, I suppose.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon -- This is a terrific book, its conversational style unlike anything I have read previously. I loved the abundance of fonts, diagrams, and enumerated lists that propelled the story forward. Even though I liked the main character of Christopher, I was also easily exasperated by him (which could be the point?) Because of his autism, he presents his daily life in a factual way ("I did this. And then I did this next. And then I did this next. And then I did this next..."), I grew tired of his attention to detail and was a bit relieved to finish the book. But it is an excellent novel, and I do recommend it.

Watermelon by Marian Keyes -- Marian Keyes is one of my favourite authors, but I haven't read her books in any particular order. Watermelon is her debut novel...and you can tell. Way too wordy, with unnecessary scenes that bog down the plot. Many, many asides that are meant to be witty -- and it just comes across as though she is trying to be witty. Lots of unrelated observations (added in parentheses!) and the main character holds inner conversations with her capitalized emotions (Anger, Grief, Jealousy, etc.) Ugh, ugh, ugh. I strongly encourage you to try Marian Keyes' talent, but skip this one and instead start with Angels, the novel that hooked me.

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