Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Book Review: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color PurpleThe Color Purple by Alice Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My Mum bought me this book when I was younger and probably too immature to read it, but I've finally got around to it and I wish I hadn't waited so long. Alice Walker was 'W' in my A-Z of authors which means I'm finally on the home stretch.
The Color Purple is a series of letters from Celie to God, or her sister Nettie and from Nettie to Celie as they grow up and live their lives. It's one of the most addictive books I've ever read, due to the style of the narrative each 'chapter' is a relatively short letter, and I would keep telling myself 'just one more'. Each writer has a distinctive style as well, making it easy to differentiate between Celie and her sister.
The wealth of characters Celie meets are interesting and individual. My favourite character is Sofia, Celie's step-daughter-in-law and Shug Avery, who everyone seems to be obsessed with and I understand why. All of the characters have their flaws as well as points that make them brilliant, and that's why this book works so well.
Overall, this is a fantastic, engrossing read. I only have two negative points. Celie is not as well educated as her sister, Nettie and therefore she frequently spells words as they sound which sometimes disrupts the flow of storytelling. Also, by the end of the story I was losing track of the children and who their parents were. Maybe I was just tired but I couldn't remember all of their names!

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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Book review: River of Shadows by Valerio Varesi

River of ShadowsRiver of Shadows by Valerio Varesi
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I had great problems connecting with this book. It took me forever to read and normally I whip through murder mysteries with no problem but it wasn't the case for this one.
The pace was ridiculously slow, maybe it's the relaxed Italian culture, but it dragged along. The book couldn't hold my attention either, I would find my mind drifting off and thinking about other things only to find I hadn't taken in any of the story.
The main character, I think his name was Soneri, was generally likeable. He seemed like a nice man, although his relationship with his girlfriend got on my nerves. They seemed to spend most of their time together trying to find risqué places to sleep together, including someone's flat and the barge belonging to the missing Tonna. I know it's not real but it comes across as really unprofessional and I like my policemen to do things properly.
One thing that also got on my wick (sorry for ranting, I'm in one of those moods!) was how much they went on and on about food. I know Italians are passionate about what they eat but every time someone sat down at a dinner table I would get a detailed recipe.
Overall, this was a bit of a disappointment. At the end it was just a relief to finish and I'm not sure I completely understood who was the murderer or why. I think I'll stick to my Scandinavian reads. I always seem to enjoy them more.

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Friday, 7 December 2012

Book review: Fragile by Lisa Unger

FragileFragile by Lisa Unger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It took me ages to find an author beginning with U for my A-Z of authors, but eventually I settled on Lisa Unger, the author of Fragile.
I have found similar themes and characters in a lot of American books, particularly those by Harlan Coben. The main characters are always childhood sweethearts and still know everyone they went to school with, which I find a bit unrealistic. I'm twenty and already I've lost contact with a lot of my school friends.
The story of the missing in both present day and in the past is interesting. As the reader I was never entirely sure what had happened, although I could guess who was involved. I found the case from the past much more interesting and didn't really care for Charlene, who seemed to be destined to find herself in that situation.
The characters we meet are interesting and flawed, which is a massive tick for Unger. They all have histories and insecurities, but it's hard to find a character that is happy with their life. Everybody seems to be depressed and wishing they were somewhere else, which makes me wonder why everyone comes back to The Hollows?
Overall, the mystery side kept me going, and the characters were interesting, but this was quite an unhappy book. There were also some characters that were a bit unnecessary, i.e. Charlie and Wanda.

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