I foolishly challenged Softdrink to a race in reading this book. and what did she go do!? called in sick to work and lounged about reading all day just so she could win. Rather than cry “foul!”, I will instead give her the prize for this accomplishment. No, not a Gold Medal but the HONOR of writing the review! ha. Click here to read her fabulous post on this interesting novel. I’ll wait. Did you click the link? Cuz I’m going to let her tell you what it was about and you can choose to read the spoilers there rather than blame me.
OK, are you back?
A few things of interest first. One, it was most strange trying to read this book while watching the swimming events of the XXIX Olympics. Having to hear the announcers refer to Phelps as AQUA BOY and watching the underwater shots of the swimmers was just a bit eery and unsettling while imagining Arturo swimming in his tank and hearing in my mind shouts of AQUA MAN! So, I recommend you don’t read this book while watching pool events.
Second, I savored this book and would not speed up the intake of words. This is the only thing I can think of to explain why, if I loved it so much, it took me so long to arrive at the last page! AND… let me explain that I can’t read in bed, or rather, I choose not to read in bed, because I can’t yet get the lighting right so dear Husband can sleep. We have tried a few different lamps and even a few of those cheap booklights but I still feel guilty as he tries to get to sleep.
But one night I woke up – think it was Thursday/Friday – I got out of bed at 2:22 am and FINALLY finished this book! Was asleep again by 4:30 am.
I really enjoyed this book although I’m still not 100% convinced in why Olympia loved her brother so much. He was a “mean nasty.” This contradicts why I totally believed how Chick could love the same brother, though and how he could snap, for all his sensitivity; it worked for me. Truly, the reader has to suspend SOME disbelief when thinking how all these kids were ‘created’. The author was very successful with this. Although, as I continue to analyze, I never did get a good understanding of the Doctor’s motivations…
A carnival in daylight is an unfinished beast, anyway. Rain makes it a ghost. The wheezing music from the empty, motionless rides in a soggy, rained-out afternoon midway always hits my chest with a sweet ache. The colored dance of the lights in the sweeping air flashed the puddles in the sawdust with an oily glamour. p 83
Everything that happens in this book had prior set up and background given at just the right places, too. It builds slowly and casually – even gives a lot of it away. I mean, we know Olympia’s plan almost from the very start. I especially loved the language and descriptions given at the start of each and every chapter. The author was quite skilled at setting tone, mood, and place. Characters were flawed and yet likable. I never felt manipulated which given the subject and the ODDITY of the family members, could have been easy to sense.
“Truth” was Elly’s favorite set of brass knuckles, but she didn’t necessarily know the whole elephant. If what she said about Arty was “true,” it still wasn’t the whole truth.
This book throws out morals and life lessons like candy and yet never preaches, never judges. Be true to yourself; you can find your own path in life. Family matters. (and you can pick your family? I loved Horst the Cat Man, didn’t you? What a great guy.)
[Oops! I just realized that I was tagged by Lisa for a meme about posting a sentence from a book I was just starting. I handwrote my response and never took it to the computer. Let me do it now. From page 111:
“They were rolled in a knot on the bed with spider elbows jerking out and in, a flailing leg, whacking a heel into a thin, pajama clad back. Their breathing was short and loud and a hand came out of the mess, pulling a long skein of black hair up into the light of their small window.” I like this sentence better, from a few chapters later: “They were goofy aloof and up to something.”]
FEWMET (title to Book II)