I first heard about this book in my 451 Theory class back in 2011, long before it was a movie. Room is told in the voice of a 5 year old boy who has lived in captivity with his mother his entire life. They escape their impenetrable shed halfway through the book and try to adjust to being in the world, and being free. This story is all the more poignant because it is told in the voice of a child. Somehow, that makes the darkness of the kidnapping and the struggles of Jack's mother a little more tolerable to consider, but also more repelling at the same time, if that makes sense. The whole thing is masterfully written and definitely makes you think. What is the most "real"? How do we deal with tragedy? What is bravery? What is so beautiful and sacred about the bond between parent and child?
One thing I didn't like about the book... It definitely got a little political at times, which is inevitable considering the subject matter and the times in which we live. In one scene, Jack's mother discusses how she's okay with abortion and it's a choice that makes sense to her. For one thing, the topic felt out of place to me. But more importantly, this book is so beautifully about the affirmation of life and how the love between parent and child can save us. What does it say about our society that a book that covers these topics also feels the need to qualify these things? It really bugs me.
A lot of people didn't like Go Set a Watchman when it came out. I'm not sure I loved it, partly because I just thought it was kind of slow. But I don't fault Lee for writing it the way she did, and about the topics she did. This book is less about racial relations in the United States, and more growing up. Scout learns that Atticus is not a perfect person, and she survives and becomes capable of making her own choices. Honestly, while I think some people would fault me for it, I liked Atticus the way he was presented in this book. The best heroes are flawed, just as the best villains have redeeming qualities. That's more like real life, isn't it?
Out of all the books I've read this month, In the Heart of the Sea has the best ratings on Goodreads. First Greg and I watched the movie--about sailers who are lost at sea after their whaling ship is attacked by a sperm whale--and then I decided I wanted to read the book. A quick read, very interesting. While the section about cannibalism is hard to get through, I really liked the rest. And now I really, really want to visit Nantucket.
This is a story about an 11 year old who solves a murder her father is framed for. I found the narrator to be both incredibly obnoxious and totally delightful. While I had a few problems with the way Bradley presents the arch of the detective story, I do think it's a cute and fun book. And I think it's the first book of a series, so I might just have to dig up the rest.