I can’t stand it anymore! I have nine book reviews waiting to be written, and that is stressing me out Therefore, I decided to write some mini reviews to help clear out the backlog. I’ll do three today, and three more next week. Hopefully then I can breathe easy.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books, 2009
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Where I Got It: Bought it
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Brief Description: If you are one of the few who hasn’t read this book yet, The Help is about the complex relationships between black maids and the families they work for. When a young white girl named Skeeter decides to interview the maids and share the details of their lives and working relationships, she stirs up controversy in her town of Jackson, Mississippi (circa 1962). The narration is split between Skeeter, Aibileen (a black maid working for one of Skeeter’s friends) and Minny (Aibileen’s best friend and fellow maid).
My Thoughts: Compulsively readable, this book deserves all the success and accolades that have been heaped on it. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. Stockett does a brilliant job of capturing a specific place and time yet making the story feel universal. I found myself laughing (Miss Hilly and that pie), crying (how Aibileen mourns the loss of her “white babies” to racism), getting angry (how white women would hand their children over to be raised by black women but wouldn’t share a toilet with them), feeling sick (the scene with Minny and “what is in the toilet”) as well as cycling through a host of other emotions. By mixing in real events (like the murder of Medgar Evers), Stockett creates a highly readable piece of historical fiction that feels real, lived-in and well-loved.
Fool by Christopher Moore
Publisher: William Morrow, 2009
Genre: Fiction, Satire/Spoof
Where I Got It: Paperback Swap
My Rating: 3.5 stars
Brief Overview: King Lear as told from the Fool’s point of view. The book is imbued with Moore’s trademark smartassedness, wit, and often lowbrow sense of humor (as well as liberal use of the F word that rhymes with “ducking.”)
My Thoughts: Although not my favorite Christopher Moore book (that would be Lamb), it was nowhere near as abominable as Jill at Fizzy Thoughts made it out to be. My real gripe was that it felt too repetitive and sophmoric. After all, there are only so many jokes about heaving bosoms and shagging that a girl can stand! I’ll say this though: It was tons better than the Shakespeare play, which I also tried to read but couldn’t get through. I know that is probably blasphemous and makes me look bad but it was the truth.
The Lost Diaries of Adrian Mole, 1999-2001 by Sue Townsend
Publisher: Michael Joseph, 2008
Genre: Fiction, Humor
Where I Got It: A gift from Jenn at That Just Happened!
My Rating: 3 stars
Brief Description: Think of this book as a male version of Bridget Jones’s Diary … only more British and less funny. This is the eighth book in a series, and, in this particular outing, Mr. Mole is a middle-aged single parent dealing with dating, children, and housing issues.
My Thoughts: I read the first few books of this series (The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole) years ago and remember them as being funny. Either the series hasn’t aged well or I haven’t as I wasn’t terribly amused this time around. Of course, it could be that it was “too British” for me to get all the jokes. It wasn’t a horrible read, but I was looking forward to catching up with good old Adrian and found him disappointing. It was kind of like finding an old boyfriend on Facebook and thinking “Oh. Why did I like him????”
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