We Were The Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates, PLUME Penguin Grp 1996, 454 pages
I was given this by a friend whose maiden name was Mulvaney. I had always wanted to read a JCO and could never quite pick which one to start with. With this, the decision was made for me. I did enjoy the author’s skillful descriptive style. I can say that even if I suspected my emotions were being played, I loved it while in the middle of it. However, about 3/4 of the way in, I wanted to un-invest myself of the characters but I was too far into it to quit. I gave this 4 pie slices but in the end and now that I ‘m thinking about it, I was just glad the book was finally over. I’m even tempted to say that JCO and Picoult have a similar feel to me – - or can evoke the same reaction from me: not quite overwrought but skilled in emotional pull; tackling the heavy stuff but then leaving me not quite sure what to think about the experience when it is done. As to the story? I was extremely pissed off at the father. and the mother, too. and the poor girl turned out … perfectly lovely and sweet? too sweet. I liked the narrator best. The situation was just terrible, terrible.
Shooting the Boh by Tracy Johnston, A Vintage Departures 1992, 256 pages
There is NO WAY I could ever have signed up to do what this lady did; first humans down a river that even the natives won’t traverse? Leeches and constant swarming of bees and FEAR of dying with no rescue plan in place? NO. WAY. but she is a good writer. I read this for Women Unbound and could also possibly count it for World Citizen since it is set in Borneo.
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, Yearling Paperback 1999 (1stPub 1972), 145 pages
I read this for RIP IV and because my dear friend Nymeth sent it to me (and Chris sent it to her so it gets even more special!) But. As much as I recognize the talents of Mr. Bradbury, his style isn’t for me. I enjoyed the clever wordplay but I’m too impatient for it. Like too many toppings on a pizza – sure, they taste good and look pretty but but I can take them or leave them. Sometimes you just want a simple cheese on the right crust. Now I’m hungry.
I gave this book to the 10 yo boy next door and he told me HE LOVED IT. If I ever pin him down to an interview, we will discuss this book. He’s got a busy life, ya know…
The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera, Harcourt Paperback 2003 (1stPub 1988), 168 pages
I read this for the New Zealand Challenge in October but it spilled over into November so I want to count this for the Women Unbound Challenge, too.
This is about a girl who was born into a family that would have preferred a boy to carry on the traditions. She ends up meeting a most amazing destiny and earns the love and respect of everyone. I enjoyed this book but I loved the movie a bit more. It’s been years since I’ve seen the flick so I’m ready to view it again.
The Mandarin by EÇa de Queiroz, 84 pages
WOW! I loved this wonderful story (novella?) – it has drama and comedy and playful language! and it has tragedy and loneliness and sorrow. A moral lesson without any overhanded wham of a hammer to the head. It is, and I quote from the back cover:
… told with Eca’s irrespressible wit and originality.
I’m still getting through the other stories; I want to savor them rather than rush thru just to get reviewed. Thanks again to Nymeth for sending me this charmer of a book. I’m still in awe that it was written in the 1800′s.
Happiness would arrive one day and to hasten its arrival I did everything that a good Portuguese and a constitutionalist could do: I prayed every night to Our Lady of Sorrows and bought lottery tickets, the cheapest available.